Carver-Columbus High juniors Gabe Wright and Isaiah Crowell, two of the state’s top prospects for the Class of 2011, both list the University of Georgia among their leaders and intend to make unofficial visits sometime this fall.
This is significant for two reasons: One, they’re both exceptional players that are being sought by virtually every major program in the South; and two, you may recall they both play for the coach that banned the Bulldogs from recruiting Carver-Columbus earlier this summer.
But that’s all water under the bridge, according to Carver-Columbus coach Dell McGee. McGee told me Wednesday that his unofficial ban of Georgia recruiters had been officially lifted.
“We pretty much talk to them almost every week so, yeah, I’d say everything is pretty much back to normal,” said McGee, whose 2-0 Tigers are ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. “Like I said, it was just a bad-communication deal. The things that were done, it wasn’t really something I wanted to go national. I just had to what I had to do to look out for our kids. But I’m not going to prevent any of our underclassmen or anybody else from going to Georgia or any other school. I’m going to be supportive of wherever our kids want to go to college.”
To refresh your memory, McGee was angry after his senior quarterback, Devin Burns, went to Athens on July 18 for the the Bulldogs’ big “Georgia Night” mini camp for elite recruits with the intention of committing to Georgia. It was only after Burns’ arrival — with his entire family in tow — that Burns was informed by a UGA assistant coach that the Bulldogs actually no longer had a scholarship available for him.
Upset and embarrassed, Burns and his family returned to Columbus. That Monday, McGee let it be known that Georgia coaches would no longer be welcomed at his school.
But McGee hinted even then that the ban was anything but permanent. He is a former Auburn football player and graduate assistant coach. He was on Pat Dye’s staff at the same time as current Georgia assistant coaches Rodney Garner and Stacy Searels and remains friends with both men.
“We’ve spoekn a few times,” McGee said of Garner, who is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. “He was in support of the decision I made and said he’d have been disappointed if I hadn’t done that. So everything worked itself out with time, like I said it would earlier. I just think things like that shouldn’t happen. I think the NCAA’s going to have to eventually make a new rule with all these kids committing early.”
Burns has since accepted a scholarship offer from Maryland and has played well for Carver. Through the first two games he has completed 14-of-18 passes for 232 yards.
“Devin’s been pretty consistent the first two weeks,” said McGee, who takes his flu-riddled team to Northside-Warner Robins on Friday. “He’s thrown the ball well and done of good job of running the offense and getting the ball to the right people. He’s a good player.”
Meanwhile, Wright (6-3, 270) and Crowell (6-0, 202) — both members of Scout.com’s Top 100 prospects for 2011 — are primary targets for the Bulldogs’ Class of 2011. Trouble is, they’re also being heavily recruited Auburn, Clemson, Florida. Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Southern Cal, Tennessee and UCLA, among others.
“Football wise, Gabe is just great,” McGee said. “He has tremendous upside. He uses his hands well, has good size, a good motor. And he’s a very mature kid, a great person. When things are going bad he’s going to get everybody going again.
“Isaiah is a great athlete but still has some work to do as far as being a running back. He’s got to work on the things you do when you don’t have the ball, blocking, blitz pickup, route running. But that’s the same with pretty much all high school running backs. He’s going to keep getting better with time.”
McGee said both players visited Clemson this past weekend. They are scheduled to take the ACT this Saturday so they will not be visiting Georgia this weekend.
But, McGee said, they probably will eventually. And that’s good news for the Dogs.