ATLANTA — If it wasn’t for first-year head coach Kirby Smart, 4-star offensive tackle Andrew Thomas likely would’ve been wearing Clemson orange and purple at the College Football Hall of Fame signing event on Wednesday instead of the red and black.
“Before the staff change, Georgia wasn’t really that high on my list,” Thomas said. “I was looking at Clemson, Alabama and Notre Dame but when the staff changed, they started recruiting me really hard and then I really got a good look at Georgia and that was cool for me.”
Clemson ended up being Thomas’ No. 2 when the process was finished, but it didn’t overcome the impressive recruiting efforts of Smart and his new staff. While Georgia’s previous staff contacted Thomas just a couple of times, he said Smart and offensive line coach Sam Pittman made him feel genuinely wanted.
“They just showed that they really cared for you, they really wanted you,” Thomas said. “The other staff, I might’ve talked to them once or twice but coach Sam Pittman was a big reason why I committed. Every time he had a chance to come to the school, he was there, every time he had a chance to call me. So I really knew that he cared about me as a player.”
Smart’s second-smartest move to land Thomas may have been to go after teammate Trey Blount. Blount, a 4-star receiver worthy of his own praise, put the recruiting tactics on Thomas “every day” after he committed in May.
“When I committed back in May, I just started recruiting him hard,” Blount said. “When he committed in the fall, I was very excited and now just to see him sign on the same day as I do and we’re both going to Georgia, it’s just a blessing to me.”