Pineville, N.C. – With Ray Charles‘ famous ballad “Georgia” playing in the background, Christian LeMay announced that he intends to become a Bulldog.
The Matthews, N.C., quarterback chose the Georgia Bulldogs over a final three that included Clemson and Texas A&M. Notre Dame and Auburn were among the final five of about 35 major-college offers.
“Every time I went there I just felt good about it,” said Butler, who visited UGA at least five times since last summer. “It was also the fact that every time I went there and left I couldn’t get it off my mind. I was constantly thinking about it and how I fit there, how Coach Richt is. Me and him share the same personal beliefs. But also competing at the top level and trying to be successful in our Christian walk as well as on the football field.”
LeMay pointed out to the standing-room-only crowd that he was wearing an orange shirt andasked how many Clemson Tigers there were “in the house.” A few folks clapped and he laughed before pulling out a Butler Bulldogs hat. Then the music was cued as he pulled out the Georgia cap and put it on to hardy applause. The Butler High School cheerleaders followed the announcement with a UGA cheer.
LeMay (6-3, 200) made the announcement before a standing-room only crowd of 200 or so at the Champion Christian Center, the church pastored by his father, The Rev. Stacy LeMay.
“He could have made this announcement anywhere but he wanted to do it in the house of God,” the elder LeMay said.
LeMay is the No. 2-ranked quarterback in America, according to Scout.com, the only recruiting service to rank rising seniors so far. He is a pro-style quarterback and put up some eye-popping numbers as a junior at Butler High.
LeMay completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 3,296 yards and 44 touchdowns and only two interceptions while leading Butler to an undefeated season and the Class 4A state championship in North Carolina.
One person that has seen LeMay a lot is Tom Luginbill, national recruiting director for ESPN. He’s covered two of his games and analyzed hours of video on LeMay.
“The most attractive trait that LeMay possesses is one you cannot coach and that is a lightning quick, ultra smooth delivery,” Luginbill told me. “He can get rid of the ball so quickly and he is extremely accurate. He possesses just adequate height, but he is well built and there is plenty of room for frame development. He could play any scheme; he’s not just a spread guy.”
LeMay said he plans to take an active role in Georgia’s recruiting.
“First off, I’m looking for the quarterback’s best friend, the ‘Big Pretties,’” LeMay said, referring to offensive linemen. “I don’t like to call them the ‘Big Uglies;’ I heard they don’t like that. So we need to get some linemen, of course, and get some receivers. Hopefully we’ll get [wide receiver] Charone Peake [of Roebuck, S.C. ], that’s a guy I really like and we have a good relationship. So hopefully he’ll come with me. I’d really love to play with him and have him to throw to.
“I’m really excited about another player, Christian Conley, him being another Christian as well, literally in name and also in his faith. I think is a great thing that two boys like us will be there playing football together.”
Conley, a wide receiver from North Paulding High, has already committed to Georgia . Along with LeMay that gives the Bulldogs’ seven commitments for the 2011 class.
LeMay explained his philosophy of naming a “leader” rather than calling it a “verbal commitment.”
“The word commitment has become kind of watered-down in recent years because so many people change their minds and de-commit and coaches leave like they did at Tennessee and USC,” LeMay said. “But it still holds a lot of value for me. So my announcement today means Georgia is the school I plan to enroll in unless something drastic happens. Unless Coach Richt or Coach Bobo is gone or something crazy like that, I’m a Georgia Bulldog.”
GEORGIA 2011 COMMITMENTS