Posted: 12:08 am Thursday, January 9th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
It appears to be UGA vs. South Carolina for the state’s No. 11 overall college football prospect.
Wesley Green, a 4-star defensive back from ML King High School, plans to take an official visit to South Carolina on Jan. 17 and go to UGA on Jan. 24, according to his high school coach.
“South Carolina and Georgia, those two are where he’s mostly leaning,” ML King’s Cortez Allen told the AJC.
“Auburn still has an offer out there for him, Alabama came back in on him, and Ole Miss is still there. So he still has other schools that have shown interest and that he talks to. But from what I understand, South Carolina and Georgia are the two schools he’s going to focus on.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder originally committed to South Carolina over Clemson last June, but backed off the pledge in September because he “wasn’t hearing much” from the Gamecocks. Green has heard an awful lot since then from South Carolina, which has held on and is now considered the co-leader.
“He likes South Carolina because he has a good relationship with (assistant Grady) Brown,” Allen said. “Wesley is going to get the opportunity to come in and compete right away. They lost about all of their guys out of the secondary, their corners, to graduation. They lost a lot, so that opens up the opportunity for Wesley to go in and compete for a job right away. I think he really likes that. He has been there a couple of times on unofficial visits, and he like the atmosphere.”
There appears to be no hard feelings on either side about Green’s de-commitment. Said Allen, “I think it was more a case, once you’re committed, schools and coaches – and not speaking directly about South Carolina – but they’re like ‘We got this kid, and he’s committed. He’s a future player, but we’ve got to go and get some other kids, too.’ That kind of deflated the whole spirit of what was going on between Wesley and South Carolina. So when he opened up his recruiting, it was always about keeping his options open. I think he still likes South Carolina a lot, and (defensive coordinator Lorenzo) Ward and Coach Brown have done a good job of staying in touch with him and communicating.”
UGA’s chief recruiter for Green (and for DeKalb County) is defensive line coach Chris Wilson. However, Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is also getting personally involved in this heated recruiting battle. Grantham has visited ML King at least twice to check on Green.
“He likes a lot of the same things about Georgia that he does about South Carolina,” Allen said. “At first, Wesley was kind of weary about the fact that they had so many defensive backs sign in last year’s recruiting class.
“But he has talked to Coach Grantham. He likes the confidence that Coach Grantham has stated with him about being able to come in right away and compete.”
Green and Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter are the top two remaining priorities for UGA’s 2014 recruiting class, although some other candidates (at any position) are expected to emerge over the next couple of weeks. UGA has 16 commitments, and could sign as many as 21-23 in February.
Why is Green in such high demand? “He has great length,” Allen said. “He’s extremely fast and a very explosive kid. He has 4.3 speed (in the 40-yard dash). Again, with all of that and the long arms, he is a true lockdown corner. With that type of skill set coming out of high school for the teams that are recruiting him, it’s what they need and what they are looking for. Knowing you can get a kid who can lock down one side of the field or another team’s primary threat does a lot from your defense, and what you can do from a scheme perspective.”
Will Green wait and announce on signing day? “We haven’t discussed that a whole lot,” Allen said. “I think what Wesley’s plan is probably going to be that as soon as he knows, he is going to let it be known. He’s like any other kid right now: He’s ready for this whole process to be over with.”
On Wednesday in the 247sports.com Crystal Ball predictions, 53% picked Green to sign with UGA, while 47% projected South Carolina.
It’s a tight race.
What’s the prediction by Green’s coach? “I think he’s looking at two of the top programs in the country,” Allen said. “And either way, Wesley can’t go wrong.”