Top lineman cancels plans for UGA visit

UGA threw a late scholarship offer on Tuesday to one of the state’s top offensive linemen, who was flattered enough to set up an official visit with the Bulldogs for this weekend.

However, after Creekside High School’s Venzell Boulware talked it over with his mother, they decided against the recruiting trip to UGA. Boulware remains committed to Tennessee, and will visit the Volunteers and Ohio State on the final two weekends of January.

“It was a good opportunity with UGA, but kind of late, though,” said Boulware, who is rated as the state’s No. 36 overall prospect.

Mark Richt (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Who will be the next to get a call from UGA?  (AJC/Michael Carvell)

The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder said he got the offer after lengthy conversations with two new UGA assistants, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Rob Sale.

“They said they were going back, watching film, and evaluating a lot of offensive linemen,” Boulware said. “They liked my film, so they offered. They said they were new, and they hoped I didn’t have any hard feelings about how I was recruited in the past by Georgia.

“So I was setting it up to go there this weekend, but not anymore. After I discussed it with my mom, I decided not to go. It’s just late in the process, so I don’t want to waste their time.

“I told them I appreciated the offer, that I hoped I didn’t waste any of their time, and good luck in the future.”

Would it have made a difference if UGA had offered earlier in the recruiting process? “I’m pretty sure they would’ve been a factor in my decision. There’s no telling what would’ve happened.”

UGA is searching for at least one more offensive lineman for this year’s recruiting class. They have two commitments at the position, including Marist’s Sage Hardin. The other, DeVondre Seymour of Hinds junior college, is a concern because he’s still working on his academics and was unable to enroll early last week.

There’s also Pat Allen out of Maryland. He de-committed from UGA after the departure of former Bulldogs offensive line coach Will Friend to Colorado State. Allen is reportedly considering UGA, Tennessee and Notre Dame.

Back to Boulware: With UGA out of the picture, he’ll focus on his two official visits, Ohio State on Jan. 23 and Tennessee on Jan. 30.

Since he’s committed to Tennessee, what makes him want to visit Ohio State? “Just to give them another shot, and to get a feel for the university, the campus and the coaches,” he said. “I already had that set up for about a month now. They never stopped recruiting me after I committed to Tennessee.”

What’s the status of his commitment to Tennessee? “I’m still a very solid commitment. It’s going to take a lot to change that.”

Does Ohio State even have a chance? “They probably have a small chance. There’s no telling. We’ll all see on Feb. 4.”

And what about Tennessee fans who are worried? “Don’t panic. I love Tennessee. That’s family. They should relax.”

Since we’re exactly three weeks from signing day, and time is extremely limited, if UGA is to add another one or two offensive linemen, it would make logical sense to go after another in-state kid like Boulware – hoping perhaps he was a childhood fan of the Bulldogs or he may want to stay closer to home. Here’s a look at the state’s top 10 offensive linemen prospects for 2015. Who could be the next target?

*Georgia’s Top 10 OL for 2015

  • Mitch Hyatt, North Gwinnett (Clemson)
  • Chuma Edoga, McEachern (USC)
  • Chidi Valentine-Okeke, Faith Christian (Alabama & Auburn lead)
  • Marquel Harrell, Creekside (Auburn)
  • Dallas Warmack, Mays (Alabama)
  • Kaleb Kim, Mill Creek (Auburn)
  • Bailey Sharp, Sprayberry (Auburn)
  • Venzell Boulware, Creekside (Tennessee)
  • Sage Hardin, Marist (UGA)
  • Cole Minshew, Coffee (FSU)

* Posted in exact ranking order from 247sports composite rankings

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