The silver lining in the whole Zach Mettenberger situation at Georgia may be in the way it will affect recruiting at the quarterback position for 2011.
Christian LeMay, arguably the top quarterback prospect in the country for the Class of 2011, already had the Bulldogs in his Top 5. But after Mettenberger was dismissed for disciplinary reasons on Sunday, the father of the Matthews, N.C., athlete thinks Georgia now may be hard to beat.
“Yeah, I think it definitely helps Georgia,” the Rev. Stacy LeMay said as he drove to Atlanta from Charlotte on Monday. “Christian feels even better about the situation, and he already liked Georgia a lot anyway. He has always felt very comfortable with Coach Richt. They have similar philosophies in life and in football. The possibility before this was pretty encouraging anyway. Now Georgia’s situation has become even more attractive.”
In fact, these latest developments could move up LeMay’s timeline for making a decision. He and his father decided some time ago that he would name a clear-cut leader — but not make a full-out commitment — by summertime. Now they may not wait until the end of the month to make that annoucement, which could only help the Bulldogs’ cause.
“We’re starting to feel good about everything and may not have to wait as long as we thought,” Mr. LeMay said. “We had a long discussion about everything [Sunday] night. We’ve gotten around a good bit to see a lot of places and we feel like we know what’s out there. It could possibly be by the end of the month now.”
That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs are a lock. They will continue to get fierce competition from Clemson, Auburn, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, the other four in his top five. But after making four trips to Athens since the end of last season, it was already clear LeMay was closely observing the landscape at UGA and serious about signing there.
“He felt pretty good about coming in and competing for the position already,” Stacy LeMay said. “This is why it was important for us to go see their practices. At a Division I-A school you have to compete for a position no matter what. So we wanted to see who was competing. All of them are good but, no offense to them, he wasn’t deterred by any of the players that were there. Christian feels like he can compete with them. And we felt like [Mettenberger] was probably the leading guy from the practices we saw, at least potentially. Big guy, very strong arm, quick delivery. It’s an interesting situation. Let’s just say it makes Georgia very attractive.”
LeMay is very attractive to college recruiters. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete passed for 3,296 yards with 44 touchdowns and just two interceptions in leading Butler High to an undefeated record and the North Carolina 4A state championship last season. Scout.com currently rates him No. 2 in the nation at the position.
Meanwhile, if LeMay does indeed decide on Georgia, he hopes to make an impact on the Bulldogs’ recruiting going forward.
“One of the reasons he’s considering coming out a little earlier is because he’d like to influence some of the top player to come with him,” Mr. LeMay said. “A lot of the top prospects are calling him and asking him what he’s going to do. They’re communicating with each other. If he decides to go there he’s going to get on board and start getting some more players there.”
Mr. LeMay said that one of the prospects his son talks to often is North Paulding wide receiver Christian Conley, who committed to the Bulldogs this past Friday.
As for the Mettenberger news, Mr. LeMay said they heard about it as the news was breaking on Sunday.
“Somebody called us and said they saw it on a website and we went and looked it up,” he said. “I’m sure that it was a very difficult situation for Coach Richt with his mother working there and all. But I think it’s a solid decision by Coach Richt to uphold the standards the Georgia people expect.”
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