Posted: 12:32 am Monday, February 10th, 2014

Auburn’s Rodney Garner overcomes negative recruiting to flip UGA recruit 

By Michael Carvell

This year’s crowning achievement by former UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner was flipping one of the state’s top defensive linemen from the Bulldogs to his current employers – the Auburn Tigers.

The defensive lineman was Dontavius Russell, the 4-star recruit from Carrollton High School who committed to UGA last spring but backed off the pledge after witnessing Auburn’s miracle upset over Alabama.

Rodney Garner (AP)

Ex-UGA assistant Rodney Garner (AP)

Garner also had some help in flipping Russell to Auburn. He was teammates at Auburn with Russell’s uncle, Dennis Wallace, who played safety for the Tigers.

In an interview with AuburnSports.com’s Jay G. Tate, Garner reflected on this year’s recruiting efforts, and had some interesting comments about hauling in Russell. Garner didn’t specifically name UGA (or anybody) but made it clear that Auburn had to overcome some “negative recruiting.”

“I knew that kid loved Auburn — because that’s the way he was raised,” Garner told the website. “Auburn was coming off a 3-9 season. There were people who were throwing all kinds of innuendos that Auburn was going to get into trouble … this and that. They got into the kid’s mind and clouded it. They took a kid who always wanted to be at Auburn and made him question that.”

Garner also commended Russell for being “man enough to change him mind.”

Last year, Garner had a dominating presence on the recruiting trail, including convincing Carl Lawson to sign with the Tigers even though Garner passed on the 5-star recruit while at UGA. Garner also signed Montravius Adams, who didn’t even make a final decision to visit Auburn until less than a week before signing day.

EX-UGA TE SIGNS WITH BAMA

One of the biggest surprises in the final days leading up to signing day was Alabama signing former UGA tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, who played at Georgia Military junior college this past season.

Nick Saban

Nick Saban (AP)

Flournoy-Smith was dismissed after his freshman year at UGA for getting into trouble twice, including admitting to police he smoked pot in a dorm room and being arrested for filing a false report of a crime for cashing in text books that he had reported as stolen.

GMC’s coaches praised Flournoy-Smith for his behavior this past season. He appeared headed to Ole Miss, but the Rebels backed off. He got a last-minute offer from Alabama. To his credit, Flournoy-Smith said he’s learned from his dismissal from UGA in an interview with TideSports.com’s Andrew Bone.

“(Coach Nick Saban) asked me am I ready to commit. Not only ready to commit to do great on the football field, but also ready to commit to being a better person. I told him, ‘Hell yeah coach, let’s do it’ …  I am going to continue to take steps in the right direction. Hopefully, with this I can show kids you can overcome that adversity. If given a second chance you can run with it. It’s something I am willing to prove the next two years.”

ETC.

One of Auburn’s top recruits. Camden County High School’s Kalvaraz Bessent, was arrested and charged with two drug felonies over the weekend.

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214 comments
Armydawg
Armydawg

Should we send our congratulations to Garner?  He was on cruise control at UGA for several years, didnt contribute a damned thing except helping drain the bank account with his generous salary.  Move on.

Dawgs551
Dawgs551

Sometimes the recruiting gets so stupid , And this story is stupid. Can we please move on.!!!!!!!

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Post below concerning competition between Ramsey and Mason, if Ramsey was recruited by the staff at UGA to play QB for said school, then said QB should be smart enough to learn the offense during his redshirt year. Murray did it, Stafford was not afforded a redshirt year, had to learn on the job. I am not advocating one way or the other for either Ramsey or Mason, but there should be competition for the starting job, if Ramsey is the better choice, then so be it. Mason did not exactly look like he was reading Tech's or Nebraska's defenses all that well IMO. One thing I know, Ramsey gets rid of the ball in a hurry, and has an arm almost as strong as Stafford's. Watched him in the Elite 11 competition, he looked good. On the other hand , Mason does have the edge in experience, and overall knowledge, and if UGA could, for once in ten years field a decent OL, he may be the overwhelming choice. David Greene had the luxury of a good OL, one of Richt's few. A good OL would mean a VERY strong rushing game with all of the stud backs in Athens, and would take much pressure off of the QB. I do think this is going to be a very interesting offseason, and I am expecting the unexpected on some position changes. 


As far as the Auburn idiot who proclaims that Auburn will be better this year without the players lost, and yes, Dee Ford will be sorely missed, as he was the only defensive player you saw really making plays for them in 2013, kind of like N. Fairly was in 2010, then you are delusional. Oh, yeah, and they won't miss Mason, who rushed for more yards than anyone in Auburn's history in one season. For the Auburn FOOL who said "See you in Athens", yes you will indeed.

VoyagerDawg
VoyagerDawg

Another Georgia cast off potentially playing against the Dawgs.  I really think Georgia should invoke their privilege to not allow players to come back into the SEC.  I don't see this happening with any other SEC teams (of course I don't see many teams kicking players off their teams like Georgia).  I'm okay with a player getting things straight, just do it in a different league.

