Pope’s all-state OL Thomas O’Reilly commits to Auburn

Thomas O’Reilly grew up a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs. In fact, he attended his first game at Sanford Stadium as a seventh grader. His father took a picture of him in the stands that day and told his son that he’d one day he’d take his photo on that actual field.

Thomas O'Reilly

Thomas O'Reilly

That’s going to happen now — but it will be on the visitor’s sideline.

O’Reilly, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound offensive guard from Marietta’s Pope High School, officially committed to Auburn on Tuesday night. I say officially because O’Reilly committed to the Tigers in his heart months ago.

“I actually had my mind made up a while ago,” said O’Reilly, who was named to the AJC’s Class AAAAA first-team offense as a junior last season. “After I went to their junior day back before national signing day, I told them I wanted to do it right then but I had to talk to my parents first.  I knew from the beginning that’s where I wanted to be. I had planned to [commit] Saturday at A-Day but I decided to go ahead and announce it tonight.”

O’Reilly was scheduled as a guest on “The Official Visit,” an all-recruiting radio show on 790 The Zone (WQXI-AM 790). He decided to let the Tiger out of the bag on the air with Scott Janovitz on his 7:30 p.m. show.

O’Reilly said he has had an affection for Auburn and The Plains since he was an eighth grader and took a day trip there with his father, Shaun O’Reilly, who was working in the area.

“We rode around and drove through town and out in the country and got some barbecue,” O’Reilly said. “It was one of those things where I just had a really good feeling about the place.”

O’Reilly plans to enroll early and will play center or guard for Auburn. He is the Tigers’ fourth commitment for 2011.

As for Georgia, O’Reilly never received an offer. But he had plenty of other options. He claims 15 offers, including a notable one from Georgia Tech.

For a long while it looked like the Yellow Jackets might be the big winner in the battle for O’Reilly. They extended O’Reilly his first official offer, hand-delivering his letter to the high school last October.

“Georgia Tech was my first offer, then Auburn came in around January and made an impression right away,” said O’Reilly, who visited The Flats more than any other campus last fall. “I really liked Georgia Tech; it was one of my top choices. I have a great relationship with Coach [Todd] Spencer and Coach [Brian] Bohannon. But I just really loved it over at Auburn.”

O’Reilly said Georgia’s reluctance to offer confuses him. He said he talked to offensive line coach Stacy Searels “hundreds of times,” attended one of the Bulldogs’ camps last summer and made numerous unofficial visits. Still no offer.

But now O’Reilly says he’s fairly certain he would have still chosen Auburn even if UGA had come forth from an offer. And, more than ever, he’s looking forward to playing in Sanford Stadium.

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123 comments Add your comment

Clint

April 13th, 2010
11:52 pm

And we continue to be late offering in state kids. Sounds like you have to start offering these kids in middle school if you want any chance at signing them.

Paddy

April 14th, 2010
12:33 am

Clint, it sounds like we didn’t make a late offer. We just didn’t make any offer! Times have changed alot in the past few years. I don’t know how a coaching staff can find the time to properly evaluate all the players they may wish to offer a scholarship. I imagine all schools miss on kids because they just never got around to it in time to make a lasting impression.

Marty Funkhauser

April 14th, 2010
12:34 am

Clint — Are you “late” if you never planned to offer? What makes you think GA was/is late vs. not interested in extending an offer? Just because a kid signs with another D1 school does not mean UGA somehow missed out….AJC spin and headlines notwithstanding.

ReservoirDawg

April 14th, 2010
2:01 am

Seriously, He has not played his Senior season yet and he is worried about an offer?

Orange and Blue til the day I die

April 14th, 2010
2:15 am

War Eagle Mr. O’Reilly, and welcome to the “loveliest village on the plains”. We’re glad to have you.

BLACKBEE

April 14th, 2010
3:00 am

Tech is losing the recruiting war. New Coaches concentrating on No. Carolina instead of going hard in Florida, Ohio and Texas to go with the ones from Ga. this may be a big mistake!

the harmful facts

April 14th, 2010
3:04 am

Sounds like he may not be as highly touted as he thinks he is…if the 7th best program in the sec was my best offer then yeah I would announce early too…..

Stan

April 14th, 2010
6:38 am

I agree that maybe UGA was not interested. If UGA had plenty of opportunities to offer but didnt……?? Actions speak louder than words.

Yeah, um I like mustard & biscuits ...

April 14th, 2010
6:46 am

The man likes his BBQ I guess! But the report failed to mention the billy goat he was so fond of while “We rode around and drove through town and out in the country and got some barbecue,” O’Reilly said. “It was one of those things where I just had a really good feeling about the place.”

