Alabama’s Nick Saban dampened UGA’s national championship hopes last year. Now Saban is returning to the state to inflict more damage.
Gainesville QB Blake Sims is the latest 2010 prospect to pledge to Alabama. Sims picked the Crimson Tide over UGA, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia, among others.
Alabama has as many commitments from the state as Georgia Tech (3), and more than UGA (1). The other Tuscaloosa-bound prospects are North Gwinnett OL Austin Shephard and Westside-Macon WR Ronald Carswell.
The big questions are these: Now that Saban is scoring big early in Georgia, will he be able to finish as strong as he started with recruiting? And will he be able to hold on to the commitments he has? So far, so good.
UGA touched base with Sims this week, asking if he wanted to take another look at the Bulldogs. “[Assistant John Jancek] wanted me to come down there, so they could roll out the red carpet like Alabama did for me last weekend,” Sims said. “I told him thanks for the invitation, and I appreciated it. It was hard to turn down Georgia. I grew up a Georgia fan. I’ve been good friends with [Mark Richt] since my freshman year.”
“But I’ve already picked my school, and I’m going to keep my word because [Saban] gave me his word.”
Saban closed the deal with Sims at a dizzying pace. It was the stuff of recruiting legends. Last Wednesday, Sims said West Virginia, Michigan and UGA were his top three choices. Thursday, Alabama offered out of the blue. Friday, Sims talked to Saban for the first time in his life. Saturday, Sims visited Alabama for the first time. Within a few hours, Saban had Sims so fired up he was ready to learn words to the school fight song.
“Coach Saban showed me love, lots of love,” Sims said. “He let me know I was very important to the future of Alabama football. I was head over heels about the place. I surprised myself by committing. I just looked up and asked God to help me with my college decision.”
The quick commitment by Sims abruptly ended a long travel itinerary for his family over spring break. They were headed to West Virginia the next day, and then Michigan by the end of the week.
However, the recruiting journey has just begun for Sims, along with rest of Alabama’s seven overall commitments. As with all the top prospects, Sims will be pursued by other schools until he signs the scholarship papers in February. He got 11 letters from colleges on Thursday, including hand-written cards from coaches at West Virginia and Michigan.
Nice start by Nick Saban with next year’s recruiting class, especially in Georgia. We’ll see where everything stands in 10 months.