OL Watts Dantzler having fun with recruiting process

Dantzler's Top 40: This is the bulletin board in Watts Dantzler's bedroom that serves as the nerve center of his recruitment. On it are the official team envelopes of 40 different schools. The black check marks signify an official offer. (Mobile photo by Watts Dantzler)

Dantzler's Top 40: This is the bulletin board in Watts Dantzler's bedroom. On it are the official team envelopes of schools from which he has received letters of interest. The black check marks signify an official offer. (Photo by Watts Dantzler)

It’s not long into an interview with Watts Dantzler before you realize you’re dealing with a different sort of college football prospect.

You’re thinking that after you hear how he’s sorting through his snowballing recruiting process. But then you’re sure of it when you get around to asking him if he’s involved in any spring sports such as track or baseball.

Dantzler

Dantzler

“I’m actually playing tennis right now,” said the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman from Dalton. “I enjoy it and . . .”

It takes a second for that comment to resonate. So I interrupt him make sure I’ve heard him correctly.

“Tennis?” I ask, incredulous. “Like on the varsity tennis team?”

“Well, I’m on the JV right now,” Dantzler says. “I haven’t qualified for varsity just yet. But I’m trying.”

Dantzler explains that he’s not a lifelong netter or anything. He just grew bored a while ago as a thrower in track and decided to take up a new sport while staying active in the spring.

Plus, he insists, it has practical applications for his burgeoning football career.

“It’s helping me out with my footwork,” says Dantzler, who averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds on the Catamounts’ basketball team. “It’s an easy sport to play. We only practice about an hour a day, so I can work out real hard [in the weightroom] and not worry about being too tired for tennis.”

So much for convention. But then there is very little conventional about Dantzler.

He is at once a deliberate thinker and a free spirit. And he’s utilizing both traits to negotiate the sometimes overwhelming recruiting process.

For instance, people tend to think he’s a lock to sign with Georgia seeing how his late father, Danny Dantzler, is a Bulldog letterman and met Watts’ mother at UGA. Not necessarily.

Dantzler does indeed “love Georgia” (his words) and includes the Dogs on his list of favorites. But he vowed long ago to approach his recruitment with an open mind and a blank slate.

“I’ve tried to visit as many places as I can,” said Dantzler, who estimates he has been on at least 30 unofficial visits the last two years. “Colleges spend so much money recruiting me. Tons of colleges send me tons of mail and invite me to stuff. So I try to get out and visit everywhere at least once or twice to get a good grasp of what that college has to offer and what not.”

Dantzler’s latest stop was at Alabama this past weekend. He’ll spend his spring break on Tobacco Road touring Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest.

It’s his intention to see the campus of every team that offers him a scholarship. He has 18 tenders so far. To date he’s been on about 12 different campuses.

“It really has been an enjoyable process visiting all those places,” he said. “Not many people have that opportunity. It’s just been a blessing to go through this whole thing. I’m just really thankful for all the things the Lord has blessed me with.”

One can see evidence of those blessings displayed in tangible form in Dantzler’s bedroom in Dalton.

“My sophomore year one of my good friends, Taylor [Dunn], he was like ‘why don’t you put up all your letters up in your room?’ So we went and bought some thumbtacks and started putting them up,” Dantzler said. “I probably got 40 or 50 letters my sophomore year.  So that filled up a nice little section on my wall. This year I’ve probably gotten 1,500 or 2,000 letters. So now all my walls in my room are covered, my ceiling is covered with letters.”

In the middle of all that chaos is a bulletin board. There Dantzler has tacked up the envelopes of the schools he’s most serious about considering. When he gets an official scholarship offer, that envelope gets a black check in permanent marker.

Dantzler recently designated a top five of Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. But he said that was a tentative list at best.

“None of those written in stone,” he said.

Besides, new envelopes keep coming. Dantzler said Notre Dame recently offered and he expects Southern Cal will any day now.

Trips to South Bend and Los Angeles surely will follow, tennis schedule allowing of course.

129 comments Add your comment

Jimmy in Gainesville

March 8th, 2010
5:57 am

first … first time ever….

