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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
New UGA linebackers coach Dan Lanning made it a priority to see Quay Walker (pictured) bright and early on Friday.

New Georgia assistant Dan Lanning jumps into first recruiting day, visits Quay Walker

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Friday calls for checking in with 4-star OLB target Quay Walker. Why Walker? Well, he was made a priority by the UGA staff on the first day of the contact period. 

For the record, it was both Glenn Schumann and Dan Lanning. That’s the hard-charging assistant coaching duo, ages 27 and 31 years old, respectively. Those two men should be coaching the linebackers at Georgia for the foreseeable future.

Lanning and Schumann were in Cordele, Ga., bright and early Friday morning. The target? Four-star outside linebacker target Quay Walker at Crisp County High School. Walker is a big remaining target for the Bulldogs in 2018.

We covered his decision and thoughts on the month of January going forward in detail earlier this week. 

But Friday was something new. Walker is about to take an official visit to Tennessee. There, he’ll reconnect with former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and former Bulldogs outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer.

Quay Walker-UGA recruiting
Quay Walker was clad head to toe in UGA gear at the Rising Seniors game in December 2016. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation.com)

The Georgia visitors could have a substantial impact. That’s because Walker told DawgNation at the Under Armour All-America Game last week that he likely would have stuck with his commitment to Alabama had Pruitt stayed right there.

But Tennessee is not Alabama. Not anywhere close.

That’s why both Auburn and Georgia went to visit Walker on Friday morning, once the dead period lifted. The next four weeks and weekends are a contact period leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 7.

What impression did Dan Lanning make on Quay Walker? 

Lanning, as we will convey below, is a hard charger. He’s carried that reputation every step of his coaching career.

It was no shock that he he’d go to visit Walker bright and early on Friday. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound prospect ranks, per the 247Sports composite, as the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker for this cycle and as the No. 65 prospect overall.

Quay Walker-UGA recruiting
Quay Walker ranks as the nation’s No. 3 OLB prospect for 2018 on the 247Sports composite ranking. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

Walker is a true three-down linebacker ― the type who can excel with his run fits on the early downs and then slide out to the edge to either shadow a slot receiver or rush the passer. Walker can do all those things and not be a liability in any way in doing so.

What did Walker think of Lanning?

“He seemed pretty cool and up front with everything,” Walker told DawgNation.

The 4-star LB said Lanning told him another important detail. Walker said Lanning told him he wanted him to be the first recruit he saw on the road for UGA.

That seems likely. Walker is really the only true linebacker target remaining for Georgia in 2018. But that is still noteworthy and definitely impressionable in the eyes of any recruit.

Getting to know new UGA assistant Dan Lanning

Dan Lanning is portrayed as a man who knocked on every door and maximized every relationship he could to make his way into college football.

He’s an effort guy. There’s no question about that.

Tom Schad of The (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal profiled Lanning when he was set to begin his first season with the Tigers in 2016. His strong feature offers a lot of the best online background material on Lanning. 

One of the best nuggets from the story details how, in 2011, Lanning drove 13 hours from his high school coaching job in Missouri to Pittsburgh, hoping to get his foot into college football’s big door. When he did, he changed into a suit in a gas station to arrive at Pitt’s football offices by 6 a.m. He did so because he had seen a lot of the members of the Pitt staff at a coaching clinic in Kansas City.

Months earlier, he had sent every coach on the staff an email in hopes of getting a chance for a face-to-face meeting. Then-Pitt defensive coordinator Keith Patterson responded, but no jobs materialized. Eventually, Lanning hit the road and walked away from that career gamble with an $800 per month position as an analyst.

Patterson, now the linebackers coach at Memphis, was quoted in that Commercial Appeal piece when he was the defensive coordinator at Arizona State.

“We had a unique setup at Pittsburgh where my office was connected to a classroom, where I’d meet with my position,” Patterson told Schad about Lanning. “His workstation was in the corner of that classroom. Every morning, I would walk into my office and wake him up when I turned the light on. He was literally just sleeping on the floor. And I would know that when I opened the door and turned the light on, I knew he was going to be there. It still scared me every time.”

Lanning, who comes from a family of educators, didn’t play major college football. So he had to knock down a few doors, so to speak. When the Pitt staff left for Arizona State, they took Lanning along.

He spent two seasons there before taking a job coaching the defensive backs at Sam Houston State. His next move was a graduate assistant’s position at Alabama. That’s where he met Schumann and Kirby Smart. And Smart now has hired Lanning as his 10th assistant coach; Lanning will coach the outside linebackers.

Lanning spent just one season in Tuscaloosa before leaving for an on-field coaching position at Memphis. The fact he got the job at Georgia working for Smart shows just how good of a job he did during that one season at Alabama.

The official visit dance card for this weekend

There will be a host of official visitors in town for this weekend. I’m expecting a lot of the UGA signees who held back their official visits to visit this month, and a few of them should show up each week.

But the major unsigned targets that are expected to be in town are:

Georgia currently has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class for 2018 based on the 247Sports composite ranking. It has 20 signees and three public commitments.

DawgNation projects the Bulldogs to sign 24 players in 2018.

Did you see this tweet exchange?

This seems rather self-explanatory. But this was an exchange of tweets Thursday night between UGA signee and freshman early enrollee Kearis Jackson and major 4-star UGA target Tommy Bush.

Bush, who is from Texas, has yet to make his college commitment. However, the Bulldogs are very solidly in his final three group of schools. A public decision is expected in the next week or two.

 

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as Georgia All-America LB Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.