Posted: 1:15 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

10 recruiting stories people are talking about 

By Michael Carvell

10. THE RODNEY GARNER INFLUENCE? Bryan McClendon worked under former UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner (now at Auburn) for four years before being named as his replacement in February. What will McClendon do the same as and different than Rodney Garner, his predecessor? “Coach G (Garner) did a great job of not so much who exactly is being recruited but who is doing the recruiting of a player,” McClendon told the AJC. “That’s one thing I think he did a tremendous job of, just making sure that the right people got involved. We need to get as much information for each recruit upfront to know exactly the right type of way each kid needs to be recruited. The biggest thing is that I want to make sure we’re efficient in everything we’re doing.” UGA fans seem to have a love-hate relationship with Rodney Garner. Is it as simple as he was beloved when he worked for the Bulldogs, and now not so much now since he coaches for an archrival?

Paul Johnson has to be smiling about his QB's comments  (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Paul Johnson has to be smiling about his QB’s comments (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

9. SOMEWHERE, CPJ IS SMILING: Georgia Tech’s quarterback of the future, Jaylend Ratliffe of Scotland County (N.C.) High School, definitely understands “what commitment means.” Ratliffe told the AJC that he won’t visit any other schools, and explained it in a way that would make Paul Johnson smile proudly. “It’s just like getting engaged to a girl,” Ratliffe said. “You’re not going to keep going on dates if you’re engaged to a girl. So I’m not going to go on any more visits.”

8. GEORGIA APPROACHES 200 MARK: One of Georgia’s greatest exports is college football talent. See Cam Newton (Auburn), Eric Berry (Tennessee), George Rogers (South Carolina) and Jamal Lewis (Tennessee), just to name only a few of the countless stars from the Atlanta area. In the defense of UGA and Georgia Tech, they can’t sign them all every year because the state simply manufactures so much talent. Here are some detailed numbers from ESPN’s Jeremy Crabtree, who did a story about how “Georgia is a recruiting melting pot” for college football programs across the nation. The state of Georgia produced 190 FBS signees (formerly known as NCAA Div. I-A) in 2009, followed by 182 in 2010, 179 in 2011, 182 in 2012, 184 in 2013 and 188 so far in 2014. Expect the state to easily hit the 200 mark when Georgia Southern becomes a full-fledged FBS member in 2015.

7. KEVIN WHERE? Georgia State and Auburn are two possible destinations for Kevin Ware, who became a household name after the gruesome way he broke his leg on national TV while playing for Louisville last year. The former Rockdale County High School basketball standout has been granted an unconditional release from Louisville, according to courier-journal.com — meaning he can sign anywhere. Why Auburn? Ware signed with Tennessee out of high school, but got a release after Bruce Pearl (now at Auburn) was fired. Ware later pledged to Central Florida before later committing to Louisville over UGA. Why Georgia State? Coach Ron Hunter acknowledged that he is recruiting Ware, according to the AJC’s Doug Roberson.

6. GEORGIA TECH IN TOP 5: At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Lanier High School defensive end Trevon McSwain passes all the eyeball tests. McSwain has a top five of Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Duke, N.C. State and Vanderbilt, via JacketsOnline.com’s Kelly Quinlan. McSwain is ranked as a 3-star and the state’s No. 47 overall prospect.

5. ADJUSTING TO TRIPLE OPTION: In case you were wondering, new Georgia Tech QB commit Jaylend Ratliff doesn’t think he’ll have any problems adjusting to the triple-option offense in college. “We run a spread, no-huddle offense (at my high school),” he said. “We run the option but it’s not the triple option, know what I mean? It’s like an inside zone, and outside zone option. My sophomore year, we ran a triple option out of the spread, like a shotgun formation with two backs. It’s the same, it’s just (getting to) understand a little bit faster.” What makes Ratliffe think he can make a smooth transition? “It the same reads from defensive end to linebacker. It’s dive, pitch and read. It’s just about the same thing. You know, I run the ball a lot in high school, and Georgia Tech’s quarterback runs the ball a lot. So why not?”

4. EARLY SIGNING PERIOD FOR FOOTBALL? I’m not sure it will make a difference to the average person on the street, or really anybody outside of the NCAA, but I’ve been asked to clarify: This summer’s discussion of an early signing period for football “is not an NCAA governance structure decision,” according to Susan Peal, director of the National Letter of Intent Program. The topic will be reviewed by the Conference Commissioners Association (CCA), which is a 32-member panel of NCAA Div. I commissioners. And, most importantly, it doesn’t look like any changes to football’s signing period are imminent. “There will only be discussion by the CCA throughout the rest of this year and continuing next year just as the CCA has discussed early signing for many years to see what the recruiting landscape looks like,” Peal told the AJC. “Engagement in these discussions is necessary to ensure the NLI program continues to be effective for our member institutions and prospective student-athletes.”

3. FLORIDA LEADS FOR 4-STAR LB FROM ATLANTA: “Florida is ahead of everyone else right now,” Central Gwinnett High School linebacker Adonis Thomas told GatorCountry.com’s Andrew Spivey. Thomas made an unofficial visit to Florida last weekend, his fourth trip to see the Gators. He has also been to UGA at least four times, too. “Florida is coming after me the hardest … Georgia is coming after me hard but not as hard as Florida is.”

2. 2016 PROSPECT ALERT: It’s hard to keep up with the state’s rising juniors in high school (class of 2016) because the 2015 class has around 190 D1 prospects and most of them are undecided. There are some exceptions for 2016, and one of those is Riverdale High School quarterback Zerrick Cooper. I watched Cooper at Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, and there’s mixed opinions on whether he will play QB or safety in college. But there’s no doubt that he’s a D1-caliber athlete. Clemson, Miami and Kentucky are some of the latest offers for the 6-2, 203-pound sophomore.

