Warner Robins DT Jeff Whitaker chooses Auburn

UPDATED 4 P.M. MONDAY. . . .

Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker (33) is headed to The Plains. (AJC photo)

Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker (33) is headed to The Plains. (AJC photo)

Jeff Whitaker didn’t play any games with caps or T-shirts. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle simply strolled into the media center at Warner Robins High School on Monday wearing a blue Auburn University warm-up suit with his father and step-mother following close behind in bright-orange-and-blue Auburn t-shirts.

His announcement moments later was almost anticlimactic. He was chose the Tigers over Miami and Georgia. He’ll sign on national signing day.

“I just wanted to show how much pride I had about what I was doing,” said Whitaker, who is ranked No. 4 in the AJC Top 50 rankings. “I’m just not the type to do the cap thing. I don’t want to play with people’s emotions.”

Probably the biggest surprise was the fact that Georgia finished third behind Miami. It was thought to be a dead heat between the Bulldogs and Auburn going into this past weekend. But the Hurricanes catapulted ahead of UGA after Whitaker took an official visit to Coral Gables this past weekend.

“Well, the staff and the players ay Miami, they’re good people,” Whitaker said. “I really like Coach [Randy] Shannon. They’re destined to go to the top there in a very short period.”

But Whitaker said he liked the Bulldogs, too. He has become good friends with Garrison Smith, a Georgia commitment and fellow defensive tackle with whom Whitaker shared a room at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January.

“Garrison’s gonna be all right,” Whitaker said. “He’s still the man.”

Whitaker’s commitment continues quite a roll for Auburn in 2010 recruiting. He becomes the 28th commitment for the Tigers, who are ranked No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com, No. 5 by Scout.com and No. 6 by ESPNU. They’ll move up even more if they land Rivals’ No. 1-ranked running back Marcus Lattimore, who is going to choose between Auburn and South Carolina tomorrow at a news conference from his church in Duncan, S.C.

“Yeah, me and a lot of the other [Auburn] guys have stayed in touch,” said Whitaker, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound interior defensive lineman. “I’m hearing we could end up No. 1 [in recruiting].”

Monday was a tough day for the Bulldogs. It appears they may have lost their third commitment of the 2010 class.

Cornerback Nickell Robey of Frostproof, Fla., had not officially de-committed to Georgia as of Monday afternoon but his high school coach hinted Robey would likely commit elsewhere on Tuesday. Robey visited Southern Cal this past weekend and West Virginia and South Florida in the past 10 days.

“To be honest I don’t know where he stands,” said Brad Metheny, who recently stepped down as coach at Frostproof said. “He’s going to meet with his family tonight [Monday] and come to an agreement. I know he hasn’t called Georgia to tell them anything yet.”

Linebackers B.J. Butler of Kissimmee, Fla., and Deon Rogers of Port St. Lucie, Fla., decommitted to Georgia in January to commit to Louisville. The Bulldogs now are down to 17 commitments.

Whitaker, for one, is just glad to have the whole recruiting process behind him.

“It wasn’t tough; it was agonizing,” Whitaker said. “Everybody calling you all the time, wanting to know what you’re going to do. I grew up thinking I wanted to be a rock star or something. After this I don’t. I just want to be a simple person.”

Probably too late for that.

270 comments Add your comment

Tom

February 1st, 2010
2:03 pm

The first loss of what may be a couple between now and Wednesday I am afraid.

Tucker Dawg

February 1st, 2010
2:03 pm

astrouga

February 1st, 2010
2:03 pm

UGA Dawgs

February 1st, 2010
2:04 pm

Way to miss out on another one, Mark Richt. Third out of three for an in-state kid, sadly this is what I’ve come to expect.

Auburn John

February 1st, 2010
2:05 pm

WAR EAGLE!!! Welcome Aboard Jeff!

Auburn Neil

February 1st, 2010
2:06 pm

WEAGLE WEAGLE Jeff!

Topp Dogg

February 1st, 2010
2:07 pm

Great for Auburn sux for Alabama role over Tide.

