Whitaker talks Georgia-Auburn and recruitment timeline

Auburn and Georgia are in a tug-of-war over Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker (55). (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Auburn and Georgia are in a tug-of-war over Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker (55). (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

His senior high school football season is over. But Warner Robins’ Jeff Whitaker is not hanging his head.

“I’m good. I’m fine,” the Demons’ 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle said. “I have no regrets. I played as hard as I could.”

The Demons finished 6-4, which meant a rare playoff miss for the four-time state champions. But Whitaker had a fantastic individual season.

“He’s a great player,” coach Bryan Way said. “And a good kid, too.”

Apparently college recruiters think so, too. Whitaker, a four-star prospect who shot up as high as 11th in the nation at his position in recruiting rankings, landed more than a dozen major college scholarship offers.

His season now officially over, this U.S. Army High School All-American has trimmed down his list to five schools:  Georgia, Auburn, California, North Carolina and South Carolina. Most recently Whitaker went to Athens this past weekend to watch two of his favorites battle it out in the oldest rivalry in the South.

“The visit to Athens was great. I’m still tired from that visit,” Whitaker said on Monday. “It was a great atmosphere. I had a lot of fun. Before the game I met with Coach [Mark] Richt and everybody. They were saying they really wanted me. The last time I had been there was the blackout game so it was good to get back up there. And the game was fantastic. That’s how a rivalry is supposed to be.”

That Whitaker was in Athens at all is somewhat of a surprise since the Bulldogs seemed to have dropped off his radar for a while. That’s not the case any more. Whitaker says Georgia is a serious contender for his services.

“[Richt] made it clear he really wanted me,” Whitaker said of their Saturday afternoon meeting. “It was really just a matter of miscommunication. At one point we just weren’t communicating at all. But Georgia has been interested in me since I was a sophomore. They never forgot about me but we just lost touch there for a little while.”

Whitaker reiterated that he is “very interested in Auburn, too,” and made it clear that at this point, “I don’t have a leader.”

“What’s it going to come down to?,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s so close I could probably reach into a hat and pull somebody out and it would be fine.”

Working in Georgia’s favor is the fact that Geno Atkins, Jeff Owens and Kade Weston all will be graduating at the end of this season.

“In all there’s five of them that are leaving, five senior defensive tackles,” Whitaker said. “So it’s going to be good for them. Auburn is dealing with some similar things. It’s a great time to be a D-lineman in 2010.”

Whitaker said he’s going to take his time with his decision and set up some official visits. He said he’ll likely come back to Georgia and go to Auburn and he’s really enamored with Cal, which has recruited him hard. “I don’t mind going away from home,” he said.

As for his recruiting timeline, Whitaker figures he’ll announce a decision in mid-January.

“I’m not going to do it on signing day and I’m not going to do it at the U.S. Army All-American game,” Whitaker said. “I’m just not comfortable with either one. I don’t want to do it in San Antonio. And national signing day is everybody’s day. It’s not ‘Jeff Whitaker Day.’ I owe everybody else that respect. So I’ll probably do it like two weeks before that.”

50 comments Add your comment

ben

November 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

Come on Jeff, join the dawgs!

Dawg1970

November 17th, 2009
1:16 pm

This young man sounds like he really has his head in the right place with the comment about national signing day. We’d love to have him as a Georgia Bulldog.

#1 BAMA FAN

November 17th, 2009
1:17 pm

Well, during the blackout game you did get to see a good team. RTR

JJ

November 17th, 2009
1:31 pm

Probably enjoyed being able to get tons of sleep during the game trying to watch two inept coaching staffs bumble their way through a game.

LizDawg

November 17th, 2009
1:33 pm

Glad you enjoyed Athens Jeff. As a 6-3 290# DT you know you would get some immediate playing time on the Dawgs’ line. There’s nothing like SEC football!

dap01

November 17th, 2009
1:37 pm

Be a home state hero. Athens is a great place and UGA has a need for a defensive tackle.

Either way, you have a great future ahead of you. Congratulations!

