“I’ll be back.”
That’s what UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown shared this week with a parent of a top recruit. Brown said he would definitely be back next year and that’s a plus for continuity at running back.
That keeps UGA in good graces with 4-star commitment Elijah Holyfield for starters. It also means Brown’s relationship with 4-star de-commitment Devwah Whaley is intact to try and bring him back to UGA. It keeps UGA in a great spot with mega-recruits like 5-star junior Anthony McFarland and 5-star sophomore Zamir White. Both of those elite athletes had UGA on their mind leader before Mark Richt was fired.
In short, Brown’s return means UGA will continue to keep the running back room stocked with Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley, Elijah Holyfield, Keith Marshall, Sony Michel and Knowshon Moreno types. Shon Simmons, the father of priority UGA receiver target Tyler Simmons, also gave a glimpse of what the offense will be like. He got a pretty good synopsis when the subject of what Smart is looking for at offensive coordinator came up.
“From what I was told by Thomas (Brown), Kirby is looking for someone who is going to be a traditional Georgia guy,” Simmons said. “Keeping up with the same standards that Georgia has always ran with a pro-style offense. They really think that’s the recruiting tool to keep kids coming to Georgia and to continue to get kids to the next level. They are looking for someone with the same philosophy Georgia has always had and not moving to the spread. They are going to be keeping to the same pro-style offense.”
That sounds like the program recruits like to call “Running Back University” is in good hands. “RBU” will be big at UGA for Smart, too.
Where was Smart last night?
The new coach will re-recruit a lot of big-time targets back into the fold this week. He might also gain 10 pounds because of all the road trips he’ll make during his 10-day cram session recruiting for UGA.
Smart has been on in-home visits with Ben Cleveland, Jacob Eason, Chad Clay and now Julian Rochester on Wednesday night. Those were lined up to mesh with targets who will enroll early next month. Cleveland, Eason and Rochester have already signed their financial aid papers with UGA. Those allow for unlimited contact with UGA.
— Julian , (@D1_Prospect123) December 10, 2015
What is the Smart move for today?
Smart’s schedule has been surgical this week. He caught in-home visits with the two most important members of this year’s class in long-time commitments Cleveland and Eason. Those came on Sunday and Monday. Clay was on Tuesday. That was an athlete with an NFL bloodline to restock the secondary. Smart’s next move is for some trophy fishing in Florida.
Smart will have an in-home visit with 5-star tight end Isaac Nauta at IMG Academy on Thursday. UGA has a great shot at Nauta for several reasons. UGA’s location will be big. The 6-foot-4, 237-pounder was a high school standout at Buford before transferring to IMG for his senior season. His family also clearly means a great deal to him and they reside in Dacula.
The other factor is the offensive system. The nation’s No. 1 tight end wants to go to a place that knows how to use its tight ends. It is worth nothing Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will see Nauta for an in-home visit on Sunday. That’s the last day before the dead period. Harbaugh is pulling out all the stops and could very well be the biggest threat to UGA at this point.
What does Nauta think about Smart at UGA? Those two go back a long way.
Jacob Eason’s coach drops some knowledge
There are a lot of UGA and Florida fans wondering which way 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason might be leaning. DawgNation got the chance to quiz his high school coach on that topic.
What are UGA’s chances? Well, Lake Stevens High School head coach Tom Tri had a pretty clear opinion about that.
ICYMI: What is Eason thinking?
In case you missed it, DawgNation got the chance to ask Eason a few questions on Tuesday afternoon. He did take a mid-week official visit to nearby Washington, but that school is considered a long-shot at best.
The two big takeaways would be that he is not expecting Smart to have an offensive coordinator in place by the time of his official visit and that he will likely decide between UGA or Florida by Monday or Tuesday of next week. Florida coach Jim McElwain is also scheduled for an in-home visit with Eason on Thursday before his official visit to UGA.
UGA commit feels better after in-home visit
The visit with Clay was important because it gave Smart the chance to reassure the 3-star defensive back about where he stood with the program. Clay wasn’t seriously recruited by Alabama and did not appear to have an offer. What was the reason for that?
Clay will also enroll early so the clock is ticking on his recruitment. He was about to turn in his financial aid papers when Mark Richt was dismissed at UGA. It sounds like it will still happen. He’s likely just waiting to hear who Smart will name as his defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
What’s up with 5-star athlete Demetris Robertson?
Scout.com’s Chad Simmons is reporting Savannah Christian standout Demetris Robertson will decide later today if he will take an official visit to Ohio State or come up to UGA on another unofficial visit this weekend. Smart is planning a huge recruiting event that will coincide with the end-of-the-year “Senior Gala” for the football team.
It has caught the attention of prospects across the Southeast. The recruits want to see what UGA will be like with Smart at the helm. Smart has told Robertson he wants him to be a leader among the incoming skill guys on offense next year at UGA. It will also be an early coup to get him to Athens this weekend with Eason and the other commitments.
UGA commit visiting LSU this week
Pay attention to the visits of UGA commitment Jaleel Laguins leading up to National Signing Day. He’s taking an official visit to LSU this weekend and wants to make sure to give several schools the chance to recruit him. The Oconee County standout has already been to Nebraska on an official visit and he will likely take another one to Kentucky, too.
Keep in mind that this visit was scheduled before the Richt news. That said, he was very close to Mark Richt’s staff at UGA and especially linebackers coach Mike Ekeler. It doesn’t appear that Ekeler will return at this time. He had done good work at UGA with Laguins and Robertson, among others.
LSU here I come ??
— Jaleel Laguins (@Leel_DaGreat) December 9, 2015
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.