UGA coach Mark Richt went public with his recruiting goal of building a “Dream Team” of elite prospects from Georgia’s high schools.
The Bulldogs added an all-star with the commitment of Wilcox County’s Nick Marshall.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder picked the Bulldogs over Georgia Tech, and also had offers from Alabama and Florida Sate. Marshall switched to UGA after reportedly being a “silent commitment” to Georgia Tech.
“This really all came out of the blue,” Wilcox County football coach Mark Ledford told the AJC’s Chip Towers. “Nick was leaning to Georgia Tech as of late last week. He had a close relationship to Georgia Tech the last month or so. Then out of the blue, Coach Richt called and wanted to offer him as a defensive back.
“Nick told me Monday he wanted to commit to Georgia. I said let’s talk about it Tuesday and see if you feel the same way. We talked after his work out and he said he defintely wanted to go To Georgia. I talked to his Mom and explained what that meant. She called Coach Richt and committed [Tuesday] night.”
What about being a “silent commitment” to Georgia Tech? “I don’t know if you’d call it a silent commit,” Ledford told Towers. “I’m not sure where that term came from. I’ll just say he was very close to committing to Georgia Tech.”
BREAKING NEWS: Wednesday was a tough day for Georgia Tech, which also saw football recruit Jake Skole sign with baseball’s Texas Rangers for a $1.557 million bonus. (Click here for story)
Marshall is considered the state’s No. 1 overall athlete for 2011, earning Div. I offers in both football and basketball. He started at both quarterback and defensive back while leading Wilcox County to the Class A state championship in football, and has pledged to sign with Georgia at defensive back. Marshall will also walk on UGA’s basketball team.
Richt has compared Marshall’s athleticism to the Charlie Ward, the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State who played 11 seasons in the NBA. With Marshall, UGA has 11 commitments for its 2011 football recruiting class, including 10 from Georgia. The only outsider so far is QB Christian LeMay of Matthews, N.C. The other homegrown headliners of Richt’s “Dream Team” are East Hall DE Sterling Bailey, North Paulding WR Chris Conley and the “state’s fastest man” — Mitchell County WR Justin Scott-Wesley.
Earlier this spring, Marshall admitted UGA caught his attention with a signing day surprise, both offering and signing his cousin (Wilcox County 6-foot-7 WR Lonnie Outlaw) to a football scholarship on the same day. The Bulldogs signed Outlaw knowing he was a few credits shy and will require two years at Georgia Military College before being admitted UGA. Were the Bulldogs laying down the groundwork for a “package deal” to eventually land Marshall? Click here for the story.
Back to the “Dream Team” of Georgia prospects: Last April, UGA sent out a press release with Richt declaring his recruiting priorities. “By the end [of spring], our assistant coaches will have been to more than 350 schools in the state of Georgia,” Richt said. “Our coaches are really pounding the state of Georgia. The focus of our staff is to make sure we recruit the state of Georgia first.”
Who may end up being the biggest winner out of the Nick Marshall sweepstakes? UGA basketball coach Mark Fox, who is riding a wave of momentum after beating out powerhouses such as Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina and Memphis for the AJC’s Mr. Basketball, Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton. Marshall plans to also play basketball at UGA. At shooting guard this past season, Marshall led Wilcox again to the semifinals, averaging 27.5 points, including a 52-point performance in the playoff opener against Montgomery County.
“I’d say Nick is one of the best I’ve seen in high school basketball, and I’ve been around this business for 38 years,” Wilcox basketball coach George Kennedy said. “He just does some stuff that is God-given talent that you don’t see every day.”