Richt’s ‘Dream Team’ could provide the spark UGA badly needs

Malcolm Mitchell (left) and Jay Rome committing to Georgia is a major coup for Mark Richt. (Chip Towers / AJC)

Malcolm Mitchell (left) and Jay Rome committing to Georgia is a major coup for Mark Richt. (Chip Towers / AJC)

Georgia landing a verbal commitment from Valdosta’s Jay Rome was huge.

It’s not that the five-star player, rated the nation’s top tight end prospect by ESPNU, likely will be needed to make a big impact immediately on the field for “Tight End U,” as he called it. Rome certainly will be given the chance to play early, but the Dogs are well stocked at the position with Orson Charles, Aron White and Artie Lynch, even if Bruce Figgins switches to fullback.

No, Rome’s biggest immediate impact might come before he ever even signs on the dotted line with UGA, by giving momentum to Mark Richt’s alternately praised and derided concept of a signing an in-state “Dream Team.”

After making his announcement on national TV, Rome was on hand Thursday night as Valdosta teammate Malcolm Mitchell, a Top 30 prospect at wide receiver and/or cornerback, also put on a cap with the Georgia “G.”

Both picked Georgia over Nick Saban and Alabama, which has to rank as a major recruiting coup for Richt. “I believe Mark Richt is a great coach,” Rome said. “I don’t feel like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. If we can get a couple of more guys to come in with me in this class, we’ll have everything we need at Georgia, and I believe we’ll start winning football games.”

Rome used his national media platform to try and get more prospects to climb on board the Dream Team train. Along with junior college defensive nose guard John Jenkins, Georgia badly needs Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell and Thomas County defensive end Ray Drew, who reportedly was present at Mitchell’s announcement in Valdosta.

“Isaiah, Ray, come be a Dawg,” Rome said on his broadcast. “We can have the dream team and we’re going to do it. Be a Dawg, baby!”

There are no guarantees in any of this, of course. The verbal commitments aren’t binding. And high school prospects don’t always pan out exactly as planned.

But Richt needs to restore some glamour and prestige to a program that’s been sadly lacking in momentum the past couple of years. Making his Dream Team a reality would provide some of that offseason momentum the Dogs need as they get ready for their national showcase game in Atlanta against Boise State to open the most important season in Richt’s coaching career.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

480 comments Add your comment

Dawg_Mike

January 21st, 2011
10:25 am

No, but it is a start. Good things ahead…..GO DAWGS !

Daniel's Dawgs

January 21st, 2011
10:29 am

Come to Athens Crowell and Drew!!!

JaxDawg05

January 21st, 2011
10:30 am

Competition never hurts. If these young guys come in hungry and work their way on the field it can’t do anything but help the Bulldog football program.

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
10:31 am

Great news…Go Dawgs!!!

Frank Lane

January 21st, 2011
10:31 am

All fingers crossed as they always are this time of year.

DRDAWG13

January 21st, 2011
10:32 am

DawginLex

January 21st, 2011
10:32 am

Move figgins to fullback
Move anderson back to OL assuming Jenkins commits.
Sign Crowell

Hire an OL coach who likes to play smashmouth.

RUN THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bryan G.

January 21st, 2011
10:32 am

We need Crowell, Jenkins, and Drew….

DRDAWG13

January 21st, 2011
10:32 am

Go DAWGS!!!! WE need this big time.

DRDAWG13

January 21st, 2011
10:34 am

Keep these players in the STATE of GA and out of that foreign country of ALA.

Necromonger

January 21st, 2011
10:36 am

At least the next coach will have some potential talent to start off with.

chilidawg

January 21st, 2011
10:36 am

Get on board, fellas! You know who you are.

BPClassof-85

January 21st, 2011
10:37 am

The ‘Dream Team’ is starting to fall togrther.

ub

January 21st, 2011
10:37 am

Welcome to the DAWGS Ray and Malcom. Great to have you come on Isaiah and Ray turn things around and put GEORGIA back on top.

What??

