Mark Richt’s escape from being stuck in Atlanta while recruiting


LB Bryson Allen-Williams and his aunt met with UGA’s coaches on Tuesday

UGA’s Mark Richt narrowly escaped being stuck in Atlanta’s snow storm on Tuesday after making an in-home visit with one of the nation’s top college football prospects.

Richt and assistant Jeremy Pruitt showed up shortly after lunch on Tuesday at Cedar Grove High School, which is located in DeKalb County. They were there to see Bryson Allen-Williams, the 4-star linebacker who is committed to South Carolina but taking official visits to Alabama and UGA.

Richt’s original plan was to stay at Cedar Grove for an hour or so, drive 60 miles west to visit with Cedartown High School running back Nick Chubb (who is committed to UGA), and then return Bryson’s house around 8 p.m. to meet with the rest of his family.

But everything changed when snow flakes started falling.

“He couldn’t go to Nick Chubb’s house because the weather was so bad,” Allen-Williams said. “So Coach Richt asked us if he could move things up with us. He followed me from my school straight to my house.”

Due to Richt’s original meeting time and rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, there was naturally speculation that the UGA coach might be stuck at the recruit’s house for much longer than expected. They even joked about Richt staying overnight.

“We did joke about it,” Allen-Williams said with a laugh. “When it started snowing, it picked up in a hurry. It was fast. My mom looked outside and was like ‘Wow. Coach Richt, I don’t want you to get trapped here.” He was like ‘As long as I have some water and food here, I’m good.’

“He was enjoying himself. He didn’t look too concerned about the weather but my mom kind of insisted that they got out before it got too bad. And it got much worse about 15 minutes after they left. We were glad they were able to get out when they did. They left for Athens around 5 p.m., and I guess they found the right roads to avoid most of the traffic.

“So, no, they didn’t stay overnight at our house. That would’ve been funny, though. We would’ve probably played some board games and done some karaoke. Coach Richt loves being around my family.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban was scheduled to make an-home visit with Allen-Williams on Wednesday night but had to delay due to weather. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier has also postponed his visit on Thursday due to the same reasons.

“It’s really bad in my neighborhood,” Allen-Williams said on Wednesday. “My mom has a new car with all-wheel drive. But everybody else in my neighborhood, they couldn’t even get up the hill. They had to park their cars at the bottom of the hill going into my neighborhood. I don’t know when the roads are going to clear up.”

 Items on weather and Allen-Williams:

  • If Richt had stayed overnight, would it have been an NCAA violation? Yes, it’s an NCAA violation for a college coach to spend the night at a recruit’s house, but the NCAA grants special waivers in emergency conditions. So doubtful.
  • If Saban and Spurrier postponed their in-home visits and Bryson leaves for an official visit to UGA on Friday, when will the coaches reschedule? The NCAA’s dead period begins on Sunday, correct? Yes, and that’s an excellent topic that will be widely discussed over the next 24 hours about numerous Atlanta prospects due to weather conditions. As far as Bryson specifically, the first option would be for Saban and Spurrier to visit him on Friday. Bryson told the AJC that he will probably leave for UGA on Saturday instead of Friday. Saban and Spurrier could also come when Allen-Williams returns from UGA on Sunday night. They can have face-to-face contact until midnight. There’s also the slim possibility that either coach could request an NCAA waiver, due to weather conditions, to see Allen-Williams during the dead period, say Monday or Tuesday. You would have to think that Spurrier (since Bryson is committed there) would try to make a big effort to see his prized prospect one last time.
  • Why may Allen-Williams go to UGA on Saturday instead of Friday? He was considering that before the weather so he could be there the same time as his friend Lorenzo Carter and watch some of the Super Bowl with UGA’s coaches. Each recruit can only stay on campus for 48 hours during an official visit. However, Bryson hasn’t made any final decisions.

More on UGA and Allen-Williams: He committed to South Carolina over Alabama and the Bulldogs last April. Things were moving smoothly for the Gamecocks until Allen-Williams turned everybody’s heads by being one of the top performers at the Army All-America Bowl earlier this month. Then Alabama, UGA, Auburn and others wanted another shot at Allen-Williams, who was 16 years old at the start of his senior year and theoretically could be a Class of 2016 prospect. He remains committed to South Carolina but said he decided to take official visits to Alabama (last weekend) and UGA to build relationships with the coaches and to have fun with the recruiting process.

  • What is the status of his commitment to South Carolina? “I don’t see anything changing my mind,” he said. “I feel so comfortable at South Carolina, based on what the defensive staff is telling me with my role for next year. There’s no reason to go anywhere else. I wouldn’t get anything different than I would get at South Carolina.”
  • What is UGA’s sales pitch? “We talked about a lot of things. Coach Pruitt says I’m his guy to get on the inside at Georgia. Coach Richt talked my mom about my education if I were to go there. We just had a good conversation for a few hours.”
  • Bryson’s younger brother, Cedar Grove defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, is one of the state’s top prospects for 2016. He has early offers from South Carolina, UGA, Auburn and Clemson, among others. What about colleges making a late charge to get exposure to Jackson, too? “He’s a really good player but that’s not why the colleges are here. For example, Coach Pruitt said told us in front of my brother yesterday that I’m their recruiting priority. There are people who think that some schools are coming in late to get in on my brother for 2016 but that’s not true. That’s not what the coaches are telling us. But my brother is a really good player and big things are going to happen for him.”