Julian Rochester hosted UGA assistant coach Thomas Brown and coach Kirby Smart in his home on Wednesday night. How does UGA’s highest-rated defensive commitment feel about Smart and the program now?
It was timely given that Rochester will enroll early. The massive 4-star defensive tackle had a few restless nights after Mark Richt was fired at UGA. He even recently took an official visit to Louisville at the urging of two former McEachern High School teammates that are there.
How does he feel about his UGA commitment after that in-home visit? If only you could have listened to the interview DawgNation conducted with his father. Michael Rochester only said “Go Dawgs” nine times during a conversation that lasted about seven minutes.
“I think Julian is ready to go to Georgia,” Michael Rochester said. “He would go tomorrow if he could and they would let him. What I mean by that is talking to my son this morning the only thing that really needs to be said is ‘Go Dawgs’ when it comes to Julian and Georgia. He would go check in at Georgia right now.”
That’s as fired-up as Brown and Smart would hope any target comes out of an in-home visit.
“Julian is as happy as he can be about going to Georgia,” Michael Rochester said. “When he got to meet coach Smart last night, then everything was settled.”
That’s vital. Rochester, who’s known for his charisma, is as strong an internal recruiter as any of UGA’s commitments.
- Michael Rochester said the meeting was about getting to know coach Smart as a person.
- Smart wasn’t able to answer questions about coordinators and position coaches and when those members of the staff would be retained or named.
“That was something he could not talk about, but outside of that it was a wonderful visit,” Rochester said. “Coach Smart said he was going to do the best thing he could for the team and I believe him when he says that. We’re just going to see what happens.”
- Michael Rochester had a heartfelt answer about hoping Smart retains as many of the current UGA staff as he can. He hoped defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer would all be back. The Rochester family has great relationships in place with each of those men.
“I would really like for him to retain as many as he can because this is the holiday season,” Michael Rochester said. “I got laid off one time the week before Christmas and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
- Smart told them that Rochester was a priority and UGA needed to get bigger up front.
“He said the more 300-pounders we can get up front, the better we can get,” Michael Rochester said.
- He did not know if his son would take any other recruiting visits. The Rochester family will be at the UGA recruiting event on Saturday and hopes to be able to help convince a few undecided commitments to come to UGA.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and 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.