Football Recruiting: Star safety discusses what went wrong with UGA, impending visit to Georgia Tech

Kell safety Brian Randolph, who is one of the Georgia’s leaders in scholarships offers with nearly 20, has learned the recruiting process can sometimes be harsh. He will make an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Once upon a time, Randolph was rival UGA’s No. 1 target at safety. The Bulldogs were the first to offer last year and slowly building a strong relationship with the 6-foot and 180-pounder.

To Georgia’s credit, it was always upfront and honest with Randolph: They intended to sign two safeties for the 2011 recruiting class, and made it known they would take the first two that accepted offers.

UGA is off to a fast start with the defensive secondary in its 2011 recruiting class, with two commitments at safety (AJC photo)

UGA is off to a fast start with the defensive secondary in its 2011 recruiting class, with two commitments at safety (AJC photo)

Unfortunately for Randolph, , Georgia filled its safety needs in rapid fashion — with Tucker’s Chris Sanders and Griffin’s Corey Moore committed by the end of January.

“I called (Georgia assistant) Stacey Searels, and said that ‘I heard you all had two guys at safety …  and I wanted to find out if you were taking two, or three, or how many?’” said Kell coach Derek Cook, who is a UGA graduate.

“(Searels) said that they were only going to take two, and now they were full. Then, of course, he said ‘a lot of things can change. Kids can change their minds, or we could end up taking a third safety. It depends on a lot of different things between now and signing day.’

“I told (Searels) if I call Brian to my office and tell him that ‘you’re full,’ that he is going to move on. He’s not going to wait around. (Searels) said ‘Well, I understand. There is nothing I can do about it.’”

Randolph was devastated by the news. “It’s cool,” he said. “I was kind of mad at first, but now I’m OK with it. I really liked Georgia, and I was considering them very strongly. But I guess that’s how recruiting works sometimes. I can’t complain because I’m blessed to have so many opportunities.”

Cook has a theory that everything changed with Georgia’s approach after switching most of the defensive staff. Georgia’s previous assistants seemed to have a little more patience with Randolph. Georgia’s new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and secondary coach Scott Lakatos stopped by Kell to visit with Randolph.

Predict the ending between UGA and Kell safety Brian Randolph?

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“I thought Brian was the best sophomore safety in the state (in 2008),” Cook said. “Then his shoulder got messed up with a torn labrum and he played hurt his entire junior year. He couldn’t hit as he did as a sophomore because that shoulder joint kept sliding in and out.

“The new guys, they only saw the junior tape, and not his sophomore tape. It just wasn’t as good. I’m sure they thought one of those other safeties was just as good or better, and decided to put another offer out there.”

However, Cook said that there are no hard feelings with Georgia, and that he and his prized prospect appreciate the consideration. He knew that everything had worked out for the best during a player-coach conversation.

“That same day I was in my office explaining things to Brian, I asked him ‘If things were different, knowing then what you know now, if a scholarship opened at Georgia, would you take it?’ He said ‘No, because I’m not ready to make my college decision yet.’”

When asked the same question this week by the AJC, Randolph said, “I’m ready to move forward with other schools.”

Randolph, who has a 4.12 GPA, has his early leaders as Florida, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Mississippi State. He said he will likely commit over the summer.

Randolph has family connections at Mississippi State, as his father is a graduate of the SEC school. Many of his relatives still live in the Mississippi area. He made an unofficial visit to watch the Bulldogs last Saturday.

Georgia Tech may have inside position with Randolph. His older brother, Justin Randolph, turned down a scholarship offer from Air Force to be a walk-on at Georgia Tech last season. Justin has decided to leave the football team, but will remain enrolled at Georgia Tech.

“I like the school, it’s close to home, all my friends go there, and the coaches are great,” Randolph said.

What will be the deciding factors in his college choice? “Probably my position coach. I want to get along with them, and make sure they can make me the best player possible to help the team. Distance will also be a factor. I don’t want to go far away from home. And it will be important how I feel about the program.”

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83 comments Add your comment

DunwoodyDawg

April 6th, 2010
5:51 am

Really stinks for the kid, but about time UGA showed these recruits they are serious. I don’t want to force anybody to commit, but if a kid really wants to be a DAWG, then we want him too. Hopefully this will be a new trend at UGA.

