UGA recruiting: What the Bulldogs are getting in Owen ‘Big O’ Condon
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news with a little more on the Owen Condon decision plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
How did Owen Condon commit to Georgia?
The 305-pound prospect probably will remember it as that moment after Kirby Smart went all Jerry Maguire on him. It strikes me as a time when Smart and offensive line coach Sam Pittman had him at hello.
That is how the big (he’s a tick under the 6-foot-7 mark) tackle from Oklahoma City shared what he was thinking as Smart showed off his black belt recruiting pitch.
Condon’s skill set and how it will help Georgia? Yessirrr. Commitment to winning? Covered. The academic support and the weight of the Georgia degree. Noted over and over.
- New recruiting room?
- Indoor practice facility?
- DJ booth in the locker room?
- Special omelets made by 5-stars at the training table?
- West end zone?
Check and check and check and all that.
Condon respectfully waited for Smart to nail every line. But he was just waiting for his turn to speak.
“He was kind of giving me the whole pitch about what Georgia had to offer,” Condon said. “He was like ‘I think that is all I have got to say. Do you guys have any questions or anything like that?’ and kind of looked to us to see what else we needed to know.”
Condon told his mother earlier that day he was going to commit. Sheri Condon, his mother, is a UGA alum.
The big tackle replied he was set to be a part of that #rarebreed18 hashtag.
“I said I think I’ve seen everything I need to over these past two days and I’m ready to commit,” Condon said.
Smart’s speech was the equivalent of the Victory formation late in the fourth quarter.
“He was like ‘You mean so I didn’t have to say any of that?’ and I told him I was going to commit either way,” Condon said.
Smart and Pittman basically had him by the time he sat down on the couch. What did Smart say next?
“He was like ‘Oh well’ and ‘Whatever’ and said he was just glad I was committed,” Condon said.
Condon rates as the nation’s No. 42 offensive tackle prospect for 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He hardly does any evaluation camps, and that might have something to do with his 3-star rating despite his impressive size.
What mattered for Owen ‘Big O’ Condon
Condon liked the similarity of the moment to the start of his process at UGA. Smart offered him on that couch and he felt it was a fitting parallel to commit there, too.
“Both my parents kind of expected us to sit down and all talk about it,” Condon said. “But I think it kind of sounds cliche’ to say you’ll know where to go and it will be a gut feeling. It kind of sounds cliche’ there but honestly it is true. I just knew over these past few days. Georgia was probably my top school going into this visit but it kind of sealed the deal hanging out with some of the guys.
“There’s no place I would rather be. Honestly.”
He noted the reasons a young man with a high 3.9 grade-point average would look for.
“It wasn’t one thing or one moment,” Condon said. “It was kind of everything together. What Georgia has to offer academically. Obviously, their football is in the SEC. Coach [Sam] Pittman. You can’t really beat that from any other O-line coach anywhere. Then Athens and the social life and the college experience that it will offer. The combination of those three things is kind of unmatched in my opinion.”
Who finished second? Condon never tallied that up. He just had a top 5 with Georgia, TCU, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt.
“I’ve always told him I didn’t want him to choose Georgia just because I went there,” Sheri Condon said. “I told him that time and time again on every visit that we have been on. I mean him choosing Georgia makes me proud. But him choosing Georgia for the academic side of things is huge for him. That’s because he is a very intelligent kid and a great student.”
What is Owen Condon like off the field?
Why Georgia? His mother echoed all the same things: 1) Academics; 2) Great college town and social environment; 3) SEC football and the coaches who will develop him both as a player and a man.
“Georgia was just everything that his father Bill and I wanted for him,” she said.
But she still had that “What?” initial reaction when her son said he was ready. He did decide to play about 950 miles away from Oklahoma.
“I loved he was ready to commit but was still a little surprised that he was ready to do it,” she said. ‘.. But I was so happy for him that he feels like he found the place where he knows he’s going to be happy with what’s coming for his life and for his future with the quality of this college education.”
His mother summed up what her son will bring to Georgia. Well, besides a most appropriate “Big O” nickname.
“Big O brings to Georgia a type of person who has a work ethic that really can’t be compared to anyone else I know of,” Sheri Condon said. “He’s always working on himself to improve through the whole recruiting process. He works on things he knows he needs to. When he goes on these visits, he talks to these coaches and wants to know what he needs to work on. He asks them what do they see. His commitment to academics is huge. He’s probably as close to a 4.0 [GPA] as he possibly can be.
“…. So he’s going to perform on the field and in the classroom. Then there is his character. He’s always been reserved and quiet but he’s also caring and will do anything for anybody at any time. I think his teammates will enjoy having somebody out there with them who will bust his butt to work hard and take care of them, too. That’s the guy who will be playing alongside them.”
What’s left on the board at OL for this cycle?
What’s next for the offensive line for 2018? Well, there’s Condon and Warren Ericson on board.
The names Jamaree Salyer and Trey Hill come to mind after that. Those two guys are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 guards for 2018, respectively.
“I think their plan is to take two guards,” Owen Condon said. “I think you know who I am talking about. But I think their plan is to take one tackle and three guards. But obviously that’s never set it stone and you never really know that with recruiting. That’s kind of the plan.”
Daniel Faalele, the 6-foot-9 tackle from IMG Academy, seems to be a guy that UGA might turn to if the numbers fall right for an additional tackle. If Faalele has a great first five games of senior tape, that likely would cinch it.
Hill is also being recruited to play immediately at center if need be. Condon also got the chance to meet Ericson on Saturday.
“I actually met him after I committed,” Condon said. “We hung out. He’s a really cool guy. We just talked about who we were going after next. We’re going after [5-star QB] Justin Fields, Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer. That’s the move.”
Condon sized up Ericson as a guy that carries the same operating system he does.
“I see a lot of similarities between me and Warren,” Condon said. “We’re calm, cool and collected off the field and then on the field we kind of flip the switch and we are just a different guy.”
5 quick things to learn about Owen Condon
- The UGA connection sounds pretty seamless. His mother’s best friend from her college years still resides in Athens. It will lessen the nerves of a mother sending her son some 900 miles away.
- He’s shutting the recruiting process down. No more visits. He’ll kindly talk to coaches out of respect but that’s about it. Condon’s high school will not allow him to enroll early. “Big O” lands sometime next June.
- Condon can be called a Georgia boy. He was born in Atlanta. His mother made sure he was geared up in a UGA romper shortly thereafter.
- His hands were measured at UGA at 10.75 inches.
- He plans to be a business major. Somewhere in the Terry College.
The power of Sam Pittman
Condon is from Oklahoma. That’s how Pittman, who played collegiately at Pittsburg State (Kan.) and has significant coaching experience in that part of the country, was able to strike up an immediate kinship. Pittman told him how he’d like the way things would set up for him in Athens from the right point of view.
They could relate.
“Sam Pittman is awesome,” Condon said. “That’s my guy. We talk twice a week. We have a great relationship. He’s been there since I was offered on my last visit. We started talking when we followed each other on Twitter. Our relationship just sparked from there. He’s hilarious and is always joking around with the other coaches, with me and some of the players. He’s a really good guy. As far as O-line coaches go, his track record of putting guys in the league is unmatched.
“I think it was just an easy decision.”
Condon also has a message for DawgNation.
“I just want to let everybody know that I’m not going anywhere else and I will be at Georgia in the Class of 2022. We’re going to go and build it up. We’re going to start winning SEC championships and we are going to win a national championship in my opinion.”