Gainesville coach: Relationship good with Georgia

Wide receiver Tai-ler Jones recently committed to Notre Dame. He said he grew up a Georgia Bulldogs’ fan. So says linebacker A.J. Johnson, who committed to Tennessee last week. Safety Daunte Carr lists “Georgia” as a school of interest on his recruiting profile but committed to Stanford this summer. Quarterback Blake Sims, a longtime Alabama commitment, says he grew up dreaming of playing for the Bulldogs.

What do all these prospects have in common?

They all live an hour’s drive west of Athens and play football for Gainesville High School. That’s the home of the Red Elephants, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA.

So if all these Gainesville players are so crazy about Georgia, how come none of them are headed that way?

I called Red Elephants’ coach Bruce Miller Tuesday to find out if he thought there was some kind relationship problem with UGA. Not at all, he said adamantly.

“Here’s what I think happens: I think Coach Richt is a man of such character that he doesn’t want to make a false promise to a kid and then have to come back and take it back,” Miller said. “I think that’s how we need to look at this thing. I have to be honest with you, some of these schools are jumping off and making offers unbelievably fast. I think, in Coach Richt’s case, he’s trying to do the kids right. He doesn’t want to make an offer and have to come back and rescind it. He won’t rescind it, I can tell you that. If he makes an offer he’s not going to come back and take it back. I think that says a lot about him and his program.”

The Bulldogs do not currently have any Gainesville High alums on scholarship nor any current commitments from school. But Richt is trying to change that.

Miller confirmed that Georgia’s head coach is now personally recruiting Sims and asked this week “for the chance to sit down and talk with” him and his family. And all indications are that Richt is going to get that chance.

Sims — an AJC Super 11 selection and early favorite for all-classification player of the year in the state –  could play any skill position for the Bulldogs. Generally, the 6-foot-180-pound athlete projects as a defensive back or wide receiver in college. But he is primarily a quarterback for the Red Elephants and he has 1,114 yards and 16 touchdowns passing, 345 yards and 6 TDs rushing and two catches for 148 yards and 2 TDs receiving.

That Georgia didn’t go after Sims harder or earlier is perplexing. He attended the Bulldogs’ football camps every year since the ninth grade and actually has a personal relationship with Richt.

“Coach Richt has been part of Blake’s life since the ninth grade,” Sims’ father Sonny Sims said. “We have pictures of him all over the house. . . . I think Coach Richt is just a real honorable and real respectful man. And that might hurt him in this world we live in today because everybody’s so aggressive.”

Miller agrees.

“Some of these colleges are throwing out scholarship offers like their candy,” he said. “They’re like, ‘if you don’t work out we’ll just take it back.’ . . . I think they’re just very deliberate and want to make the best decisions and not hand out scholarships like candy. They’re not going to offer 25 scholarships to 130 people.”

Miller guesses that Sims will probably honor his commitment to Alabama.

“What Coach Saban told him back during the summer was, ‘You’re committed to us. Now go back and enjoy your high school senior year and when everything’s over we’ll work all this out and get you signed’,” Miller said. “I think Blake will probably stay pretty loyal to that. But you never know with high school kids. They have a different girlfriend every week.”

If Sims doesn’t change his tune, the Bulldogs could be the latest jilted suitor.

105 comments Add your comment

Another point of view

October 21st, 2009
4:49 pm

Martrez went to West Hall HS

Sautee Dawg

October 21st, 2009
4:51 pm

If he’s given his word to Ala. then he should keep it.

Chip Towers

October 21st, 2009
4:57 pm

Another point of view: You’re right. My bad. I fixed that. . . . I was trying to figure out the last UGA player from Gainesville High and saw “Martrez Milner, Gainesville” in the media guide and failed to look up which high school. . . . So anybody know the last Georgia player to sign out of Gainesville High? All I can think of is Damon Evans, Cris Carpenter and Preston Ridlehuber. But surely there must have been somebody since then. . . . Lil’ help anybody?!

