Mark Richt lost control of Deshaun Watson. Then he lost control of Nolan Smith.

Here’s a strange tale.

He’s the second-highest rated recruit in the country and he’s already committed to an SEC powerhouse program.

But Nolan Smith II’s first visit to the school he eventually committed to Georgia when he was a high school freshman didn’t leave a good impression on him.

“I didn’t like it,” Smith, now a senior defensive end at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, told the Herald at IMG’s Media Day on Wednesday. “I hated it.”

The reason? Current Miami coach Mark Richt.

Smith said Richt always recruited Florida players instead of Georgia’s own when he was with the Bulldogs.

“Even Deshaun Watson went out of state, and he won a national championship for somebody else,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of Georgia stories about Georgia boys going to Georgia that a lot of people don’t know about. … [Watson] went to Clemson, played quarterback and got drafted.”

We’re still litigating Georgia’s recruitment of Watson in 2018?  I guess we are.

Meanwhile, two former beat writers chime in.

Methinks Mr. Hale is on to something here.  And, oh, the potential irony of it.

Smith, who is a consensus 5-star recruit according to the 247 Sports composite rankings, said things are changing with Kirby Smart as Georgia’s coach.

Watching the Bulldogs reach the national title game last season brought out the fan in Smith, who is from Savannah, Georgia.

“I was like a groupie,” Smith said. “I was like, ‘Wow … everything is changing.’ We’re building the culture. It’s new, it’s not like ‘Bama but we’re building the culture.”

Can’t you just see Kirby, the master Alabama recruiter, planting the negative recruiting seed, only later to reap in Athens what he sowed in Tuscaloosa?  That’s some serious five-dimensional chess, man.

***************************************************************************

UPDATE:  More beat writer testimony.

It’s amazing how invested a portion of our fan base is in this story.  That Chad Morris stole a beat on the entire world, recognized Watson’s talent and sold the kid on Clemson early seems to be completely irrelevant for some.

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77 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

77 responses to “Mark Richt lost control of Deshaun Watson. Then he lost control of Nolan Smith.

  1. Instead of Kirby, I would venture to say this came from Dabo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 3rdandGrantham

    What’s odd and rather ironic about that comment is that over 40% of our heralded ’18 class was from out of state – including athletes from FL, TX, NC, SC, IL, Ok, and MS – whereas CMR’s average class in recent years included roughly 30% of out of state recruits. So I’m curious how you’d spin that. Maybe Someone else (ahem, CMR) will try to turn the tables and get in his ear a bit.

    Like

    • Ricky McDurden

      Has a bit of an amplifying effect when the in-state guys you do take consist of 9 of the top 20 in-state including 6 of the top 10. Some big personalities in that group who mask the actual numbers.

      Like

  3. Jim

    Nolan Smith needs to shut up lest he disturb the bitch known as Karma

    I get Murray’s comments about Pruitt and the pile on that happened. I get Legge’s columns about 2015. But recruits don’t need to be talking publicly about a former coach

    Liked by 1 person

    • The other Doug

      Do you think Kirby loves or hates the comments about Richt?

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        Both Richt and Smart are forever linked to UGA, like it or not. Negative comments about either reflect on UGA (similar to Urbie and FU.) Never understood the glee some UGA fans took in tearing into CMR then, and especially now. UGA is obviously in a good place now, Richt started that turnaround, Smart is building on it. As a Dawg fan, I am grateful for both.

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    • Dolly Llama

      That was exactly my thought when I read it. This kid needs to adjust his attitude, I don’t give a damn how good he is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    I guess maybe Mark Richt just lost control.

    Like

  5. Walt

    My recollection is that Richt recruited Watson to be a DB rather than a QB, and Bobo didn’t think Watson could play QB. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dawgnation.com/football/look-old-deshaun-watson-tweet-calls-mike-bobo-thinking-watson-wasnt-good-enough-play-georgia/amp

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  6. TXBaller

    This is really a big nothing burger. Smith didnt like UGA because he didnt like Richt’s style (like me). Kirby landed, and he took note of the change…and liked it. There is probably a long list of Georgia talent that did not eventually sign with UGA that feels similarly.

    Philes are about to jump off the cliff….been a tough week.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lakedawg

    You would think a highly rated high school would have some coaches telling him to just keep your mouth shut. Hope he is not some cancer in the locker room.

