Posted: 2:51 am Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
UGA has hired a new defensive coordinator but the Bulldogs probably never had to worry that much about losing the team’s top defensive recruit for this year.
Because the 4-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard has “Georgia Bulldogs” tattooed on his arms.
It’s in big (I mean, gigantic) letters across both forearms; “Georgia” is on his right, while “Bulldogs” was printed on his left.
“He got it done during the season, and I guess you could say he really likes the Georgia Bulldogs,” said Bill Sochovka, Gaillard’s coach at Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville, N.C.
Because Gaillard is such a highly-rated recruit, he is a priority for UGA. In fact, Mark Richt will make one of his first recruiting appearances after the completion of the NCAA dead period for an in-home visit with Gaillard and his mother on Friday. Richt will be at the school around 2 p.m.
UGA defensive line coach Chris Wilson, depending on his status with the Bulldogs after the coaching changes, is scheduled to make the recruiting trip with Richt. Gaillard was initially recruited by another UGA assistant, John Lilly, but Wilson has handled most of it since last spring.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Gaillard committed to UGA over Clemson and Alabama last July. Other schools have pretty much left him alone since then.
“LSU talked to him when they were looking at another kid in our playoff game but they figured out pretty quickly that Lamont is pretty set on UGA and that he’s not going anywhere,” Sochovka said. “Everybody has been pretty respectful of his commitment.”
Maybe the other colleges saw the tattoos?
Gaillard was UGA’s top-rated prospect and a potential 5-star candidate until he was dropped in the final rankings by some recruiting services (Top spot is now held by Malkom Parrish). Gaillard had a rough week at the Under Armour All-America practices, where analysts labeled him as “overweight” and “out of shape” in a detailed scouting report you can read HERE.
Gaillard was ruled out of the ESPN-televised game just before kickoff due to a back injury.
“He was overweight,” Sochovka said. “In the first few games, he was out of shape. He got a little heavier this year. But I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that he wanted to get himself to the point where he was used to playing with that weight at the next level. Ironically, if you look at highlight tape this year, by the middle of our season, his first step was just as good as before. To me, he was more impressive this year because was coming off the ball with the added weight.
“When he lost 10 or 15 pounds, he was playing at 300 or 305 pounds, which was much more heavier than last year when he was at 285 or 290. So he played bigger but his first step was better than I thought it would be with the added weight. He had some pretty big games for us when we started playing our conference schedule. I think he will develop well at Georgia.”
OTHER RECRUITING TIDBITS
- The biggest UGA recruiting question right now is this: Who will new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt try to recruit from FSU? Maybe nobody. One of FSU’s top commits, defensive end Blake McClain of Jacksonville, said Pruitt called him at 4 p.m. Tuesday to say, “Florida State is the place for you to go,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. “(Pruitt) wished me the best of luck. It just shows he is a real upstanding guy, and I really do appreciate that call.”
- UGA could make a run at Stockbridge High School cornerback Kendarius Webster, who passed on UGA when he committed to Ole Miss. Webster is scheduled to take an official visit to FSU (Pruitt’s previous employer) and told 247sports.com’s Kipp Adams, “(Pruitt’s hiring) changes my mindset. And I hope that UGA still wants me.”
- UGA’s top target at cornerback is M.L King High School’s Wesley Green. On late Monday night, Walton High School cornerback DJ Smith committed to South Carolina. Did that help UGA’s chances with Green? “I don’t know if it’s going to impact Wesley because he knows what South Carolina has in the defensive secondary right now; He knows the top three players are gone,” M.L. King coach Cortez Allen said. “Either way, he understands he can’t be the only corner there. There’s not going to be just two of them (incoming recruits) because they’ve got to have some guys come in and compete for jobs. And then they have to have backups. I don’t know if (DJ Smith’s commitment) will deter him any.”
- In case you didn’t know, UGA’s new defensive coordinator has never heard of … asparagus?
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