1. TWEET OF THE WEEK: Our recruiting tweet of the week goes to UGA offensive lineman Watts Dantzler  — with my opinion added:

 

 

12 comments
NCDawg
NCDawg

#10 is an example of how to say something without really saying it.  Coach McClendon is not going to say anything openly bad about Coach Garner.  If he did, Coach Richt would be all over him in a heartbeat.  Instead he gives a positive while implying a big negative.  “Coach G (Garner) did a great job of not so much who exactly is being recruited but who is doing the recruiting of a player,”  Man is that slick.  That is why he is a good recruiter as well.

As to the love/hate relationship with Garner... that can be summed up in a short sentence.  He deliberately tanked it when he didn't get the DC job in 2010.  It's that simple.  I wish I could say it was merely speculation but the evidence is damning.  All you need to see is how he went after players once he was at Auburn that he ignored while at Georgia.  Look back at the quotes from the recruits about how Georgia didn't even contact them or didn't stay in touch.  There were way to many of those quotes for there not be something fishy going on.

I don't hate anyone but Rodney Garner definitely lost my respect. 

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Michael,

Your (Watts') comment reminds me of another all-time great movie: Billy Madison.


Kid: "Mortal Kombat is the greatest game of all time."

Billy: "I disagree.  Mortal Kombat is a very good game, but Donkey Kong is the greatest of all time."

Kid: "Donkey Kong sucks!"

Billy: "You know what?  YOU suck!"

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

Pruitt will out-recruit Garner -- just give him time.  I'm no longer worried about Garner as a recruiter.  I think Pruitt will end up being the best recruiter in the SEC. 

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

Kevin Ware is a jerk.  When other schools were not giving him enough "love", all of a sudden he sent out messages through the AJC that he wishes UGA would recruit him.  Then when UGa pursues him, what does he do?  He suddenly commits to Louisville.  I hope this self-centered player breaks the other leg.  Hey Kevin:  you better get a college degree because you will not be playing in the Pros. 

UGAly
UGAly

Rodney Garner was a malcontent in his later years at Georgia. He wanted a bigger title and more money every year. . EVERY year, he threatened to leave. His reruiting successes declined as his unrest grew. I believe that most UGA fans are happy to see him go. He seems to have a newfound zest for recruiting since arriving in Opelika. Could that have anything to do with the fact that Coach Richt insisted on doing things "the Georgia way"? We know that Auburn is THE dirtiest program in college football. Garner was known as "the bag man" at Tennessee. Perhaps he can return to his old self at Auburn.

JM64
JM64

Good comments from Jaylend Ratliffe sounds like a young man that has explored his career options well.  Find a place that fits your style of play and your skills.  Find a college that wants you and offers a degree plan for your future.  Once you've made your decision, pull the trigger and stick with it.

I think too many student athletes really don't know what they want in their future and they get themselves confused in all the sales pitches.

FireSomebody
FireSomebody

You've teed yourself up perfectly with that Tweet.  Be prepared to be smacked out of the park here in the Comments section...

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@NCDawg  

I totally agree. The only criticism I have is for Richt. After the first year past since Garner  was turned down a lot of us was commenting on the fact that Garner seemed to be getting lazy with being Recruiter Coordinator and that something just didn't seem right. Recruiter were starting to complain. Huge Red flag that Richt ignored. It got worse the second year and still Richt was the only one that couldn't make an unbiased observation. I think Garner decided to leave when McGarity finally got involved and told Richt somethings going on. Get something done. 

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@Charlestondog  

Amazing how prior to Pruitt leaving FSU for UGA, all the SEC fans could say is that FSU's success was mostly because they played in a weak football conference.

And now that Pruitt is a member of UGA's coaching staff, he's the greatest thing since Herschel Walker.

Recruiting is not Georgia's problem.  Grantham was not Georgia's problem.

Although a fine coach and a fine man, Mark Richt just doesn't have what it takes to win a National Championship.  If he did, he would have done by now, and probably more than once.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@C-Kirk @NCDawg many people rag on Coach Richt for his Christian-ness.  For the most part I ignore the not mean enough, too nice  crap.  But one thing that I do know that sometimes might be not ideal in big time sports is his concept of  patience.  He endures a great deal in the name of letting God's will take it's course.  

I have a great deal of experience in dealing with that mindset.  He really believes ( and I am not going to go further with my  opinion ) that it will work out for the best in the long run and that it's his duty to hold on during the trials.  It's a common trait of people that are very deeply into the concept of being guided by the holy spirit.  It's just what he is and it's part of what makes him such a great representative of the University.  I am not saying I agree with it but I am not going to ridicule him either.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@C-Kirk @NCDawg I didn't think it was obvious until the 2nd recruiting cycle and the " I don't know what happened with Georgia" quotes started popping up.  I think Garner left on his own... I don't think he was pushed.  I was not completely convinced until he started recruiting guys that he had ignored at Georgia.  That was when the rotting stench really hit me.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@Birmingham__Jacket @Charlestondog  

I know a few Auburn fans who are very happy with their accomplishments with Newton and Marshall but the success did leave a bad taste in their mouth. 

I told them that is because of the way Auburn won. You can't take away how good those team were and they must be giving credit for a job well done when we all know what kind of competition they had to beat. But, when you win by bringing in a huge number of JUCO players and Players that had troubled past with other teams it's not as satisfying as if you won with a team that started as Freshmen , attended every practice and really felt like a team member deserving to be called, a team member . I think Auburn has around 12 JUCO player right now. I would love to know what players think about that who are as good but have only one year left and are being put on the second and third team because the JUCO player has 2 or 3 years left and was promised a starting position if they signed with Auburn.