Jimmy in Gainesville

March 8th, 2010
6:00 am

Chip, thanks for the great article. You’re my favorite beat writer at AJC. I read your articles before anyone else’s. You have a Bisher like quality. I would like you to respond more on the comment page. Your responses are one of the best parts of reading what you write. Keep up the good work. You certainly brighten a lot of days with your talents.

Crimson Tide headed to the White House

March 8th, 2010
6:32 am

Alabama’s national championship football team will tour the sights in Washington, D.C. today.

maddawg

March 8th, 2010
6:33 am

maddawg

March 8th, 2010
6:34 am

There must be a walmart nearby the white house.

Gil Brandt raves about Alabama players

March 8th, 2010
6:46 am

INDIANAPOLIS — For years, Gil Brandt was a respected ex­ecutive with the Dallas Cowboys. Now he’s a draft analyst for NFL.com, and he’s mar­veling this week about the quality and quantity of Alabama players who are par­ticipating in the NFL Scouting Combine.

Frank

March 8th, 2010
6:47 am

Looking forward to seeing Watts in red & black.

THWGT!!!!

BAMA FAN #2

March 8th, 2010
6:48 am

Yes I am sure there is a Walmart in DC just like a Walgreens on every important intersection in Nashville!! The jokes about Bama and Walmart are getting a little old and when Bama won the NC
and I heard that the crystal ball trophy was at Walmart in Tuscaloosa I could not believe how funny
it was and the jokes about being a red neck Bama fan. Folks can make fun of us but you don’t win a NC very much in a lifetime!! Good luck to the Watts kid in picking a good college!! RTR

Saban give Alabama players an NFL edge

March 8th, 2010
6:50 am

Alabama runs a pro-style of­fense and a 3-4 defense. Does that give Crimson Tide players an advantage as pro prospects?

It certainly doesn’t hurt, said Scot McCloughan, the San Fran­cisco 49ers’ general manager.

But the real advantage Ala­bama players have is Nick Saban, their coach who has extensive ex­perience in pro football as well as the college game.

“He gets them not just ready from a standpoint of understand­ing offense and defense, but mentally, he makes them tough, he makes them competitive, he makes them strong,” McCloug­han said.

ESPN is once again televising Alabama's spring football game

March 8th, 2010
6:53 am

Over the past three years, Alabama has attracted 254,388 fans at A-Day, which you can bet is why ESPN is putting the Crimson Tide’s spring game on national TV.

UA set a college football record in the spring of 2007 as a capacity crowd of 92,138 watched head coach Nick Saban’s first A-Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Last year’s attendance of 84,050 again led the SEC.

2011 National Championship Odds

March 8th, 2010
7:02 am

To no one’s surprise, the reigning champion Alabama Crimson Tide are the early-line favorites at 3/1 to repeat next season. But Coach Nick Saban’s team does have some holes to fill, especially on a defense that loses nine starters, led by tackle Terrence Cody, Butkus Award-winning linebacker Rolando McClain and top cornerback and return man Javier Arenas. But the Alabama offense should be tremendous next year with QB Greg McElroy, Heisman-winning RB Mark Ingram, fellow RB Trent Richardson and WR Julio Jones all back. Plus Saban has had some of the nation’s best recruiting classes the past few years and will again in 2010.

Cracker Jacket

March 8th, 2010
7:14 am

Forrest Gump made a nice impression as an Alabama football player and his SAT score is still the highest ever for a Bama player! Enjoy the Dr. Peppers!

[...] Recruiting: OL Watts Dantzler having fun with recruiting process It’s not long into an interview with Watts Dantzler before you realize you’re dealing with a different sort of college football prospect. You’re thinking that after you hear how he’s sorting through his snowballing recruiting process. But then you’re sure of it when you get around to asking him if he’s involved in any spring sports such as track or baseball. “I’m actually playing tennis right now,” said the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman from Dalton. “I enjoy it and . . .” It takes a second for that comment to resonate. Dantzler’s latest stop was at Alabama this past weekend. He’ll spend his spring break on Tobacco Road touring Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest. It’s his intention to see the campus of every team that offers him a scholarship. He has 18 tenders so far. To date he’s been on about 12 different campuses. [More] [...]

