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Michael Carvell

Thoughts on UGA’s new recruiting coordinator

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Bryan McClendon (right)

Bryan McClendon (right)

After UGA went more than a year without a recruiting coordinator, Bryan McClendon was given the title on Tuesday.

McClendon, 30, has worked as UGA’s running backs coach since the 2009 season after being promoted from working as a graduate assistant coach with the Bulldogs.

Some random thoughts:

  • I must be really old because very few media reports mentioned that McClendon is the son of former UGA star running back Willie McClendon, who was 1978 SEC Player of the Year.
  • Like father, like son. Bryan is also a former UGA football player. His most famous play might have catching the game-winning touchdown pass in a 14-7 decision over Georgia Tech in 2005, or blocking a punt in the upset over LSU in the 2005 SEC Championship. But that play that sticks out to me was in 2004 — McClendon’s kickoff return to the Tennessee 2-yard line in a 19-14 upset loss. It might’ve lived in infamy if the clutch return hadn’t been wiped out due to a holding penalty by Leonard Pope. At the time, UGA was ranked No. 3, and the penalty cost the Bulldogs that game and hopes for playing for a national championship.
  • His nickname is “B-Mac.” In the few times I’ve been around McClendon, he’s not the rah-rah type of college coach who has to be the center of attention. He’s quiet but confident — and when he says something, he’s pretty direct and candid with his comments. It will be interesting to see how he handles the spotlight and fanfare (and extremely high public expectations) of being the team’s recruiting coordinator. McClendon is married with two young kids.
  • After serving two years as a graduate assistant, McClendon was promoted before the 2009 season to a full-time position on the staff as running backs coach. As part of the move, Tony Ball was shifted from the team’s running backs coach to wide receivers coach. That moved caused some brief concerns among UGA fans because they felt like McClendon was a better fit to coach wide receivers since he played there in college.
  • He was recently named 2014 National Recruiter of the Year by 247sports.com and Scout.com, and is given credit for luring 5-star running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to UGA. McClendon is also in charge of recruiting Gwinnett County, home of the state’s most fertile recruiting grounds and a place that has been challenging for the Bulldogs in recent years. However, UGA hit the jackpot last week by signing Norcross High School defensive end Lorenzo Carter, the state’s No. 1 overall prospect. He also recruited Todd Gurley and Isaiah Crowell to UGA, among others.
  • McClendon will fill the vacancy left by Rodney Garner, who was hired away by Auburn in December 2012. The personnel move appeared to be a change of plans for Richt, who had told the AJC only a couple of months ago that he didn’t see a “need” to name a recruiting coordinator. Of course, during the same interview, Richt seemed hesitant to name a special teams coordinator. Those plans changed, too. UGA’s Director of On-Campus Recruiting, which is a different capacity and in a non-coaching role, will remain Daryl Jones.

Here’s some more background on McClendon.

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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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