Ever see the phrase “Armchair Quarterback” or “Monday Morning Quarterback” around a sports blog or two?
Yeah, thought so. Well, here’s a novelty I’d like to trot out called “Friday Morning Recruiter” on DawgNation.
The premise is simple. I’ll take a little bit of what I know, what I’ve heard and read the tea leaves a bit. I’ll throw in a dollop of more than 15 years covering big-time high school players and what shapes their decisions to sign with one football factory over another.
DISCLAIMER: I’m just a sports writer. Not Dawgstradamus. This might get messy. I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Feel free to try this at home. It’s a free country.
That’s it. Well kick off this Friday feature off with a big one: Isaac Nauta.
Here’s what I would say and do to land a signature on those SEC scholarship players from the-Buford-to-IMG -first-down chains-moving-sensation.
Wear Jeb Blazevich and Jay Rome slap out this fall
That’s where it starts. Give those two tight ends the ball so much that Keyshawn Johnson would complain about their catches. Nauta has said he’d like to see how much this year’s UGA offense features the tight end. Do they have their hand on the ground? Do they flex out? Are they targeted in the Red Zone? Do they do all the stuff “Gronk” and Jimmy Graham do on Sundays?
If Blazevich makes All-SEC this year at tight end, UGA definitely lands in Nauta’s final Top 2. If he’s an All-American, UGA has a chip to deflate any negative recruiter’s best pitch on the spot right there.
No big off-the-field incidents
Did everyone else notice how UGA did not have any off-the-field tomfoolery this summer? I bet Steve Spurrier did. Nauta probably did, too.
He made the comment to a recruiting site that it concerned him when he saw one off-the-field incident after another at FSU this summer. It had to make him wonder if Tallahassee was where he needed to be.
An elite 5-star player like Nauta thinks NFL. The odds of that pipe dream coming true are a little better for a guy some recruiting analysts feel is the best tight end prospect since Obama was elected. He wants a drama-free springboard to those goals.
Make it clear there’s no doubt that UGA is a very stable runway to the NFL.
Stress faith AND championships on the official visit
Nauta played at Buford. He’s used to winning and going to a program that will contend for championships. He’ll also do the same at IMG this fall. It has been said more than once that one of the great things about Mark Richt is his focus is on building great men first.
The message is a fantastic one. Leave the volume up on full blast with that. Let’s add a second verse of “Build Great Men and Championships” to go with it. “Richt is my Dawg” should be tweaked to “Richt will get me a ring.”
That’s what 5-stars remember five minutes after getting buttered up by one smooth pitch after another.
Win pretty big this fall
This one’s easy. What’s the number one thing that other SEC say to snipe away at a kid leaning towards Athens? It’s the dreaded “U” word. Those underachieving days have to end. That means a minimum 10-win season and a spot in the SEC title game.
Let Schotty shine running the offense
Everyone talks about defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and with good reason. His footprints are all over the program. But first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needs to be huge this fall. He’s got the DNA and NFL pedigree to get UGA at the top of the list in the discussion of who has the most effective pair of coordinators in the SEC now.
UGA led the SEC in averaging 41.5 points per game last season. That pace needs to continue and there are all the pieces like the Quarterback-who-shall-not-yet-be-named and that guy named Chubb in the backfield.
Can UGA look like another incarnation of that great Auburn backfield tandem of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel this year? Can Michel flex out of the backfield enough to be one of the team leaders in receiving, too? Does everyone in Sanford Stadium shout “Jeb” when that streaking tight end catches a big ball up the seam?
Employ a handful of two tight end sets each game. That stuff keeps defenses honest and can create mismatches with a guy like Blazevich or a Nauta on the field.
Nauta is a student of the game and will likely coach it one day. If he sees the UGA offense put up more Xbox and PlayStation numbers while featuring the tight end, he’s likely going to be all in with the G.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.