UGA recruiting: ‘The League of Shadows’ is on the trail
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 League of Shadows” and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Chris Smith II thinks it is pretty cool. Or we should reveal that Agent Alpha said that prior to his next mission.
Agent Alpha believes a master plan by the UGA coaches and its recruiting staff could be a Lazarus Pit to revive the Class of 2018.
Agent Alpha owns the night. He uses the darkness like his personal Cover 2.
Agent Alpha turns post routes into post-mortems. He’s not the light, but the oncoming train at the other end of a tunnel screen.
Alpha feels 4-star DB Trey Dean could be Bane. Maybe 5-star Tyreke Johnson is Deathstroke.
Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker sits on the throne at the center of it all. Tucker is his real name. But his men know him as something else.
His alias would be Ra’s al Ghul. Or should it be his UGA-lias?
Ra’s commands “The League of Shadows” for Georgia. They hit so hard and so fast their victims needs to check their vital organs to know whether or not they have been cut.
This man has an eye for talent.
(This is the part of the blog where no doubt by now you’re wondering if someone hit me with some Joker gas this morning. I’m not mad. Just trying to shed some light on a popular UGA recruiting theme this year. I’m sure most of you wouldn’t care if they called themselves “The Electric Company” if it meant it attracted elite recruits.)
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) April 25, 2017
What is the League of Shadows?
Let’s get in our backpedal and share a few morsels of understanding:
- High school recruits these days really like splashy edits. The imagery ranges from NFL Draft Day to Heisman poses to royal imagery. The “League of Shadows” looks to be this year’s “Savages” when it comes to UGA recruiting.
- Georgia has turned to labeling its position groups on social media. The defensive backs are now “The League of Shadows.” James Coley’s receivers seem to be called “AlphaDawgs.”
— Anthony Schwartz (@anthony_flash10) April 19, 2017
- What does a “League of Shadows” have to do with playing defensive back? Well, even a superhero receiver like A.J. Green or Julio Jones can’t dodge their shadow. Superman can’t even slip his. That’s what Tucker’s DBs are charged to do.
- The Batman comic book mythology is steeped with links to the “League of Shadows.” When Bruce Wayne set out to become Batman, he needed to get his superhero on. He wound up being trained by the best and then splitting off from the group. The ninja clan then became one of Batman’s greatest adversaries.
- “The League of Shadows” is a clan of assassins, mercenaries and ninja types that evolved Wayne in his pre-Batman days. (Here’s an Intel homework assignment: Go watch “Batman Begins” tonight. You’ll see what I mean. Then you’ll scratch your head and wonder where Kirby Smart and Richard LeCounte III and DeAngelo Gibbs fit into all of this.)
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) May 4, 2017
- Bane – a member of the “The League of Shadows” — wound up breaking Batman’s back in the comic books and in the movies. That seems like a 2017 version of a coach wanting his defensive backs to be “ball hawks” or “dogs” or “headhunters” on the field. That works for me. Breaking Batman’s back seems harder to do than clamping down on a curl route on 3rd-and-6.
- There are social media labels for other positions aside from the receivers and defensive backs. The defensive line prospects have been featured in “TrenchMob” edits.
— darnelljeffries41@gm (@darnelljeffrie1) May 3, 2017
What Agent Alpha Chris Smith II thinks about this
Smith is an energetic and outgoing kid. He likes “DragonBallZ” and anime. He knows how hard it is to find but revels in it.
Georgia’s recruiting imagery on social media connects with that creative side of his brain. He’s okay with being different and having different passions than the typical football player.
“It is from Batman,” Smith said. “Coach Tucker sent me something about two days after I committed. It was before I went public with it. Coach Tucker sent me this list of names of everybody that was in ‘The League of Shadows’ and told me to pick out a name.”
Smith wasn’t initially up to speed. So he talked about it with his Dad.
Dad knew. Which has to earn him the ultimate in cool points.
“I asked my dad about it,” Smith said. “He said ‘League of Shadows? Oh, you must mean Batman and his enemies. The leader is Ra’s al Ghul’ and right when my Dad said that coach (Dell) McGee sent me a picture of Ra’s al Ghul.”
Smith scrolled through the list of names.
“I saw Alpha and it just caught my attention,” Smith said. “It was like number one. .. I associated Alpha with the first. Then I picked Alpha because I wanted to be the best and number one. I want to be that guy that gets other guys to come to Georgia.”
It also fits a tradition at his high school team. The No. 1 jersey is reserved at Hapeville Charter for the baddest man on the team.
The guy who wears No. 1 for Hapeville Charter is going to be a straight-out player and a core team leader in every sense of the word.
Georgia signee William Poole III wore it last year for Hapeville. Smith has claimed it this year.
“The League of Shadows’ is is the name for the whole 2018 defensive back class,” Smith said. “I don’t know if they will incorporate the whole team into it. It is just the Dbs. I had the opportunity to also make a name, but I just saw ‘Agent Alpha’ and knew that one was it for me.”
Smith thinks Dutchtown 4-star DB Trey Dean could be Bane. Dean has the skill set to play cornerback or safety. He also has impressive size and length for a defensive back.
“It is pretty cool to me,” Smith said. “I really like it and hopefully we can get some other guys to join our ‘League of Shadows’ for us this year.”
“I just really like the terminology with this. It makes us different and sets us apart. Because nobody is going to be able to get away from us.”