Go Dawgs!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

November 17th, 2009
1:44 pm

Head on straight! Are you kidding me. He wants to have “Jeff Whitaker Day”. How do you get he has his head on straight from that comment. Sounds more like a prima donna. Fact is he has Georgia and Auburn by the short ones due to graduation and wants to take as many visits as possible including a trip to California.

Old Dawg

November 17th, 2009
1:48 pm

Warner Robins has great football tradition and so does Georgia. Not matter where Jeff goes, I hope his life and career come to pass.

Chip Towers

November 17th, 2009
1:52 pm

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger: You misread his comment completely. He said would not make his announcement on national signing day because that’s “everybody’s day,” NOT Jeff Whitaker Day.

Griffin

November 17th, 2009
1:58 pm

Bank Walker Texas Ranger… This is what you call yourself, and you are questioning someone being a prima donna. Whatever loser. At least he will mature with age. Why don’t you give it a shot.

Paddy

November 17th, 2009
2:04 pm

Bank Walker…if you can’t read and comprehend, don’t type!!

Dan

November 17th, 2009
2:08 pm

By graduating, you mean exhausting their eligibility, yes?

jag count

November 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

Dawgdreamer

November 17th, 2009
2:52 pm

Sounds like a solid blue chipper that could make an immediate impact at the D tackle position. I think he said under his breath that if CWM is fired or leaves he will become a Dawg! He likes Richt a lot so hopefully UGA will get him.

dawgsssssss

November 17th, 2009
2:55 pm

#1 bama fan: he was probably referring to the first blackout considering his love for both uga and au. sweet plug though, I’m glad you guys aren’t in the picture for him. get on the bama blog and talk about bear some more would ya

Porty

November 17th, 2009
2:58 pm

Ha! Owens, Atkins and Weston will not be graduating. Their eligibility will be up. What a riot.

Pat Dye

November 17th, 2009
3:01 pm

Bama Fan, don’t forget that UGA has won the last 3 out of 4 against your team. By the way, when is the last time ya’ll have won an SEC championship. I think it has been a while. Have fun getting smoked by TCU in the Sugar Bowl this year.

cj

November 17th, 2009
3:04 pm

REP YOUR HOME STATE BIG MAN!!!! THE DAWG POUND NEEDS YA!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

Hey Dogtards

November 17th, 2009
3:07 pm

“I think it has been a while. Have fun getting smoked by TCU in the Sugar Bowl this year.”

Better than getting smoked by UConn in the pizza bowl mutts.

GaGator

November 17th, 2009
3:15 pm

THE RICH GET RICHER:

Florida received a huge addition to its 2010 recruiting class Tuesday.
During a live news conference at his high school, Palmdale, Calif., cornerback Joshua Shaw verbally committed to the Gators, who Rivals.com rates as the 23rd-best prospect in the nation and the No. 3 corner in the country.

Simply a dawg

November 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how many iidiots post in this forum. Banks.. Please go to the top of the list…

no.. no… this way… nope… over here…. Hey… somebody help banks find the front of the idiot line …

anybody ??

Joshhh...

November 17th, 2009
4:00 pm

I’d love to see this guy play for us! Being from Warner Robbins and everything seems like that would be a great fit!

Come play for the Dawgs Jeff!

20 wins in a row

November 17th, 2009
4:34 pm

Take a look at that ESPN 150 list and see all the top “Dogs” that are coming to Gainesville next year and it is only November. You can also see lasts years list and most of those Gators are on the sideline because they can’t get in the game yet. How about those Gators? 20 wins in a row and looking for more.

Savannah Jacket

November 17th, 2009
4:36 pm

Stay in State and go to UGA, that way you to can play for Willie M and watch first hand at the Jackets win a National Championship and rush for 500 yds and all you are left with is a footprint on your back.

Roddy is still running….. Dwyer up the middle…..

Peaches Suga

November 17th, 2009
5:00 pm

For yall’s info, Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Geno Adkins all are on schedule to graduate. Get your information correct next time you try to talk down on someone you know nothing about! Oh and one of the mentioned above actually graduates this coming December I think!!!

