Good morning, DawgNation! Since Saturday’s 27-3 loss to Florida, UGA fans have begun choosing sides over whether coach Mark Richt should stay or go.
It’s unfortunate that the season has taken this turn, but whichever side of the argument you fall on, don’t forget the impact that this decision will have on recruiting.
Aside from the obvious concern that 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason would bail on the Bulldogs if Richt and the school should part ways, any change would affect all of the team’s current commits and even the secret commits we told you about yesterday in Rewind.
UGA’s chance of signing a major target took a hit
Robert Beal, the nation’s No. 3 weak-side defensive end for 2017, made an announcement on Sunday night that will not make UGA fans happy.
The 4-star defensive end from Norcross High School has been compared favorable to current UGA linebacker Lorenzo Carter. It’s not as though UGA didn’t make a strong push for Beal, because it definitely went the extra mile to catch his attention. There is still plenty of time for UGA to woo the in-state prospect, though, so keep an eye on how this plays out.
Commit named to U.S. Army All-American team
One of UGA’s longest commitments was honored on Monday and presented with his jersey for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, according to a press release. Ben Cleveland, a 4-star offensive tackle, is one of UGA’s top commits and his selection to the All-American team should not come as a surprise.
The press release contained a quote from Mark Davis, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing.
Said Davis: “Ben has demonstrated versatility and adaptability both on and off the football field. It is these skills – skills we instill in every Army soldier – that have guided our selection of all of the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl players. We are pleased to welcome these talented athletes to this year’s elite team and we congratulate each of them on their selection.”
If that isn’t enough to get fans excited about Cleveland, then his willingness to still rally support for the team certainly will.
Nation’s No. 1 athlete has strong comments about Alabama
The nation’s No. 1 athlete, Mecole Hardman, Jr., is taking an unofficial visit to Alabama this weekend for the school’s showdown with LSU. Before heading down there, however, the 5-star prospect gave a positive review of Alabama.
“Defensively wise, Alabama is the best fit for me because of the schemes they run,” Hardman told SEC Country.
That wasn’t the only thing he discussed with SEC Country. There is another school that has caught Hardman’s eye, and for a pretty good reason.
UGA is also a major contender for the Elbert County High School product’s services, and offers an opportunity to play early and on both sides of the ball. Hardman has said that he won’t take an official visit to UGA, but only because he has been there so many times already. He also gave an exclusive Periscope interview with DawgNation, and some pretty interesting topics were discussed.
Could a rival come between UGA and a top target?
UGA has long been considered the school to beat for 4-star defensive end Brian Burns. Well, it looks like Florida isn’t conceding anything to UGA when it comes to the American Heritage (Fla.) prospect, according to 247sport’s Ryan Bartow.
Despite the hard pursuit from Florida and some other schools, Burns still likes how he could fit at UGA.
“The way they used their outside linebackers – how they rush them from everywhere on the field – that hybrid spot really fits me,” Burns told Bartow. “They developed great ones like Leonard Floyd and Lorenzo Carter.”
UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has developed several talented pass-rushers over the years, and that is certainly something that he will mention often to Burns.
Still, it’s a little difficult to tell where this could be headed. On one hand, UGA’s recent slide hasn’t helped and the Florida assistant coach who is recruiting him is the brother of Burns’ high school head coach. On the other hand, though, UGA has developed strong ties with the American Heritage program as Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie and Marshall Morgan all hail from the school.
State’s No. 1 prospect given SEC Country honors
Derrick Brown, a 5-star defensive tackle and the No. 1 prospect in the state of Georgia, was named SEC Country’s Defensive Recruit of the Week.
As he has done all season, Brown put together another dominant performance in Lanier High School’s 48-21 win over Winder-Barrow. The 6-foot-4, 318-pound defensive tackle is very high on UGA’s list, and it appears to be in a good position to land the state’s top prospect.
Brown will take official visits to Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State and UGA.
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.