Bob

March 8th, 2010
7:20 am

Go Dawgs and DHS Cats… I hope Watts stays in state to help UGA

J dog

March 8th, 2010
7:20 am

Does Alabama have as many players in the NFL as UGA? The answer is no. UGA is currently 6th, Bama’s not even in the top 10. UGA apparently knows how to prepare kids for the NFL better than most.
We lost 2 games in 08 because we had no defense. It’ll be fun to to see what happens at UGA now that Willie’s gone,
How long before Saban’s gone? What is the longest he’s been head coach at one school?
Bama fans, you don’t want to know.

Dap01

March 8th, 2010
7:45 am

Congratulations, you will do well.

Stay at home be a hero. Go somewhere else and just be a player.

Go to Alabama, they invented football. They also invented modesty, they invented reinventing history, they also invented the foul mouth words that spews out of Coach Saban each week.

They will soon invent Cable TV, I heard that it was coming soon to parts of Alabama.

south

March 8th, 2010
7:46 am

this guy is a legacty. He would take a coup (or cheating) to get him away from Athens

RamvbleOn84

March 8th, 2010
8:00 am

Of course, if he doesn’t go to UGA, all the classy Dawg fans will curse him and say he sucks anyway.

BAMA STAN

March 8th, 2010
8:04 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Good story about Dantzler – I am sure he will find the right place for him – and he has many great choices to choose from!

Lowndes County Dawg – 7:14Am post – very wierd. I guess the confederate flag – which is a symbol of the Confederate States of America – that fought for STATES rights – especially the right to ENSLAVE people – needs to be proudly flown in your (red)neck of the woods. I guess you would not have a problem if Germany decided to fly the Nazi flag – after all – the Nazi’s goal was to UNIFY Europe under one rule – which would give it a better position for growth and prosperity on a world stage. That little issue with Jew’s, Homosexuals, Gypsies, and Europeans that opposed the Nazi’s goals was was their issue – and what the heck – just a part of war. Hey – there is a KKK ralley in Macon next weekend – write in and let us know how it went!

J Dog – 7:20am post – great point – but remember – Alabama was on probation due to DuBose, his cheating ways, our staff that allowed this crapola – and our justified scholarship reduction. Hey, we got what we deserved – and are better off to have gone through this – as humbling and humiliating as it was.

As I have always stated – you have to look at the most recent years of a program – which indicate a true reading of what is going on.

In Alabama’s situation – the last 3 years have been a complete turn around – as SABAN has come in – set a vision and goal to win National Titles – and to stay on top with the nationally Elite.

Urban Meyer is similar to SABAN – when he came to Florida – it was about being a National Power – winning National Titles – and being consistent.

Now look at Coach Richt – he stated that UGA needs to be in position to win the SEC EAST and if they win – play well and try to win the SEC Title. If UGA wins the SEC Title – hope to be in position to play for a BCS Title.

– Look at the difference in mindset of the 3 coaches above.
– To be more accurate – look at the difference in mindset of Meyer and Saban – as compared to Richt.
– For Meyer and Saban – winning the SEC Division and SEC Title is something you do on your way to winning a Natinal Title.
– For richt – it’s about wininng the SEC East – and see if the others fall in line.

Similar goals – but different mindsets.

That is why I belive Alabama and Florida will be in better position to compete and potentially win more National Titles – while UGA is hoping to compete for an SEC EAST title. Again – similar goals – but different mentality.

This is why I do not think Richt will ever win a National Titles at UGA.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BAMA STAN

March 8th, 2010
8:06 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Dap01 – sorry dude – Al Gore invented all those things before we had a chance to.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!

RamvbleOn84

March 8th, 2010
8:10 am

Richt is a more competent version of Paul Hewitt…nice guy, but he’s never gonna win a championship, despite having loads of talent.