AND all three are most definately in the NFL next year too! ( Millionaires with UGA diplomas in hand how sweet it sounds!)

Talk about that Gurls!!

eat it

November 17th, 2009
5:12 pm

The Gators getting Shaw did nothing but help the Dawgs in their recruiting for Matt Elam!

lol

November 17th, 2009
5:14 pm

I think EVERYONE know better than GT winning a title. Give a team a month to get ready for the triple fairy and it’s over. You can sneak up on a coordinator in the season but 30 days, the little nerds will fall in deafeat every time…lol!

saint simons

November 17th, 2009
5:15 pm

hehe…thats ok because we get title rings for beating georgia. We are happy with that every day of the week.
Paul coaches his whole season around trying to compete with the dogs.

GaGator

November 17th, 2009
5:17 pm

eat it

November 17th, 2009
5:12 pm
The Gators getting Shaw did nothing but help the Dawgs in their recruiting for Matt Elam!

Touchy

eat it

November 17th, 2009
5:24 pm

well his only visit was to UGA vs AU.

And UF has a lot of DB’s and UGA is thin. Can we all say – who wants to play early???

Elam has already stated that he wants the opportunity to play right away.

Good day, GaGator

Gator in the Hootch

November 17th, 2009
5:57 pm

Eat it…that would be “in the recruiting of (not for) Matt Elam!” Elam is a Gator and will be a Gator on signing day. He replaces Major Wright at free safety the year after next. The DB the Gators are worried about losing is Dorsey since he is also a free safety. The Gators want him as big CB. Anyway, the Gators are loading up again and will continue to do so until signing day. SEC East and potential national champs again in 2010…and reloading every single year. When do the Meyer to Notre Dame posts begin again? Say, by some miracle for Georgia, Meyer does leave for the lesser Notre Dame job. Who do the Gators get as a head coach? Let me see. The Cinncinati head coach? The TCU HC? The Boise State HC? How about Charlie Strong (who is probably the best of the bunch)? But Urban is going anywhere…except into the college Hall of Fame as the long-time coach of the Florida Gators! It must be tough being a fan of another coach and all you have to do is find fault with a 10 and 0 football team that has won 20 games in a row…something other teams and their fans can only dream about. Oh, yeah, I forgot. Tebow is leaving next year and the Gators will fall to the bottom of the SEC. Dream on with that one.

Gator in the Hootch

November 17th, 2009
5:59 pm

eat it…also…no, he visited Tennessee recently and Lame Duck made the play early pitch to him (to replace Berry next year). Didn’t work there. Will not work for Georgia either. Elam knows that he comes to Florida and plays and learns for one year under Major Wright and starts the next year. Done deal.

eat it

November 17th, 2009
6:20 pm

lol…nice vomit about the coaching prediction, what a joke.

I’m not even a Georgia fan, I graduated from Alabama. I keep up with the recruiting and Elam has been changed from a solid committ to a soft after he visited UGA. I really don’t care, I’m just saying that UGA has a better shot now and UF is freaking over it. Good luck to whatever team gets his services.

BG

November 17th, 2009
8:23 pm

Come be a Dawg Jeff. Represent your state and play for the DAWGS.

C tha 1

November 17th, 2009
8:38 pm

Dang if Jeff Whitaker were to commit to UGA that would mean that he and Arbry Jones (Northside H.S.-Warner Robins) would possibl play on the same D-Line together. Who would have ever thought Northside H.S. and Warner Robins H.S. would get down like that! It’ll be a good look though

Joe Coxs' shadow

November 17th, 2009
10:21 pm

when i leave Ga we will be in good hands with Aaron Murray, so all you detractors of Ga football will be sorry and bow down to the new regime…we say eat dog Sh$$ Mf ers go Dawgs!!!!