Look, it all boils down to this when it comes to UGA and their DDFs ….. if he’s not a commitment then “we didn’t want him”

jddawg

April 14th, 2010
6:47 am

Maybe UGA should attempt to recruit every kid out of a Georgia High School, then rip it out from under him at the last minute when it’s too late for him to sign elsewhere. Get real people! With a limited number of scholarships,(not to mention positions on the team and seats on the bench), we cannot offer every kid with two legs and a heartbeat simply because he is from the state of Georgia. He may be an excellent football player but we may not have room for his talent. There may actually be another player just as talented, or maybe more talented,that we have offered who is also attending at high school from the state of Georgia. We may only have 5 scholarships for the position of offensive lineman and, fortunately, the state of Georgia has 8 who will actually graduate next year! I guess we will miss out on 3.

Bias, I think not...

April 14th, 2010
6:50 am

BLACKBEE = UGA poster no way around it…

put up a fence around ga

April 14th, 2010
7:07 am

excuses, excuses UGA recruiting techniques suck they recruit every state except their own. we try to recruit nationally but lose the fight in georgia, how much sense does that make. I am a fan of UGA but there is a reason why ga kids beat us every year from other schools.

FranktheFalcon

April 14th, 2010
7:25 am

The fact is that Chip Towers is not a true Georgia fan and he does everything that he can to cast doubt upon Georgia! Evidently, if Coach Searels has talked to this player hundreds of times, the player has attended a Georgia camp, and he has made unofficial visits, then the Georgia staff is evidently extremely familiar with this player. If they haven’t offered him yet, then apparently they have someone better in mind. No knock on the kid, just the plain facts. But, Chip Towers likes to word his articles to give you the idea that Georgia missed the boat, that Georgia is dragging its feet, that Georgia lost another in state recruit because they are not doing their homework. The opposite is true! Georgia knows who they want and there is a systematic way of going about it. Georgia is on their schedule, not Chip Towers’ schedule. Chip, did someone at Georgia make you mad because they did not show you enough attention? The overall tone of several of your articles suggests that someone at Georgia made you mad and that your agenda is to get back at them. Why didn’t you just have a positive article about a kid signing with the team that he wanted to sign with, and leave it at that? I have heard that he is a great kid, from a great high school (Pope), and he signed with a great football program (Auburn). Congratulations to the kid and shame on you Chip Towers. Chip, if you can’t be positive about Coach Richt and the great job that he has done over the last ten years or so, then you have a problem. He really is a genuine Christian man who has been a wonderful influence on hundreds of player’s lives. He is a great father, husband, and role model! And oh yeah, he is a tremendous coach and recruiter. Thank God that Coach Mark Richt chose to come our way! We Georgia fans would not trade him for any other coach in America. Chip, I urge you to be more positive in your reporting and support, not try to tear down the school that you are assigned to cover! Remember, you will be more successful if you are positive and uplifting. I sincerely hope that you will consider that option!

The facts

April 14th, 2010
7:47 am

History tells us that UGA has NO CLUE when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen.

Alot of UGA haters on here for the kid. Get over yourselves. He picked a school he likes and UGA screwed up. And yeah, he is a rated OL so again, UGA has NO CLUE in recruiting offensive linemen.

jb's house

April 14th, 2010
7:48 am

Come on guys, lighten up. UGA can’t offer every player in the state of Georgia. Georgia Tech and Auburn are fine schools, he just wasn’t a fit for UGA for reasons unknown, good luck to the young man.

Tim

April 14th, 2010
7:50 am

I wish the kid luck. We can’t offer every kid. We either had people we liked better or didn’t have as big of a need at that position. That doesn’t change the fact he could be a great player at AU. Happens all the time. There’s a lot of players who went somewhere else that I wish we would have offered instead, only time will tell.

I trust the coaches and their evaluations. I hope the kid does well and is successful.

AU Fan

April 14th, 2010
7:56 am

Spin it however you like, looks like a solid OL recruit to me. Part of recruiting is getting the best available talent and coachable kids that will qualify. If all you target are the 5 star kids with offers from all over the country, you’re setting yourself up for diasppointment on signing day. I’d guess most of these kids don’t want to feel like the second choice and get an 11th hour offer when the first choice doesn’t pan out.

