Tate Ratledge. Herschel Walker. Those two fellas are part of a story that says a little about Walker, something more than that about Ratledge and then even how Walker continues to intersect with the next generation of Georgia football.
Sedrick Van Pran-Granger shared a story last week with DawgNation about how stunned he was that Walker even knew who he was. That conversation was part of our DawgNation weekly “Before the Hedges” live recruiting special which airs on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Ratledge was a part of the Wednesday show for this week. He tells the story of the viral photo that caught a lot of eyes back during the spring of 2019. It was their first meeting.
Walker was the one who looked small in comparison.
When he was at the All-American Bowl out in Texas, he said that he was measured 6 feet, 6 inches and then some in height. He tipped the scales at 318 pounds.
That’s a striking visual here framed up in the adjacent photo with a larger-than-life glimpse of Ratledge.
The All-American signee from Darlington School shared that story with DawgNation, but also just how he later used that moment to reaffirm his pledge to Georgia in the transition from Sam Pittman to Matt Luke as offensive line coach.
He wore a size 3XL glove out at the All-American Bowl in Texas. Those were necessary to fit nearly 11-inc hands. His football cleat will be a size 15. He’ll have big shoes to fill one day with the likes of Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson going off to the NFL this year, but he has the feet and the ability to do so.
Ratledge pointed to a few members of the 2020 class that he considered to be core recruits for the push to the nation’s top class in 2020.
He covers one name in the video, but also brought up the name Mekhail Sherman. That’s the longtime OLB commit in the class. Sherman committed to Georgia in May of 2019 and never wavered from that.
“The biggest I think is Mekhail,” Ratledge told DawgNation last month. “Just the stuff he puts out all the time. I think he loves it.”
He also covered the following topics with DawgNation:
- What did Walker have to say about his size?
- Which 2020 Georgia recruit was also a tireless behind-the-scenes recruiter for this class?
- What was that first meeting like with Luke?
Check out this week’s episode of “Before The Hedges” with DawgNation.
The Van Pran-Granger edition of “Hedges” from earlier this month is also embedded below.
Tate Ratledge: What mattered with UGA aside from football
The weight of the UGA degree mattered a lot to Ratledge. Not just Pittman and Luke and the chance to play with a bunch of ‘Dawgs on the field.
There was some family influence here with all of that.
“My mom she teaches [Advanced Placement] classes,” Tate Ratledge said. “She’s a big academic person. So, of course, me deciding to go to Georgia with it being such a great academic school, she was excited about that. But other than that it was basically if I got hurt and couldn’t play where would I be happy for four years if I wasn’t able to play?”
Clemson tried “a little bit” to flip Ratledge at the 11th hour. So did Tennessee. That was the team he grew up loving with his family.
“I talked to Clemson,” Ratledge said. “Coach [Dabo] Swinney just told me whenever you come to a decision if you will let me know. If you’re fine with Georgia you tell me and I will be completely fine with it.”
When Pittman opted to leave, the first person to call was Smart.
“He called me while he was in the meeting,” Ratledge said.
Other Georgia coaches and staffers quickly followed that lead.