Posted: 1:03 am Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Recruiting Rewind: Mark Richt was hardest coach to turn down 

By Michael Carvell

AJC Super 11 DB Kendarius Webster signed with Ole Miss over FSU and UGA (AJC)

AJC Super 11 DB Kendarius Webster signed with Ole Miss over FSU and UGA (AJC)

Ole Miss held off both Florida State and UGA to sign Kendarius Webster, the AJC Super 11 defensive back from Stockbridge High School.

But if then-FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt hadn’t been hired away by UGA, Webster would’ve likely signed with the Seminoles last February.

“That was my biggest secret in recruiting — that Florida State led for me the whole time,” Webster said. “I say Florida State would’ve gotten me if Coach Pruitt had stayed. That changed when Coach Pruitt left for Georgia.”

Pruitt still tried to recruit Webster for UGA over the final weeks, but it was too late for the Bulldogs.

“Pretty much if Georgia knew which coaches they were going to have a little sooner before signing day, they would’ve had a great shot at me,” Webster said. “They came after me pretty hard. But Georgia’s new defensive staff got there late, and I already had made up my mind where I was going.

“I fell in love with Ole Miss during my official visit, and it was too close to signing day to mess things up.”

Here’s the rest of the Q&A with Webster:

The most creative thing a college did to get your attention? “I went to the Georgia-LSU game, and everybody in the crowd was chanting my name. At first, I walked through the crowd, and they were chanting my name. And about 15 minutes, Lorenzo Carter walked down, and they were chanting his name. So I really enjoyed that.”

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has had a lot of success with recruiting Georgia (AP)

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has had a lot of success with recruiting Georgia (AP)

Funniest thing a college coach said to you? “It was Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. He sent me a video of him doing the Nae Nae dance. And that was pretty funny. He was dancing. He was like ‘I still got the moves lol.’”

How much negative recruiting is out there? “There was a lot of it, quite honestly. A lot of coaches were saying ‘Ole Miss is this, and Ole Miss is that.’ Some other colleges were talking bad about Florida State. And then a bunch of them were saying, ‘Don’t go to Georgia’ and listed all of these reasons. There was a lot of negative recruiting going around. I guess everybody was just doing their job with trying to get me to go to their school. That’s all I can really say.”

What were some negative things specifically said about Ole Miss? “That they’re racist and why would you ever want to go there. It was just crazy things like that.”

Did Freeze ever counter the negative recruiting from other schools? “Not really, because I knew negative recruiting was just part of the business. At one point in time, though, Coach Freeze had a conversation with Coach Richt at the end of the recruiting process. I’m not going to say Coach Freeze got mad, but they had a conversation. I’m not sure exactly what they talked about it, but I heard it had to do more with Laremy Tunsil. He had switched from Georgia to Ole Miss (the year before).”

Biggest recruiting rumor about you? “That I was supposed to take an official visit to UGA. They did invite me, but I was pretty solid with Ole Miss by that time. And there was some rumors that I went ahead and visited Georgia on a secret visit without telling anybody. But no, that wasn’t true. The Ole Miss coaches didn’t call me about that because they knew I wasn’t there.”

Hardest coach to turn down? “I’d say Coach Richt. I really wanted to stay closer to home, but I also wanted to go somewhere where I really felt comfortable and where I’d have a good chance of making something out of myself. It was hard to tell Coach Richt that Georgia wasn’t the place for me. He was like ‘Don’t give up on us yet. We’re not going to give up on you.’”

Which school was the biggest disappointment? “Clemson. They said they were going to recruit me hard, and I liked them a lot. They never really called me back. It was disappointing because I really liked Clemson.”

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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40 comments
REBiLL
REBiLL

For the past few decades, we(OM) have had either good coaches that couldn't recruit well, or bad coaches that could recruit well but just couldn't coach...and sometimes NEITHER. But right now we have BOTH. For the past few decades we have been mediocre at best, and sometimes downright pathetic. So I can understand why we have been  viewed as "bottom feeders" of the SEC for so long. I don't like it, but I understand it. We are currently a work in progress, but the sands are shifting in Oxford. It will take us a little while, and it won't be easy...but the days of all you looking down your collective noses at us will come to an end.

Dynasty
Dynasty

Georgia and Ole Miss are about the same level anyway. Difference is though that if he plays for Ole Miss he would play in a much better division, the best in college football in fact. 