Junior12
Junior12

You can't blame him for throwing a jab to the people who we're paying him half of the going rate. Don't expect too much from Tracy Rocker....he will be back at Auburn when Garner becomes D-Coordinator.

heeldawg
heeldawg

This headline is a joke.  Mark Richt is the last person who would ever negatively recruit anyone.  For Garner to even imply that about his former employer--especially after Richt was loyal to him for over a decade after he was retained from Donnan's staff--is the height of absurdity, particularly after Garner's reputation as the "bagman" (i.e. the guy who paid players) at Auburn during the tenure of former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.  Here's the link:  http://www.hogville.net/yabbse/index.php?topic=399126.0;wap


So Garner is tarring himself with his own brush while lying about this "negative recruiting" B.S.  And the AJC is stooping to his level by printing it.

7mm08
7mm08

Overcame negative reporting....you have no evidence that anybody on UGA staff negatively recruited....unless you reveal it.  this exposes you as one who want not to report the truth but is just a headliner...

robo2000
robo2000

let Garner and Auburn have all the criminals and unreliable , GA is better off without them. 

greenedefense
greenedefense

I think Garner stopped recruiting hard when he was passed over for defensive coordinator in favor of Grantham. When he left for Auburn he was on a mission with vengence to get back at Mark Richt and Georgia.

Rick_James
Rick_James

Rodney Garner got too much credit and took to much blame for UGA recruiting.. I think family connections had more to do with Russell signing with Auburn than Garner.He ignored Carl Lawson when he was with Georgia and Montravious Adams simply followed him to Auburn after he built a realtionship with him while at Georgia.I wish him the best but I'm glad he's gone..

greenedefense
greenedefense

Carvell on the other hand must be a butt hurt Tech fan?

greenedefense
greenedefense

"Hey Russell why don't you commit to Georgia during the summer of 2013 and in December flip over to Auburn and make me look like a great recruiter"?

greenedefense
greenedefense

Russell had family that played with Garner at Auburn is the reason why he signed with Auburn. He should have pledged to them from the very beginning. Maybe this was Garner's plan all along?

greenedefense
greenedefense

Carvell and Garner are both butt hurt that Rivals.com has Georgia rated 7 ahead of Auburn 9th in the final recruiting rankings. And Georgia only had 21 recruits compared to 23 for Auburn. LMBO

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Carvell is playing the butt hurt masses like a fiddle. Was it ever said that other schools were lying to Russell about auburn? All garner said was that other schools were using 2012 against them and smartly so. The butt hurt masses infer that garner was suggesting foul play.

Amazon hay a guy give over a decade to us and was on the staff for our only two titles on 33 years and we trash Te guy for goog back to his home school.

NCDawg
NCDawg

No butt hurt here.  No jealousy here.  Just simply thinking it is awfully rich that Garner would have the nerve to talk about negative recruiting.

kerryb
kerryb

Garner is a totally unethical person.  What he has done at AU the last 2 recruiting cycles is evidence that he sabotaged UGA recruiting the last 2 years he was there after not getting the DC job instead of Grantham.  There were several recruits like Dalvin Belamy that was saying that Garner would not call them back and some that said that they were scheduled for a visit and when they got there no one knew about it.  Garner is a POS.

kerryb
kerryb

It also helps if you give the recruit a satchel full of cash.

gomdawg
gomdawg

WHO GIVES A DAMN , LET'S TALK GEORGIA FOOTBALL


MoistDawg
MoistDawg

i could care less what garner does. hes gonna need all the help he can get and there gonna need to get better then they were last year to have a shot at beating us at home this year.

it always works that way when you go a whole season barely winning the next season you will loose all those games. look for auburn to be a 4-5 loss team last year

RandyHall
RandyHall

Yes...NC Dawg....the demise of the UGA Offense in years to come will be the OL....time for our "Friend" to leave!!! Hire a competent OL Coach!!!

RandyHall
RandyHall

Agree w/ Gandolph.....Garner good until the "Hot" sign @ Krispy Kreme lights up!!!

RandyHall
RandyHall

Agree w/ DawgGoneIt....glad Tubby Garner is gone....not that great of a Coach.....and the last several years as a recruiter became fat and lazy.....more time @ Golden Corral and the Choc Wonderfalls than  @ Norcross or N Gwinnett or Gainesville or Buford....was time for a change.....now time for Tracey Rocker to "ROCK"!!!

arf01
arf01

Garner is a money hound. We gave him a raise each and every year, and every year he would hold the administration hostage wanting another raise. You'd think after all those years, he's have some loyalty to UGA, but he's just a selfish ________ (noun). He's loyal to money and nothing else. All I will say is that it's typical for people like him. Good riddance.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Please tell me this is a joke. Auburn complaining about negative recruiting!!! Wow, is that ever the pot calling the kettle.......

andrech3
andrech3

AlternativeDawg, but even though they won those game everyone in knew they should not have. This does not make them the best team in the minds of sports fans, just lucky. I would rather be GOOD than LUCKY anyday!

andrech3
andrech3

Auburn calls it negative recruiting when people speak about their past problems with the NCAA. The rest of us call them facts...

