Nate McBride doesn’t really know what one potential recruit’s opinion might do to sway support in favor of Mark Richt remaining at UGA. But the top-rated linebacker is sure going to try.
“It would really be a shame if something happened to Mark Richt because he’s done millions of things for that program,” McBride said. “He has brought them up. Even before him, they had not won a national championship since Herschel Walker. It is not just him, but every year something happens like a player gets hurt. UGA is a front-runner every year with Richt. I don’t know if one player can help him out, but I am just trying to help.”
McBride, the nation’s No. 4 inside linebacker for 2017 by the 247 composite rankings, is a nasty tackler with sprinter’s speed. Rivals rates him as a 5-star recruit and the nation’s No. 1 ILB.
The junior from Georgia’s Vidalia High School wants his leverage his status as one of the nation’s top prospects to help Richt and his staff any way he can.
“The Georgia coaches have done a lot for me,” McBride said. “They do things exactly the right way. They say for a recruit to not base their decisions off the coaches but once you grow a strong relationship with them it is hard not to.”
McBride broke a bone in his left hand last summer and then suffered major injuries to both hands after falling asleep while driving home just prior to the start of his junior season. Those injuries forced him to miss his entire junior year.
“They stayed with me through my surgery and UGA and Alabama have been right there with me the most,” McBride said. “If something happened to Coach Richt and his staff, it just wouldn’t be the same for me with Georgia. It wouldn’t be right without them there.”
McBride spoke up for the way Richt carries himself, his strong Christian faith and conviction and said that he’d want to play for him even if he wasn’t at UGA. He said the right man for the job has been there for the last 15 seasons.
That’s exactly who I want to play for, said McBride, who can’t imagine Richt or any member of his coaching staff being let go. “… It would be shocking to me. You don’t let a coach like Mark Richt go. You just don’t.”
The junior rattled off reasons why the staff should return: He praised the defense, but also called attention to the injury to Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Chubb. McBride had strong opinions for how a lot of Power 5 teams would look if they lost their difference makers.
He said he’s strongly considering committing to UGA, but the chances of that would likely disappear if something happened to Richt and his staff. He said if UGA retains Richt, it would make a big impact on his recruiting.
That said, he has two dates in mind for his commitment. Option 1 could happen before his senior season next fall, or his second ideal moment would be at the U.S. Army All-American game in 2017. He said Florida State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Stanford have been on him hard of late.
“The chances (of me committing to UGA) are very high,” McBride said. “But so is it with Alabama. It is going to be a close match between those two schools for me. But if Georgia’s defensive staff leaves or Mark Richt leaves, then Georgia will definitely drop.”
He just doesn’t see how a coach who has a chance to win 10 games in back-to-back seasons would be in danger of losing his job. He pointed out UGA legend Vince Dooley didn’t win one until his 17th year.
He’s on the mend from his injuries. Both of his hands were immobilized and the casts just came off. He should be able to start lifting weights again in January. McBride has already been laser-timed at 10.68 seconds in the 100-meter dash and at 21.6 seconds in the 200.
That’s great speed for a skill player, much less a 220-pound inside linebacker.
I'm really starting to think about my commitment decision and I know I won't be committing to Georgia if the defensive staff or richt is gon
— donkeiii (@nmcbride13) November 29, 2015
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.