I saw that UGA only had 2 draft picks this year, one each in the 5th and 7th rounds. That is quite embarrassing.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Recruits never notice "negative recruiting" by the team they sign with!!!

MrStevens22
MrStevens22

You UGA fans are so delusional it's pathetic. Maybe all that "negative" recruiting ended up back-firing on Mark Richt.  Did yall ever consider that?  Maybe Webster actually liked Oxford more than Athens.  Maybe Webster's mom didn't like the fact that UGA's football players are notorious for finding themselves in jail than most if not all other SEC schools.  You're too busy touting yourselves for being so bada$$ that you forget to look at other possibilities why Webster didn't choose UGA.  The end and short of it is UGA lost that particular battle in recruiting.  Probably more to come so get used to it. 

GTBob
GTBob

What I learned in this thread: Everybody that doesn't choose UGA didn't choose them because they were either paid by someone else or because they were scared of competition. It's completely impossible that they might have just liked some other school more than UGA or didn't really want to play for Mark Richt.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

I followed Websters Recruiting pretty closely and one minute he was saying how much Pruitt made a difference and then how much he liked FSU but when Pruitt left for Georgia he chose Ole Miss . That told me he wasn't confident he could beat out other very good players at Georgia for a starting position but at Ole Miss he felt more in control as to whether he started or not. That is the reason he is at Ole Miss right now. Winning is not important to Webster. Surely he knows that Ole Miss is going to be in the bottom part of the Western Division most every year.

Now the Tunsil thing was a lot different because he could have made a difference at Georgia as to who wins the SEC Championship. him being at Ole Miss is a waste of talent. There is a lot more to that story than we will ever know and  Tunsil will never admit that he was Hustled and really made a mistake.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Oh give me a break Mike,

Hard to tell Brother Richt no when you are going to Ole Miss?

Are you kidding me? You got to have a damn good reason to even

want to go to Ole Miss. The drive is not fun and it seems you will never get

there. It is out in nowhere and Ole Miss never wins a damn thing including

the egg bowl. So Ga really had to suck when a guy picks Ole Miss over the school

in his back yard. You just always  have to spin it where Brother is such a wonderful

human being don't you? 

Why don't you just say Ga got beat by lowly Ole Miss and Brother couldn't do a thing 

about it?  

Gandolph
Gandolph

Trying to follow here.  FSU led the whole time because of the school (I assume) and Coach Pruitt.  When Pruitt left to go to Georgia, the kid didn't like FSU anymore and didn't like Pruitt enough to go to UGA, where he was still wanted by Pruitt.  So, he goes to Ole Mess instead over FSU, and Pruitt? Funny business, that recruiting.

thebucket
thebucket

I would have loved to hear the conversation between Freeze and Richt! Everyone knows Ole Miss played dirty pool with Tunsil.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Everybody likes CMR, good luck you ole Miss Rebel! Good ole Henry Co, boy too.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Looks like mrstevens is the pathetic, delusional one.

Is that all you got troll?

DawginCO
DawginCO

@MrStevens22The kid didn't say that Georgia used negative recruiting any more than any one else.  He said that Freeze and Richt had words over what happened with Tunsil.  In case you don't know the story, Freeze and crew virtually blackmailed Tunsil by giving his GF a scholarship and making him choose bewteen Georgia and Ole Miss.  I am sure that that little incident was brought up and Freeze is snippy about it because he knows that it was a low thing to do.

thebucket
thebucket

@MrStevens22 You used "maybe" 3 times and "probably" 1 time, so in other words you are just speculating, too. And you call Dawg fans delusional! BTW, I didn't realize Ole Miss never has kids get into trouble. Webster has a chance to play this year precisely because of kids getting into trouble @ Ole Miss. Webster made his choice and good for him, but if our depth chart @ corner had looked like it does today in February UGA would have had a much better shot at him. Players want to play and I don't blame him for that.

thebucket
thebucket

@GTBob I guess that's better than Tech fans suggesting that everyone who rejects Tech can't qualify academically.

GTBob
GTBob

@C-Kirk  Him being at Ole Miss is a waste of talent? That is pretty rich coming from a fan of the school that wastes more talent than any team in the country. 5 stars go to die at UGA.

thebucket
thebucket

@WhiskeyBreath Do you really have nothing better to do than stay on these blogs constantly berating Mark Richt? What did Richt ever do to you anyway? You obviously don't know him and have never spent any time around him or you would know that you are full of crap when you call him a hypocrite and a phony. I like some of the stories Carvell writes and don't like some of the others, but he just wrote what the young man said. Are you calling Webster a liar?