January 21st, 2011
10:38 am

This to me is really the first sign that the coaching staff is finally firing on all cylinders again. Hopefully it will carry over into all the other areas of our football program. Really need the D-line prospects to commit. That’s the biggest areas of weakness. Drew would certainly be a great pickup. The other thing is that we need to be locking down the best GA recruits EVERY year. Not just this year.

RTR!!!

January 21st, 2011
10:40 am

Congratulations to the UGA fanbase!!! Great pickups. Though I’m a little disappointed about losing Mitchell, as an SEC fan I’m glad UGA landed these recruits. Hopefully they will help return your program to top tier status. UA will be fine as our cupboards are full and “The Process” continues. RTR!!!

Mtn Dawg

January 21st, 2011
10:45 am

Be a DAWG and be part of a new beginning, Ray and Isaiah. This will seriously launch your careers. Wellcome Jay and Malcolm.

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
10:45 am

RTR!! thanks for the comments. This Dawg always appreciates a rival fan who doesn’t bash my team. game week trash-talking is one thing but constant gets old.

TampaDawg

January 21st, 2011
10:49 am

It was a nice surprise if your a DAWG fan to pick up Mitchell, he could be a lock down corner or play WR. If UGA can land those big 3 that are left,Jenkins, Crowell, and Drew, they could compete for an SEC championship next year, of course thats contingent on them actually signing and not switching. RTR, thanks for the respect, need more SEC fans like yourself.

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
10:49 am

Drew yes-Crowell,Im still not sold on his ability to play SEC Football.Im not sold on him being that one running back to be a game changer like Lattimore is at Carolina.

TROJAN

January 21st, 2011
10:49 am

Something special is happening with this group of recruits. They seem to be leaders. They also appear to realize that if they were to join Alabama they would automatically make some other Bama player lose his scholarship due to the oversigning. And they also know that when they are upper classman, they may be the ones to lose their scholarship when Saban decides he wants someone else.

Alabamadawg

January 21st, 2011
10:50 am

It would be incrediable if this actually turned into a springboard for two or three other players, like Crowell, and J.J.
Does anybody know how to go about getting tickets to the Boise State game ? ? I’ve been looking but with no success.

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
10:50 am

Oh and Jenkins-WE NEED HIME IN A BIG WAY! HE WILL BE THE KEY TO THIS CLASS.

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
10:51 am

@Murphy I feel the depth chart after Boise State at TB will be #1 Malcolme #2 Crowell, #3 Ealey and #4 anyone #5 King

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
10:51 am

Alabamadawg they will be issued like the Florida tickets based on points. There will be a secondary market as well on ebay stubhub etc.

UGA Insider

January 21st, 2011
10:54 am

I told you yesterday that the coaches had some momentum and I thought UGA was about to get some really good news for a change. I now expect UGA to sign a monster class which should give them a great chance for success in 2012. Please UGA fans, even after we sign our class in 2 weeks and wel will still be a rebuilding year. Please temper your expectations and hope for a winning record.

coachx

January 21st, 2011
10:54 am

We need Big John Jenkins for immediate playing time at nose tackle in the 3-4.

Come on MR. Jenkins. How do the first 2 games of the season on national TV sound against Boise State and Carolina ?

Go DAWGS !

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
10:54 am

Sandman053,

I agree-Malcome is a beast running the ball-Saw him play High school ball. I just have this sick feeling that Crowell wont pan out to be as good as everyone thinks.Saw alot of film on him along with the allstar game-He didnt impress me compared to his build up by recruiting services.

tiptoe

January 21st, 2011
10:56 am

He made his announcement to VERBALLY commit to Georgia on national TV????

And where was he on-hand at Thursday night? And who is he to influence other players to come to Georgia?

And didn’t I read on a blog here at AJC.COM that Georgia has usually had great recruiting classes but can never help the players reach their high potential?