TheNumber34

April 6th, 2010
6:51 am

Searels and staff could have chosen to string the young man along, but they were up front about the situation. To the contrary of the headline, what the heck is WRONG with that? Looks like things went right in this case.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 6th, 2010
7:59 am

agreed, snooze you lose. UGA had two guys ready to commit right then and there..not string us along for a whole year then change his mind (i.e. Da’Rick Rogers). I like this new approach and hope UGA sticks to this.

ed

April 6th, 2010
8:11 am

you snooze, you lose. go to tech where the police have bigger fish to fry that chase you down for driving a scooter w/o a proper liscense cause the engine is too big

Heywood Jablomey

April 6th, 2010
8:17 am

Good luck to the kid. Wherever he goes, it’ll be the time of his life…unless he goes to the crime infested streets of Atlanta to become a Yellow Whacket

SSG Desert Dawg

April 6th, 2010
8:19 am

I don’t really think this is a new approach for UGA. I think they have always been pretty up front with recruits. A couple of years ago they only had 2 linebacker scholarships to offer and made that clear to recruits. The 1st 2 got the spots.

Pago Flyer

April 6th, 2010
8:37 am

Yes, let’s wish this kid the very best…so some day he’ll come back and beat the DAWGS? His brother gave up the Air Force Academy for gt!
Not very smart…

What do GT and UG fans have in common?

April 6th, 2010
8:49 am

They’re both willing to brave the pollen just to get a chance to talk GEORGIA TECH FOOTBALL.

Actually, I take that back. This thread is nothing but Dawgs obsessing over Jacket football. I’ll leave you guys to it.

dawgster

April 6th, 2010
9:14 am

Again look at the AJC headline and the negative slant towards the dawg recruiting..After reading the aritcle and the quotes from the coaches and player you get the real story…I appreciate the updates from the AJC, but why do they spin the headlines as they do? I hope the dawgs continue this approach to recruiting or we could have another DA’Rick situation and we all know how that played out…I don’t blame the kids for taking their time in committing, but when you do, stick with it, as should the coaches…

GT Fan

April 6th, 2010
9:14 am

GT welcomes Brian and wishes him well what ever he does.
Both schools win…UGA gets their man and Maybe GT gets its man.

JB

April 6th, 2010
9:18 am

We could put all this to bed in the future if they would “clean up” the recruiting process with better rules. Such as, only After you have completed your Junior Season, there will be an early signing day AFTER the seniors have inked in February, say April 5th. YOU MUST SIGN, not just commit. The players AND coach’s who play games won’t like it, but it would clean up all this mess of hurt feelings. When a kid likes a school and commits and people ( other school’s coach’s) continue to pursue and lie to the kid, it makes for a bad ending sometimes. See Da’rick at Tennessee, Georgia bound for a year. Don’t hear anyone feeling sorry for us because we backed off 2 or 3 other WR’s because of Da’ricks WORD. Geez.

So play at another SEC school

April 6th, 2010
9:21 am

Good luck to this young man. I sure hope that his shoulderheals correctly. With his MSU contacts and all, he will have a home there or elsewhere and he can play in the SEC.

He knows that the SEC translates into big time NFL attention. He very likely knows that the ACC is good ball ………….. ut simply like AA baseball, played in Spartanburg or Savannah vs Atlanta.

SEC rules.

JB

April 6th, 2010
9:22 am

Al Groh will be in Branson watching Dolly Pardon by the time he see’s the field. LOL.

Otto

April 6th, 2010
9:22 am

Thats the way it goes sometimes especially with limited scholarships. Sounds like UGA was as upfront as possible but the kid had to weigh his options which is understandable. He sounds smart enough to make a good decision.

Wish the kid the best and I hope UGA gets the 2 best kids possible. You never know this kid could come to Athens afterall. Alot of things can change in a year.

Rob

April 6th, 2010
9:24 am

Just another kid who will string several schools along until the last minute then demand he make his decision on some TV show. Glad UGA is taking the kids who really want to be there first.

JB

April 6th, 2010
9:25 am

Sounds like the other two safeties KNEW they wanted to wear the red and black. I would say you’ll look good in Gold, but damn, Tech comes out in a different shade of yeller every week.

