DawgNation went to its Facebook audience this week and asked for your questions. We wanted to know what you wanted to know when it comes to UGA football recruiting.
We asked. You answered. Now comes the time to blog about it.
Q: Does Coach Richt make an in-home visit with ALL recruits that are high on the list or just when it could be a deal maker? (Tim Parker) A: Richt usually makes an in-home visit with all commitments in the month before they sign. That period varies, but it is usually within the two weeks prior to National Signing Day. He’d look to schedule the in-home visit as close to the beginning of the dead period as possible for the 5-stars.
Q: Are there any new major breakout targets that we should be aware of? (Joshua Bedlam Grosh) A: Pay close attention to the decisions made by uncommitted receivers Tre’ Nixon and Grant Holloway over the next 30 days. Nixon hails from Florida and he should decide between Penn State and UGA before Halloween. Holloway, a Virginia speedster, is down to UGA and Florida. If either of them committed to UGA, they’d immediately be the best receiver in the 2016 class.
Q: How can we keep all these 4-5 star players committed to UGA? (Eric Williams) A: The biggest thing would be no staff changes. Everyone has their opinions about the coaching staff, but turnover among that staff would sever a relationship between a prospect and his primary recruiter and position coach. That’s a recipe for disaster. Recruiting is all about relationships.
Q: Who are the sleepers in the 2016 class? (Ryan Forsyth) A: I have three sleepers. Defensive tackle Tyler Clark, linebacker Chauncey Manac and defensive back Malek Young. The film and on-field production for each of those guys is better than advertised. Manac has sensational athletic potential at 6 feet, 4 inches, and 250 pounds. He can run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and power clean 350 pounds. It takes a special athlete to do all of that.
Q: What happened to the tight ends in our play calling? Disappeared. I’m sure that #1 tight end recruit is noticing. (Brian Denman) A: You better believe Isaac Nauta has. If by some miracle he hasn’t, then you can bet Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh sends him enough tight end stats that he won’t miss it. Harbaugh sends Nauta stats all the time that convey how Michigan uses its tight ends more than any other program in America.
Q: When are you going to recruit a kicker with a strong leg who can boot kickoffs through the end zone that would help special teams? (Jimmy Moore) A: Not this year. The kicker and punter routes usually wind up being invited walk-ons at other schools who earn the job and then the scholarship. UGA went after a highly-rated punter and kicker back in the summer and came up short on both. I think the numbers crunch with the 2016 class won’t leave them many scholarship options at those spots.
Q: Do the Dawgs land Kyle Davis on Friday? (Ryan Forsyth) A: No. As of now, he has postponed his decision. I do think that UGA lands Davis whenever he does make up his mind. For now at least.
Q: How is the recruiting going for our secondary? (Jacolby Montreal Wilson) A: Very good. I mentioned Malek Young in a previous answer. Chad Clay is the son of former Georgia Tech All-American Willie “Big Play” Clay. Tyrique McGhee told DawgNation that Auburn said he was their top defensive back priority earlier this year. Auburn has recently also set its sights on Young. If UGA can also add either Shyheim Carter, Sr. or Nigel Warrior, then this class is bonkers with talent. We should also remember that 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman, Jr. is a major target. He really likes UGA and UT. If he chooses UGA, then he should eventually land in the secondary on at least a part-time basis.
Q: Why don’t we ever recruit top-tier dual threat QBs? (Jacolby Montreal Wilson) A: This answer requires a dab or two of perspective. First, let’s not forget that Mark Richt has recruited dual-threats like D.J. Shockley and Christian Lemay in the past. Both were highly-rated. Shockley worked out splendidly. It may sound like a stretch, but Aaron Murray was also seen as a dual-threat quarterback by recruiting analysts coming out of the high school ranks.
I realize the point you are making with guys like David Greene, Matthew Stafford, Hutson Mason, Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey and now Jacob Eason populating everyone’s mental Rolodex of UGA quarterbacks. I get it. The public perception is that UGA is the place for a big-armed pocket passer to come in and thrive in a pro-style offense. Monday Night Football color commentator Jon Gruden brings that up quite a bit.
UGA is not seen as a team that runs the Spread formation and that’s the sort of offense that dual-threat quarterbacks seek for their skills to at the next level. A Pro-Style offense that emphasizes the power run game and throwing to the tight end just isn’t the right fit. Those guys thrive in space.
Q: Can you name the worst meal or snack offered during an in-home visit? (Tim Parker) A: I don’t have a bevy of information regarding the question, but I do know that Richt and company almost melted their tongues trying some hot sauce on a dish at an in-home visit at Rennie Curran’s house awhile back.
Q: How is recruiting going in the JUCO ranks? (Bart Kimbrell) A: UGA hasn’t looked to the junior college ranks as much as in years past. UGA has paid the most attention to a pair of JUCO offensive tackles in Demetri Moore of Mississippi Delta Community College and 6-foot-5, 290-pounder Garrett Bolles of Snow College in Utah. UGA is graduating two senior tackles and it usually takes an upperclassman to handle that spot in the SEC. That’s not the place to play a freshman unless they are very special.
Thanks to everyone for your questions. We’ll be back with the feature again next week on DawgNation.
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.