Depending on which side of the rivalry one sits, there has been a lot of horn-tooting and rationalizing going on since the Georgia-Georgia Tech ended Saturday night. That’s only natural after a rivalry game nicknamed “Clean Old Fashioned Hate.” But the perspective is decidedly different for prospects being recruited by both schools.
Tucker linebacker James Vaughters and Kell safety Brian Randolph fall into that category. Both are high school juniors and coveted recruits for the class of 2011 and both have Tech and Georgia atop their lists.
Randolph, who attended Saturday’s game at Bobby Dodd Stadium as an unofficial visitor, insists he is giving the Bulldogs due consideration even though his brother Justin Randolph is a freshman A-back for the Yellow Jackets. Vaughters has been to both Tech and Georgia many times this season but stayed at home and watched the game on television since he had family in town for Thanksgiving.
Unlike the rabid fans that lived and died with every play in the dramatic contest — Georgia held on to win 30-24 – these guys watched through a decidedly different lens.
“I didn’t root for either team since I have met and gotten to know both coaching staffs and some of the players as well,” said Vaughters, responding to queries via email. “It is a little strange to watch a game when you want to see guys on both sides of the ball do well. For example, I’ve met Rennie Curran, the linebacker at Georgia, on a couple of occasions and I really like the way he plays and carries himself, so I pull for him. At the same time, I know Roddy Jones, the running back at Tech, because we played in the same youth football league in Tucker, so I pull for him too.”
Said Randolph, reached by telephone on Sunday: “It was a tough, physical game and I liked that.” As for his emotions throughout, he said, “I stayed pretty chill.”
Their reactions corroborate what both Georgia coach Mark Richt and Tech coach Paul Johnson theorized last week, that the outcome of the game in a given year is not pivotal for a recruit to make up his mind.
Randolph stated it flatly: “No, it doesn’t really matter that much.”
Vaughters liked what he saw on both sides of the field Saturday night.
“I still consider both Georgia and Georgia Tech to both be great options, although they are very different,” he said. “What I like is that both coaching staffs have great coaches that seem to care about the players and building character, as well as making sure we succeed academically. It also helps that both programs do a great job of getting players . . . ready to play at the next level.”
But neither player is anywhere close to making up his mind, Saturday’s results notwithstanding.
“It’s too early to tell where the best opportunity for me to fit in depth chart-wise will be,” Vaughters said. “That will be a determining factor, as well, when it is time to make a commitment.”
Said Randolph: “I’m just handling school right now.”
Now, back to horn-tooting and rationalizing.