UGA, Richt make major push for Bama commit Sims

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Georgia is making a major push to recruit Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims. And it has created a bit of a moral dilemma for the player and his family.

Sims, an AJC Super 11 selection and one of the early favorites for all-classification player of the year honors, has been committed to Alabama since April. But Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Richt, who has had a relationship with Sims and his family for four years, has taken a personal interest in changing Sims’ mind and convincing him to come to UGA instead.

“That was pretty cool,” Blake’s father, Sonny Sims, said of getting a phone call from Richt on Monday. “Coach Richt has been part of Blake’s life for a long time.  We’ve got pictures of Blake with Coach Richt as a 9th grader. That’s why we couldn’t understand why Georgia didn’t snag him early because he’d been groomed all his life for Georgia. Everything in our house was Georgia. We were shocked when Blake committed to Alabama. It just happened. He didn’t even give me a chance to talk to him about it. He just did it. But he did and we’ve got a good relationship now with Coach [Nick] Saban. So it’s a tough situation.”

Sims declined comment for this story and deferred to his father and Gainesville coach Bruce Miller. “Me and his father are going to handle this,” Miller said. “It’s a touchy situation and we want keep Blake out of it.”

Miller said Georgia’s head coach asked “for the chance to sit down and talk with them.” And that has been both flattering and flustering for the Sims family.

“Here’s what we’re dealing with: The parents a love Coach Richt,” Sonny Sims said. “Blake loves coach Richt. We’ve known him for four years and we think he’s the perfect man for our child to live with for the next four years. But we also raised Blake to believe that his word is his bond. And Coach [Nick] Saban is an honorable man, too.  So Blake gave his word on one side but his heart is on the other side.”

Georgia is not the only school still coming after Sims. Florida, Tennessee and Michigan are all actively pursuing Sims. And it has gotten considerably more intense of late.

“I don’t know where all this is coming from,” Sims said.

Where it’s coming from is the season that Sims is having. The 6-foot, 180-pound athlete has 1,114 yards and 16 touchdowns passing, 345 yards and six touchdowns rushing and two catches for 148 yards and two TDs. All that despite Sims rarely playing into the fourth quarter for the undefeated Red Elephants (7-0), ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.

I asked Mr. Sims if they were disappointed Georgia did not act quicker on Blake, who has attended Georgia’s football camps every year since the 9th grade.

“I think Coach Richt is just a real honorable and real respectful man,” Sonny Sims said. “And that might hurt him in this world we live in today because everybody’s so aggressive.”

It sounds like Richt is going to get a second chance.

“I know one thing that’s going to happen: He IS going to sit down and talk to Coach Richt,” Sonny Sims said. “That’s got to happen because half of the things we raised Blake on were from things Coach Richt said.”

Be sure to tune back in later this afternoon to read about Georgia’s recruiting relationship with Gainesville High School. It will post at 4:45 p.m.

334 comments Add your comment

Dawg Fan in Grayson

October 21st, 2009
2:22 pm

Follow your heart Blake and help lead your Dawgs for the next 4 years.

Blindog

October 21st, 2009
2:24 pm

Enter your comments here

jaxdawg

October 21st, 2009
2:24 pm

who’s first?

Blindog

October 21st, 2009
2:28 pm

Love to have him play for UGA but if he stays true to his word, you’ve got to admire that and say good luck young man ,have a good life.

Gdawg

October 21st, 2009
2:29 pm

Blake, realize that CMR is not the pushy type and not quick to rush you into making a decision. I never saw CMR not honor a scholorship offer even if the player was hurt during their senior year. On the other hand, Saban’s history of indecisiveness has created some questions regarding his integrity. There is no doubt that CMR wants you to run his system and there is no doubt that this man will be loyal to you. Just take a look at how he has handled Joe Cox and his coordinators during all of this recent turmoil.

cj

October 21st, 2009
2:29 pm

We need you in Athens

crimsonconfidential

October 21st, 2009
2:30 pm

Blake do whats right and honor your commitment to Alabama.

Country Boy

October 21st, 2009
2:32 pm

I thought we were loaded with QB’s. Mett, Murray, Gray.

EW

October 21st, 2009
2:35 pm

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Sounds like his parents have raised him well. I don’t blame him for committing early, seems like there is so much pressure on these kids to say SOMETHING that they end up saying yes before they might be ready. The selfish side of me wants him in Athens…on the other hand it would be a real breath of fresh air to see him honor his word.

EW

October 21st, 2009
2:36 pm

Country Boy…Murray and Mett are traditional throwers. Gray will be odd man out. This kid looks like he would give us a real threat lining up in some spread option type formations. A real change of pace.

BamaCLT

October 21st, 2009
2:37 pm

It sounds like Richt is desperate after this pitiful season he’s having. One thing is inevitable: Richt is in the hot seat. He’s going to be forced to pull a Tuberville and fire a good bit of his staff after this year. Why would Blake Sims want to sign with a team that due for a complete coaching change? At 6′0″, he’s not an SEC QB by stature alone. Look at Chris Leak. Yeah, he was good in college, but he’s not even in the league right now (to my knowledge). Bama intends to use him as a slot receiver, which makes more sense.