RandyHall
RandyHall

Michael Carvel....I am sure AU has used negative recruiting and other means to get potential players to their University...Carl Adams was not even being recruited by Tubby Garner while @ UGA....and rarely communicated w/ Andrew Williams while at UGA....then all of a sudden, RG became their favorite Recruiting Coach...hmmmmmm?? Something stinks to high heaven....and to top that he was not contacting certain prospects via the phone or missing them on planned visits (ie Davin Bellamy)....glad Rodney Garner is gone!! TIME FOR TRACY ROCKER!!

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

I may be the only one can admit this in the Dawg Nation, but I am jealous of Auburn last year. They experienced a miracle we have not seen since we beat them in 2002 and 1996. They also were on the winning end of probably the most historical game in college football history. I mean I would have killed to storm the field in a win like that with stakes so high against Florida.

Upward8
Upward8

What is it about the State of Alabama where ex-UGA football players go when they get arrested or kicked out of school?  Nick Marshall at Auburn and Bama takes TE kicked out of UGA.  


Glad I don't have a degree from an Alabama school.  

TrackDawg 26
TrackDawg 26

WHY IN THE HELL! WOULD THIS BE NEWS IN A NEWS PAPER IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA?

ABSOLUTELY HATE THIS BIASED NEWS PAPER.  I WANDER IF ALABAMA PAPERS PRINT THIS STUFF ABOUT OTHER SCHOOLS. I doubt that they care.

Upward8
Upward8

- Top Auburn Recruit Arrested, Charged with Two Drug Felonies


You can't make this stuff up, way to go Auburn!

OldFan
OldFan

Here we go again.....it's Ground Hog day for the Georgia Bulldogs.  They are absolutely the best in the SEC in the off season for predicting their Dawgs will be....winning Championships, etc.  It's February and the Dawgs are repeating the same ol' lines they did this time last year, and the year before and the year before that.  Oh...and by the way, let's also make ourselves feel EVEN MORE special by defaming Auburn and Alabama and anybody else that has been successful.  Classless......

FYI1969
FYI1969

Did Garner recruit Bessent too? Maybe he can bail him out of jail in time for spring practice?

Dawg350
Dawg350

Garner maybe a good recruiter...but he is a horrible coach...I'm glad he is gone!

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

Auburn has always had the best athletes money can buy

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I actually thought that Mason looked pretty good in reading the field against Tech and Nebraska.  He seemed to go through his proper progression of check offs and kept his head on a swivel. The biggest issue with him, IMO, is that he doesn't look like a real thrower but that he pushes the ball out.  Short range, it looks like a very catchable ball but I suspect he won't be able to stretch the field as much which is a big part in opening up the running lanes.

Gdaddy1
Gdaddy1

They do...he went to JUCO (like Cam), so he could go anywhere he wanted. How it works.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

If Garner becomes your D Coordinator, you've got bigger problems to worry about then Rocker's return.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@kerryb   I am keeping a mental note on how many top recruits make statements like "Georgia didn't talk to me for a while" or "they just didn't show that much interest" as they did for @ 3 years prior to Garner leaving.  I don't think I saw a single statement in that vein this year at all.  The previous year Garner was still in Athens for most of the recruiting period so that wouldn't have been a good test.


If you followed recruiting you could see it.  WE didn't target some in state guys as we should have when it was Garner's responsibility to make the battle plan.  Then he goes to Auburn and does the almost exact opposite.  It is as plain as day.


I won't call him names but I will point out his behavior.  The record shows what happened.  It doesn't require Sherlock Holmes to connect those dots.

Andy123
Andy123

@kerryb

You mean a bigger sack than Georgia offered.   

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

I would rather be either. I would love to experience the thrills Auburn experienced last season.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

They have not been in trouble with NCAA since 1992. You don't even mention Alabama but are soley focused on Auburn. If we want to be jealous of a team why not include bama...oh wait...we play Auburn.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

I think its pretty obvious that carvell can put up something about Auburn and the butthurt masses will come and give him clicks.

He could post the name Nick Fairley and the haters will swarm. He is not the most knowleagble or talented but he knows the basics of getting traffic.

serously
serously

@Upward8 Not only drug felonies,found gun under his seat,testing for fingerprints & DNA before charges are leveled!!

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@FYI1969  

I doubt Bessent spent more than an hour in jail. Garner bailed him out as soon as he could get to the jail . Auburn will announce that they will discipline him internally and he will not miss any of the first game if he is good enough to start . Now if he is 2ND or 3RD team they will probably give him a suspension. The only thing that matters to Auburn is winning and they are not about to hurt themselves. 

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Auburn suspended their starting OT last year for half a year for shenanigans. They have a history of suspending players for games other then openers against GSU.

In 2007 saban suspended DJ Hall against La Monroe of all games...when they started losing he pulled the suspension mid game....they still lost.

BrownDog
BrownDog

Alternative reality is more like it. Saban suspended five players, including several starters, for half a season in 2007.