Spence

February 1st, 2010
2:08 pm

Good luck to him. Those trucks ain’t gonna drive themselves, and Auburn is one of the best in the nation at teaching young men the fine art of gear jammin’ and long hauls. 10-4 Mr. Whitaker.

Judgeraf

February 1st, 2010
2:08 pm

Were on a ROLL but not TIDE…..”WAR DAM EAGLE”………………….

UGA Alumn

February 1st, 2010
2:08 pm

Good luck Jeff! I don’t want any one wearing the Red and Black that doesn’t want to be a Bulldog! With or without Mr. Whitaker UGA will win 5 in row against Auburn!

DAWG fan in Tampa

February 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

that one hurts. Hopefully we can get Telvin Smith, keep Da’Rick Rodgers and get Mike Thornton and get a couple of surprises on signing day. Looks like Robey is already out the door too

AlabamaRamblinwreck

February 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

This is really sad for the dawg nation. What will they do without a top 10 recruiting class to fall back on? It is a melancholy day in DawgLand. Preseason national titles are going to be a thing of the past.

alpharettadawg

February 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

Nice Monday, Robey gone (per Athens Banner Herald) and now Whitaker. OUCH!

Dean

February 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

We’ve never been pinched like this in the Mark Richt era in regards to recruiting. Do you think it’s just becuase we had a ‘down’ year?

Ro man

February 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

Robey, really? … I’m not real concerned about losing a 5′6 cornerback!

haney

February 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

How can a school have 28 verbals, you can only sign 25?? I aSSume AU figures a few will not make the grades to get in? Good luck to Jeff, hope he plays well except one game a year. Hate to lose guys in state but I think AU did a better job recruiting him.

Bryan

February 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

We’ll be fine…..Most had him going to Aub all along…we have Thorton in the bag now!

Stew

February 1st, 2010
2:11 pm

UGA Dawgs, you’re not very bright are you? Richt brings in top 10 classes every year. Sadly, that’s what you’ve come to expect? Would have been great to have Whit, but we’ll get Thornton and he’s quicker and the better player. Watch the film. Yeah, he’s an in-state kid, but there are hundred every year. UGA can only sign 20 or so. Get a clue.

UGA Dawgs

February 1st, 2010
2:11 pm

War Eagle could be the dumbest slogan (battle cry? motto? what is it?) that I’ve ever heard. What’s your mascot? An Eagle? A Tiger? A redneck?

Dean

February 1st, 2010
2:11 pm

I like that UGA Alum. How about one for the thumb as Auburn likes to say.

Normal Dawg

February 1st, 2010
2:13 pm

Good luck to the young man. Don’t blame anyone for going to where they feel most comfortable. Go Dawgs!

UGA Dawgs

February 1st, 2010
2:13 pm

I must not be too bright, Stew. I did go to UGA…

dawgfan17

February 1st, 2010
2:14 pm

Good luck to you kid but realize it is 4 years in a row for UGA beating AU and 2 of those years were down years for UGA. With UGA about to start its upswing again you will probably never have a win over UGA. Enjoy that!

Magic Man

February 1st, 2010
2:14 pm

haney,

Auburn has 29 commitments now. But, they had five early enrollees. So, they can sign more. The early enrollees don’t count against this class.

patrick M Sulley

February 1st, 2010
2:14 pm

People that get on Richts case pay attention!