UGA 4ever

March 8th, 2010
8:11 am

Very impressive list of offers for Dantzler – UGA has a lot of players on the OL leaving this year and next – we need to have at least 4 minimum in this year. Hope this kid is one of them!

GATA!!!

Auburn Pride

March 8th, 2010
8:15 am

WAR EAGLE!!! Dantzler- come to Auburn – and be a part of a program that is building and has momemtum. Plus – aa great educational opportunity as well. Where ever you go – good luck!

RamvbleOn84

March 8th, 2010
8:15 am

I’m not a huge fan of Saban personally, but I have to admit: he is the best coach in the nation.

RamvbleOn84

March 8th, 2010
8:16 am

Auburn…is that cow college even accredited?

Trojan Fan

March 8th, 2010
8:16 am

Bama Stan – you are too funny – and your post acutally makes good sense!

bama

March 8th, 2010
8:25 am

hey fellow tide fans please just talk about the story cause its no point of arguing with these homers. The day UGA wins a BCS title then you will have the right to even speak.

p.s. The great state of Georgia that I love has plenty of walmarts and dumbass country people like every other state in the south were all the same…well besides Mississippi that place is a dump

GatorMania

March 8th, 2010
8:33 am

Hey Bama, say hi to the Prez for us. Tell him we’ll see him in after ‘011.

bama

March 8th, 2010
8:41 am

idk about that we might want to win one more time hahah but ill tell him you guys said “whats up”

BAMA STAN

March 8th, 2010
8:44 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

GatorMania – will do – and I would not be surprized to see you guys there after 2011. The SEC has become an Alabama and Florida thing – kind of like the Big 10 used to be only about Michigan and Ohio State – then you have schools like UGA (the Michigan State of the SEC)and Tennessee (the Iowa of the SEC).

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

March 8th, 2010
9:01 am

The blog his father put together the last months of his life is very impressive to read. Watts comes from a great family and reading how his father ended the blog, I can almost here the trumpets is very resounding. I hope Watts comes to UGA, but wherever the young man attends I will pull for him!

Jaydawg

March 8th, 2010
9:02 am

I think todays 1ST!!!,Jimmy in Gainesville is ready to propose Chip.Watch out!

Lakedawg

March 8th, 2010
9:13 am

BAMA STAN, while I understand your position (your school
just won the national title), your argument isn’t solid.
It’s easy to talk in terms of winning a national title
when you just won one – for that to happen, a LOT of
things have/had to line up just right. Not to make
light of your title, but y’all are only about 3 years
removed from not even going to a bowl and haven’t yet
earned the right to display a condescending attitude
on our board. Georgia is 3-1 in our last 4 games
vs Alabama, 1-1 vs Saban. NOBODY can assume that
an SEC divisional title, either East or West, is
their birthright or a given. Alabama could have
easily found themselves in a position like Auburn
did a few years back, going undefeated and not
even getting a shot at the big prize. A lot
depends on what’s going on around us in the
SEC and nationally. Congratulations on last
year’s national title, but I wouldn’t spend
a lot of money on enlarging the trophy case
just yet. Bama is good, no doubt, but the
vast majority of AL’s historical success was
decades ago….it’s a much more level field
today. For what it’s worth, if anybody
other than Georgia wins the SEC/national
titles, it’s fine with me if it’s Alabama.

RamvbleOn84

March 8th, 2010
9:18 am

Lakedawg,
Bama will be back in the hunt next year and for years to come, because they’ve got a national title-level coach…that’s really what it takes to win national titles.

bama & flariduh...WHO CARES !!!!!

March 8th, 2010
9:21 am

THE HELL WITH YOU TOO !!!!!!!! I’m not here to read about anyone of your schools. I don’t give a crap about who’s going to the white house or tell the president i will be there in 2011. THAT’S DUMB !!!!!!!!!!!!! IT S SHOW’S YOUR IGNORRANCE !!!!!

Cod Fish Fanger

March 8th, 2010
9:22 am

J Dog – The last statistics I saw (about 2 months ago), UGA had more active players in the NFL than any college program.

