Posted: 11:52 am Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
Lorenzo Carter, the state’s No. 1 overall football prospect, took his fourth and final recruiting trip to UGA last weekend.
You could say it went pretty well.
“On a scale of 1-10, I’d rank it an 11,” his mother, Lisa Carter, told the AJC. “It was the overall package of the visit. There was not too much heavy recruiting. It was just down-home, honest-to-goodness family atmosphere. You felt like you were at your uncle’s house for a Super Bowl party. We could do whatever. We could play games or we could watch TV. It was like ‘Here’s my favorite recliner. You can have it.’ It felt very, very comfortable.”
UGA also made a big effort to address Carter’s “concerns” with how the Bulldogs haven’t named a specific person to coach outside linebackers yet.
“Coach Richt and the rest of the coaches talked about the experience that they brought together as a team of coaches,” Carter said. “And how they want Lorenzo as the type of player who could play defensive end and outside linebacker, so he would actually work with multiple coaches. It wouldn’t be with just one coach. He’s not going to be with Coach Rocker all the time. It made us feel good that we’re going to rotate. We’re going to see several different coaches for several different ways they have planned to use him. We felt really good about it.”
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Carter will announce his college decision at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN. His finalists are UGA, Florida, FSU and LSU.
Back to the UGA visit: You knew it was going to be a good weekend when Carter delayed the trip to play for the Norcross basketball team last Friday, and he made the game-winning shot.
Carter and his family arrived at UGA around 11:45 p.m. Friday and were met in the hotel lobby by running backs coach Bryan McClendon, who recruits Gwinnett County, a fertile area the Bulldogs have struggled with in recent years.
On Saturday, Carter spent a lot of time with UGA’s new assistants – defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, along with Tracy Rocker and Kevin Sherrer.
“All day Saturday was spent trying to bond with Coach Rocker, Coach Pruitt and Coach Sherrer – the defensive coaches and the support staff. We spent a lot of time talking depth chart, position and how they’re going to change but keep similar to Georgia defenses from the past. It was interesting. We watched video.
“I think the main focus was trying to get a relationship established with Coach Rocker since we had not had an opportunity to meet with him,” Carter said. “We wanted to know more about him, and he wanted to know more about us.
“I just wanted to know more about what he (Rocker) knew personally about Lorenzo. Was he going off what they told him? Or had he taken the time to find out about Lorenzo for himself? I was pleased that he did find out about Lorenzo by himself. It wasn’t just ‘This is a kid we want. This is why we want him. Now go get him.’ (Rocker) did take time to look and evaluate on his own. I felt good about that.”
On Saturday night, there was going to be an epic showdown in bowling between Mark Richt and Carter’s mother. Both are highly-competitive people, and had talked about the head-to-head bowling match in advance of the trip. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen because of a mixup.
“You know what happened?” Carter said. “After we left dinner, we were going bowling. They had been transporting us around on a bus, along with a couple of coaches. I got on the bus with my husband and we were sitting there. As we were pulling off, one of coaches said ‘OK, we’re on the way to the hotel. Nobody wanted to go bowling.’ I was on the wrong bus. They took me back to the hotel, and everybody else went bowling. I missed out on that.
“It was unfortunate because at dinner, we were all talking about it. Coach Richt kept rubbing in my face, and I was dying laughing. When it was time to leave, I got on the wrong bus. Lorenzo kept texting me ‘lol lol.’ I was like ‘This is not funny. I’m at the hotel and everybody is asleep.’”
Richt, perhaps an in indirect message to Carter, tweeted about his bowling later that night.
Rolled a 201 tonight. Trying to get my bowling form back after hip surgery a year ago.—
Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) February 02, 2014
On Sunday, the highlight of the day was attending a Super Bowl party at Richt’s house with other recruits and their families. Because Carter arrived late on Friday, he could stay until Sunday night under the NCAA’s 48-hour rule for being on campus.
“I told Coach Richt he owed me an outfit,” Carter said with a laugh. “They have these huge dogs that are absolutely gorgeous. But they are huge. I mean, they are the size of ponies. When we first pulled up, I thought it was a black bear. I was like ‘What in the world?’ It was one of dogs, and they are so playful. The dog went and got some water, and came running back to me while dripping water from ear to ear. He laid his head in my lap, and I was like ‘Wow. I love you, too, Little Doggy.’
The Super Bowl was a blowout but it didn’t affect the party, which was attended by two other UGA targets, ELCA defensive lineman Andrew Williams (with the Bulldogs emerging late as a contender with Auburn and Clemson) and Cedar Grove High School linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams (he re-confirmed his commitment to South Carolina after the trip).
“By halftime, the game lost the interest on the majority of people that were there,” Carter said. “We started playing cornhole (also known as bean bag toss). Coach Richt is so competitive, it is so funny. It was me and my husband against Coach Richt and (his wife) Katharyn. Katharyn and I gave each other high-fives any time we scored. Coach Richt just smiled and said ‘What is this? This is my teammate. What is going on here?’ They won, but I think Coach Richt must play every day. He was really good.”
The Carter family returned to the Atlanta area shortly after midnight on Sunday. They will review his college options over the next 24 hours before Lorenzo steps in front of a national TV audience to reveal the winner.
“We started talking about a final decision on Monday morning, and as soon as he woke up, his phone was just blowing off the hook,” Lisa said. “He got calls and calls and calls. He asked me when I was dropping him off for school if there was any way he could get his telephone number changed. I said ‘Sure.’ As soon as I was able to get settled, I called and got his number changed. He asked me not to give to anybody except for me, his father, his sisters and his grandma.
“He just wants to take his time and look over the different options that he has. Who does he feel most comfortable with? He wants to go ahead and narrow it down. If there’s a particular school he wants to eliminate, he wants to go ahead and make contact with those coaches so they can have the opportunity to extend an opportunity to someone else, rather than waiting. He has got a lot to work on with his decision.”
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TO UNDERSTAND THE BIG PICTURE
NEWS FROM THE LAST FEW HOURS …
- UGA and longtime DB commit … part ways
- Lorenzo Carter’s mother ranks UGA visit as “11″ on scale of 1-10
- Former UGA football player commits to … Alabama
- There’s 95% chance … UGA commit will stick with Bulldogs
- UGA swipes Louisville recruit from Todd Grantham … commit No. 19
- Potential shocker? UGA emerges as top contender with Andrew Williams
- UGA may lose recruit for … non-football reasons
- South Carolina commit says UGA “put a lot in my head”
- Could 3 (not 2) UGA commits flip to other schools??
- State’s No. 1 prospect for 2015 to commit … on Wednesday
OVER THE WEEKEND
- Recap of UGA’s final recruiting weekend
- Junior college player reveals secret college decision on … Instagram
- Some of the funniest recruiting pictures you will EVER see …
- He’s Baaad! Lorenzo Carter sinks game-winning shot, leaves for UGA visit
- Bad news for UGA and … good news for South Carolina??
- Top Georgia DT expected to take last-minute visit to UGA
SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES
- The night Mark Richt almost spent the night on a recruit’s sofa
- Why do Lorenzo Carter’s parents have a “concern” about UGA?
- Brother of ex-UGA football player commits to Bulldogs … on the spot
- “Hand-to-hand combat” between colleges for Lorenzo Carter (see the pic)
- Top Georgia recruit commits to Alabama
- Who will Mark Richt hire as UGA’s new recruiting coordinator? Well …
- Recruit’s mother issues statement … about UGA and Alabama
- Catching the BIG one! 5-star commits to UGA
- UGA QB signee shakes off his struggles in all-star games