DP

October 21st, 2009
5:00 pm

That’s some spin coming out of the Gainesville coach. All head coaches have to choose which kids to offer and which ones are secondary. Sims had a firm offer in hand from Alabama and decided to take it rather than waiting on an offer from Georgia that might never come. There’s certainly nothing wrong with Richt pursuing him now but to suggest that it is because Richt has such great character rather than because he had other higher priority recruits who fell through is disingenuous.

KD

October 21st, 2009
5:01 pm

Chip, what type of camp did he attend in the ninth grade ? I have a son that is a freshman this year, he is a lineman at his high school. He is listed at 5′11”& weighs 215.

Ginger

October 21st, 2009
5:04 pm

Here is the thing…..NCAA…should think if all of this offering and commiting as a Jr’s in High School is a good thing or not looking at the whole picture….Have to admire CMR when UGA does not offer sometimes as early as everyone else….then kids that don’t have an offer from UGA etc may get feelings hurt and accept at another school…..the kids need to be sure if they accept an offer that they really want to go there…..but this is not a perfect world….Anyone can make a mistake….then we get into the keep your word scenario…..A coach should tell a kid to go to the best place for the kid and go where he is going to be happy….but of course Coaches get paid to win…..so lots of things come into play in this early recruiting and commiting thing…….would rather see some rules in place that shortens the time between commiting and signign day and gives the coaches an opportunity to evaluate all Senior year players including late bloomers.

toph

October 21st, 2009
5:05 pm

Gotta love Richt. What a class guy!

VolNation

October 21st, 2009
5:11 pm

Yes clearly why they aren’t going to UGA is because Mark Richt is just too nice of a guy. This reminds me of a NY Times article that says Obama’s only fault is that he’s too perfect. Nice one.

richtisthenewfulmer

October 21st, 2009
5:18 pm

Your coach dictates the teams personality, Richt is too nice and his team is soft. Saban is an a$$ and his team plays w/ attitude.

Stoopid

October 21st, 2009
5:18 pm

Murray was the #2 QB coming outta HS… its gonna be his team next year… Ive only heard a little about Sims… can anyone shed any light on ranking? other schools offering? basicly, is this kid worth all the trouble when we have, from what weve heard, our “next” qb in Murray??

Paddy

October 21st, 2009
5:20 pm

HS coaches all over the state say appox. the same thing about CMR. I’m glad we have him at UGA. He will get over this funk the team has been in for a couple years. We do get the lion’s share of great Ga talent.

RD

October 21st, 2009
5:22 pm

Richt is a class guy, but what is that doing for the UGA football program? Obviously very little, as we’re now falling behind in recruiting some of the state’s best talent.

Here in Gainesville the locals have been talking about these five players at GHS for more than a year – where was UGA, considering we are only an hour down the road?

But then again,I guess we are not able to judge the best available talent as well at the UGA coaching staff… rather, we just keep watching the revoving door of coaches as Mayer, Saban, Kiffin, Spurrier, etc. keep visiting Gainesville.

Go Big Red

October 21st, 2009
5:23 pm

Chip,

I’m a GHS alum and close follower of the program and I believe that you are correct that Damon Evans was the last player from GHS to play at Georgia.

Terry Rogers - Gainesville, Ga.

October 21st, 2009
5:24 pm

NOT EVERY PLAYER IN GEORGIA WANTS TO UNDER ACHIEVE UNDER RICHT.

Dawg1970

October 21st, 2009
5:33 pm

Chip,
Thanks for your article. I believe its okay for an 18 year old to say “I
made a mistake in making a decision which will affect the rest of my life.” If he truly wants to go to UGA, he should go. Life is too short to let a hasty decision keep him from being happy. He hasn’t signed anything yet. UGA has had athletes back out on early commitments and that’s fine. I commend you for remembering Ridlehuber as a GHS grad ( that was back in the 60’s).
I think Coach Miller was exactly right about CMR not overcommiting like some schools. I think I remember reading that Ole Miss had extended offers to 2 or 3 times the number of scholarships available last year.
That would be an interesting article for you. I would like to know how
we stack up to other schools i.e. the Vols of UT.

