Morning. Another day. Another DawgNation Day. The staff here at DawgNation celebrates its first week of hunkering down to cover everything from Chester Adams to Eric Zeier and everyone on their way to fit in between.
What happened yesterday? Did you have a day at the lake? Back-to-school blues have you down? That’s what the Daily Recruiting Rewind for DawgNation is for. We went to class yesterday. We’ve got all the notes. No trip to Student Notes is necessary.
Here are today’s must-reads:
Richt with the flip
UGA has its share of traditions: The Arch, The Chapel Bell and the lone trumpeter in the upper deck of the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium. “Between the Hedges” and “Glory Glory” and “How ‘Bout Them Dogs” also top that list.
Its about time to add the Mark Richt flip. He pulled another one off yesterday. Fans will obviously point to Richt and ask fans of other schools if they can’t do that. (Oh, if only there was video of Phillip Fulmer or Charlie Weis cannonballs.) The reply will be something about championships. Can Richt can do that?
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 10, 2015
That’s a fair point, but there’s no denying it’s an impressive feat every August in a culture of young men wired to appreciate it when a dude says “Watch this” and pulls off something athletic. “Our coach is pretty cool” is the knee-jerk reaction. Do recruits notice that? You bet. What could top that? Maybe if Jeremy Pruitt could make his “Alabama flip” another annual tradition…….
“Tay” on the way
UGA’s Class of 2017 recruiting crop added a talented beanstalk from Louisiana yesterday. Devonta “Tay” Smith had offers from Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss per reports. The 6-foot-1, 163-pounder earned his UGA offer back at Dawg Night last month and wanted to commit soon after. He held off until Monday morning and became the third member of the 2017 class.
Things to know:
- He’s a 4-star athlete but prefers receiver
- He becomes the fifth consecutive receiver commitment for UGA dating back to Dawg Night
- He plays three sports and hails from a very athletic family
- He does 35 push-ups every hour on the hour
- He likes to go crabbing with an old-fashioned net and a chicken leg quarter in his down time.
The real nugget is this: His mentor told the AJC’s DawgNation yesterday that he can see the young man winning a Heisman Trophy one day. He said that he had three SEC coaches tell him the same thing. Can’t put any more seasoning on a steak than that last bit.
Speaking of flips
Shyheim Carter hails from Louisiana. He knows Devonta Smith very well. Their relationship has been described by others as like brothers in a family. That’s why it was interesting to see Carter de-commit from Alabama yesterday and Smith commit to UGA about an hour later. Carter is a 4-star cornerback for 2016 that publicly expressed his fondness for Pruitt’s coaching style after Dawg Night. UGAsports.com’s Jake Reuse summed it up right after Dawg Night. He’s rated among the Top 10 cornerbacks in America for his signing class. Vincent Sanders serves as an academic and athletic mentor to both young men among many others in Louisiana. DawgNation asked Sanders yesterday if the two events could possibly be related in any way. His answer: “Stay tuned.” Don’t worry. We will.
Why go to Starkville?
That’s a question asked by many an SEC fan before they take a trip to Cowbellsville. Then the place grows of them. Kinda. Why is the state’s top prospect going to take a visit to Mississippi State among his official visits? 5-star Derrick Brown told the AJC just why he plans to take that trip yesterday. His answer: Family.
Hardman Jr. slims down his list
Elbert County’s Mecole Hardman, Jr. continues to be a Tasmanian Devil for news on the recruiting front. He’ll be a silent commitment. He’s got insane athleticism. His perceived co-leaders are Tennessee and UGA, but won’t take an official visit to either school. His mother has a lot of faith in Richt.
Hardman was recently elevated to 5-star status and also leap-frogged Savannha’s Demetris Robertson to become the nation’s top-rated athlete by at least one service. The senior released his Top 10 yesterday in grand style with an impressive video produced by Bleacher Report. Slick video. But I did wonder where they got all those college flags in Elberton?
Brian Burns watch?
If any high school in America can be called a UGA pipeline, then American Heritage would be it. Marshall Morgan, Isaiah McKenzie and Sony Michel all hail from that South Florida program on the current team. Could Brian Burns be the next in line? He’s a talented 4-star defensive end from that same high school and he told Scout.com’s Corey Bender that he was seriously considering UGA. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder is an athlete in the Leonard Floyd mold. UGA was the first school to start recruiting him to play that “Floyd” role on Saturdays. Other schools soon followed. That only made the first guys in the room to play that card sound even cooler. Burns told Scout.com UGA will definitely get an official visit along with Florida State. Its a safe bet that the coaches on the defensive side of the ball are ready to see one of their guys commit now. Receivers coach Bryan McClendon might need to ice his back he’s picked up so many “Attaboy” slaps on it of late.
Birmingham, Ala., senior Quinnen Williams was initially committed to Auburn, but flipped to Alabama this summer. He started out on both sides of the line at Wenonah High but projects to be a bull in the middle of the Crimson Tide defensive line on Saturdays. That’s his recruiting story, but his inspiring personal story sticks with you. AL.com’s John Talty has that story as part of the annual “A-List” countdown of the top recruits in Alabama each fall.
Checking in on a WR
Let’s see….yep, today is a day that ends in y so that means we have to get something related to receiver recruiting on the table. Coconut Creek’s Binjimin Victor is considering UGA and the 4-star receiver would be a nice addition to a crowded receiver class. Victor is a high school teammates of underrated 2016 UGA DB commitment Malek Young. That’s at least some extra pull for UGA there. He told Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst Rob Cassidy recently that UGA was still in the mix to get one of his official visits. The 6-foot-4, 170-pounder is raw, but he ranks among the nation’s Top 10 receivers for 2016 based on the 247sports composite.
Remember the bear hug guy?
Miami Central, Fla., is one of the nation’s top talent factories. It seems like they rotate in a flock of road graders on the offensive line every season. Navaughn Donaldson is another one of those standout talents. The 6-foot-6, 315-pounder rates as a 4-star recruit among the Class of 2017. He got his UGA offer on June 13 at a Mark Richt camp in Athens and proceeded to give Richt a huge hug. Richt somehow came through the encounter with his high dive skills intact. Donaldson also told Cassidy that he remains high on UGA despite his recent commitment to Miami. 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. Follow @JeffSentell_