Otto

April 6th, 2010
9:26 am

JB, IMO players should be able to change their mind up until the last second on signing day. Coaching and scheme changes will happen and a year is lost if they transfer.

dap01

April 6th, 2010
9:30 am

I wish things could have worked out. Reality bites sometimes. Tech is not a bad place, good education and sometimes they have almost 50,000 at a game.

JB

April 6th, 2010
9:33 am

Otto, this is an idea…and I’m serious……Let’s say a kid pre signs after junior year with Georgia, and ole coach Saban talks him into switching to Bama. That’s fine. How about the rule say’s that Bama has to give Georgia a Scholarship and they have to give up one. Not in monetary terms, just head count. That would give the kid a chance AND give the other school pause to say, ‘Do I want this kid that bad”? Dawgs now have 86 total, Bama 84.

Bill

April 6th, 2010
9:37 am

The kids Coach had to call UGA to find out they didn’t want the kid anymore? That sucks! UGA’s new Coach should have call the kid and told him, its all about being up front and honest. Right Coach Richt?
What goes around comes around. I don’t care where you play BR just find a good Coach that cares and give it 101%.

Les W. Moore

April 6th, 2010
9:43 am

Tech is a better school/football program for a serious student athlete. No question.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 6th, 2010
9:48 am

Why did the coaches only see his Junior tape if the coach new that the tape would only do a disservice to the young man? Sounds like the coach needs to be on his toes a little more and mix in Sophomore tape if the young man was playing w/ a bum shoulder his Jr. season.

Voice of Reason

April 6th, 2010
10:13 am

ED – you are absolutely right, bigger fish to fry at Tech. Robberies, muggings, terrorists, and anything could be next!
WHAT DO UGA AND TECH FANS HAVE IN COMMON – The day that any DAWG obsesses over Tech football will be a really cold day “you know where”. Perhaps some day, Tech football will be relevant.

JMar

April 6th, 2010
10:15 am

The fact is, there is no way to change the recruiting process to “fix” situations like this. If you only have one scholarship available for a position, you can’t tell a kid “you’re our third choice, so you get a scholarship only if the first two turn us down.” You can’t only offer a scholarship to your first choice, because by the time he turns you down, your second, third, and fourth choices will have already committed. And you can’t pull a scholarship from your third choice because now your first choice is ready to commit. So the only option is to offer your first, second, and third choices, and hope that the first choice commits before the third. And that appears to be the situation here. They’re in the same position with their QB offers. As long as kids can “informally” commit at any time, some kids will be left out in the cold, and there’s certainly no way to tell a kid he’s not allowed to informally say where he wants to go to school.

Say What???

April 6th, 2010
10:57 am

Bill, I’m just spitballin’ here, but I think that there are pretty air-tight rules about when coaches can and can’t contact recruits. The article makes it EXTREMELY clear that the Georgia coaches took the time to explain to all of the recruits that they wanted 2 safeties and the first two to sign get the slots. Sounds like to me the two who really wanted to play in Athens stepped up. I think THAT is being up front and honest while not being hit with an NCAA violation. The kid took his chances and it did not work out for him. It’s not the coaches job to cajole anyone to coming to UGA. I think that you are just looking for ways to disparage the Dawgs coaching staff… Oh well…

I do wish Brian Randolph all the best. Where ever he plays, I hope he does extremely well.

ReptilesRule

April 6th, 2010
12:30 pm

UGA coaches were totally upfront and honest with the kid so what else can you do?? Like someone else said earlier, you can’t design rules to avoid this situation. I do believe strongly in an early signing period to clean up alot of the “de-commits” and “non-commitable” offers that go on in recruiting.

vamosjackets

April 6th, 2010
12:35 pm

Hopefully this works out for the best. If Randolph ends up picking Tech, he’ll never regret it. World class education and world class football at one Institution right here in your own state. UGA could’ve been a good choice too, but this could be a blessing for all parties involved. Both schools and leagues can play for NC’s and get players to the NFL. Just look at the 4 guys GT will send there in the 1st 2 rounds this year, Bay Bay Thomas (WR), Derrick Morgan (DE), Morgan Burnette (S, same position as Randolph), and Jonathan Dwyer (RB, another Kell HS star). It’s sad that the UGA fans have to pretend that their school and their league is the only one around. It shows that their pride is far too connected to watching 20 year olds play football and that they have nothing else of significance going on in their lives. Crazy. Good luck Brian, wherever you end up. I hope to see you winning championships and getting a great degree at Tech. GO JACKETS!!!

dawglasville

April 6th, 2010
12:56 pm

vamosjackets- why did your blog have to contain a shot at the Dawgs? I guess you “have nothing else of significance going on in…[your life]… Crazy.”