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  8. Rebar

    That is kind of ironic seeing how this recruit left Savannah, Ga to play ball in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. CB

    Watson passed for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore in the region championship game against my high school. That was just the first half. It’s not like Chad Morris found himself a diamond in the ruff. Bobo screwed it up, and we’ve got the tweet straight from the horses mouth. Accept the truth and move on. Unless of course Dean Legge has a typo riddled take we can pay to read. I’d love to get a mouth breather’s perspective.

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    • If what Morris did was so easy, how did he beat every other school to the punch with Watson?

      He got there first. He must have seen something before every other coach in the country did.

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      • CB

        Watson wasn’t playing in every other coaches backyard.

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        • LMAO. How many programs recruit the state of Georgia hard?

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          • CB

            How is that an excuse? If Watson was tweeting about Bobo his sophomore season then obviously Bobo had already evaluated him and wasn’t interested. He had Brice Ramsey pegged as the guy lol. No excuse for it.

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            • Never mind that every Georgia beat writer observed Bobo recruiting Watson with effort.

              Like I said, it amazes me how invested a portion of the fan base is in denigrating Bobo’s ability to see Watson’s talent. It’s like Morris never existed.

              You really don’t need to respond to this.

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              • CB

                I’m not interested in evidence suggesting that Bobo recruited him late. We’ve known that for years. What is your point?

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              • It’s the Bobo (and Richt) Derangement Syndrome crowd that continues to litigate this issue. I didn’t like that we got into the fray too late … who knows what happens if we offer him as a freshman or a sophomore like Dabo and Morris did?

                The bottom line is Morris built a good, early relationship with Watson, who saw what Morris’s offense was all about and decided it was a great fit for his skills. He committed when he had the opportunity.

                Could he have played in Bobo & Richt’s 2014 offense? Hell, yes.

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                • CB

                  You do realize that you basically just described the recruiting process for most athletes right? Why is it derangement to suggest the coaches dropped the ball? Seems more like common sense to me. It’s not like Richt and Bobo never got in on a kid early (See Brodarious Hamm) It’s water under the bridge at this point, but if y’all want to continue to have the conversation please spare us the revisionist history. It’s really not an exaggerating to say that pretty much any idiot could tell Watson was going to be a star early on in his high school career. That’s not to say that Bobo and Richt were incompetent or bad coaches, but a strong case can be made that they may have legitimately cost Georgia a national championship with by getting in on Watson so late. I’m over it at this point, but I’ll never forget.

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                  • I agree that it was a bad move by the coaching staff, but a lot of people have beaten this horse to a pulp as an indictment that Bobo (in particular) didn’t know what he was doing when the reality was that he (and Richt) recruited Shockley, Stafford, Cox, and Murray. They missed on Watson, but to use that in a vacuum to bang on them is opportunistic at best.

                    If that wasn’t your intent, I understand … others here have used it as an ax to grind.

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                    • CB

                      It’s not that he didn’t know what he was doing, but it’s not like this is the only example of a Bobo swing and miss. Logan Gray, Joe T, Blake Barnes, Joe Cox, Faton Bauta, Jacob Park, Christian Lemay I could go on but you get the idea. Notable in state misses include Connor Shaw and Cam Newton. I’m sure there are more, but I’m going off the top of my head here. Yes, Bobo brought in a lot of major qb talent, but he also brought in some duds. He’s not above reproach. The Watson situation isn’t a vacuum it’s indicative of a larger issue.

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                    • I’ve said multiple times we missed on QB prospects after Murray. Watson was the one that truly hurt. Cam was never coming to Georgia because of Stafford. Shaw was never coming to Georgia because of Murray (frankly, Spurrier did an incredible job with him).

                      Every school misses on QB recruits. As the example, Texas has missed on every prospect since McCoy. Surprise, surprise … Texas has underachieved since he left.

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                    • CB

                      Cam went to Florida to play under Tebow who was the same age as Stafford and was also much more likely to stay 4 years. When he transferred from juco to Auburn, Stafford was long gone.

                      This will be an unpopular opinion but I’ve always preferred Shaw over Murray. He took care of the ball and made big plays when his team needed him.

                      Either way I’m not complaining about Murray. He was really good. But Bobo missed on prospects before and after Murray. See the above examples.

                      That’s not an indictment on Bobo’s career, but I’m not just going to gloss over it.