UNDER Richt

Vs. SEC foes: 43-22
.
Vs. Top 25 foes: 29-18
.
Vs. Top 25 foes away from home: 18-12
.
Vs. Top 10 foes: 8-6
.
In postseason games (bowls and championships): 9-3
.
In games decided by a touchdown or less: 34-14
.
Record at home: 47-9
.
Record on the road: 27-6
.
Losses to unranked teams: 6
.
Top 25 finishes: 8
.
Top 10 finishes: 6
.
Fact:………UGA was 12-1 in 2002 (prior to bowl selections)
.
Fact ………Fla was 12-1 in 2006 (prior to bowl selections)
.
Fact ………Not UGAs fault there were 2 unbeatens that year. “unlucky”
.
Fact……….Not Flas credit that there was only one unbeaten in 2006. “Lucky”
.
Fact:………Luck not merit had more to do with Fla getting invited to the BCS than whether Fla was more deserving to go to a NC with identical records.
.
Fact:………No SEC team has ever lost a NC game and if UGA would have been invited nothing indicates that it would have been different
.
Fact……….UGA has 2 SEC titles..same as Fla in last 9 years and equal amount of total wins over all.
.
Fact……….UGA has been ranked more times top ten in last 9 years than any SEC team.
.
Fact……….UGA 90 wins in 9 years no other SEC team has more.
.
Fact………..UGA has 2 SEC titles…same as Fla
.
Fact………..UGA has won 4 str8 bowls….more than any other SEC team.
.
Fact……..UGA has won 11 of last 13 bowls…more than any team tied with LSU and more than FLA
.
Fact…… UGA has won 8 or more games in last 13 years…more than any other team.
.
Fact…… UGA has been ranked more times in top ten than any SEC team over last 9 years.
.
Fact…….UGA is clearly as good or better than any SEC team over last 9 years. Only a fool or a fan of the mythical BCSNC selection process (non playoff) would think otherwise.
.
Fact…….Coach Mark Richt in 9 seasons at UGA:
.
Fact…….UGA had same record when they won the SEC title in 2002 as Fla did in 2006/8 when they won the SEC title. But UGA had the misfortune (luck) to have that record in a year that had 2 other teams with undefeated records.
Hardly an indictment on UGA but rather on the NC selection process.
6 times finished in the top 10
2 times finished in the top 3
3 SEC Championship Appearances
2 SEC Titles
3 BCS Bowls
2 Sugar Bowl wins
90-27 record over 8 seasons – 79% winning percentage (one of only 7 in the history of college ball to have ever accomplished this)
4 str8 bowl wins
7-2 in bowls (big games)
Mark Richt coached QB coach for Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke = 2 Heismans; Head Coach for David Greene = all time winningest college QB until Colt McCoy this year); and coached Matthew Stafford = very rich #1 draft pick)
No Probations
He has my respect.
Period.

Pickin and Grinnin

February 1st, 2010
2:15 pm

Oh well. At least we know that we can still beat the NERDS.

Yo daddy

February 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

War Eagle Jeff! Dont listen to all these butt hurt leg humpers. You guys have brought in a top 10 class like 5 years in a row right? What do you have to show for it? Though so

HardTruth Soldier

February 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

Pack his Family up and move them to Alabama too! Sellouts not needed!

DAWG fan in Tampa

February 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

Robey would be nice just from a punt/kick returner alone. But you are right about the short corners, I think we have been burned enough by that see Prince at a generous 5″8. We normally do sign a top 10 class every year but with Auburn, Alabama, Florida, and Tenn ahead of us, that will hurt 2-3 years down the road. Need to have a good couple of days and a great Wed

robodawg

February 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

Too bad, we could really use some reinforcements on the DL. Maybe Thornton will surprise us and join his state’s flagship program, but he’s cast a pretty wide net.

Some good recruiting news at LB would also be nice to have. We’ve just missed out on a lot of prospects there.

Dawg Fan

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

I hate that he not going to wear the Red & Black, but I wish him well.

Reality

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

UGA can’t expect to move into the upper tier of the SEC/Nation when other SEC schools are out recuiting them.

Rhett

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

Haney- they had something like 4 or 5 guys start school already. Those guys count against last years’ numbers.

BAMA FAN #2

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

Get ready to Bama’s BITCH!!! RTR

Normal Dawg

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

Oh and I have said it many times this year, we need to worry less about how many stars they have next to their name and worry more about them being coached to be better players. History is riddled with 5-star busts and 3-star guys who became all-timers. The player having heart and the coaches knowing how to bring’em up will surpass the pure talented guys who just try to make it on God given skills and instinct. Don’t get me wrong. Those things help, but they are a equal portion of the equation with regard to coaching and heart.

