Posted: 1:36 am Monday, August 18th, 2014

Jonathan Ledbetter’s mom on flip to UGA: ‘Family is very important’ 

By Michael Carvell

Jonathan Ledbetter (right) at UGA's Dawg Night. He flipped from Alabama to UGA on Saturday (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Jonathan Ledbetter (center) at UGA’s Dawg Night. He flipped from Alabama to UGA on Saturday (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Jonathan Ledbetter’s mother told the AJC that star defensive lineman flipped his commitment from Alabama to UGA because “family is very important to him.”

Ledbetter’s older brother, Joseph Ledbetter, recently joined UGA football team on scholarship as a tight end after playing NCAA Div. II basketball the last two seasons.

Jonathan, the 4-star recruit from Tucker High School who had been committed to Alabama since last January, switched to UGA to play with his brother – and also remain in closer proximity to other family members.

“You know, he has been visiting colleges,” Ledbetter’s mother, Teresa Belcher, told the AJC. “He went to Stanford and a couple of other schools, along with Georgia.

“You know family is very important to Jon. I guess the more he thought about it, the more he wants to be close to home. He really wants his sister and me to be at the games. He made the decision, and I support him 100 percent. I am very excited about him going to Georgia.”

How tough was it for Jonathan to make the switch? “I think Jon just built a good relationship with (assistant Lance) Thompson and Coach Saban,” Belcher said. “And he has been talking with them all along, letting them know what’s important to him. I think they know that family is important to Jon — and he’s going to do what is going to keep him close to me and his grandmother.

“His grandmother is an important part of his life. She’s 85. She won’t make it to the games, but she always looks forward to talking with him after he has a game – and making sure he has his favorite foods when he comes home. I know she’s excited, and I know he talked to her about it. I think he made the best decision for him and our family, so I’m really happy for him.

“I know Alabama is not that far away. An hour and 20 minutes (to UGA) compared to three or four hours is a big difference when he knows it’s just me traveling up and down the road. I’m happy for him.”

There have been rumors that Jonathan was in the process of de-committing from Alabama for months, even before UGA got involved with his older brother. And the Bulldogs weren’t the only new destination that Jonathan was seriously considering.

“He’s coming out of school early (and graduating from Tucker in December),” Belcher said. “I think one of the things that he thought about was that he couldn’t start at Stanford early. All of their classes start at the same time. He just said ‘It’s really too far.’ He loves California. He loved the visit. But he was really considering it. Then he just said ‘Mom, I just really want to be home.’ I think that was the crux of the matter right there (with him picking UGA).”

It’s always tough for any high-profile recruit to make a switch but Ledbetter won over some Alabama fans by going out of his way to thank the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff while tweeting out the news on Saturday night. Ledbetter’s mother said it went just fine telling Alabama about the change of plans.

“I don’t think he had a hard time telling Alabama he wasn’t coming there,” she said. “He had been communicating with Coach Thompson and Coach Saban. They’ve been really trying hard to encourage him to not make a decision to leave. But I think they knew pretty much that this was coming.”

Ironically, both Jonathan’s mother and brother had no idea that the flip was coming. Well, they knew that Jonathan was thinking about it, but they didn’t know that it would go down when it did.

“I think (my sons) are really are happy to be able to play together on the same team,” she said. “It’s something they talked about, and that they want to do. But I know Joseph hadn’t tried to influence Jonathan in any way about Georgia. He really stayed neutral and told Jonathan to make the best decision for himself. Joe was just as surprised as I was (on Saturday) when Jon made the decision.

“We didn’t know it was coming until Jon let the cat out of the bag.”

After wide receivers, defensive linemen are the top priority for UGA’s 2015 recruiting class. Earlier in the week, the Bulldogs landed 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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147 comments
Globeflyer
Globeflyer

UGA always has top-tier talent, that's nothing new. When they start performing up to the level of their "stars", THAT will be news (and that's not intended as a knock on the kids either).

mike69
mike69

IT IS OK IF A KID CHANGES HIS MIND. I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT IF A KID MAKES A COMMITMENT HE HAS TO HONOR IT AT LEAST TH FIRST YEAR. THEN IF HE SWITCHES AFTER THAT HE HAS TO SIT OUT A YEAR BEFORE HE CAN PLAY. THAT WOULD STOP ALOT OF THIS STUFF. I'M A BMA FAN AND IT'S OK WITH ME THAT HE WITCHED. BUT WHAT I'M GETTING ATIS IT'S NOT FAIR TO ANY OF THE SCHOOLS. THEY ARE GETTING PLAYERS TO FILL NEEDS. IF THEY SWITCH SPECIALLY LATE THEN IT HAS PROB HURT ANOTHER KID FROM GETTING OFFERED THAT WOULD NOT HAVE SWITCHED. ONE THAT HIS WORD IS HIS HONOR. YOU DONT HAVE TO AGREE WITH ME BUT I WAS BROUGHT THAT A PERSON IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THEIR WORD. BUT KIDS ARE BROUGHT UP DIFFERENT THESE DAYS.

Adamsran
Adamsran

Well it's never boring reading some of the comments after a story like this. 


Good aggressive move by UGA by signing his brother.  Class is shaping up nicely, but the coaching staff has to hold the kids that have committed and continue to build on this class.  So far so good.


Congrats to Tech.  Best class since CPJ came on board. 


Have a good night...


Go Dawgs!



58Supersports
58Supersports

Man is only as good as  his word, JONATHAN is not trust worthy.