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                  • 79Dawg

                    It’s “deranged” because coaches don’t have an unlimited amount of time to look at tape of freshmen or sophomores in high school… They have other responsibilities, like doing donor grip n’ grins at the request of the Administration, actually coach their teams, trying to close the deal with high school juniors and seniors, etc. They have to prioritize their time and resources!

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                    • CB

                      Well, in this case they prioritized incorrectly. That’s not deranged. Anyone using that term in this situation is just being dramatic imo.

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                • Anonymous

                  So, what you are saying is that Richt is a paid Russian agent and that Bobo is working with John Podesta to run the world’s largest child sex-trafficing organization out of Comet Ping-Pong Pizza?

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                  • A major charge and I mean I got a major charge out of CB: anyone saying this is being dramatic states the queen/king of drama on this. Go out and keep beating this horse.

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  10. PTC DAWG

    “Too late” is basically telling someone you aren’t interested in today’s recruiting world…

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  11. 92 grad

    Let’s not forget what Dabo has done recently. Yeah, he and Morris landed Watson but they also built a deep talented roster. The whole team was there and I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine Watson liked what he saw given that, at the time, Dabo was gearing up for a run. Looking objectively it would be easy to see that the team and coaches at Clemson were getting their act together.

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    • I’m not happy Clemson out-recruited Georgia (and other schools!) for Watson’s services, but to blame that on Bobo being an idiot when it came to judging Watson’s skill set is… well, idiotic.

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      • Thorn Dawg

        Choosing Brice Ramsey over Watson was pretty idiotic too. Ramsey was a two year starter in a Wing T offense, where he threw the ball maybe ten times a game. Watson on the other hand…….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Every major program in the South offered Ramsey.

          Hindsight makes geniuses of all of us.

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          • CB

            Check back to 2013. I think you’ll find a lot more foresight on this subject than you think.

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            • Jeff Sanchez

              Yep. I was pretty skeptical at the time myself for that reason.

              Turns out that choice probably did CMR in. In fact, though I’m a huge CMR fan and still defend him (check my posts on yesterday’s long comment section), I felt I didn’t have much of a defense against the “haters” after Clemson beat Bama for the NC.

              Until then, my thoughts were “well, no one is beating Bama anyway”, then someone did with a QB right from our backyard.

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              • CB

                Good point, I pin a great deal of the blame on Bobo for the Watson whiff, but Richt was the HC so it all comes back to him at the end of the day. Imagine Watson in the backfield with Chubb and Michel. It’s hard to imagine Georgia not winning a title with Watson.

                Like

          • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

            It’s like people can’t remember that Ramsey and Watson were in different classes or that everyone in the south was recruiting Ramsey hard. Bobo and Richt made a strategic decision to ensure Ramsey inked before putting the full court press on Watson.

            If Ramsey develops even slightly over his time in Athens, this is relegated to a whimsical recruiting saga with Watson seeking a less crowded QB room. That Ramsey did NOT develop points the spotlight at the whiff on Watson.

            Walking and chewing bubble gum is likely a challenging task for many here.

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            • CB

              Ramsey only needed slight development? LOLOLOLOL. Are you even paying attention? Ramsey was objectively atrocious while playing for three different OC’s. What are you talking about? His MO was throwing immediate interceptions upon entering a game. He threw more int’s than TD’s in his career. What does it matter what classes they were in? Watson and Ramsey played college football at the same time and Bobo thought Ramsey was the future. That was a moronic decision over the course of an otherwise solid career at UGA. All this “other programs offered” bullshit doesn’t cut it, we’re the ones who ultimately mortgaged our future on a kid who basically ran the option in high school.

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              • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

                Bwahaha. “what does it matter what class they were in?”

                carry on. you are right. I am wrong. I’m still pissed that we recruited Matthew Stafford rather than Cam Newton. Or why did we recruit Musa Smith over Derrick Henry.

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                • CB

                  It is becoming increasingly difficult to find ways to respond to your nightmarishly moronic point of view. Bobo saw Ramsey as the future, therefore he didn’t spend the appropriate amount of time on Watson. If you can’t understand that then it appears we are at perpetual odds and I can no longer help you.

                  Like

                • Cam Newton was recruited by Richt as a TE. As I recall, Cam wanted to attend UGA as a QB not TE. Richt wouldn’t offer as a QB.

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                  • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

                    LOL. I think this is my favorite fan fiction story as it relates to Mark Richt recruiting failures.