West Coast Bias

February 1st, 2010
2:17 pm

Magic Man, the early enrollies can only count for 2009 if Auburn didn’t sign a full class last year. I assume this is the case because of the coaching change but can you confirm it?

social circle dawg

February 1st, 2010
2:18 pm

If you’re scared – just say you’re scared – kid’s a drama queen -GO DAWGS!!!

Bayers

February 1st, 2010
2:21 pm

Kinda weird Auburn’s new, unproven, coach is cleaning up in recruiting this season. I suspect we’ll see a lot of new Escalades on the Auburn campus come fall.

HardTruth Soldier

February 1st, 2010
2:22 pm

Hey ask the “DEMONS” from W.R.’s do they like Playing in Athens, kid probably got his butt kicked by the Clarke Central Gladiator, and never wanted to come back!

Stew

February 1st, 2010
2:22 pm

Magic, what??!? Early enrollees don’t count against this class, huh? Is that how the Barn recruits? That’s some Auburn math right there. Since when did EEs not count against a class’ numbers? That’s hilarious. Might want to tell Chiz to check with the NCAA on that one! LOL

Dawg Fan

February 1st, 2010
2:22 pm

Hey Bama Fan #2: I watched the Iron Bowl this past year and it looked to me that Auburn gave you guys a pretty good run for the money. Not a bad showing for a first year staff verus the ultimate Natl Champs.

Really?

February 1st, 2010
2:23 pm

Georgia Inside Info Guy -Thorton has 10 schools in the mix. I would call that being indecisive.

Georgia Inside Info Guy

February 1st, 2010
2:24 pm

Rumor has it, Georgia had pulled the offer expecting Thornton to be their Nosetackle in 2010. Grantham didn’t like the indecisiveness, and wanted Thornton to know the position was his.

dawgster

February 1st, 2010
2:25 pm

Folks did you really not expect the coaching changes which is what you asked for not to have an impact on recruiting at this time…These kids build relationships with the coaches and when that is broken this is what happens….Yes we may not get a top ten class, but we should be alright and hopefully we can still get a couple of players that we have targeted, but if not lets not quit, but strive hard with the new coaches and hope they can form a relationship with some of the kids for the next few years…Everyone wanted these changes for the most part, well now we have to sacrifice some to get the kind of defense everyone wants…What we need to do is win the SEC again and be in contention for the NC, then we can pick and choose whomever we want for the most part…

Worm

February 1st, 2010
2:25 pm

Good luck Jeff..You do know you are now a step-child in the state of Alabama!..

JT

February 1st, 2010
2:27 pm

Congrats Jeff. Looking forward to seeing you in action on the Plains.

jack bull

February 1st, 2010
2:28 pm

told ya he’d be going to Auburn. They really do provide nicer vehicles to drive for the kids over there. And again, I’m not just saying that, it’s a fact. He’ll be coming home for the holidays in a very nice SUV or something. And for y’all Auburn folks, I’m not saying this outta spite. You and I both know it to be true. Good for Jeff and all of the other AU recruits. Take advantage of it while you can..

Go Dawgs,,,,we’ll be just fine with our recruiting class. Besides, haven’t we learned it’s about the coaching, not the players?!? right….

collegeballfan

February 1st, 2010
2:28 pm

patrick M Sulley Sir you can run all the numbers you want. Bottom line – for a team with 9 straight top 10 recruiting classes Richt has only 2 SEC championships to show for it. In the same time period Saban has 2, Meyer has 2 and Miles has 1. Bottom line.

BigTimeTECHFan

February 1st, 2010
2:29 pm

Wow Auburn is racking up 28 recruits, watch out 2014/15. The RB from SC is going to go to the Gamecocks, but still Auburn has signed a lot of good players this year.

Georgia Inside Info Guy

February 1st, 2010
2:29 pm

Thornton had already pretty much told Grantham if Whitaker’s out, then he’s coming to UGA. Then Georgia pulled the offer from Whitaker, Grantham liked Thornton a lot better. That’s the scoop. Thornton was just waiting to find out for sure if this was real. Expect Thornton to announce his decision by the end of the week.