Some elite recruits have egos the size of football fields, just because everyone has been telling them how great they are for years.
But not Channing Tindall, who was rated as the No. 1 recruit out of South Carolina when he signed with UGA in 2018.
When the sophomore inside linebacker returns to his hometown of Columbia, S.C., Tindall often brags to his high school coaches and buddies — not about himself – but how talented his Bulldog teammates are.
“He understands how good the talent level is at Georgia,” said Robin Bacon, who coached Tindall at Spring Valley High School.
“He talks about the guys he plays with, and about how talented they are. I think that’s the important thing about Channing – he’s a hard worker and he sees things. He told me ‘I’ve got to go out every day and compete because the linebacker group is so talented at Georgia.’
“I think it was important for Channing to see guys like Nolan Smith (the nation’s No. 1-rated recruit for 2019 who signed with UGA). Not only are they great players, they are super-hard workers. You know, there’s competition every day at Georgia. He realizes how hard he has to work, and fortunately he’s always had a great work ethic.”
Big play vs. Alabama
Last year as a freshman, Tindall played in all 14 games, and finished with two sacks. His biggest play of the season was a quarterback sack against Alabama in the SEC Championship game that resulted in a 10-yard loss and an intentional-grounding penalty.
There’s some strong competition at inside linebacker this season, with veteran Monty Rice leading the group. Rice is being pushed by Tindall, along with freshman sensation Nakobe Dean. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tindall has been mentioned in some circles as a potential “breakout player” during his second season with the Bulldogs.
“He has all the intangibles,” Bacon said. “He’s very athletic. He’s long, which for a linebacker with his size, the way he can move is very impressive. And I just love his work ethic. He is a very hard worker. He is fun to coach. I know the coaches at Georgia enjoy him.
“I’m not surprised (to hear the big expectations); the sky is the limit for Channing. The speed of the game is a challenge for any freshman, but things are starting to slow down for him. He’s a special young man.”
Channing Tindall: ‘He’s a freak’
What’s the biggest change in Tindall since he arrived at Georgia? “It’s putting on the weight,” Bacon said.
“That’s typical for kids coming out of high school. They never eat how they should. Now he’s got a nutritionist at Georgia, and he’s put on a lot of good weight … and is really physically developing. And I can tell when I look at his arms and his (trapeze muscles). He’s really filling into his body.
“I think the big thing is keeping his speed up. A lot of times you can put on weight, but it will slow you down. But (the added muscle has) helped him with his confidence — being around 220-230 pounds, then having the kind of speed he has. He’s a freak. He’s a guy with a lot of size and speed, which is a blessing, Because usually you have one or the other, rather than both. Channing has both.”
Tindall’s high school coach said his star player is in the midst of making his next big improvement to his game – which is studying film on an around-the-clock basis.
“There’s that old famous story about a player going to his football coach and saying ‘I need a motivational speech,’” said Bacon with a laugh. “The coach replied, ‘I will give you a motivational speech; you can be replaced.’
“Channing understands he is playing with some very talented players at Georgia. He knows that he has to work every day (to compete for playing time), and that he can’t control how things go with those other players. He’s focused on getting better every day and controlling what he does.”