Posted: 12:28 pm Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
By Michael Carvell
UGA has five 2015 commitments participating in The Opening, an all-star camp which features 162 of the nation’s top college football prospects.
The six-day event kicks off Saturday at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. There’s four days of competition, including SPARQ testing, a 7-on-7 tournament and a linemen challenge.
Sixteen of Georgia’s top high school football players are competing in The Opening, including Stephenson defensive end Chauncey Rivers, Callaway athlete Terry Godwin, and Mays linebacker Natrez Patrick. The two other UGA connections are safety Rico McGraw of Nashville and tight end Jackson Harris of Columbia, Tenn.
Georgia Tech does not have any current commits at The Opening, but the Yellow Jackets are actively pursuing several participants.
From a recruiting standpoint, the main attraction of The Opening is to watch elite prospects go head-to-head in drills for ranking purposes. This is the last best opportunity to formulate opinions on where a prospect fits in the national rankings until the senior all-star games in December and January.
For each prospect, the goal next week will be to perform as best as possible (in order to move up in the rankings, if they care), while also avoiding an injury which would cause them to miss participation in their senior year of football.
Here’s the Georgia representatives:
- Austin Bryant, DL, Thomas Co. Central (Clemson, FSU, Auburn)
- Montrell Custis, DB, Lovejoy (Alabama commit)
- Chuma Edoga, OL, McEachern (USC commit)
- Terry Godwin, WR, Callaway (UGA commit)
- Taj Griffin, RB, McEachern (Oregon commit)
- Mitch Hyatt, OL, North Gwinnett (Clemson commit)
- Jonathan Ledbetter, DL, Tucker (Alabama commit)
- Natrez Patrick, DE, Mays (UGA commit)
- Chauncey Rivers, DE, Stephenson (UGA commit)
- Quarte Sapp, LB, Milton (Tennessee and UNC)
- Duke Shelley, DB, Tucker (Clemson, Tennessee and Wisconsin)
- Darius Slayton, DB, GAC (Auburn and UGA)
- Roquan Smith, LB, Macon County (UGA, Auburn, Florida)
- Adonis Thomas, LB, Central Gwinnett (Florida and Alabama)
- Dallas Warmack, OL, Mays (Alabama commit)
- Preston Williams, WR, Lovejoy (Tennessee commit)
Note: For players not committed, the schools listed above are the ones listed as their favorites in the 247sports.com Crystal Ball predictions, and not necessarily the ones mentioned specifically by the players.
PROSPECT WATCH: If a couple of things had gone differently, Ray Fulcher might be helping UGA’s football and recruiting efforts rather than chasing his country music dreams in Nashville. Fulcher, 28, worked as a student assistant and equipment manager six years at UGA while earning his undergrad and master’s degrees in education. A few years ago, Fulcher turned down the opportunity to return to his alma mater of Harlem High School as a football coach to pursue a job in UGA’s football operations. “I ended up not getting the Georgia job,” Fulcher said. “I thought long and hard about it. I prayed about it. Music was always something in the back of my mind. I knew it was something that I always wanted to try full-time, so I decided to pursue it when those other two things fell through.” Fulcher recently relocated to Nashville, and has opened up for Craig Morgan, Lee Brice, and the Marshall Tucker Band, among others. And he’s a die-hard follower of UGA football and recruiting. How much so? “I’m in the process of setting up a Fall tour,” he said. “I circled every Saturday on the calendar that Georgia was playing out of town. And the very first thing I told my booking agent was to try book me in places near the games, and to book me on Fridays instead of Saturdays so I can try to be at those games or watch them on television. I know this is my job, but I’ve got to try to find a way to watch Georgia, no matter what.” Fulcher said he learned a lot of valuable lessons from his UGA days that he’s carried over into his music aspirations. “Coach Richt always stressed that if you do things the right way without any shortcuts, good things will happen. I’ve seen that happen in my music career already.” For more info, go to raymondfulcher.com or follow @ on Twitter.
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