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Michael Carvell

Which UGA hand-drawn portrait is the best? (UPDATED)

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It’s contest time.

Which UGA hand-sketched portrait of a recruit is the best? Or most closely resembles the real photo of a prospect?

DL Trenton Thompson of Westover (247sports)

DL Trenton Thompson of Westover (247sports)

UGA DE commit Chauncey Rivers (12thmanpromotions)

UGA DE commit Chauncey Rivers (12thmanpromotions)

OL Chuma Edoga of McEachern (AJC)

OL Chuma Edoga of McEachern (AJC)

DB Rashad Roundtree of Lakeside (AJC)

DB Rashad Roundtree of Lakeside (AJC)

DE D'Andre Walker of Langston Hughes (12thman promotions)

DE D’Andre Walker of Langston Hughes (12thman promotions)

LB Roquan Smith of Macon County (12thmanpromotions)

LB Roquan Smith of Macon County (12thmanpromotions)

UGA’s recruiting efforts made national news after Mark Richt sent hand-drawn portraits with autographed messages to some of the state’s top football prospects.

It is proving to be a way for UGA to separate itself from competitors when sending recruiting mail to elite high school juniors who routinely get hundreds of letters every week.

“I’d say my UGA portrait is the most creative thing I’ve gotten in the mail (from a college) so far,” McEachern High School offensive lineman Chuma Edoga said. “I thought it was pretty cool that they took the time to do (the drawing).

“And it was a pretty good drawing. I feel like it looks like me a little bit.”

The idea was the brainchild of Daryl Jones, UGA’s Director of On-Campus Recruiting. He was looking for something creative, something to make UGA stand out from other colleges, and something that met NCAA compliance standards.

“No one else is doing this to the best of my knowledge,” Jones said. “But you know what? That’s not really the intent. The intent was to do something that was genuine and sincere. It wasn’t to be seen as some type of copycat material.

“We’ve got enough workers. We could mail someone 100 letters in one day. There’s a law of diminishing margin utility at some point, don’t you think?”

One of the student assistants in UGA’s recruiting office, Lisa Rader (a graphic design major), performs the artwork. It takes about one full day of work to sketch a recruit’s face with him wearing half of his high school football uniform and half of UGA’s uniform.

The portraits are autographed by Richt, who also writes a short message, and then mailed to the prospects.

Even though UGA’s recruiting tactic only recently caught the media’s attention, the Bulldogs have been sending out the sketches since last summer. Lorenzo Carter and Nick Chubb are two of the team’s 2014 signees who got artwork in the mail.

“It’s always good when A, it’s within (NCAA) compliance, and B, it strikes a cord with a particular recruit and it means something to them,” Jones said. “And when the head football coach from the University of Georgia writes a note personalized to you on a picture of you wearing a Georgia uniform, we’re betting that it resonates with prospects.”

Stephenson High School defensive end Chauncey Rivers, who has committed to UGA for next year, liked his portrait so much that he hung one copy on his bedroom wall and another in a plaque in the family room.

“I just thought it was a great way to get a prospect’s attention; it got mine,” he said.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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