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
10:57 am

He is still a kid…give him a year with Thomas Brown and he will be awesome. And most likely a 1st round draft pick one day.

rockdawg

January 21st, 2011
10:57 am

It doesn’t matter if UGA gets Crowell or not because he will never see the field his freshman year because Richt will say “he doesn’t do a good enough job of pass blocking”. How many times have we heard that about freshmen running backs in the last few years. Moreno was obviously our best back and he was redshirted. Ealey was our best back 2 years ago and he didn’t see the field until the season was shot.

rockdawg

January 21st, 2011
10:58 am

How many true freshmen make impacts at other schools in the SEC, but Richt never believes a freshman is ready to play for him.

how2fish

January 21st, 2011
10:58 am

Bill good article you hit the nail on the head with the comment that Rome’s biggest impact now could be helping land the other recruits..

SouthSide Dawg

January 21st, 2011
10:59 am

is King still on the team? I thought he stopped going to class after the Christmas break. Pretty sure he’s not in school.

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:00 am

tiptoe,

I would agrEe with your comments.But Im sure you will see some of these recruits play early this year-especially at Running Back because Richt has no choice but to put them on the field.Im pretty sure Richt will alter his way of thinking for 2011 which may bode well for UGA.

SouthSide Dawg

January 21st, 2011
11:02 am

True that, Murphy

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:06 am

I see 2011 as a mirror to 2002 as far as Richt is concerned.I see us really flying to the ball and letting Murray open up the offense.Richt has not choice but to let it rip-No holds barred approach.I have no issue’s with losing as long as we are outplayed and not our coached! circa-UCF 2010

how2fish

January 21st, 2011
11:08 am

I really don’t know much about Malcome…but hell Boo is a heck of a name for a player…right up there with “Meat Cleaver’ and “Pulpwood” …

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:11 am

how2fish,

In my opinion at this time Malcome is the best we have at running back.He should have played last year.Big,strong kid who will run over you.Has sneaky speed in open field.Played very good at high school level. He will remind you of a Rodney Hampton type runner.

Adonisdaking2010

January 21st, 2011
11:11 am

Let’s Go UGA!!!! Let’s Goooooo Let’s Get It!!!!

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
11:13 am

Can you imagine 80K fans yelling for “Boooooooo” kinda like others do for Moose and we did for Musa?

hal combo

January 21st, 2011
11:14 am

UGA has had many 4 and 5 star recruits; what’s happened to them after they got there? That’s what you need to find the answer to.

how2fish

January 21st, 2011
11:14 am

Murphy thanks for the info ! And Sandman053 I was thinking the same thing! Hope we hear it often next season !

BIG DAWG BO

January 21st, 2011
11:16 am

WE NEED CHRIS SELFO, THE TIGHT ENDS COACH FOR THE FALCONS (IF THAT IS HOW YOU SPELL IT) AS OUR O LINE COACH. HAS NFL EXPERIENCE AND HE LIVES IN OCONEE COUNTY. WILL BRING OUT THE BEST IN OUR TALENTED CREW OF TIGHT ENDS!!!!!

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:17 am

Sandman053,

We must get by the first 2 games with wins.If we can somehow pull this off we could be set for a very productive year.Under Richt lately we havent started off good,but I think having Boise early will put a strong empahsis on spring and summer.McGarity might have made a great decision here.

Gold Dawg

January 21st, 2011
11:17 am

“Big” news coming on Monday. Anyone heard about this? Supposed to be twice as big as last night which means it is big news. Something about time changes, maybe JJ and IC commit after their visit the weekend?

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:18 am

BIG DAWG BO,

We need Trickett from FSU-He is an x-miltary man-He doesnt take any crap-He is an old school,in your face coach.

80 Dawg

January 21st, 2011
11:19 am

We are getting the players , we are making the team, UGA coachs need to stop dreaming, show some kind of emotion , and coach these young men up and make them even better than they are already

Sandman053

January 21st, 2011
11:19 am

Gold Dawg I certanily hope so. That would be huge news indeed.

Murphy

January 21st, 2011
11:20 am

Gold Dawg,

havent heard of this.Sounds good though