Dozens of blue-chip recruits will be in Athens this week to see No. 8 UGA host No. 13 Alabama. What would a win mean? Would it sway a 5-star prospect or two who was on the fence about playing in Athens?
Mark Richt has a different take on that topic.
“I don’t think the team that wins necessarily might get this guy over another,” Richt said following the Bulldogs’ practice Wednesday evening. “I think more times than not as the game is being played it’s revealed to the kid who he likes the best. If he sees a battle, somewhere in his gut he’s probably going to be cheering for one team over another. You know what I mean? I’ve seen that happen a lot more than the team that won got him.”
There’s a grocery list of top prospects coming to town this week. UGA will have the 2016 signing class covered with the nation’s top offensive lineman (Greg Little), the No. 1 athlete (Mecole Hardman, Jr.), the No. 1 tight end (Isaac Nauta) and the top-rated receiver (Kyle Davis) all in town. Davis, Little and Nauta are all expected to be on their official visits.
Richt believes the elite recruits care as much about how they would fit into the playing rotation and depth charts next year as anything else. That includes the final score.
“I think it comes down to, still, where do I fit into your plans and what kind of people am I going to be around,” Richt said.
1. Richt shares a simple message every game weekend with recruits
What does Richt say to recruits on a game weekend? It is typically the same message. No matter how the logistics of hosting a ton of prospects each week tend to complicate the day.
“It’s not the easiest thing to manage, but it’s exciting to know that many great players want to come to our school and be here for this moment,” Richt told DawgNation.com. “I say to our recruits every week, ‘you could choose to be anywhere you want to be and you chose to come here and that means a lot.’ So they’re about to come and enjoy this thing and we really appreciate it.”
2. UGA vs. Alabama: Who won the major recruiting battles?
Derrick Henry. Jordan Jenkins. Malcolm Mitchell. Kenyan Drake.
UGA went head-to-head with Alabama for all of those guys. How did things shake out? What were the reasons that swayed each elite recruit? DawgNation.com took a look at the major recruiting battles between UGA and Alabama and how they will affect Saturday’s game.
3. UGA DB commit hesitant to set his other officials
Peach County’s Tyrique McGhee plays quarterback. Yet he’ll be a defensive back in college. He sat down with DawgNation.com on Wednesday and talked about several topics.
He plans to take a few official visits. Maybe. He hasn’t set anything in stone and wonders if it’s worth going through the trouble just to take a few trips. Stay tuned.
He also has an interesting diet. Wonder what will happen when he meets up with the Sports Nutrition staff at UGA?
4. THROWBACK: Wait until you read what this future UGA team captain’s father said
DawgNation.com publishes a “Throwback Thursday” feature every week. It is a chance to merge the recruiting interest in today’s players with the stories of why some great former Bulldogs chose UGA.
Donald Chumley, this week’s subject, shared a funny line about what his father thought about him going to go play college football at Clemson.
Chumley’s father was a Bulldog. He grew up a Bulldog. Guess what happened?
It was the sort of quip that is likely said around dinner tables across the South, but usually never makes it into a Signing Day or commitment story.
The Savannah native is also the head coach at Savannah Christian. That’s the high school where priority UGA target Demetris Robertson plays.
5. Alabama’s roster has several Peach State recruits
AL.com detailed the Alabama side of the UGA-Alabama contest this week. Linebacker Dillon Lee is an interesting story. His other brother Dallas played at UGA and he comes from a family of Bulldogs.
Lee estimated he’s seen about “100” games at Sanford Stadium in his lifetime. He’s not the only Georgia product expected to make plays for the Crimson Tide this week. Lee will start for Alabama on Saturday. So will kicker Adam Griffith and defensive back Geno Mathias-Smith.
Those are three of the 14 Georgia boys on Alabama’s roster this year.
6. The Pruitt effect
UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt recruited a lot of players to Alabama when he was a member of that staff. He served in a variety of roles for the program from working in the weight room, player development, recruiting and academic support. Then he earned his way onto the field as a defensive backs coach.
DawgNation.com’s Seth Emerson reports that Pruitt helped convince Alabama tailback Derrick Henry to flip from Georgia to Alabama. That was then. Pruitt was asked on Tuesday if he regretted recruiting Henry now that he’ll be on the opposing sideline facing the program where he won three national championship rings.
“I regret recruiting a lot of them,” Pruitt said, smiling.
Pruitt made his first media appearance since the season began earlier this week.
“When you stay in this business for awhile you develop friendships, and I’ve got a lot of friends on the staff there,” Pruitt said. “A lot of relationships I developed in recruiting, some of the guys are there. There’s good friends there, there’s guys that gave me opportunities that I’m very thankful for. But I’m not gonna be playing any plays. It’ll just be another game.
7. Just how big is this game?
North Carolina tailback Zamir White is the top-rated sophomore in the country at his position. He’s even rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 by at least one service.
The Todd Gurley comparisons have already started, but Scout.com’s Chad Simmons shared a nugget on his Twitter feed Wednesday regarding White’s decision not to attend this week’s UGA-Alabama game.
— Chad Simmons (@ChadSimmons_) September 30, 2015
When a 5-star tailback can’t find a room in order to see a big game in Athens, that’s a pretty big deal.
Jeff Sentell covers 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.