RambleOn84

April 14th, 2010
8:05 am

Shoot! I was hoping he was coming to the Flats…good luck to him anyway, but I can’t imagine why he would want to go to Auburn over Tech.

jasont13

April 14th, 2010
8:11 am

To the poster that said UGA doesn’t offe in state kids, look at their roster. More than 70% of the kids are from Georgia. As for not offering this kid a scholarship, seems to me that if he met and spoke with Stacey Searles then there is something they (UGA) was not interested in. Who cares in my book if they didn’t offer him. You can’t offer everyone a scholarship just to make a kid happy. I want to know how many people in here can actually evaluate high school football talent, meaning how many of you poster have been college coaches and or recruiting cordinators???? Probably none of you!

jasont13

April 14th, 2010
8:14 am

The facts, your a moron, UGA has highly recruited offensive linemen on their current roster who were 4 and 5 star recruits and are recruiting more this year. Where did you coach college football and how many 4 and 5 star offensive linemen have you recruited????

littlewhitepuppyain'tgotnobite

April 14th, 2010
8:16 am

the harmful facts…hmm…speaking of facts, the truth is his background check was too clean to go to UGA in the first place, and his potential for going to prison or failing out was not high enough to receive an offer from UGA…

Grow Up You Punk Kid

April 14th, 2010
8:22 am

Another Primadona who feels entitled to whatever he wants. You have not played your Senior year yet, and you are acting like UGA is missing out on you. Why don’t you wait until your Senior Year, National Signing Day like most, and THEN see what offers are on the table. Obvously you are a fat little punk kid who need to use the line “I am commited to a D1 school” in order to get a Homecoming date. UGA does not want you, get the f*** over it. I am more excited than ever to see you riding the visting sideline bench when you come crying into Athens, GA.

I hope your senior season sucks.

AU Fan

April 14th, 2010
8:23 am

Why does a kid pick any school? I’m from Atlanta, I went to Auburn. I could have gone to Tech but ultimately I didn’t want to go to college that close to home and I didn’t like the GT campus at the time. UGA didn’t have an engineering school. (Now that has been 30 years ago….lol). Every alum from every school has trouble accepting that theses kids don’t always love their alma mater.

Marietta Tiger

April 14th, 2010
8:25 am

WAR EAGLE my East Cobb and now Auburn brother! Welcome to the AU Family!

jsmith

April 14th, 2010
8:26 am

maybe the kid will change his mind over his senior season? no parent should let their child waste the best 4 years of his life in auburn alabama!!!! i dont care if it free, no child deserves that

RambleOn84

April 14th, 2010
8:26 am

AU Fan,
I didn’t mean any offense…I just want guys from Georgia to stay in-state, even if that means they go to Athens [shudder]…I really do wish the kid the best, but not against UGA or Tech (if we ever play them again).

As a side note, I wish we could start playing you guys again. I’ve always thought Auburn/Tech is an underrated rivalry.

78 DAWG

April 14th, 2010
8:29 am

We didn’t want him. We get the one’s we want and we only want the best! DAWGS rule the sec.

ADL

April 14th, 2010
8:30 am

Auburn has always recruited well in Georgia, that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Everyone has their reasons for accepting the offer they ultimately take. Sounds like this young man had his mind made up long ago. It still amazes me that some fans think every kid wants to play football at UGA.

Yoda

April 14th, 2010
8:33 am

As usual Richt can’t make up his mind on a recruit from Georgia (unless he’s from some other state). Hey CMR…the University of Georgia is where you work, not some school in Florida or North Carolina…try recruiting GA as hard as you do out of state. Please!!!!!!!

Grow Up You Punk Kid

April 14th, 2010
8:34 am

simple answer to this artice:

IT IS OBVIOUS UGA DID NOT WANT HIM.

Paddy

April 14th, 2010
8:34 am

Good luck Thomas. Auburn is a fine school with a rich football history. At least you stayed in the south to play.

JB

April 14th, 2010
8:41 am

200 div 1 players in Georgia ALONE this coming year, I’d say 25-30 are blue chip, which in my mind is defined as ” they’ll get offers from most”. Georgia can/will sign 22-26 players. They have needs, as all schools do. The state of Georgia has 8-10 pretty good wide receivers who sign Div 1 every year. Georgia does not need 32 WR’s on the team, thus they are not pursued. Georgia will sign 4 or 5 OL next year. There are 80-100 available in the South. We will get 4 or 5 good ones. GEEZ.

newt

April 14th, 2010
8:44 am

I am glad the kid is not going to UGA. I personally watched him lose his cool and sucker punch the HWT from Brookwood High School at the State Wrestling Tournament. After he sucker punched the kid, he turned and ran across a mat, jumped the rail into the stands and ran out of the arena like a coward. The kid can move for his size, which was evident as he ran from the Brookwood kid.

AU Fan

April 14th, 2010
8:44 am

Hey none taken. To each his own. Some of these comments are hilarious…as always.

BDAWG

April 14th, 2010
8:45 am

Recruiting big mean lineman continues to be a problem at UGA, or shall I say recruiting in general. Rodney Garner is supposed to be a top recruiter, but UGA continues to miss out on the top recruits. We can continue to make excuses but we need a better and more aggressive RECRUITING COORDINATOR!!!!

