Should Georgia make legacy prospects a recruiting priority?
Phillip Daniels thinks so. And that’s the core question surrounding the curious case that is the recruitment of his son, wide receiver prospect DaVaris Daniels of Vernon Hills, Ill.
Phillip Daniels is a Georgia letterman (1992-1995) and a defensive end about to enter his 15th season in the NFL (with the Washington Redskins). His son, by all accounts, is a pretty decent football prospect himself.
DaVaris Daniels, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound play-maker, gets a four-star rating from both Rivals and Scout, is the No. 90 prospect overall and the No. 15 receiver in the ESPNU 150 rankings, and has a pretty impressive offer sheet of about a dozen schools (only two below the Mason-Dixon line, for what that’s worth).
Last week I wrote about DaVaris Daniels abruptly canceling a press conference planned for last Tuesday in which he was expected to announce his choice between Miami and Notre Dame. There was a minor controversy surrounding that story. “He just wasn’t ready to make up his mind yet,” Phillip Daniels said. But that’s not what this blog is about.
This is about Phillip Daniels’ frustration with the recruiting process, specifically with regard to his alma mater. He believes the Bulldogs should have offered his son by now based on his high school production, his video and the fact that Phillip Daniels is his father.
Meanwhile, we know Georgia is fully aware of DaVaris Daniels. The Bulldogs are actively recruiting him. He has been invited to past and upcoming camps, though he has yet to attend any.
Georgia, of course, can’t comment on recruits per NCAA rules. But clearly it must have some sort of reservations or else they would have offered by now.
“As far as Georgia, I think Georgia got into this thing really late,” Daniels said Sunday. “I don’t think he even got a phone call from them until maybe March or April. The receivers coach (Tony Ball) called. He talked to me first. I told him, being a legacy kid, they weren’t recruiting [DaVaris] hard enough. He said they were recruiting a lot of in-state kids. I said [DaVaris] ought to be treated like an in-state kid being a legacy.”
Daniels went on to say that his son was not the only “legacy kid” getting slow play from the Bulldogs. He mentioned that the late Brice Hunter’s son, ATH Tyler Hunter of Lowndes County, committed to Florida State earlier this year without getting a UGA offer. And Whitewater High running back Josh Clemons, son of UGA letterman Charlie Clemons, has offers from Maryland and UCF but none from the Bulldogs.
“And he’s been there five times,” Daniels said of Josh Clemons. “Chris Terry’s son [Chris Terry II of Jacksonville] doesn’t have an offer either.”
Of course, Georgia can’t offer every legacy. Like any other storied football program, there are hundreds of living lettermen who have children who excel in sports. But there is a standard of excellence that must be maintained. And a lot of the aforementioned players aren’t what you’d call no-brainer recruits.
Daniels, however, would appear to have all the necessary credentials. He accounted for 888 total yards while playing multiple positions as a junior at Vernon Hills High last season (221 receiving, 344 rushing, 323 passing). And the Bulldogs are definitely in the market for wide receivers. They have three commitments at that position so far — Chris Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley and Zack Witchett — all in-state kids. But they have come up short in their efforts to land “national prospects” such as Charone Peake (committed to Clemson) and Rashad Greene (committed to Miami).
“[The Bulldogs] question the league that he played in,” Phillip Daniels said of his son. “That’s the only thing that they weren’t sure about. But he plays a skill position. It’s running and catching the ball. My answer was, look what he’s done in that league. And you’re talking about a kid who has a 40-inch vertical. He runs 4.4 [40-yard dash]. He plays every sport. He even plays defense. I’m not saying that as a dad. I’m saying that as somebody who has been around athletes all my life. Whoever gets him is going to get a special athlete.”
The main holdback seems to be the fact that DaVaris Daniels hasn’t been on a visit or attended a camp at Georgia. That, Phillip said, has been an issue.
“Their Junior Day, we got a letter the week it was happening inviting him,” he said. “With my schedule, that’s not good. I’m in D.C. at least four days a week. Between his schedule and my schedule there’s a lot of conflicts. I’ve got to have some time to work things out. But all they have to say is, ‘Phil, can you bring your son down?’”
With all the problems and issues, you’d think this particular saga will end with DaVaris Daniels going in a different direction than his father. Not necessarily, Dad says.
“You’re talking about a kid who grew up loving Georgia because his Dad played there,” said Phillip, who lives in Vernon Hills with his high-school sweetheart wife Leslie and their four children, ages 6 to 17. “He was born my first year at Georgia. And I’ll tell you this right now: He loves Mark Richt. He loves the way Mark Richt coaches, the kind of man he is. He likes all the coaches at Georgia but I think if Mark Richt called him that would probably change everything. Georgia probably has some leeway because of him and because I went there.”
So what do you think? Have the Bulldogs mishandled this particular situation? Should they be more beholding to legacy prospects than regular ones? Or has UGA handled it the way it ought to be handled?