There’s nothing quite like the wacky world of recruiting.
And few other states are affected like Georgia, which has more than 200 high school seniors sign with major colleges every year. If there is a soap opera playing out somewhere across the landscape of college football, chances are good that there is a Georgia connection involved in some way.
Take, for instance, M.L. King’s Mack Brown, one of the nation’s top-rated running backs. He woke up the morning after Christmas as a Florida Gator. Later that night, while saying all the right things publicly (more details in this blog by the AJC’s Chip Towers), Brown’s future is not as clear after the stunning resignation of Urban Meyer.
Brown and Meyer were more than just a coach and a prospect. They had developed and nutured a friendship during the recruiting process. It was Meyer, not the Florida’s running backs coach or territorial assistant, who personally handled Brown’s courtship. They talked on the phone 2-3 times per week, according to Brown.
“We talked last Monday, and (Meyer) told me to ‘get my hamstring ready because we want you to carry the ball 20-25 times next year,’” Brown said, almost in a voice of disbelief.
Brown said he was hanging out with friends on Saturday evening when he got a call from his high school coach. Brown was caught so off guard that he had to turn on the TV to see the news for himself. He immediately called Florida running backs coach Kevin Carter.
“Coach Carter said it was true, that (Meyer) brought all the assistants together and told them that the Sugar Bowl would be his last game because of health reasons. (Carter) assured me that Florida still wanted to me, and that we would talk more very soon.”
“I don’t know what to think now. I’m still a Gator, but Coach Meyer was one of the main reasons that I picked Florida.”
Brown narrowly selected the Gators over Georgia, and is still being heavily recruited by LSU, Tennessee, Florida State and the Bulldogs. He and Jackson High defensive end Neiron Ball are the only two Georgia players committed to Florida.
“It’s a big deal, because (Meyer) was a big factor in Mack choosing Florida,” M.L. King coach Corey Jarvis said. “Mack is really torn up right now. My advice was for him to go ahead and take some other visits, and let’s see how everything unfolds.”
It is setting up to be a whirlwind finish for Brown in the recruiting process. Not unlike last year, when late coaching changes at Auburn and Tennessee had a rippling effect among Georgia’s top prospects.
We’re five weeks away from national signing day. And the fun is just beginning.
Where will MB sign on Feb. 3? Will it be Florida? Make your prediction below.