Category Archives: Recruiting

Off again, on again

Honestly, this is approaching comedy now.

UGA had an abrupt change of plans on Monday, and decided to send its football coaches out on the road to recruit on Monday, DawgNation has learned.

This week is one of the biggest recruiting weeks of the year, due to the football season being over and February’s signing day looming around two months away.

Monday’s decision marked a change in plans from Sunday, when UGA’s athletic officials decided to pull all the assistants off the road, with the exception of recruiting coordinator Bryan McClendon and running backs coach Thomas Brown, after head coach Mark Richt was fired.

Jeremy Pruitt, who still holds the title of UGA defensive coordinator, is expected to visit on Monday evening with two high-value targets from Peachtree Ridge High School – defensive back Chad Clay (committed to UGA) and safety Nigel Warrior (undecided). Clay has an in-home visit scheduled with UGA for 7:30 p.m.

UGA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was supposed to see two of the state’s senior top defensive linemen – Antwuan Jackson (undecided) from Cedar Grove and Michail Carter (undecided) of Jackson.

Maybe that explains why McGarity had no clue at today’s presser as to who was recruiting for the program.  Way to keep the trains running, fellas!


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Off the road again

Georgia works the recruiting trail with a skeleton crew.

Most of the Bulldogs assistants have been called off recruiting duties, a source told DawgNation on Sunday night.

At least three UGA staff members – recruiting coordinator Bryan McClendon, running backs coach Thomas Brown, and Todd Hartley, the director of player personnel – will still be representing the Bulldogs on the road this week.

However, the rest of the regular coaching staff will stay put.

I’m curious as to who made the decision.  And even more curious about what kind of instructions those three have received.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The Georgia Way hits the recruiting trail.

This is… awkward.

Jeremy Pruitt was recruiting to the bitter the end.

Georgia’s controversial defensive coordinator was in Elbert County with five-star recruit Mecole Hardman when the news broke that Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Richt had been fired.

“I’m here in Elbert County. I was in church with Mecole,” Pruitt said around 1 p.m. Sunday. “I’m just recruiting. Not sure what to tell you.”

Pruitt said he had bad service and the connection broken when he was asked if the news caught him by surprise or he knew it was coming.

If that’s awkward, this is just plain weird.

Georgia’s assistant coaches have been asked to remain with the program and continue coaching and recruiting through the bowl game. The Bulldogs are off for the next two weeks before resuming bowl practices.

Yeah, they’re still on the company dime.  I get that.  But without knowing who’s staying or coming, what exactly are they supposed to sell – hang on, something better’s coming than what we’ve been promising you for the last year?


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The biggest problem with poor roster management…

… is that it doesn’t leave you with much room for error in the years when you get your recruiting classes right.

“It was cool to be labeled that, and have such a great class,” Georgia offensive lineman Hunter Long said. “But as you know some of those guys fell off along the way. But the guys that have stuck around it’s been a great ride.”

Some of those guys:

The latter two are part of the star-crossed nature of the class: Neither lasted more than a year at Georgia, with Crowell (the SEC freshman of the year in 2011) gone after a gun-possession arrest (later dismissed) the summer of 2012. Marshall, Chris Sanders and Sanford Seay were dismissed following a theft from a teammate’s room in February of 2012. Marshall ended up back at Auburn, where he played quarterback twice against his old team…

… The Dream Team had some misses: The only quarterback in that class, four-star Christian LeMay, transferred because of playing time and is now the backup at Jacksonville State, an FCS school.

Other players were hit by injury: Receiver Justin Scott-Wesley stopped playing this team because of chronic knee problems.

Again, it wasn’t a bad class, as things turned out.  But given the lackadaisical way the surrounding classes were filled out, it needed to show less fall out than it ultimately did.

Combine that with the crater that remains from the 2013 group – boy, I can hardly wait to read that piece in a couple of years – and you can see why the coaches are scrambling like crazy to play youngsters this season.  And why the 2016 class, regardless of whom those kids come to play for (just thought I’d get that in there before some of you start up), is going to be big for Georgia in the near term, as well.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Recruiters gonna recruit. The AJ-C’s gonna AJ-C.

Jeff Schultz – in a piece appropriately titled “Overreaction Monday” – gets a little huffy about Mark Richt traveling to see a prized recruit.