Note to Bama fans: Win like you’ve been there before. We know your recent success takes some time to get use to, but trust me it doesn’t last forever… just ask Miami, FSU, USC, Notre Dame, Nebraska, OU, Tenn., Mich. et. al.

bama & flariduh...WHO CARES !!!!!

March 8th, 2010
9:23 am

Usually the one’s that keep talking smack are the ones getting burn in the end ……IDIOTS !!!!

AltamahaDawg

March 8th, 2010
9:24 am

Bama Stan, Mark Richt needs to consult with you the next time he needs an opinion, you seem to be an expert on what he thinks.

Please post your evidence that Meyer and Saban do not consider winning the SEC as the only goal that they have any control over. Your insight on thier “mindset” notwithstanding.

Yellow Fuzz

March 8th, 2010
9:27 am

I thought Richt’s main goal was playing dress-up with his players and trying to scare opposing teams with black jerseys/pants/helmets

Lakedawg

March 8th, 2010
9:28 am

RamvbleOn84, perhaps, but they’ll have to prove it.
I will award them (or anybody else) nothing until
I see it. Time will tell. Saban is a good coach,
no doubt, but Georgia’s been close too (#2 national
finish, #3 national finish) under Richt too but the
stars didn’t line up for us like for AL last year or
particularly for LSU in winning a national title with
2 losses. In the hunt for years to come ? We’ll see.

3Dawgknight

March 8th, 2010
9:34 am

All You ‘Bama’ folks:

Too bad yawl don’t have a major newspaper over in ‘Bama’ to vent on.
Just curious, who has more total wins in the state of ‘Bama’:
Tuberville or Saban?
Next Question.
where you think Saban is more likely coaching this time next yr.:
‘Bama’, Michigan, Florida, Southern Cal., or Dallas (NFL) ?
Please notice I was respectful and capitalized [Bama] ea. time!

bama & flariduh...WHO CARES !!!!!

March 8th, 2010
9:34 am

TO THE BAMA RETARDS !!!….not long ago a small school in lousiana(can’t remember the name) was beating your A$$E$ and southern miss and memphis were taking you to the woodshed and slaping you like a stepchild and now you come in here with your pump chest up high and talking smack. PLEASE ….GIVE ME A BREAK …FOOL’S !!!!!!!! BTW…Not long ago you were cheating and got cought with your hands in the (COOKIE JAR) and i will not be surprise if you still doing it.

bama

March 8th, 2010
9:36 am

like I said atleast we have won an BCS title but what have you done? nothing. your not LSU or Florida so just go away until u become a big fish

Jax Dawg

March 8th, 2010
9:37 am

Yellow Fuzz. Has the shine wore off the drought busting ring the team received last year?

bama & flariduh...WHO CARES !!!!!

March 8th, 2010
9:38 am

Oh BTW…..IT’S GREAT TO BE A GEORGIA BULLDOG !!!!!!!

AltamahaDawg

March 8th, 2010
9:39 am

BTW, you appearantly need to study history a little to say that the conferderacy was “especially about enslaving people”. That was a common practice during the era, and certainly it became the political justification of the Union, but to say the civil war was over slavery is very simplistic. Taxes and port control were the real issues. Slavery, although abolished quicker, would have eventually faded no matter the outcome.

BTW, Nazi Germany???….WTF are you ranting about?. That’s not even close to a comparison, in fact it’s the polar opposite.

bama & flariduh...WHO CARES !!!!!

March 8th, 2010
9:40 am

bama said……so just go away until u become a big fish ?????? NOW HOW DUMB CAN THEY POSSIBLY GET ????

AltamahaDawg

March 8th, 2010
9:42 am

bama fan living in the Georgia sport section to tell Georgia fans to “go away”. interesting.

bama

March 8th, 2010
9:45 am

hey have plenty of friends that are UGA fans I even like your coach but you guys talk A LOT to have no national title. I mean i guess your better than auburn but thats not saying much

bama

March 8th, 2010
9:46 am

and how is that dumb?? florida,texas, USC, ohio state, Bama, LSU are the only big fish in my book