Here’s Kimberley Nash’s perspective on five of the biggest UGA recruiting stories that people are talking about this week:
1. Kyle Davis sets commitment date.
Kyle Davis recently announced his commit date: October 23. Will he actually commit on that day—his high school’s Homecoming is that night and that’s why he chose that particular moment to re-announce his commitment—or will the waters still be so muddied, he’ll decide to push it back?
That’s anyone’s guess, really, and we’ll all just have to wait and see.
At any rate, he says he has absolutely no leaders at this time. Not UGA. Not Tennessee. Not Auburn. He’s still wide open and anything can happen. That said, he shot down any rumors that he’s silently committed, saying in a recent interview with 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell that, “I haven’t even ever thought about committing yet to anywhere.”
Whether he’s thought about it or not, most would be surprised if he ended up anywhere but UGA or Tennessee. Those programs continue to recruit him the hardest and he’s developed close ties with both coaching staffs.
2. Isaac Nauta may not have a “leader,” but UGA certainly feels like one.
Nauta decided to clarify any notion that he has a “leader” by saying he doesn’t. He likes a handful of schools, and has plans to visit at least four of them officially, UGA included. However, with him having family ties, in multiple states, there is still plenty of reason to believe he will choose to go elsewhere.
His plan is to announce his decision in January and then enroll shortly thereafter.
While Michigan certainly looks like a more intriguing option by the day, UGA’s pitch could hold plenty of weight too. Nauta’s been told he would be a great fit in Schottenheimer’s offense.
“They really just try to emphasize the fact that I’d fit in like a glove over there,” Nauta told 247sports.com’s Kipp Adams. “Coach Schottenheimer is really big on using two tight ends. I have not really had a chance to sit down and look at film of what he has done in the league, but just based on everything I have been told, it should be a big year for their tight ends.”
Nauta will officially visit UGA on October 3rd when the Bulldogs play host to Alabama.
3. Striking Back against Satellite Camps?
Remember the heated conversation, last spring, regarding the appearance of “guest coaches” at satellite camps? James Franklin (Penn State) made himself available for such an event in the Atlanta-area, this past April, thanks in large part to an NCAA loophole.
And while the practice isn’t new—that particular loophole has existed for more than a decade—the chatter about it was almost deafening, at times. Lots of folks weighed in on it, including UGA Head Coach, Mark Richt.
That said, in a move that almost seems to speak to the presence of this year’s “State Invasion,” UGA has made a move towards broadening their brand and making sure everyone is aware that this state is one they have no intention of relinquishing.
In a statement released by the UGA Athletics Department, it was announced that UGA would be targeting the Atlanta-area even more. The statement read, in part that “…Over the next several months, Bulldog Nation will see rotating graphics of their favorite players on 44 digital faces throughout Atlanta and Athens. With the installation of our digital marketing campaign, Georgia’s flagship university will be one the most widely seen brands in the greater Atlanta area.
“We’re proud to be one of the most powerful brands in college athletics, and want to effectively tell our story,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Andy Platt. “As part of our new multi-media campaign, we want to have a strong digital presence in Atlanta and give fans and alumni a great sense of pride as they approach Athens.”
UGA may not be able to keep other coaches away from the state, but they can certainly make them remember where they are when they’re here.
Will the move translate into more talent being funneled into Athens? Not a clue, but it’s clear UGA is beginning to take greater care in protecting its borders.
4. Nigel Warrior wants to leave his own mark.
Popular opinion has Nigel Warrior signing with Tennessee.
His dad played there and Warrior doesn’t seem against the idea of playing there too. That said, he’s also fond of UGA.
“I think Georgia is a great place,” Warrior told 247sports.com’s Kipp Adams. “This is where I am from, so representing Georgia is something I would love to do. Georgia is my hometown school and who I grew up watching with my family on Saturdays. I could see myself playing at Georgia and representing the state.
The pull of playing for the Vols, as a legacy, may prove to be too much for Warrior to pass up. That said, it intrigued me to hear him say he wants to blaze his own trail. He doesn’t want to be compared to his father, nor does he want the collegiate world referencing him as “Dale Carter’s son”.
Said Warrior, “They just see me as Dale Carter’s son. They say I’m a good player or whatever, but all I hear is Dale Carter this-and-that. I don’t know if Tennessee doesn’t really just regard me as just Nigel Warrior.”
Warrior is a very confident football player and he feels that his talents make him good enough to play wherever he chooses. In his opinion, he can walk on to any campus in the nation and make an immediate impact. He’s that sure of himself. Such a level of confidence is something that has to be considered here because how does only being known as “Dale Carter’s son” get to “Nigel Warrior” in the long run?
If Tennessee’s pitch is all about following a legacy, they may end up losing the player that’s looking to become a legend.
5. Tyler Clark and AU
Clark says he’s 99% committed to UGA and plans to take a few more visits to Auburn. Should UGA fans be concerned? Not yet.
The fact remains, he’s still “99% committed”.
If he’d said he was 60%, or perhaps even 70%, I might be a little more inclined to wonder what was up. However, you have to figure anything above 90 is good odds, right? Even in recruiting. At least for now.
That said, Auburn’s involvement with him is going to set off alarm bells because they are also involved with a couple of other UGA targets—namely Rashan Gary and Derrick Brown. You can bet the Tigers (and Rodney Garner) would love to make UGA fans suffer in misery on at least one of these players. A misery Auburn surely felt after missing on Trent Thompson last season.
And can you imagine the tears if the Tigers got them all? That’s a possibility that I would hate to see played out on National Signing Day, in Butts-Mehre. Talk about a breakdown of epic proportions if that happened.
But don’t let me digress.
Here’s the thing, Clark is committed to UGA, but the schools that don’t have him will always be a threat because those schools will push harder. Remember, with Clark, UGA is trying to maintain a relationship, Auburn is trying to further one.
Consider this, at the beginning of a relationship, everyone is at their most impressive. They say and do the right things and make you wonder how you’ll ever do without them. However, once a commitment is made, you are forced to trust that things will stay honest and true, on both sides. You have to trust you’ve done enough to make them stay.
That said, as much as the UGA coaching staff will continue to stay in touch with Clark, and make him feel special, the schools without said commitment are always going to be in a position to present something better. And Clark will feel that attention, on a more intense level, because it’s going to have a great deal more urgency.
That urgency is something UGA can’t duplicate right now.
Even having said all of that, in my opinion, unless Clark starts having more conversations about the level of his commitment, the need for concern hovers somewhere between slim and none.
It’s also worth noting that Clark has publicly stated he’s always wanted to play for UGA. That’s the reason he chose them, over Auburn, in the first place.
* Bonus *
6. Chad Clay: committed to looking around a bit more?
Speaking of random commitment percentages, Clay says he’s 90 percent committed to UGA at the moment. However, where Clark is a prospect who may just be having a bit of fun, it sounds like Clay is making sure he has a legitimate backup plan, just in case UGA decides they need to move in a different direction.
“Oklahoma is still coming real hard,” Clay said. “So, just in case anything happens with Georgia, that could be a possibility.”
Clay has been committed to UGA since May 2015, and it doesn’t appear that he’s looking to de-commit. However, his comments, coming on the heels of Shyheim Carter’s decision to re-open his recruitment, is too much of a coincidence to overlook and will still likely cause a conversation–be it a valid one or not.
Kimberley Nash has blogged about UGA’s football recruiting since 2011.