Sweet Home Alabama

November 17th, 2009
10:52 pm

UGA AND AUBURN,TO JOKES OF A PROGRAM .MAN HE HAS HIGH GOALS.MAYBE HE WILL HAVE A WINNING SEASON OR TOO..DUKE IN THE MEINKE BOAL AINT NO GREAT SHAKES..

Flo-Ri-Duh!

November 17th, 2009
11:26 pm

Florida’s Offensive ccordinator of their National Champ teams is one year removed from Florida – and how is Florida doing on offense now – can you say average at best. No imagination on offense. Florida’s defensive coordinator will be leaving to head coach Notre Dame next year and I will again ask how is the defense doing now compared to a year ago – and the answer will be – average at best. Which means in ‘11 Florida will be average on offense and average on defense…….. : 7-5 is doable. The year after that the recruiting won’t be quite as good and half the championship year’s players will be gone. Florida will slip a little more to say 6-6 and Urban will be looking for a way out. The Tebow era will soon be a distant memory.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

November 17th, 2009
11:28 pm

By 2011 Bama will replace Florida as the top team in the SEC tob e followed by LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss. Florida will be in the middle of the pack where they historically belong.

BigMike Said...

November 17th, 2009
11:59 pm

All you guys are forgetting A. Ogletree, at safety, Brandon Smith at corner, Brandon Boykin at another corner, and Shaun Williams who is a beast at safety…. Gator In the Hooch, you know and I know Charlie Strong isn’t going to get the Head coaching job in the SEC. Hate to say it but That ole Black Male effect is working against him…..Saint Sissy Simon, Please stop tripping over Tech, they are you we thought they were, a one year wonder. Nov 28th please don’t cry like a Biotch….Savannah Jacket didn’t you get enough last time when Yolanda’s Man was making you look STUPID.Tech ain;t going nowhere this year so let the body’s hit the floor…..Last but not least is Bank Walker ! Dude you have got to singlehandedly just won the AJC Vents stupid post of the year award. Thats probably why you never posted anything after that. Continue hiding under your chair to your called out to play STUPID MAN.

[...] Warner Robbins 4 star likes the Dawgs. [...]

Starring Peter Graves as Capt. Clarence Over

November 18th, 2009
7:46 am

Rare playoff miss? 3rd year in a row. But, the Demons are City Champs.

Fletch

November 18th, 2009
9:48 am

We need D Tackles bad…come to UGA and play right away then go to the NFL like all of our past D Tackles

Harry Smalls

November 18th, 2009
10:58 am

During halftime last week the Auburn coached were running thru the club level heading back to their box. One of them saw Jeff in the glass room and stopped and started yelling at him trying to get his attention. All the dawg fans were telling the coach to keep going and recruit on his own turf. It was pretty funny! But he looked surprised to see Jeff in there.

bank walker

November 18th, 2009
11:12 am

@ sweet home bammer: Haha, Alabama is a joke of a state. The high school football is just a notch above tennersee, which isn’t saying much. Georgia middle school teams could wax most of alabammer high school squads! That is why the crapstone is caught cheating every decade. They have to pay players to live in that horrid state. Please you bammer chumps are the most jealous people on earth! That explains why 2/3rds of your phantom championships are fabricated. The only way bammer wins another championship is the majority of their football team out of state.

PirateDawg

November 18th, 2009
11:13 am

Listen to me Dale Howard of Appling County High School is THE MAN and UGA needs to be recruiting him Hard !!! D.H. and the Pirates take on Cook County this Friday night in Baxley if any of you want to come watch a Real DT play.

Go Pirates!

Go Dawgs!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

November 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

Maybe you guys need to read, my point is he wants his own day and not share with everyone else. And how does that make you level headed.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

November 18th, 2009
2:05 pm

Oh and Griffin, nice name, a reminder how you are stuck in the a-hole of the State.

NW Alatiger

November 22nd, 2009
12:07 am

Would love to see this young man come to AU and play for a great d-line coach Tracy Rocker.

Tee in Stockbridge

December 6th, 2009
1:39 am

Go to Auburn and get a great education just as Warner Robins native James Brooks did.