SecIsFootball

April 6th, 2010
1:12 pm

The UGA coaches did the right thing by being up front with him and the kid did the right thing but not rushing into a decision. As he said, if they opened up one more spot, would you take it and he said he was not ready. Cannot fault a kid for wanting to take his time and make the right choice. Seems like a solid kid and a very good student who has plenty of great opportunities in front of him.

harold

April 6th, 2010
1:17 pm

WHY GO TO AN AVERAGE FOOTBALL TEAM LIKE GEORGIA WHEN THERE ARE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS AND COACHES LIKE ALABAMA AND FLORIDA.

Nothing Wrong Anywhere

April 6th, 2010
1:34 pm

I don’t think anyone did anything wrong here. The UGA coaches were upfront. They didn’t pull the offer from Randolf while holding it for one of the other two. They had offers out to the people they wanted and took the first two. I think that is right. Nor do I hold it against Randolf for taking his time to decide or even for being disappointed when he missed out on UGA. Nor did his high school coach do anything wrong in trying to convince UGA they should still consider Randolf. It is just the story of college recruiting. (And this is coming from a Tech fan…)

Doug

April 6th, 2010
1:39 pm

As a UT fan I would love to see him in Knoxville. To their credit UGA was entirely upfront with him it appears.

dawglasville

April 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

Harold- what is your team? I’m guessing since you listed Bama and Florida it is neither one of them. If you are using those teams then your team must not measure up very well against UGA. I’m guessing Tech.

dawglasville

April 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

Nothing Wrong Anywhere- ditto. Good luck to the kid.

South Ga Dawg

April 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

NOT UGA’S FAULT! IF YOU WANTED TO BE A DAWG SHOULD HAVE JUMPED ON BOARD! THE OTHER TWO SAFTIES WANTED TO BE DAWGS WORSE THAN HIM. NEVER KNOW BOUT THEM COBB CO. KIDS ANYWAY.

dawgfan

April 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Do you folks really find this crap interesting? I can’t believe the AJC has a daily blog on the comings and goings of teenagers. I know recruiting is important but holy bejeebus this is nonsense. I’m sure there is some maneuvering to get any recruit to any school. Every single college football player in the nation probably has a story like this. How in the hell is this news?

Its no mystery why Towers and the AJC play games with the headlines. Its not like anybody would read this crap otherwise. They have to make it interesting somehow.

Bring on the games…

Michael Carvell

April 6th, 2010
1:59 pm

Exactly, most of this blog was about how the recruiting process works behind the scenes. UGA handled it very well, explaining it from the very start (with previous defensive staff) on how the UGA would take the first two safeties that accepted offers.

Brian is still in a great situation, with around 20 offers. But this might be an interesting read for a prospect out there who only has a few offers, if one of them is his “dream school.” That player needs to be aware of his situation with that particular school, and realize that waiting to accept it may put him at risk at losing it.

Michael Carvell

April 6th, 2010
2:06 pm

JB: You make some good points about an earlier signing period for college football. This is a topic I have thought about for years. An earlier signing period would appear to be beneficial to many colleges and prospects. However, if the NCAA did this, I think they should move up the period for official visits to a player’s junior season, perhaps beginning in January of the junior season. That would economically benefit the prospect, not having to pay money to travel all over to make unofficial visits on their own dime. The colleges would also save money, by not having to visit every high school in the free world that spring to check out juniors (then again, they would probably be on the road to scout sophomores and freshmen). If the NCAA did this, it might also considering releasing a prospect that signed early “free and clear” if the head college coach leaves before signing date.

