Everyone saw this coming. The relationship that UGA commitments established with Mark Richt when he led the program wasn’t tissue-paper soft.
It has led Malek Young to take a look at Richt’s track record and his sudden proximity to his South Florida home and decide he needs to give the Hurricanes a look. That said, the 3-star prospect is still committed to UGA and excited about the Kirby Smart hire.
“Its great to know that UGA has another coach involved now,” Young told DawgNation. “Now I can build my bond with him and get back on track with UGA.”
The senior defensive back from Florida’s Coconut Creek High School made it clear that restoring his bond with UGA was a priority. He said Auburn and Ohio State were currently knotted as his No. 2 schools.
“You don’t switch up from one school to another because of a coach,” Young said.
He’d been recruited by current UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt since he was a sophomore dating back to when Pruitt held that title at Florida State.
If Pruitt is not retained, Young said the level of respect he has for Smart could keep him at UGA. That comes despite Young saying Smart never recruited him at Alabama and that he didn’t think he had a solid offer from the Tide. He also said his interest in UGA is not solely related to Pruitt or Richt.
Young had planned to take his official visit to UGA this weekend with all the other commitments, but now he isn’t sure about that.
“The recruiting process is going crazy,” Young said. “Still waiting for all the (UGA) coaches to arrive. I’m not sure if they will have everybody in place at that time. I don’t want to take an official until all the coaches are in place.”
He has scheduled his official visit to Miami for the weekend of Jan. 15.
“Richt to Miami was a good move,” Young said. “I believe that Coach Richt can change Miami a lot with the potential he has as a coach and he can really help Miami’s offense.”
The college football world has been turned upside down of late, but it might have hit Young as hard as any other recruit. He was committed to UGA but was also considering Auburn and Ohio State. Each one of those schools has now seen at least a major change at the coordinator level or higher. The nearby Hurricanes now qualify, as well.
Auburn’s defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach are now at South Carolina. Young said he will also now consider a visit to that school. Ohio State — where he has already taken an official visit — lost defensive coordinator Chris Ash to the head coaching job at Rutgers.
Young is seen as an undervalued recruit. His high school coach feels if he was in Metro Atlanta, he’d be an easy four-star prospect. Yet he plays in talent-rich South Florida.
It appears that Young will wait to see what the coaches will look like on the defensive side of the ball before taking his UGA official.
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.