This Sentell’s Intel rep shares a read on how the potential move of second-year defensive backs coach Fran Brown might affect the commitment status of 5-star CB Ellis Robinson IV in the 2024 class.
Fran Brown wants to be a head coach one day. He was on the track when he took the defensive backs coach job at Georgia in January of 2022. There was just the feeling about him that he could be a head coach somewhere in two or three years.
We could arrive at that point in time this week. If not now, he will be scooped up by another program soon.
There are numerous reports swirling about him being the lead candidate for the job at Syracuse. That’s a region where he has deep recruiting contacts having worked at Rutgers and Temple in the past.
He’s right on schedule by that timeline to become the fourth member of Kirby Smart’s staff to go from an assistant coaching position to head coach at a Power 5 job. He would join Dan Lanning (Oregon), Sam Pittman (Arkansas) and Mel Tucker (Colorado) in that professional procession from Athens.
Good for Brown. If he’s hired by the Orangemen, he will have earned it. Brown has been a VITAL piece of putting together Georgia’s recruiting classes over the last two cycles.
If he does put on an orange ballcap soon, then the first question in every DawgNation recruiting fan’s mind is simple: How does that affect things with 5-star CB Ellis Robinson IV?
Robinson is the program’s highest-rated commitment on the 247Sports Composite ratings. It is my opinion that he’d be the most skilled cornerback prospect the ‘Dawgs project to sign in the Smart era. That’s saying a lot given that seriously talented prospects like Tyson Campbell, Daylen Everette, A.J. Harris, Kamari Lassiter and Kelee Ringo have made their way to Athens over the last eight recruiting cycles.
The most important thing to note here is Brown’s connection to Robinson is vast. I’d venture to say no Georgia staffer outside of Kirby Smart has played a bigger role in any single 2024 commitment’s connection to the program than the one between Brown and Robinson.
Brown’s persistence and the way he’s recruited Robinson have stood out time and time again. That goes back to when he was Robinon’s first offer back at Rutgers. Brown noticed Robinson as a freshman when he played prep school ball for Iona Prep in New York.
DawgNation reached out to the family in the midst of the Brown reports and received a cordial reply.
“We are still processing everything and we are happy for coach Fran,” his mother Nicole Robinson told DawgNation on the matter of Brown’s potential move.
There will be several elements to process because the Robinsons have built a strong connection to both Brown and UGA.
It isn’t taxing to notice the red hints in Robinson’s hair. That’s a nod to the ‘Dawgs and how he feels at home in Athens. He’s been soaking up an environment that’s just different in Athens on every gameday visit.
The Robinsons have said in the past there’s more than a connection with Brown with Georgia. DawgNation spoke to the Robinsons at length for a “Next Generation” story on Robinson that will come at a later time.
Nicole Robinson told DawgNation in October that the culture in Athens was a big draw for their family.
“I think the culture is definitely a big reason but with the relationships he’s developed,” Nicole Robinson said. “So Fran Brown is definitely a key person in his recruitment. But he’s developed relationships with Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp and then just us as family.”
“The way that Georgia recruits, they are not just recruiting him the player. They are recruiting us as a family. We’ve developed relationships not just with the coaches but also with the support staff. David Cooper. Angela Kirkpatrick, Logan Reed and Mrs. Christina [Harris] and it is not just the coaches. It is the whole staff in general. They just take you in and embrace you and they don’t let the foot off the gas. They are just 100 percent from the beginning up until now.”
“He’s developed relationships across the board and that is what is solidifying his commitment to Georgia.”
There’s the matter of what happened last year when Robinson was on his way to knee surgery for a torn meniscus. The UGA staff got on the phone with the Robinsons and said a word of prayer prior to that surgery.
That prayer was led by Harris. She’s the longtime director of recruiting administration in Athens. When one thinks about the most valuable behind-the-scenes recruiting assets for Kirby Smart’s Georgia, she is truly one of the most important pieces of that A1A machine in Athens.
That phone call was just a reflection of that.
“Georgia did not forget about him,” Nicole Robinson said. “They called. They wanted to pray with him and encourage him. I remember being in the car. Me and my husband and Ellis. On the way to the procedure. They called and they prayed and when we hung up that phone I said to my husband ‘You know what? That did it for me. They did not forget about him. What he was going through was important and they supported him?’ and I just loved that.”
Brown was on that call. Robinson then received calls from everybody on the staff from Smart on down.
It might come as a shock to some, but the Robinsons didn’t get the same treatment from a lot of schools that had been recruiting him hard. His father had to remind some programs he was out with knee surgery and then all of a sudden, they stopped calling.
What Nicole felt during the prayer during that phone call on the way to her son’s surgery is what has always mattered the most.
“That just sealed it for me,” his mother said. “That’s how they are as genuine people. Yes, they can develop him and all of that in the football sense. But at the end of the day just as a person they’ve shown they are really invested in him and that is huge for me. Huge.”
That “absolutely” won Nicole Robinson over to her son becoming a ‘Dawg.
“They did a phenomenal job,” she said back in October. “They keep doing a phenomenal job.”
The Robinsons have felt quite comfortable with the thought of their son thriving in Athens for some time. The potential loss of Brown would be a shock, but it is my belief that the ‘Dawgs are still positioned well to win this recruitment based on the overall fit with everyone at UGA and not just Brown.
That’s the type of recruitment necessary to win the race against Alabama and Miami here for a truly special cornerback talent that doesn’t come around but maybe once nationally every four or five years.
(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)