                    Cameron Newton, QB, Newnan GA was recruited by UGA as a QB. He declined, as he did not want to sit behind Stafford. UGA then asks if he’d play a different position, like tight end, where he could get on the field sooner. He said no. This is what you call the “kitchen sink’ strategy in sales. Offer 1 declined, so offer anything else to try to set that hook.

                    He felt more confident that he could beat out Tim Tebow at UF than Stafford at UGA. Ultimately, Urban Meyer, of all people, kicks him out of the University of Florida, of all schools, and people act like this guy would have stayed eligible at UGA.

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            • Thorn Dawg

              Okay. So we signed Jacob Park instead of Watson in 2014. Yay!

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      • Senator: These folks are way past any sort of sanity on this.

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  12. Spur 21

    Who wanted to make Cam a TE? Just curious.

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  13. Bartleby

    In the end it doesn’t matter whether Richt and Bobo recruited Deshaun Watson or whether they did not. What matters is that they failed. Richt and all of his supporters seem congenitally unable to grasp this simple fact. Nick Saban—and fortunately, Kirby Smart, seem to understand it pretty well, however.

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  14. Bartleby

    I did not imply that he did, or even made a serious attempt. The point is that in today’s college football, you either accumulate victories or you accumulate excuses. That may not be right and it might not be fair, but it is a fact.

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    • Richt and all of his supporters seem congenitally unable to grasp this simple fact.

      Check the comments here. I don’t think you’ll find anyone, even those who still think well of Richt, who would defend his roster management practices. And Richt himself seems to be playing it differently in Miami.

      Like

    • Russ

      Woo! If you ain’t first, you’re last!!

      Like

  15. DB

    I don’t understand the recent re-litigation of everything in 2014-15 after such a great season in 2017 and the future looking so bright. Odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Sanchez

      I get that, but really, what happened to CMR here is almost unprecedented. It appears to be a gamble that’s working out well, but there’s still lots of unpacking of the situation. JMO.

      Like

    • Dolly Llama

      I imagine because Pruitt was right at the center of it, and now he’s at UT.

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    • CB

      Agreed who gives af? Not me.

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    • The 2015 / 2016 UGA fanbase was as polarized as the current political landscape in America. Same as that, lots of people can’t just be happy that they were correct about where things were going, they have to tell everybody that didn’t see things the same way at the time how wrong they were. Not a winning strategy to bridge a divide, but who cares when you can “own the Richtphiles” or something.

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    • PTC DAWG

      I find it a bit odd too, but I give the Senator credit, he has folks arguing about whether CMR quit on UGA or not…it’s all about the HITS…

      Like

      • LOL. I love it when people bitch that I provide too much free content, especially when they have to twist the truth about the purpose of a post to make a fictitious point.

        That being said, you are more than welcome any time you’d like to quit feeding the beast.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Word.
          Best CFB site to visit, with a passionate, generally grammatically correct, spirited, and pretty fucking funny commentariat. Cost to anonymously make an ass out of oneself here with a Bulldog bent? De nada.
          Keep it up Senator.
          PTC, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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  16. TimberRidgeDawg

    The meme has always been that Watson fell in love with Morris and short of him leaving there was nothing UGA was going to do to change his mind. Chip Towers had a DawgNation article where Deshawn said that Kirby had recruited him hard at Bama and that he was a fan of Kirby, special place form him.. He also said that he fell in love with Clemson and he probably wouldn’t have gone to Georgia even if Kirby had been there. The article also shows a Watson twitter shot at Bobo… “it’s funny how Mike Bobo don’t think I’m good enough to play at Georgia, Lol”

    So like you said, Clemson went after him early and locked him up but there was at least a little bit of under current from Watson that he wasn’t UGA’s first love.

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  17. Hal Welch

    Seth is incorrect on one point, or at best half correct. Deshaun may have said that when he was a sophomore, but he did also say it during his Clemson career. We covered it in our newspaper. I forget specifically when, maybe after a playoff game or something, but he did say it at Clemson.

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  18. AB Barrett

    What about the 2 years Marshall played DB at Georgia before transferring to Auburn and leading them to SEC Championship??

    Like

  19. Here’s an idea: stop continually reminding everyone on here you were convinced Kirby was “Boom 2.0” and, now that the 2017 data is in, you are happy with him. Then, maybe people will lay the fuck off.

    We’ve all done and said stupid shit in our lives – why keep bringing it up?

    Like