The arrival of Kirby Smart and the departure of Jeremy Pruitt both came as a surprise to four-star cornerback William Poole. Though he welcomed Smart’s return to Athens with open arms, he was taken back by Pruitt’s decision to head back to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“When the announcement came out that Pruitt was heading back to Alabama, it really shocked me,” Poole told DawgNation. “I’m just waiting to see who they put in at defensive coordinator. He was a big part of my recruitment with Georgia. He’s a great coach. I was looking forward to possibly being one day coached by him. It could still happen either way.”
Since Pruitt’s arrival to Alabama, Poole says he has yet to hear from the one-time Bulldogs defensive coordinator, but he anticipates him reaching out in the coming months. Smart, however, has contacted him on several occasions. Roughly five times, according to Poole.
The 6-foot, 170-pound junior from Hapeville Charter says the newly hired head coach is eager for him to get back down to Athens for an unofficial visit.
“He’s looking forward to having those big defensive backs on his bus just jumping around,” Poole said jokingly.
But the one coaching change Poole can’t seem to overlook is the departure of receivers coach Bryan McClendon, who accepted a position under Will Muschamp at South Carolina just days ago. McClendon will serve as UGA’s interim coach through the TaxSlayer Bowl.
“That was the craziest thing I saw,” Poole said. “Crazier than Pruitt. McClendon was my head recruiter. He was the one that came by my school all the time. Every time I’m down there, I’m with him. We had a great relationship. He’d call my parents just to check up on me. He was the main coach I had a relationship with. Seeing that he went to South Carolina, it really hurt me. I know it’s a business. I congratulated him.”
However, Poole maintains McClendon’s departure won’t impact Georgia’s chances of landing his signature.
“I wouldn’t say it hurt Georgia,” Poole said. “I just like him as a guy period. Coaching-wise, he doesn’t coach defense. It doesn’t hurt their chances at all.”
Last week, Poole released a list of top schools that included Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Clemson and, of course, Georgia. He plans to cut his list down to three schools in the next few months, specifically after he takes a visit to Florida. Poole plans to commit this summer.