UGA recruiting: Where did his youth coach want 5-star RB Zamir White to go?
Do you follow Georgia football recruiting? Would you like a daily lap around it? That’s what the Intel brings at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and why the nation’s No. 1 RB Zamir White chose UGA plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
LAURINBURG, N.C. — Darrell Holland arrived at Zamir White’s decision ceremony early. Way early.
He was there to see the young man he knew when he coached the Lar Hill 49ers do the most grown-up thing of his life so far. He was also nervous for White.
This isn’t a story the North Carolina locals will like. But it is what it is. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Holland had kept up his relationship with White through those years.
“Zamir still calls me Coach,” Holland said.
He would see him often at the gas pump. They’d chat. There is still a warmth there between the two.
The kind that had Holland at White’s ceremony before almost every single media member.
“I was very nervous,” Holland said. “I got real nervous when I saw his best friend Jon Smith show up. He played here. Now he plays for [North] Carolina. I took that as a bad sign.”
White’s old coach put his loyalties clearly on the table. He wasn’t a Georgia fan.
“But I have always wanted him to go to Clemson or Georgia,” Holland said. “If Zamir went to one of those schools, they’d know what to do with him. He can be special. He can play in the NFL. I just don’t think that Carolina could win and they could also get him there to the NFL.”
He added one other very important thought. It was that North Carolina only plays for championships during basketball season. There are also schools which provide better launch points for Heisman Trophies and NFL careers.
But that hard truth is the same thing Bulldogs fans might feel when they see Ohio State snatch a player away.
There’s a clear food chain in the world of big-time college football. Georgia hopes that White and many other impact signees can take the program to Buckeye and even Alabama territory.
“If he went to North Carolina, then the best he could do was play for a state championship,” Holland said.
He was referring to beating Duke and North Carolina State and Wake Forest. That would secure the North Carolina state championship.
“I want more for Zamir than that,” Holland said. “He’s still the same great kid that I got to know from the moment I first saw him. I am a Carolina fan, but I am a bigger Zamir fan.”
That time Zamir White tried out for Scotland rec football
White wasn’t always known as Zeus. The talent didn’t ooze so easily from him on the football field. He wasn’t Zeus when he got to Scotland. The high school staff didn’t know much about him.
Holland started coaching White when he was 10 years old and had two years with him. The coach of those 49ers remembers at least 2-3 touchdowns in his first game.
“He was still quick back then,” Holland said. “I had two starters at running back when he moved here from Charlotte [N.C.]. They brought him to me and said he was the next guy. I remember they said his name was Zamir White and he would be there at practice tomorrow.”
The day — even though it was years ago — hasn’t left him.
“He walks up and says, ‘Excuse me, sir’ and ‘my name is Zamir White’ and ‘are you the coach?’ the first time I spoke to him,” Holland said. “Such a nice young man even then.”
He’d already gotten a scouting report.
“I hear you are pretty fast,” Holland said.
White said he could run a little bit.
“So I stopped practice right then and we had a three-man race,” he said. “A 40-yard dash. I told him I wanted to see how fast he was. Well, he outran both of them. So we moved him into our No. 2 slot.”
The first game was an experience.
“He turned the corner on his first play,” White said. “His first carry. Touchdown. We all knew what we had with him then.”
That’s the same thing that happened the first time White carried the football as a freshman for Scotland County High School.
If that happens at Georgia, that won’t be a shock to these folks back home in Laurinburg that love him.
Thanks for joining DawgNation’s live stream
If you’re asking yourself what is up with this Zamir White fella, then you’ve probably had a very long vacation over the last few weeks. White, the nation’s No. 1 RB for 2018, chose UGA over Alabama on Tuesday.
DawgNation had been in North Carolina since Sunday evening covering his decision. We also had the chance to bring everyone a live stream of his announcement.
If you missed it, here’s another chance to see him say “DawgNation baby” at just the right time.
I have one quick random thought. What will be the over-under on how many puppies out there in DawgNation that will be given the name “Zamir” or “Zeus” over the next four years?
Top 8 coming down the track
Look for major UGA target Kearis Jackson to drop his top 8 at some time Wednesday. It should be after he arrives in Oregon to compete in The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., this week.
The 4-star from Peach County High School in Middle Georgia has been a major target for receivers coach James Coley for at least the last 16 months. I do expect UGA to be in that top 8. Easily.
Jackson rates as the nation’s No. 20 WR and the No. 98 overall prospect for 2018 per the 247Sports composite.
The quarterbacks and receivers are flying in Wednesday to get ready for the first day of competition on Thursday.
We’ll have a big preview on The Opening later this week, but it will be a lot different from UGA’s slate of commitments last summer. The Bulldogs will have just two commitments there this week.
That would be newly-minted 4-star CB Chris Smith from Hapeville Charter Career Academy, and Nolan Smith, a 5-star DE for 2019.
Both should fare very well during the three days of elite competition.