Thoughts anyone?

sogadog

April 6th, 2010
2:18 pm

The down side to telling three players you have two openings and the first two players to commit are “in” is that the kids who accept may not be truly committed and they have accepted just to keep their option to attend UGA open while they continue to shop around a la Da’Rick Rogers. I wish we could find a slot for a kid who is great athlete AND HAS A 4.12 GPA! Randolph just needed a little more time to make his decision. He sounds like he was going to be a Dawg in the end. I wish there was a rule against all this early recruiting. I heard we have offered a sophomore who probably cant even drive yet. A sophomore is closer to being a child than a man. In fairness to the kids, there should not be any offers allowed for any team until around August before the player’s senior season.

JS

April 6th, 2010
2:26 pm

JB – Speaking of uniforms, Is it a white out , black out oe red out this year for the Bullthugs?

Michael Carvell

April 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

Sogadog: Good points. I’m afraid the good ol’ days of offering a kid as a senior, for the most part, are looong gone. No way to turn back the clock. Even if the NCAA made rules to do so, colleges can still get the word to juniors, sophomores, and freshmen through other people.

sogadog

April 6th, 2010
2:39 pm

Carvell, true, and the schools that followed the rule would be at a disavantage to the ones that broke the rule. But the schools that break the rule will get caught eventually and if the NCAA imposed sanctions and punched a few scholarships, it might work.

Otto

April 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

JB, I disagree in favor of the player ability to change their minds. Coaching staffs change, position coaches change, and schemes change the students should be allowed to change where they commit.

If they have to go to where they commit I would be in favor of the kid staying at that school for 1 year and then have the ability to transfer within D1 without having to sit out a year.

Otto

April 6th, 2010
2:59 pm

Michael, agreed on your last post. It would be nice if it all could be settled during the senior season. However it does not work in the real world. Having a clause that lets the kid out if the staff changes gets very sticky too. I had rather keep the system as it is.

Michael Carvell

April 6th, 2010
3:00 pm

Sogadog: All the colleges have to do is tell a HS coach to tell that freshman or sophomore something like “We really are impressed with you. You’re going to be a heckuva college football one of these days for someone.” It’s code language. And then everyone will be able to read between the lines on what the college is really saying. Besides, there are countless NCAA rules broken now and not enforced.

Pi$$onaDawg

April 6th, 2010
3:22 pm

PAGO: Air Force makes you join, but at Tech he can get the education and chose the Navy or Air Force to then progress into NASA. I know PAGO you are a dawg and can’t think about the future past your last beer and your first PI$$.

CANTONDAWG

April 6th, 2010
4:03 pm

I would be very surprised if UGA’s recruiting stops here. If the kid is really the players we’re hearing and had some injuries his junior year then i bet that the coaches are waiting to evaluate how he does his senior year.

Craig

April 6th, 2010
4:09 pm

Correct me if I am wrong here but, the kid is to small for the defense they have put in place with the new coordinators. I thought they wanted to start recruiting taller DB’s.

kingster

April 6th, 2010
4:19 pm

Why does Ga fans worry who goes to TECH, and why do they always feel they have to speak negative about GA, please get over DA’Rick Rodgers, he’s gone, he is not a bulldog (maybe because of the way they down everone) you act like a recruit has ged their mind to come to GA(doesn’t feel very good does it), stop being a hater and worry about beating Florida, Tennessee and Alabama, winning your conference and getting a wonderful bowl game, keeping the kids out of jail will help also…….chew on that bone HATERS!!!

Sugar Hill Dawg

April 6th, 2010
4:25 pm

Committing and signing are two different realities. As we’ve seen recently, a commitment is worth nothing if the kid making it is unwilling to live up to the commitment. I’m not one to rant at a kid for changing his mind, but I do like the idea of a school “stealing” a commitment at the last moment losing a grant in aid (let’s be real, not that many of these kids earn a scholarship) for poaching the committed kid. I’ve taught for 35 years – I can tell you most kids respect you IF you’re up front with ‘em. The UGA coaches sound like they were up front – commit now, or we’ll move on. The real tragedy would be for the coaches to withdraw an offer to a committed kid if their “first love” finally decides to accept. These kids need to learn a life lesson – no means no. If a kid equivocates, I say move on to the next on the list. That said, I wish the kid good luck. Miss State looks like they’re on their way. Tech would be an outstanding option as well – of course, the Dawgs would get several chances to “greet” him up close and personal.