STEINER

April 14th, 2010
8:46 am

Come on, Chip Towers….Everytime we have a player who wants to go to Georgia but Georgia does not offer, we roll out the pity party…You can bet Coach Searels has looked at a lot of video on this young man, and has decided that there are “bigger fish to fry”….It seems, Chip, that you are slanting these articles to look like Georgia is “screwing it up”….When a coach’s job depends on knowing who to recruit and who not to recruit, you can bet Coach Searels has a great handle on what this kid can do…..Chip, get us an exemption from the recruiting rules with the NCAA, and we will take them all….Until you do that, these things will continue to occur BECAUSE WE CAN’T SIGN THEM ALL…..

STEINER

April 14th, 2010
8:49 am

THIS JUST IN—YODA HAS BEEN HIRED AS THE NEW RECRUITING COORDINATOR AT GEORGIA—-HE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS, HE JUST NEEDS SOME QUESTIONS….YODA DON’T KNOW JACK, BUT THE BLOG IS FOR EVERYONE’S OPINION….

AU Fan

April 14th, 2010
8:53 am

This just in…Alabama hired Yoda from UGA

Chop Block U

April 14th, 2010
8:55 am

Mediocre at best for this one, no big loss for UGA or any other major SEC school.

Burdell

April 14th, 2010
8:55 am

He’ll be pancaking Grantham’s Bulldogs for years to come!

no dog

April 14th, 2010
8:58 am

Is there anything dumber than a uga blogger? Don’t think so…just read their comments.

Dawg Days

April 14th, 2010
9:03 am

Steiner, you and FranktheFalcon are spot on. Chip is slanting articles, to put a negative spin on UGA. Here is the spin…The article says the kid grew up as a Bulldog fan after attending a game in the 7th grade. Then it goes on to say his affection for Auburn has been since the 8th grade day trip he took with his day. Based on that, he grew up by the 7th grade. Come on Chip, quit playing the words games with these readers, you should be ashamed to lead many of these readers into believing UGA messed up again. Why didn’t you lead the article off with…”UGA losing the Atlanta area recruiting battle?” in similar fashion to the Valdosta/S. Ga piece on the Hunter kid that UGA also did not offer that signed with FSU.
The AJC is writing themselves into “Absolute Joke Chronicle” status with this type of reporting.

mdawg

April 14th, 2010
9:09 am

Frank the Falcon, It’s called “reporting”! What if Chip wrote this blog and didn’t say anything about Georgia? Everyone would be asking…Did Georgia offer him?… Did any of the coaches talk to him…etc. Why? Because the majority of you are GEORGIA FANS! You want to know what this means for YOUR team. We don’t know if Georgia missed the boat or if they weren’t interested, but that’s what you all want to know… It doesn’t matter if Chip is a fan or not as long as he reports the news.

Morrus

April 14th, 2010
9:11 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

BigTimeTECHFan

April 14th, 2010
9:19 am

It’s ok that UGA didn’t offer, but question is why when:
1. 1st team All State as a Junior.
2. Better graded as a junior then some of the players UGA signed last year.
3. 6-foot-3, 295-pound’s and has proven he can play, you can’t sign enough big OL that can really play.

UGA must have 4 or 5 OL already targeted for them not to offer but I don’t think there is that many better in the state.

suwaneedawg

April 14th, 2010
9:21 am

If UGA wanted this kid then they would have made an offer. The real loser here is Tech who did go after him and lost. If Chip wants to make it sound like UGA was the loser here then so be it, it is his blog. It is not honest reporting but, lets not forget it is the AJC.

RambleOn84

April 14th, 2010
9:23 am

suwaneedawg,
I agree in that UGA is not a loser right now, but IF he turns out to be a really good player, then we’re all losers here…as for Tech, we’re used to losing players to UGA, Auburn, and the like.

Bulldog59

April 14th, 2010
9:24 am

No doubt we’ve waited too long in the past and it’s cost us some top-notch players. In this case, you have to agree with FranktheFalcon. Searels has been around way too long; he recognizes impact players when he sees them. Something is amiss with this kid and/or Searels sees better opportunities to use his limited number of scholarships for OL.

John

April 14th, 2010
9:33 am

Has anyone else here actually seen this kid’s highlights on a recruiting website (I watched on espn) I have never laughed so hard, this kid puts everyone on thier a** over and over again. I really hoped he would come to Tech, they offered. I even got into the office this morning, and was going to send Chip an e-mail asking abou tthis kid… man wierd.

Dawg72

April 14th, 2010
9:33 am

Why does everyone call it “signing” when a 17 year-old kid says he loves the University of Whatever and plans to go there? If I am correct a verbal committment is nothing at all but a statement that can be, and so often is, changed! I bet this kid has no idea of who will even take to his graduation dance at this time!!!