Radio Listener

October 21st, 2009
5:35 pm

You only get 25, you can’t keep them all in the state. With that said sometimes being an hour down the road is the problem.

Rabun Dawg

October 21st, 2009
5:39 pm

Wow, no wonder Gainesville High is ripping everyone apart. Four D-1 prospects, or rather signees, and not a one going to Athens, 40 miles down the road! What a shame! Kinda hard to understand this situation,particularly if all these guys grew up Dog fans! And, I personally know that this town is full of UGA grads and has a huge UGA following.

VolsRule

October 21st, 2009
5:40 pm

Agree that Richt is a “nice” guy – but he is too nice.

Notice the difference in demeanor between Richt, Meyer, Saban and Miles?

Meyer, Saban and Miles appear to be driven men. I have seen all three coaches get into their players faces when they did something stupid on the field.

Richt will pat them on the back.

Look at team discipline as a result.

Heck – look at National Titles in the past 8 years as a result.

Richt had it going – because he had a REAL SOB in Van Gorder to kick some A$$ when A$$ was needed to be kicked.

Now look at the UGA program – great recruiting classes – and now a bottom half team in the SEC. The ship is sinking.

My adivce to Richt is to “recruit” some better coaches – that are driven men.

BAMA STAN

October 21st, 2009
5:48 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Agree with VolsRule! Richt needs to recruit some driven coaches to coach up the talent he has.

I enjoyed watching Caoch Paul Johnson lay into his O-Lineman that forgot the count on a two point conversion…… as he was running off the field – guess who was waiting for him 10 yards on the field – CPJ, “what are you – stupid?” and the butt chewing began.

I bet you that this player will be more focussed and driven as a result.

Agree with VolsRule – UGA a sinking ship – will be that way next year as well. What is the definination of insanity – expecting different results but doing the same thing over and over again?

Richt peaked in 2005 – and has been ineffective. Similar to watching Fulmer at TENNESSEE – had it going – started to slide – and was hanging on. His later teams were not anything near his peak years.

I am convinced Richt is in the same situation – his staff is no longer affective. The results speak for themselves.

BAMA STAN

October 21st, 2009
5:57 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Adice to Sims – per Napleon Dynamite “Follow your heart – that is what I would do!”

If Sims has dreamed of playing at UGA – and his heart is at UGA – and he has opportunity to play at UGA – then he should commit to UGA. Bama will be just fine. Sims commitment is verbal – and he has the right to change his mind. It is not BINDING until signing day.

I guarantee you that BAMA, FLORIDA< TENNESSE, UGA, etc. have offered scholarships to dozens of kids that will not be able to play for these schools – because it is numbers game. So are these offers binding? The anser is NO! These schools have the right and the obligation to rescind if they want to. And the recruits have the same right and obligation to do what they need to do to get into the school of their choice.

Best of luck to this kid – where ever he winds up playing.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BAMA FAN #2

October 21st, 2009
6:00 pm

I hope Richt turns the dawgs program around. The vols qb made the dawgs defense you like the titans playing the patriots in the snow last sunday just terrible!! Richt needs to fire the defense cordinator and i know i preaching to the choir, but samethings have to change. GO DAWGS AGAINST THE GATORS!!

Dawg1970

October 21st, 2009
6:08 pm

To answer a question about Blake Sims, he is listed as a safety on Alabama’s list of commitments by Scout.com and is rated as the 27th best safety in the country for 2010. That doesn’t mean UGA is not interested–just stating facts.

