NEW: Competitors try to poach UGA commits away from the Bulldogs

Mark Richt (AJC/Brant Sanderlin)  .

Mark Richt (AJC/Brant Sanderlin)
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Just because a kid has committed to a college, it doesn’t mean that the recruiting process is over.

Several of UGA’s commitments for this year know all about this. Despite being pledged to the Bulldogs, other colleges are still courting them — and they will continue doing so all the way until February’s signing day.

And a few of those competitors will say things to undermine UGA.

Chauncey Manac, a 4-star defensive end, still hears from South Carolina, Tennessee and Clemson.

Michigan State and Florida are still trying to sway 3-star guard Aaron Dowdell.

The Gators are also still after the services of 3-star offensive tackle Chris Barnes, who also hears from Kentucky on occasion.

It doesn’t stop there, as Auburn still likes three-star cornerback Tyrique McGhee, while Alabama and Oregon are trying to get versatile receiver Charlie Woerner on campus.

These five players are still hearing what other schools have to offer even though all five defined their commitment to UGA as 100 percent.

“Really what every school says, tells the recruit that they’ll have playing time and they can coach them up and maybe get them to the NFL,” Manac told the AJC.

This is the same pitch that 3-star cornerback Chad Clay gets from Ohio State, the team that finished second to the Bulldogs when Clay committed in May, and Oklahoma.

While this is a pretty typical pitch that committed players receive, they aren’t always this cordial.

“I’ve heard some schools say, ‘Do you want to be an underachiever? They always underachieve,’ or, ‘When’s the last time they won a championship?’ Stuff like that,” Clay said.

For the most part, though, recruits told the AJC that the post-commitment recruiting has been friendly and most schools don’t make personal attacks against other schools.

“Most of these coaches, they know each other pretty well so they won’t really speak bad about one another,” McGhee said. “They say things where they feel they can do better.”

But even friendly recruiting can be dangerous for schools.

Case in point: Isaac Nauta, the 5-star tight end, was a solid Florida State commitment, and even helping recruit other players for the Seminoles. After his experience at UGA’s Dawg Night, there was some speculation that Nauta might be reconsidering things and he eventually decommitted this past week.

So its natural that the entire process, even when applying to strong commits, can lead to a little paranoia. Some recruits opt not even to take any official visits once they’ve committed, which is something Woerner said he will do.

However, being wanted by many of the major programs in the country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of these high school athletes, therefore many take advantage of the opportunity. In these cases, the college coaches just have to reciprocate the trust that the athlete bestows on them when they make that verbal commitment.

“I’m going to take advantage of it,” McGhee said. “I don’t know where I’ll be, but just basically, because you’ll never get your recruiting, get it back, being recruited. So just enjoy that part. But I will be signing with Georgia.”

— By Cody Pace, Special for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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