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

That's exacly what Webster said... But it wasn't exactly the real reason why Webster chose Ole Mi$$... which was exactly why the conversation took place between Richt and Freeze...

"BELIEVE" in the G

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

@thebucket  Everyone around the SEC also knows Ga is one dirty bunch to play.

Especially when they are getting their butts beat by VAndy. 

As usual , you have no damn proof Ole Miss did anything  illegal with Tunsil.

They just beat out Ga. 

By the way Freeze claims he is the greatest Christian too.

That was probably the reason Brother got mad.   

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

@gtcaryd  Oh shut up,  cum by ya fan.

Everybody doesn't like Brother Richt.

Especially the ones that believe he is the biggest phony 

this side of the Ms river.  

thebucket
thebucket

@GTBob BTW, apparently Webster didn't want to play for Richt so bad that he listed him as the hardest coach to tell no.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@thebucket @WhiskeyBreath that is what people with low self esteem do.  He feels judged by Mark Richt's overt Christianity and he feels that he has to strike out at his tormentor.  Look around you and you will see those that spend incredible energy trying to hack the legs out from under people that they feel inferior to.  Whiskeybreath just isn't brave enough to do it to Mark Richt's face.

drchef
drchef

So Ole Miss has been at the bottom of the SEC forever,and all of a sudden they out-recruit Bama, LSU and UGA for multiple 5-star recruits? There is more to it than the chance for early playing time. Tunsil was considered a lock at UGA for a long time, and suddenly one trip to Oxford suddenly changed his mind. His girlfriend and his mom got full rides there, and you can get sure a bagman was involved. Tunsil even refused to return calls to several UGA recruits that he had been keeping up with on a regular basis until then. I'm sure Lane Kiffen's brother, an Ole Miss coach, and ex-con had nothing to do with it.

kerryb
kerryb

@WhiskeyBreath @thebucket  Bama fans are always taking up for other programs that have rumors about them.  Kind of a sensitive subject for them.  They know what it's like to have rumors about them  (Derrick Henry..wink)

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@WhiskeyBreath @gtcarydWhiskey, don't recall you replying to any of my posts before. could you help me out with that 1st line, i got the" shut up" part. but the rest doesn't make much sense. Thanks for your help and hope to hear from you soon.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@thebucket @GTBob give it up.  You can make all the sense in the world and no matter what GTBoob is going to argue the opposite point if you are a Georgia fan.  He'll even readily agree Tech sucks but he can't think straight because of his hatred of Georgia.  Just how it is.

GTBob
GTBob

@thebucket I didn't say that was the reason, I said it was a possible reason and it is. Im sure there are plenty of guys who didn't consider UGA because of Richt. Only he knows the true reason, I just thought it was humorous that the only reason you guys can come up with for him choosing Ole Miss over UGA was either money or playing time. He might have just liked Ole Miss more.

thebucket
thebucket

@GTBob @thebucket Well, duh! Who didn't know that. But you are speculating when you say the kid didn't want to play for Coach Richt when he just said in the article that Coach Richt was the hardest coach to tell no. That is what we call evidence that the real reason he didn't come to UGA had nothing to do with Coach Richt. But you have to get your daily jab at someone that you hate only because your team can't beat him.

GTBob
GTBob

@thebucket Not wanting to tell the coach no, and wanting to play for the coach are two very different things.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@WhiskeyBreath I apologize for my delayed reply but i have been involved in some serious 12 oz. curls. I most definitely had a little sarcasm in my post, but i don't have quite the level of contempt you have but i generally get a kick out of your posts. Party on Garth

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

Let me help two of my brothers out... both seem a little bit confused and lost...

Kumbaya;  is a spiritual song first recorded in the 1920s. It became a standard campfire song in scouting and summer camps, and enjoyed broader popularity during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s.

"BELIEVE" in the G

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

@gtcaryd @WhiskeyBreath  I used to like your post.

And maybe I didn't get your humor.

If I didn't , I apoligize.

But it sounded like you wanted to be liked by everybody

thus, the Cum By Ya comment.

I can't understand  anybody that is a true Tech fan

pat Brother on the back.

Generally, I thought the Tech fans were smarter.

Maybe not.