SeeRockCity
SeeRockCity

Flip back and I'll take you Alligator hunting! 

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

TrueMUTT86 is proving KAN KEMP was RIGHT. When did all those ACADEMIC Changes happen? Well before 1986 graduates for sure.

WDE
WDE

A great big Bull Dog Nation welcome to the entire Ledbetter family ! Best of luck on the field and in the class room ! Go Dogs !

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob 

"He has three years left on his contract"

Three years?! No wonder your AD bolted for Clemson.

Rick_James
Rick_James

@BobLeeSwagger 

"WRONG again... he is not going because of the 15 season unless he only wins 4 games in 14.

????...He wont be fired but his contract will be allowed to expire..

Rick_James
Rick_James

@BobLeeSwagger 

"no Jr. is not a NAME try again. It is a Suffix like Mr or Mr. is a Prefix it is not a NAME."

Yeah..Like Junior Johnson..

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob 

" If Tech really wanted to fire him, they could come up with the money to do so. The money is certainly a consideration, but not really a deterrent"

Only you believe that Bob..If Tech is happy with what he's putting on the field he would have been offered an extention by now.

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

Family is important, but I don't live with them or nextdoor either.  Sometime you have to cut the cord to be in your own sunlight.

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

@58Supersports 

"I guess I have to say it," Saban said. "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."

BINGO!

"BELIEVE" in the G

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

@58Supersports  If I'm not mistaken, Jonathan Ledbetter is 16yrs. old............Me? I'll give the kid a break as this is probably the most important decision of his young life............Chill there sport...........RED

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@BobLeeSwagger Who said I graduated in 1986 TROLL POAD?  More importantly who cares what obsessed little mental midgets such as yourself think?  You can't even figure out one name to hide behind.  Sometimes you admit to being a GnaT fan (even though you never went there or any college) and sometimes you try to pass yourself off as Butteye.  Either way...your OBSESSION with the superior UGA program clearly rings though because you have no life other than your TROLLING....and you know that to be true better than anyone so now you'll have to deflect with your stellar wit and all around great TROLL personality...


3

2

1

TROLL!

HighTechJacket99
HighTechJacket99

Drad may have left because of the ham handed way he handled the NCAA investigation.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Rick_James @GTBob He won the ACC, heck yall were shoveling money to Grantham because he had a defense full of NFL players.

GTBob
GTBob

@Rick_James DRad was certainly a terrible AD. Ill agree with you on that. Although I don't think his hiring of CPJ or the contract extension were that bad of moves.

GTBob
GTBob

@Rick_James He has three years left on his contract. There is no immediate need to give him an extension at this point. And it doesn't really matter what you believe. Firing Hewitt was as costly an endeavor as firing CPJ would be, but somehow us poor folk figured that one out. Firing Chan wasn't exactly cheap either. Somehow that also magically happened. You really think we can get multi million dollar donations for all of our facility enhancements but cant come up with 7 million to fire a coach with new TV contracts and upcoming playoff money coming in?

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

@Rick_James WRONG again... he is not going because of the 15 season unless he only wins 4 games in 14.

Gadawgs3
Gadawgs3

Air maybe he learned from the two bushes

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@Dewnsav @BobLeeSwagger Oh and don't forget his OH-IO facade....it's clear why this mixed up little boy never managed to be with a woman (other than mommy who still lets him live in the basement).

GTBob
GTBob

@HighTechJacket99 From what I heard, he wasn't on the best terms with Bud, or the GT administration after that debacle.

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

TROLLS who love to call others stupid are comical. So POAD...you CHOOSE to spend all day every day OBSESSING over the UGA football team that you envy so much....nothing PROVES stupidity better than that!

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

@Rick_James did you add.... FDR? JFK? Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Go make some more fried chicken and roll in that BENTLEY.

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

@TrueDawg1986 you are confused and as DUMB as GED350 if you think I'm OH-IO. I knew you were not BRITE but I didn't know you were a Total Maroon.

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@BobLeeSwagger Wow a TROLL that pretends (sometimes) to have attended college and would like to impress everyone with counting skills. It's even more impressive that your life amounts to nothing....nothing but a sad OBSESSION with the UGA Dawgs...the program that drives your jealous rage with EVERY year getting crushed by that superior UGA team.  Wishing mommy could make the pain go away and realizing there is no one to share your life...so all the better to TROLL day and night.  LMAO at your sad life

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@gtcaryd what's the matter little TROLL....mama doesnt like you to swear?  Guess that shouldnt be a problem then...LMAO!

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

@TrueDawg1986 but you feel BIG TRYING to cut me down so your LIFE is really AWESOME? I do have Pigskins on my wall I earned.

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@BobLeeSwagger @TrueDawg1986 Well for God's sake please take down the Pork Rinds and eat them...you earned them at the 7-Eleven so you DESERVE them oh TROLL...LMAO like you ever played a down or earned a degree. You're nothing more than a hollow little POSER TROLL that hides in the shadows to eavesdrop on REAL MEN talk about the object of your OBSESSION....that SUPERIOR UGA program.


NEXT!

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@BobLeeSwagger No one has to worry about cutting you down TROLL....the fact that you display every day that you have no life...nothing to interest you...nothing worthwhile to fire your imagination ...nothing that can replace your OBSESSION with the SUPERIOR UGA program....that is far more than a "cut down" than I or any other person could ever deliver.  You do it to yourself...which makes it all the more comical.

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@BobLeeSwagger As a little GnaT you would certainly know about the manboylove...since you never managed to have a woman