Christian Tutt, one of the state’s top prospects for 2018, had to cancel last weekend’s visit to UGA due to the death of a close friend.
“When I first found out, I didn’t believe it,” Tutt told the AJC. “But when my brother and I first went out there and saw everybody crying, hurt, that brought our tears out.”
Marquavious Cummings, 19, drowned while swimming in a chalk mine pond last Thursday, a day before Tutt was set to leave for Athens, according to the AJC. Cummings played football at Thomson High School with Christian’s older brother, Chris. The three boys had been close since they were knee-high.
“When I found that had happened, I couldn’t go to Georgia because my mind was still on him,” Tutt said. “I didn’t feel up for it. I just wanted to stay at home, relax and try to get it off my mind.”
How Tutt has been able to cope with the loss of a close friend is indicative of how composed the 16-year-old has proven to be both on and off the field. And one could certainly point to his upbringing, too, as further proof of just how disciplined he is at such a young age.
Tutt’s father, Chris, played semi-professional football for the once-known Augusta Panthers before embarking on a brief career in the Army, where he served during Desert Storm.
“You have to have discipline in anything you’re doing,” his father said. “It was a team effort when I was in the military, and in football it’s the same thing. He understands that.”
It’s what’s led Tutt to become the No. 1 cornerback in the country in his respective class. Now, the 5-star cornerback from Thomson is sitting on 23 offers — and some schools are a bit worried.
“A lot of teams get turned off by me by the offer list that I have,” he said. “They don’t understand that I’m open to every school in the country.”
The 5-foot-11, 171-pound standout says he’s open to all schools, whether they’re Division I, Division II or even Division III, he jokingly admits. But that openness, he says, has deterred some programs from moving forward with him.
“There are a couple of schools, I won’t name them, that are scared to offer because they don’t want to waste their money or recruiting time on me if I’m not going to come there,” Tutt said.
Of course, one school that hasn’t shied away from recruiting the sophomore is UGA. Tutt’s uncle, Danny Verdun Wheeler, played for the Bulldogs as a strongside linebacker from 2003-06.
“I like a lot about Georgia, first of all, because my uncle played there,” Tutt said. “I’m very familiar with a lot of the coaches. I’ve been talking to them for the longest. Some of them played when my uncle was there.”
Aside from his uncle’s connection to the program, Tutt says it’ll be important for him to evaluate just how well he fits with the school, regardless if it’s a hometown option or not.
“Being an in-state kid, you grew up as a Georgia fan, but you have to also realize that Georgia may not be the right fit for you,” Tutt said. “You have to weigh out your options.”
And Tutt plans on doing so over the course of the next few years as his list of schools begins to take shape. As always, though, he’ll be diligent in his approach. But for now, Tutt’s immediate goal is improving his game.
“I’m not satisfied with being No. 11 overall,” Tutt said. “I want to be the top in the country, and that motivates me every day.”
Tutt will reschedule his UGA visit for sometime this month.