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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wild Run on Recruiting Trail for Richt

Georgia grabbed headlines this week before Mark Richt even arrived at Media Days after Carver High School coach Dell McGee banned the Bulldogs from recruiting his school. The story slightly overshadowed what has otherwise been a remarkable stretch of recruiting for Georgia, and to hear Mark Richt explain it, the two issues are closely related.

"Our first camp in June, we might have had four or five (commitments)," Richt said. "I remember when I was on the Bulldog tour and people were like, 'My gosh, we're just not doing very well,' and I was like, 'It's OK. We're evaluating, we're offering the right people, and it's going to be fine.'"

In early June, the coaches began their vacations -- some rare time off throughout the course of the year. And that's when the wave of commitments began -- nearly a dozen in the past month, ending with defensive end T.J. Stripling, who became the school's 18 commitment of the season this week. To say it took the coaching staff by surprise might be an understatement.

"What happened was all kinds of things started flying," Richt said. "I'm laying on the lounge at the lake and the phone rings, 'Hey, I'm committing.' Or I'm in there working out, 'Hey, I'm committed.' Coaches are calling saying so-and-so committed."

Obviously things got a little confusing. While there were always one or two coaches in the office, rarely was the whole staff together during the past month-and-a-half.

"You're not sitting there at the table once a week saying this is what's happening," Richt said. "I'm on vacation thinking, this isn't a bad way to go, but it did happen fast, and it happened faster than we could really communicate sometimes."

Whether or not that's what eventually led to the confusion regarding Carver quarterback Devin Burns, whose scholarship offer was withdrawn shortly before he planned to announce his commitment, Richt wouldn't say. NCAA rules prohibit him from commenting on any specific players or schools, which makes getting his side of the controversy out a bit difficult.

"I can't really make a comment on it at all," Richt said. "There will come a day when I can, but right now I can't."

Richt said he wasn't surprised by the amount of attention the story got, but he said the issues surrounding the Carver story underscore the momentum that tends to occur on the recruiting trail -- particularly what has happened during the past month at Georgia.

"When you're a young man, you may know in your heart where you want to go, but you're just not ready to do it or you just want to have a little more fun with it or whatever it might be," Richt said. "There's only X amount of commitments, and when you start seeing a class fill up or a position fill up at the school that you think is in the lead or you know you wan to go to, it creates a sense of urgency, and that creates some of the momentum. Some of it is just, hey, so-and-so is going there, I want to, too. But a lot of it is, 'I know where I want to go, and if I mess around, I may lose my opportunity.'"

Although the numbers can shift should a player transfer or be dismissed from the program, Georgia is expected to have 21 spots available in its 2010 class.

1 comment:

Texas_Dawg said...


Can you explain how you come up with 21 spots? 12 senior departures plus 2 open scholarships equal at least 14. Where do the other 7 come from?