Sentell’s Intel: Herschel Walker’s legend continues to help Georgia football to this day
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or that 5-star might be leaning and sprinkle in a dab of perspective to help folks figure out what it all means.
PHILADELPHIA — Herschel Walker won his Heisman Trophy 34 years ago.
His era was the early 1980s. Yet, he continues to help Georgia football in a tangible way to this day. He does so in a way Walker probably isn’t even sure he’s helping the Bulldogs.
That’s because No. 34 lives on stalking goal lines and ripping through SEC defensive lineman and linebackers who weren’t much bigger than he was, if they were at all. The standard Walker set for that position still lives on through highlight reels on ESPN and SEC Network and even YouTube.com. It still influences the players of this generation.
People remember. They haven’t forgotten. The brilliance of his college career helps Georgia to this day.
DawgNation is in Pennsylvania for the rest of this week checking in on future tailback D’Andre Swift and the potential big story of Georgia adding his cousin Mark Webb Jr. to the Class of 2017 on Friday night.
Swift’s father, Darren, told me on Wednesday afternoon he was a big fan of Georgia football when he was coming up. A lot of that had to do with Walker and the way he left his mark on college football.
Ask any college football historian about Walker and they’ll still point to him as one of the top 5 players all time.
The really intriguing part to me was that Walker’s name has now been brought up independently by both Toneil Carter and Swift this year during recruiting.
“I’ve been a fan of Georgia for a while now,” his father Darren Swift said. “Back when Herschel Walker was there. He played running back. I used to play running back. I’ve always been a fan of what he did when he was there at Georgia. I like college football much better than pro football. Georgia has always had a good running back it just seems like.”
Here’s the kicker: Carter’s in Texas. Swift is in Pennsylvania. We’re not even talking about future Georgia tailbacks coming out of the home state or even the SEC’s footprint.
That’s what legends are supposed to do, right? Even 34 years after his last carries that established a lasting tradition.
There were other factors for Swift. Let’s be clear on that. His father was a fan and he could only give his son feedback on what would ultimately be his decision. But Walker’s legacy continues to establish Georgia as a brand and a destination across the United States and not just the Deep South.
That just created an opening and all the other things that sold Swift on Georgia took over from there.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder said Walker’s reputation has only been enhanced by the program’s recent history at running back.
“There have just been great running backs,” Swift said. “I mean Todd Gurley, Sony Michel and (Nick) Chubb just doing great things for the program at running back.”
Swift on his official visits
Swift said that he plans to take all five of his official visits. The Georgia visit could take place in two weeks for the home game against Tennessee on Oct. 1.
“We have a bye week in two weeks and I’m looking to see how that fills out with my school schedule. My schedule is kind of hard to get out of town.”
The nation’s No. 4 RB cannot enroll early given the rigors of his academic curriculum at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. He plans to take all five of his official visits. Those will be to his five finalists.
That means he’ll also visit Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Penn State. Swift said on Wednesday that it was real close between Clemson and Penn State as the runner-up school.
“It was all real close,” Swift said. “It was real close between all of them because they were great coaches (recruiting me) across the board.”
Georgia is not in line for an official visit from 5-star safety
A popular topic that comes my way from readers via email or social media has to do with Georgia’s chances with five-star safety Jacoby Stevens. Stevens — the No. 2 player in Tennessee this year — favored Georgia for a time before eventually choosing to play for his home state at LSU.
Savvy folks watched LSU struggle early. They asked if the perpetual hot seat talk for Les Miles might help Georgia.
That does not appear to be the case. Stevens recently told DawgNation that he only plans to take an official visit to LSU at this time.
It is also worth noting that if something would happen to the staff at LSU, that Alabama would be the program best-positioned to take advantage of a coaching change. The Crimson Tide wound up No. 2 when he chose LSU last month.
Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.