All in all, Sims needs to make the choice that best suits his needs. I was almost a Dawg when Goff was the HC. However, my senior year in HS, he was fired. I see the same fate for Richt. The game seems to be too fast for him now that Bama is back to prominence. The game of recruiting is a year round match for Saban. It’s hard to keep up with him, love him or hate him. Just ask Tuberville. He didn’t like giving up his yearly duck hunting vacations to recruit. Now, look at the depth Auburn lacks as a result.

I respect Richt, but I think the game has passed him. You rarely see a changing of the guard that works without changing the HC too. Either way, best of luck to Blake Sims.

Mark in Woodstock

October 21st, 2009
2:44 pm

Let’s see kid…you can play for a National Title at one school with a coach who has a Title to his credit and NFL ties…..OR….you play for a coach is currently 3rd or 4th in his division…..hmmmmmm…..now that’s a tough choice….

dap01

October 21st, 2009
2:46 pm

Be a hero in your home state of Georgia. Besides, have you ever read the lips of Saban while on the sidelines? If we could hear him, the football game would have to be rated R.

Dkchap

October 21st, 2009
2:46 pm

Bama CLT, what planet are you on??? “The game has passed him” ???

AJC editing sucks

October 21st, 2009
2:50 pm

I can’t believe the number of stupid editing mistakes I have seen in the AJC recently….

Lee

October 21st, 2009
2:50 pm

I’ve personally saw Simms play. He’s good but not the atypical SEC Quarterback. If Richt will experiment with some option or Wildcat packages Simms might fit the bill there. But if he chooses to stick to the predictable Pro Style offense, Simms will not flourish and that would be no good for him or Georgia.

Reality

October 21st, 2009
2:51 pm

Honor your commitment…go to Bama and win a National Championship.

bamafan

October 21st, 2009
2:52 pm

Dkchap – perhaps Bama CLT was inaccurate about the game passing Coach Richt by, but from what I have been reading on the blogs from UGA fans, Bama CLT was not the first person to think so.

Jon

October 21st, 2009
2:52 pm

please go to Georgia, Mark Richt is a better guy to be around than Saban. This is coming from an LSU student. which i know Saban did a great job for LSU, but when he turned and left like a punk I hate him now. and Mark Richt, never met the guy but i’ve heard great things about him and I really want to meet him someday!!

BamaCLT

October 21st, 2009
2:53 pm

D(ic)kchap: I’m on the planet that’s watching Saban cherry pick who he wants out of GA, along with UF and UT. In addition, I’m on the planet that’s watching UGA get handled every Saturday by subpar teams. I’m also on the planet that watched UGA get dealt with during their “blackout”. I’m on the planet that’s seen this happen to bigger and better coaches. If Richt doesn’t compete for the SEC East next year, he’s gone. If you want to make a wager, shut your mouth and open your wallet. He’s just like Tubs. He had a run at glory, but had to settle for mediocrity. He wasn’t a bad coach, but he wasn’t a great coach either.

Gen Neyland

October 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

The goal is simple : Get him so somebody else won’t. Then put him in a minor role for 4 years and waste his opportunity.

BAMA SWALLOWS

October 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

I love the “Saben is an honest man” quote. Say what??? Yeah, pops, his word is sooooo trustworthy. Ask the Dolphins about that.

Elliot Garcia

October 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

Richt knows Aaron Murray is not the answer….

native atlantan

October 21st, 2009
2:55 pm

Bama is on the way up and UGA is irrelevant! Why would he want to play for a failing program coached by Richt when he could play for a winner like Saban!

buzz is wiser

October 21st, 2009
2:55 pm

Mark Richt, honestly I don’t care for your program but is there a way you could have went after this kid without it going public. You know you now not only have to compete with Nick Saben for him but Lane Kiffin will be after him pretty soon.
Go Jackets!!!

SatchelBuzz

October 21st, 2009
2:57 pm

Don’t think he’ll ever see the field as a QB in Athens although he would definately be a quality player. That said,..the family should be well-versed in handling the recruiting drama. Practice makes perfect.

THWG!

JaxDawg

October 21st, 2009
3:00 pm

Saban is an honorable man now?

We beat Vandy-- yeah!

October 21st, 2009
3:01 pm

Hey Gdawg– Coach Saban is pushy and he is a winner. CMR is soft– no further discussion!

Dave in Woodstock

October 21st, 2009
3:03 pm

You can play for an honorable man and a school that has won the SEC within the past decade…..OR….you play for a coach who turns his back on his own players at both the college level (LSU) and pro level (Miami)…..hmmmmmm…..now that’s a tough choice….

JB

October 21st, 2009
3:03 pm

Did I just read ” coach Saban is an Honorable man also”………..Mr Simms, Mr Saban’s word IS NOT HIS BOND. I don’t know if you are aware of the time Bama was trying to lure him away from Miami and he looked right in the Camera and said “I have not heard from Bama and was not interested Bama and we are going to be in Miami working on getting better”. He was hired about two weeks later by Bama.
Now, he is a good coach, but honorable is one word I wouldn’t use. Saban is all about Saban. If he had his way, The National Championship Trophy at LSU would say ” Nick Saban, National Champion”.