Eagleman

October 21st, 2009
6:20 pm

Bama “Stain” You are one self righteous pompous A$$…you’ve got all the answers don’t you….you get on this blog everyday and preach your gospel to everyone else….What the hell do you know about what goes on with the Georgia coaches…nothing! All Bama had ever done is cheat to get to the top…its been proven over the years….and apparently its still going on …..Saban wasn’t man enough to just come out and say..we cheated, we’re sorry and won’t do it again…he had to say “as far as we can tell six other schools are also doing it”….sounds like a school kid not mature enough to take responsibility for his teams actions so he spreads the blame around. All I know is that Richt has a winning record against Saban and until that changes I’m not going to bet aganist him…..”Stain” go back to your trailer,continue to look at yourself in the mirror and keep telling yourself that you are gods gift to college football….because you don’t know sh_t and everybody on this blog knows it!

Volquest

October 21st, 2009
6:27 pm

Eagleman,

Talk about being a self righteous pompous ass. You should look in the mirror fellah. The bama guy is just offering an opinion like anyone else and you go off on a rant and start talking about go back to your trailer and all the usual drivel. Did someone pee in your cereal this morning or are you upset with the bammers rise and your program’s demise? Lighten up dude or take some anger management classes.

DawgFan20

October 21st, 2009
6:38 pm

Blake won’t be a QB at UGA, maybe a CB or WR. Like someone said, it’s Murray’s team in the future.

Can you dig it?

October 21st, 2009
6:47 pm

VolQuest I agree with Eagleman…all Bama Stan does is come on this blog every day and talk down to everyone else including and especially the Vols. Did you talk down about Bama the past ten years when they weren’t winning anything and Tennessee was? I doubt it. Bama Stan is pompous and he doesn’t know how to state his views without talking down to people. He probably does that with all his family and friends too. Thats why he most likely doesn’t have many.

AdMan

October 21st, 2009
6:56 pm

Bmab Stan is an idiot! Did anyone notice last year when Alabama got slammed in the Sugar Bowl by Utah that he had more excuses for the loss than you could count. My favorite is that they didn’t care because they had nothing to play for….yah right…and I’ve got some swamp land I’d like to sell you to.

collegeballfan

October 21st, 2009
7:01 pm

Didn’t a coach in Columbus black list UGA for a few weeks for making an offer & then withdrawing the offer?

Chip didn’t you write on this?

ARdawg

October 21st, 2009
7:15 pm

Miller is just keeping his avenues open with Richt and the Bulldogs thus the spin. And a demm fine job of it too. I’m pretty sure those blue chips including Sims are outta here. Looks like yet another failure of CMR this year.

ARdawg

October 21st, 2009
7:16 pm

Adman….I remember Bama Stan’s absence from the boards after last years Sugar Bowl. Is he back already? He should’a been a GT fan

Renegade

October 21st, 2009
7:25 pm

THIS SEEMING PHENOMENON OF UGA GETTING SHAFTED BY GAINESVILLE ATHLETES GOES BACK SEVERAL YEARS. FOR WHATEVER REASON, GAINESVILLE ALWAYS PREFERED GT OVER UGA. BOTTOM LINE: GAINESVILLE IS BS AND SHOULD BE BLACKBALLED BY UGA FOR THEIR LACK OF ALLEGIANCE TO THEIR STATE SCHOOL. BUFORD HS ALSO HAS COME VERY CLOSE TO THIS SAME PHENOMENON, BUT HAVE NOT SNUBBED UGA AS BAD AS GAINESVILLE.

OCDawg

October 21st, 2009
7:32 pm

Stoopid,

Blake plays WR and is an excellent DB as well.

Gainesville Supporter

October 21st, 2009
7:34 pm

Saban believed in Sims from day one. Never waivered!
Richt and crew recruited Sims like a 2nd class citizen
In the 9th hour, when the ship is sinking, Oh Sims remember the good days from the 9th grade. Oh Sims save us.

Should have offered all of those Gainesville boys from jump.

UGA’s arrogance in recruiting, and their neglect of in-state talent, has caused this issue

Richt needs to fire several coaches b/f chasing any new talent.

Whatever!

GHS Grad

October 21st, 2009
7:36 pm

Jeff Williams was the last GHS grad to play for UGA he was on the team that won the SEC championship in 2005 with DJ playing QB

Renegade - WTF?

October 21st, 2009
7:39 pm

When did kids start handing out scholarships, instead of lazy recruiters? Maybe you should point the finger the other way.
UGA isn’t even loyal to themselves.
Richt preaches and UGA players keep getting arrested.
That’s a hard act to follow?

Dawg1970

October 21st, 2009
7:41 pm

I’m surprised at Bama Stan’s comment that CMR “peaked” in 2005. Didn’t we finish the 2007 at #2 in the country? I guess in Alabama they don’t consider any games important after the regular season and they ovviously don’t keep up with the polls after that. It’s funny to see all the fair weather dawg fans and GT,Vols, Bama,etc ready to write off the UGA program because we aren’t competing for the SEC title or Nat’l Championship. When you lose two first round NFL picks at skill positions as well as other key players, you expect a drop off. We’ll be back! Dawg fans–Quit whining. As for all you other schools, you can
just keep on wishing that our program is finished.
GT fans– Coach Johnson is doing a good job with Coach Gailey’s players. ( He is fortunate to have Josh Nesbitt). I wonder how he’ll do in recruiting a big time QB to come to a run oriented offense.

Pace of Recruiting

October 21st, 2009
7:42 pm

UGA is so concerned about TN and FL kids. It does say the University of Florida, I mean Georgia. When UGA honors its in-state talent, the talent, will honor UGA. GA Tech will beat UGA again this year, and it’s team is 95% Georgians. Thus GEORGIA Tech!

Richt a great guy, but he needs to let loose of a few great morons.

Dawg1970 - Duh!!!

October 21st, 2009
7:46 pm

Florida lost more than 2 skill position players this year, it doesn’t appear to bother Urban. You know why, the REEEECCCCRRRUUUUUIIIIITTTT!!!!!

Georgia will never be on par with Florida. The morons at the helm don’t know how to recruit. Obviously, something is very wrong and the more you cover it up, the farther the ship will sink.

1976 Gainesville Alumni

October 21st, 2009
7:48 pm

Since Damon Evans and Chris Carpenter graduated, Gainesville High has not had the powerhouse program it enjoyed under Bobby Gruhn until coach Miller came to town. The real question is how many prospects have snubbed UGA? Most, if not all Gainesville’s current stars happen to play positions that are loaded for the near future at UGA. Tai-ler Jones’s dad is a Notre Dame alumni-he might want to follow in his Dad’s footsteps and I see nothing wrong with that thinking. UGA has 21 slots to fill this year and really seem to need more muscle.

Dawg1970

October 21st, 2009
8:02 pm

Hey Duh, You’re right You Gators do recruit. I guess its fairly easy to get players to commit to a school where they can major in Watersports. Your standards aren’t exactly very high. And we’ll see how well you replace Tebow next year. By the way, you guys would not have beaten Arkansas without the 2 bad calls form the now suspended officiating crew.

Simple Fact

October 21st, 2009
8:18 pm

Sims, Jones, Johnson, Carr – Have visited UGA in the double digits. Each time they visited, UGA said an offer was coming, except offer didn’t come. Meanwhile, kids are reading about every other sorry recruit from TN, FL, TX, LA, CA and every other state. After all of those recruits snubbed UGA, then they come back to these four guys, like they haven’t built relationships with other schools and coaches. Hey guys, UGA still loves you, come on play. These players symbolize the effort UGA didn’t place on them. The fruit of non-labor hurts. The sad thing, is that all 4 would have commited, if offered when they were supposed to be offered. Not when things aren’t going good, but offer when the other schools are offering, to keep pace. And if you didn’t offer earlier, because you thought there was better talent, then why make so much noise about Gainesville not being loyal to UGA. Doesn’t sound UGA was loyal to any of them, so why would they select to stay in-state. These kids selections were based on prevailing circumstances at the time. Sorry these kids’ ideas on commiting, doesn’t match up, with UGA’s slow playing of GA talent. They did the same thing to GA Tech WR – Miller, Eric Berry, Jamal Lewis, and so on. It’s a deliberate act on UGA’s part. Don’t ask for loyalty, when you haven’t given it. The roosters are coming home to crow! Karma is a mother.

Terry Rogers - Gainesville, Ga.

October 21st, 2009
8:29 pm

No one can evaluate talent better than Nick Saban. He’s NFL material in college because he likes the game better. Richt picks and chooses 80% of what he has but he is not a great evaluator.

Real Facts

October 21st, 2009
8:35 pm

Eric Berry’s father played at UT. He was never coming to UGA. Berry was the top safety in the nation and UGA wanted him badly but he was always going to UT.

And as far as these gainesville recruits go UGA doesn’t want any of them! Its so obvious. Ogletree is the #3 safety in the nation and carr is rated 44th. Da’rick Rodgers is the #2 wide receiver in the nation and jones is 16th. Sims is probably going to be a wide receiver and we are going to be pretty deep at that position. UGA only has a limited amount of scholarships they can offer each year. The state of georgia is a high school football factory and unfortunately we can’t sign them all. Its just that simple.

4th place Dawg

October 21st, 2009
8:35 pm

Georgia is on the decline for the next several years, don’t go there.

Real Facts

October 21st, 2009
8:38 pm

Saban wasn’t to good when he was with the Dolphins evaluating talent since Bill parcells had to come in and blow the franchise up.

Gainesville Class of 63

October 21st, 2009
8:39 pm

Blake Sims is the real deal. He’s a winner. He’s got it all in one package and Alabama made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Georgia is to slooooooow in everything. Georgia could have had Sims and Jones if someone had built a relationship. Just another failure of Georgia coaches and Mark Richt’s gentle ways. I’m so sick of so little pride,
passion, intensity and so low key attitude at Georgia. Georgia is just a nice little second rank program that’s not even ranked and probably headed for Shrieveport if they’re lucky. Come on Mark, ligt a fire.

AdMan

October 21st, 2009
8:42 pm

Simple Fact…you don’t know sh_t..the simple fact is. you have no clue as to what and why UGA does what they do in recruiting. Is Georgia supposed to offer Sims to come to UGA and play QB when they already have three QB’S waiting their turn? Do you really think Tai-ler Jones will start at WR with Orson Charles, Marlon Brown, King, Wooten and A.J.Green already there…I don’t think so. Recruiting is a process ….you offer schalorships where they will help you the most. CMR has a policy that when you commit to UGA regardless if you start, get hurt or end up on the scout team he will honor his scholarship commitment to you for four years. Alabama, and Florida don’t do that. If you don’t ever play a down the first three years you are there they ask you to leave to free up a scholarship for someone else. If you don’t believe me look it up..its fact. As good a coach as Meyer and Saban are they treat their players like cattle…with the exception of the starters or players that can make them look good.They could give a sh_t about evryone else on the team. They toss them aside like yesterdays trash…its a fact and can be proven. When CMR commits to you and you back to him he has your back for as long as you are in school on the team unless you commit a crime or break a team rule that warrants dismisal.I would suggest before you embarrass yourself again on this blog you get your facts straight and stop making it up as you go…you come across as an idiot.

AdMan

October 21st, 2009
8:45 pm

Real Facts…No truer words have ever been spoken…well said!

ARdawg

October 21st, 2009
8:52 pm

Espn has announced the officiating crew from the UGA/LSU and FL/AR game have been suspended until Nov. 14 for the bad calls in those games citing no evidence of fouls on AJ Green or no pass interference on Arkansas. Also will re-evaluate bowl game assignments

Flo-Ri-Duh!

October 21st, 2009
9:29 pm

Funny how the players get offers early from schools like Bama…. are you saying Saban didn’t do his homework before offering Sims? I doubt that. Richt was slow to make up his mind and Saban was on the ball. I am an UGA fan but Sims went to several UGA camps and that should have been enough to evaluate him early.