Clearly Garrison Smith had planned for this moment for a long time and he was going to stick to that plan no matter what.
One of the nation’s best defensive linemen according to all the recruiting sites, Smith sat at the front of a crowded back room at Shout restaurant at Colony Square Sunday night. He methodically went through a rehearsed routine of removing t-shirts from Georgia Tech and Florida before revealing his ultimate choice with a red shirt underneath it all, the University of Georgia.
Trouble is, everybody in the room — and apparently everybody in cyberspace — already knew what the Douglass High football star was going to say. And that was well before Douglass coach Kenny Barrow let it slip during his introductory remarks (”The University of Georgia is getting a good one . . .”).
That’s because Rivals.com on Friday “accidentally” released a video it made of Smith putting on a Georgia cap and telling the world he was committing to the Bulldogs. Apparently it’s common practice for those guys to make videos of prospects committing to multiple schools ahead of time with the agreement they won’t be seen until said prospect makes the actual decision. They make multiple videos just in case a fickle recruit changes his mind, which happens from time to time. In Smith’s case he also made a video committing to the University of Florida. Could you imagine the firestorm if that one had gotten out?
I spoke to an employee of ugasports.com, the Rivals group that covers the Bulldogs, and he told me it was a server error that resulted in the video being posted early. Apparently it reset or something, which changed the date and time the video was supposed to go up and posted it immediately. Talk about a glitch!
In any case, Smith insisted he wasn’t upset. He went about his routine Sunday night just like he had planned for weeks.
“Nah, no reason to get mad,” Smith told me after the ceremony. “It didn’t change anything. They didn’t mean to do it, at least that’s what they said.”
As for the video that leaked, “I made it a long time ago,” Smith said. “I don’t remember exactly when. We made them for both Georgia and Florida. A mistake happened and they released it. But it didn’t hurt my spirits. I was still going to have fun with the whole thing.”
I’d show you a copy of the video that leaked but, as you can imagine, it has been removed from YouTube and is not otherwise available as far as I can tell. As always you can probably go to ugasports.com and see for yourself. It is, of course, a paysite.
I hung out with Smith and his family and friends for a good long while at the swank Midtown eatery Sunday night. I procured a little news and all kinds of cool information and will share it with you in new blog posts throughout the day and the week. So be sure to check back.
In the meantime let me know if you saw the “accidentally released” video and tell me what you think about the practice of making videos committing to multiple schools. I’ll respond to your questions and comments throughout the day.