Ga Tech

October 21st, 2009
3:06 pm

Blake stay with BAMAM, not sure where UGA will be in a few years. CMR might not even be at UGA in a few years. CMR did the same thing with Nesbitt, his house was all bulldogs too until CMR turned him down.

Plane Tix

October 21st, 2009
3:06 pm

Go ahead and committ to Georgia Blake. Coach Richt has about a year left in Athens until his jaded fan base kicks him to the curb like Auburn did to Tubbs. Then you can look over at Alabama winning SEC Championships and think what could of been. Instead your left with Skip Holtz as your HC for the next three years.

Sounds like an awesome idea!!!

Spike

October 21st, 2009
3:07 pm

I notice he is not at all interested in Tech.

Bud Flu

October 21st, 2009
3:08 pm

Mark Richt = Jim Mora Jr.

He just wants to be everybody’s buddy.

MtnDawg

October 21st, 2009
3:10 pm

UGA is irrelevant? Hardly. We are down this year from normal–but we are NEVER irrelevant. We play in the SEC. We have the 6th largest crowds in the NATION. Our football program generates a ton of money. Athens is a great place to live, and UGA is a great place to get a degree or two.

bama-n-ga

October 21st, 2009
3:10 pm

hey dawgs when u wearing those black jerseys again?

Joe Fan

October 21st, 2009
3:11 pm

There is very little honor among college coaches. CMR is right in the mudpile with Saban, and Kiffin. It should be an NCAA rule that once a kid has committed he should be off limits to other schools. There is enough pressure on these kids without the coaches being able to continue to contact a kid after a decision has been made.

Perspective

October 21st, 2009
3:12 pm

It’s funny how these Bama folks, who’ve had to deal with rotten coaches and rotten results for the past 15 years, including losing losing 3 of the past 4 games against UGA, are on here talking smack like this. You had to throw the bank at Saban to save your program, and we all know that he’ll wander off in a few years and the next Mike (DuBose, Price, Shula) will be hired.

JB

October 21st, 2009
3:12 pm

Plane Tix and other Tech lites……..I know you hope Richt stays at Georgia, just like we used to pray than Chan had a life long Contract. Adams fired Donnan. He’s still the President. Richt has NOW LOST MORE GAMES in the last three seasons than Donnan did, with six to go. If we , sorry, when we lose to Florida and Tech this year, coach’s will go……no improvement next year, Richt will go. Trust me, it will not be Holtz. Careful Techies what you wish for. Our Johnson may be lurking.

Bama Dude

October 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

I’m a die hard Bama guy and would LOVE to have a young man of Blake’s character representing my school. With that said, he’s 18, the recruiting game can be tough on these kids and he may have jumped the gun a little bit. If Georgia is what he’s known and loved and that’s where his heart is, then maybe that’s where he should go. He is the one that has to live with the decision.

I admire his father encouraging Blake to keep his word, but at the same time I don’t want the kid to have any regrets.

Reverend Richt

October 21st, 2009
3:14 pm

CMR encouraging a kid to break his word? Who would have thunk? Nice reverend.

Glenn

October 21st, 2009
3:15 pm

Looks like CMR got to the dance to late . Agree with a poster above . Aaron Murry must not be impressing .

Plane Tix

October 21st, 2009
3:15 pm

Funny all of you Georgia fans are such great judges of moral charachter. Bama did what it had to do to start winning again. I think he might be worth the money they gave to him. If he leaves Alabama in the condition he left LSU, who were irrelevant before his arrival, then every penny will be well worth it. Oh, and by the way, Saban signed a contract through 2018 and made it apparent that this is his last stop. He wants to build a legacy somewhere.

BamaCLT

October 21st, 2009
3:16 pm

Perspective, all you have to do is win the East. We’d be happy to kick the sh!t out of you again in Atlanta.

Dawg Fud

October 21st, 2009
3:18 pm

Georgia “G” on his jersey and a Red Elephant mascot…no wonder the kid is torn.

Good luck, Blake. It will be a tough decision but you cannot go wrong with either school or program. You will have a great experience at either place.

GO DAWGS!

Plane Tix

October 21st, 2009
3:18 pm

I agree with you JB. Everyone thought firing Shula was a terrible thing to do. You learn more about your coach through your rivals eyes then you do through your own. If rival fan bases hate your coach, then they really think he’s good.

KD

October 21st, 2009
3:18 pm

Another example of a kid that committed too early. The NCAA should come up with a new rule about commiting too early, we need to go back to when it came down to national signing day.

Sting 'em Buzz

October 21st, 2009
3:19 pm

His teammate has already backed out on his verbal committment to Stanford to go to Notre Dame…either way Blake, do what’s right for you.

Palm City Dawg

October 21st, 2009
3:19 pm

Does the name Charlie Ward bring back any memories to Lee. I think he won a Heisman with CMR. And he was anything but a prostyle QB.

Perspective

October 21st, 2009
3:20 pm

Also, do you really want to live in Alabama?