Now, it’s possible Richt merely wanted to ease concerns with the family and the player amid speculation the coach might be fired. Or maybe he just wanted to attempt to change the narrative from, “What a disappointing season,” to, “We’re going to be awesome next season.” But let me offer this third possibility: Richt is sending a message to athletic director Greg McGarity and president Jere Morehead that goes something like this: “See this recruit? He likes me. And if you want me gone, you’re going to have to fire me, because I’m not resigning.” You could say it’s an attempted power play.

Will it work? My guess is: No. McGarity and Morehead will still make their decision regardless of this, which is not to say which way they’re leaning because I honestly don’t know. The decision could be based on Richt’s recent resume and/or what big-money boosters think as much as the potential of the future, which offers no guarantee. And if Richt believes that a picture with next year’s hot recruit is going to appease the masses, he’s mistaken.

Meanwhile, his colleague Steve Hummer detects more of the hand of Evil Richt in play with the trip.

But Mark Richt’s cross-country trip to brunch with an 18-year-old last weekend was a stroke of uncut genius. His surprise visit to Washington state’s Jacob Eason was masterful in execution and message. I’d almost credit the Bulldogs coach with having a little Machiavelli in him, if he wasn’t such a square-cut fellow.

That’s all great, but could I bother to point out another possibility?  Remember the frothing that took place after this Great Moment In Social Media?

So it didn’t go unnoticed that Eason is now following Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on Twitter. Also among his most recent follows is California head coach Sonny Dykes.

It could be a significant wrinkle as the heat is turned on Georgia coach Mark Richt after a 27-3 loss Saturday against Florida, the team’s third in the last four games.

The Lake Stevens, Wash. product, who committed to Georgia in July, 2014, was reached by about his social media connection to Nussmeier.

“I don’t really want to have a comment on that,” he said. “You know, he reached out to me, so I followed him, so he could communicate. So that’s about all I want to say about that.”

You think Richt’s feeling a little heat on the recruiting trail these days?  You think it might be somewhat prudent to check up on Eason once in while?  And, while he’s at it, maybe send a message to potential poachers that he’s still defending his turf?  Occam’s Razor, bitch.

Some of this shit would be funny if it weren’t such a sad stretch.  Perhaps Schultz ought to devote his next Overreaction post to an argument that Richt and his staff should stop recruiting altogether until it’s clear they’re back next season.  Can’t have any perception that McGarity’s being pressured, you know, because that would be bad for the program. At least not by Richt.  Pressure from the media is another story.

Gosh, now that I think about it, maybe Richt ought to forfeit the rest of the season while he’s at it.  That would sure make Greg’s job a lot easier.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

“You get questions.”

Sounds like Bryan McClendon’s having a fun time on the recruiting trail these days.

McClendon is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator, among his other titles. He was asked Tuesday night whether that meant he spent last week reaching out to recruits and fielding calls from recruits who were seeking reassurance. McClendon nodded.

“It kinda goes without saying. It really does,” said McClendon, who is also the team’s receivers coach. “That’s something that you’ve just gotta deal with. Something that us coaches know, being in the profession, knowing that you guys (the media) have a job to do, you can’t control that part of it. And you’ve gotta do the best that you can to make sure that you’re controlling the message that gets put out on your end. And that’s kinda all you can do.”

If the staff – assuming it’s still around next February – holds this class together, that’ll be one helluvan accomplishment.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Fear and loathing on the recruiting trail

This is what damage control sounds like:

Chad Clay, a 3-star defensive back from Georgia’s Peachtree Ridge High School, said UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt called last week to let him know what was going on.

“For me, I tried to block out what everybody was saying in the media and stuff and truly listen to what the coaches were saying,” Clay said. “They told me what really happened. You just can’t believe the rumors and everything you hear with that.”

Clay did not go into specifics, but did touch on how he felt about UGA after talking to Pruitt.

“I just think there was a disagreement among the coaches,” Clay said. “Arguments happen in football. Of course they happen and when you are not winning there is tension. But I think things at UGA will be just fine.”

He said he felt reassured.

“What (Pruitt) told me has me confident and still left me with the same feelings I have for Georgia,” he said.

Gosh, why would Pruitt feel the need to reach out like that to a kid who’s been solid for a while?

Clay said he also heard from rival recruiters after all those rumors surfaced last week.

“Of course those other schools knew about it and they reached out and asked me how strong was my commitment to Georgia,” Clay said. “But nothing really serious with all of it.”

Eh, sure.  But they’ll be keeping your number in their speed dial, Chad.  It’s nice to know they care.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting