Mailbag: Tech’s hopes, Georgia’s dreams and what’s wrong with Entourage

So here it is. Welcome to the first edition of “The AJC Recruiting Mailbag.”

Thanks to everybody who sent in questions this first week. I couldn’t be sure until I put it out there how many of you might participate, so I couldn’t be sure when the Mailbag might start. As it turned out, I received a bunch of queries and was able to go ahead and get it started today.

There were so many, in fact, that I wasn’t able to answer them all. Some I’ll have to get to later and others, well, they just didn’t make the cut. But I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible every week.

Normally the Mailbag will post earlier than this each Friday. But I ended up getting pulled off recruiting to report on the Damon Evans saga at Georgia, so things got a bit delayed. My apologies.

Again, this is one of those endeavors where the success largely depends on the participation of readership. So I want to thank everybody for playing along and look forward to making this a regular feature on the AJC Recruiting Blog. Keep ‘em coming!

Here you go:

Jimmy Cox asks: Do you think the Carver-Columbus coach banning UGA from recruiting the school briefly last year has put Georgia at a disadvantage for getting  RB Isaiah Crowell or a few of his other classmates?

Isaiah Crowell is tops on Georgia's wishlist at TB. (Photo by Mike Haskey/Ledger-Enquirer.com)

Isaiah Crowell is tops on Georgia's wishlist at TB. (Photo by Mike Haskey/Ledger-Enquirer.com)

Chip: I don’t think there’s any question that situation put Georgia behind at Carver last year, but I don’t believe it will be a factor now. First of all, you need to understand that Carver coach Dell McGee and UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner are good friends going all the way back to their playing days at Auburn. The Bulldogs messed up and McGee made sure they knew it.

But that ban has long since been lifted going back to early last season, and Georgia has been working the school extra hard. Crowell, the top running back in the state, likes Georgia a lot. The Bulldogs offer tradition and opportunity at his position. But it’s going to be a battle for him like it always is for any elite recruit. Alabama, Clemson and FSU are going to fight hard to sway Crowell their way. Same thing with defensive lineman Gabe Wright.

If anything, I’d say Georgia’s recent acquisition of linebacker Jarvis Jones, a Carver alum and transfer from Southern Cal, will have more of a tangible effect on this year’s recruiting than that ban.

Hugh Carithers asks: It appears to me that this recruiting year is shaping up as another case of the rich getting richer, that is that Florida and Alabama will likely have the best classes. Do you agree? Who do you think will most likely challenge them for supremacy, both nationally and in the South?

Chip: For generations, college football recruiting has largely been a case of the “rich getting richer.” The teams you mentioned, and others such as Georgia, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Tennessee, are always going to recruit well. It’s a matter of tradition, name recognition, branding, location and, of course, resources. But college football is also a cyclical game. And when you have All-Americans stacked up certain positions, it’s generally going to be difficult to talk another great player into coming in and sitting behind Joe Heisman a year or two. At present, Alabama is pretty flush with talent at a lot of positions. So is Florida, to a lesser extent. Auburn is a team that has recruited really well under coach Gene Chizik and could see some dividends paid soon. Clemson is one that is currently having success selling opportunity. Considering the depleted state of its current roster, I’d say Tennessee has a chance to have a big year, as long as this season isn’t too awful.

Jerry Adams asks: I recently read that NCAA is considering a rule against football offers prior to July 1 for  a rising senior.  What’s the rest of the story?  Do you think this may be a step to an early signing period for football?

Chip: Good question, Jerry. I’m not sure just yet. As it is now, colleges can’t offer a football recruit until at least Sept. 1 of his junior year. The new rule — which hasn’t been adopted yet — would delay that 10 months. So if anything it looks to me like they’re trying to push back the whole process.

As you all know, the trend in recruiting has been for schools to accept commitments earlier and earlier. Our buddy Lane Kiffin infamously offered a middle schooler just this past year. But I don’t know how prospects will be able to commit early anymore if they haven’t even been offered yet. So I’m betting this thing gets adopted just for that reason.

I’m going to have to follow up on this with some experts, recruiting coordinators and compliance people, etc., and see where they think this thing is headed. But if it remains unchanged, I absolutely believe there should be an early signing period. And it ought to be in the summer, about now in fact, and not in December as has been proposed. My experience had been that a lot of kids want to get recruiting over with, so they can kick back and enjoy their senior years.

HammerDawg1 asks: I know UGA is in the mix for RB/TB Isaiah Crowell, but I do not hear much about any other RB/TB’s they are pursuing. Is RB/TB a position that needs more recruiting attention, and why wouldn’t a top notch RB/TB not want to come to UGA?

Chip: I think it’s pretty evident that Crowell, a five-star prospect, is Georgia’s No. 1 target at tailback. But it is actively recruiting several other top-notch prospects. The Bulldogs have extended offers to Quan Bray of Hogansville; James Wilder Jr. of Tampa; Malcolm Brown of Cibolo, Texas; Aaron Green of San Antonio; Mike Bellamy of Punta Gorda, Fla.; and Savon Huggins of Jersey City, N.J. Bellamy has committed to Clemson.

Drew Ingalls asks: As we go forward, what are the top prospects GT has signed, and are hoping to sign? Any potential Calvin Johnson’s out there, or more of the same with three-star recruits who will perform well?

Chip: So far the Yellow Jackets haven’t landed what could be deemed an elite prospect. Their commitments are all three-star-rated recruits or less. But they are in on several blue-chippers. Several five-star prospects are seriously considering Tech, including Wilder; WR Kasen Williams of Sammamish, Wash., (a wideout of the Calvin Johnson ilk); outside linebacker Curtis Grant of Richmond, Va.; CB Doran Grant of Akron, Ohio; and middle linebacker Tony Steward of St. Augustine, Fla. In-state stars the Jackets are battling for defensive ends Stephon Tuitt of Monroe and Ray Drew of Thomas County Central and linebacker A.J. Johnson of Gainesville, among others. Land a few of these guys and this could quickly become Tech’s best recruiting class ever.

And I believe commitment Jabari Hunt-Days, a linebacker from Hillgrove, is under-valued as a recruit. In my opinion he is one of the best athletes in Georgia and should probably be a four-star guy. I also think S Darren Waller is better than advertised and OL Trey Braun will be a solid college football player.

maconwhoopiedawg asks: Chip, There’s a lot of talk out of Butts-Mehre about recruiting the “Dream Team” for the class of 2011.  Coach Richt and his staff have made some pretty good inroads so far.  In your estimation, which players are “must haves” in order for the Dream Team to become a reality?

Chip: Must haves? I’d say at least one of these where there are two at any position: Crowell, of course, TE Jay Rome of Valdosta, DE Drew, DE Xzavier Dickson of Griffin, OT Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County, CB Damian Swann of Grady and CB Malcolm Mitchell of Valdosta. That’s not including players they already have commitments from like Watts Dantzler, Chris Conley and Nick Marshall.

SUhatter94 asks: I hear you are an Entourage fan? What do you think of the new season so far? Any way this show can become great again?

More Sloan. Need I say more?

More Sloan. Need I say more?

Chip: You’re half-right, SUHatter94 (Stetson alum I assume). I WAS a fan of Entourage. Now I’m just a regular watcher of the show. At least I am now that it has come back from its two-year hiatus or whatever it was. What’s the deal with these cable series anyway? They take so long the characters come back with less hair and bigger guts and it’s only supposed to be the next week in the storyline. But I digress. There has been only one show so far in the new season and I was left again shrugging my shoulders, like I was much of last season. Definitely a downward turn in plot and, clearly, the show has lost some momentum. But I’ve got a simple solution. More Ari and (a fully-clothed) Vince; less Turtle and the little red-headed dude. And I think Sloan needs to be in every scene. I don’t care what the context is; she just needs to be in every frame.

That’s all the time I have for now. I’ll get to more of your questions next week. If they keep coming in at a high rate perhaps we’ll open the Mailbag twice a week. Thanks again.

  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Find me on Facebook
  • Remember to e-mail specific recruiting questions to me at AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com. I’ll answer them in the “Mailbag” each Friday.

113 comments Add your comment

Mightydawg

July 2nd, 2010
11:51 am

I don’t think that the new NCAA offer rule applies to football. I think that it was meant to address basketball specifically but applies to all NCAA sports except for football.

Lizard King

July 2nd, 2010
11:53 am

Ahhh Yes…Sloan.

Dawg Fan

July 2nd, 2010
11:58 am

How many players can Ga. sign this year?

Les W. Moore

July 2nd, 2010
12:09 pm

This Dream Team stuff is great entertainment for those of us who undertand that UGathens signs a Dream Team every year. Keep dreaming little doggies, keep dreaming.

Paddy

July 2nd, 2010
12:13 pm

Mightydawg…the new proposal is not yet a NCAA rule. Many admin types are pushing hard that football be included and many think it is going to include football, from what I hear.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
12:17 pm

Dawgs finish at 7-12 again in Recruiting…..We get a couple of these guys and lose 3 or 4….These kids are being told by Meyer and Saban ( the top top players in Georgia with tons of press clippings) that Georgia is on the way down, Richt on the hot seat blah blah blah and at 17 when Saban tells you to come to Bama and help us win another title….or go to Georgia and play in Sheveport, the kids are buying it. Yes, i believe that, and back to back suspect years by us makes that kid think that way. Winning changes that.

reservoirDAWG

July 2nd, 2010
12:19 pm

blackbee

July 2nd, 2010
12:21 pm

Tech unfortunately looking through gold colored glasses. Tech is getting stomped in the State. They have to have a big recruiting year this year. Now you don’t think they are really going to sign one of the top 3 receivers in the country who is from Washington state do you? Tech needs to go back into Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania hard, to compliment the 3 stars they get out of Georgia. They are spending a lot of time in North Carolina but Tech is not getting the top kid North Carolina. Coach Johnson did wonders with Chan Gailey’s recruits but Tech had better make an all out assault on recruiting, they loss 4 kids early to the Pro’s and Gailey’s recruits are quickly depleated.

cadawg

July 2nd, 2010
12:22 pm

@dawgfan: i believe the limit is 28, and teams pay a 2 for 1 penalty for every scholarship that exceeds that limit. but because there are non-qualifiers, grayshirts, etc… you’ll see teams (alabama especially, and auburn last year) sign classes much bigger than 28 without paying a penalty. i expect we’ll sign somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 players this year instead of the normal 20 or so.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
12:24 pm

also, if you get outside of the South( I travel outside of it a lot) you would think Bama and Florida are the only two teams in the SEC. Like the main stream press does with conservatives, it’s hard for Dawgs, AU, UY, SC etc to get any cred. That hurts also.The last two years have “damaged” our brand. Firing Martinez and company was a good start. I’m encouraged.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
12:24 pm

That’s UT……not UY

francistunnell

July 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

rivals reported Justin Worley is a Vol.
That stinks he’s a record setting quarterback from Carolina I thought
the Noles would get.

Chose uwe tee over ND and FSU. Maybe Darick Rogers is happy today?

DoDawg

July 2nd, 2010
12:47 pm

Glad you’ve got that all figured out, JB. Sounds a little like, when ‘Baba and UF have a little recruiting advantage up north, it’s “Unfair, whine.” But when UGa enjoys an obvious recruiting advantage in-state against GT, it’s, “We rule this state.” It’s all relative, ain’t it?

Chip Towers

July 2nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Mightydawg: It’s my understanding the new rule will apply to all sports, including football.

Dixie Clear

July 2nd, 2010
12:57 pm

Free drinks and ho’s at UGA!!!!!… How can anybody compete with that??

78 DAWG

July 2nd, 2010
12:59 pm

The Damon Evans thing ain’t gonna hurt recruiting, it’s gonna help. If the AD can party like it’s 1999, what do you think an 18 year old stud can do! Jan Kemp didn’t slow us down, the Jim Harrick how many halves are in a baseketball game…. didn’t slow us down, Party animal Zach Mett didn’t slow us down, Christian Lemay getting kicked out of high school ain’t slowin’ us down and neither is this!
8-4 with a lot of talk about being unlucky and how the gayturds are sooo lucky and how in 2012 will win the NC. I already got my Christmas reservations for Shrevport!

All Vols

July 2nd, 2010
1:07 pm

No>
ESPN said just a couple days ago Justin Worley was going to Notre Dame
or LSU (final 2). They made it sound like UT wasn’t even in the picture
(typcial)
Great job by Dooley to “steal” this recruit. And some people
thought Derek couldn’t recruit…

jaxdawg

July 2nd, 2010
1:20 pm

Soooo… can we expect more Sloan in every post Chip? Seems like a guaranteed way to up your reader count

SILLY UGA FANS

July 2nd, 2010
1:30 pm

GT really needs Tuitt or somebody like him to commit then we should start landing more elites once one declares. I still like some of the kids coming in and last year GT did well with some of the defensive recruits and a few offensive. If we can repeat as ACC champs or get 9/10 wins with a bowl win recruits will see the program is solid and ready to compete each year.

SILLY UGA FANS

July 2nd, 2010
1:35 pm

blackbee,
That horrible defense was also Gailey recruits so it’s not like they were all gems. GT lost a great RB in Dwyer, but Allen will be a beast at b-back. It’s hard to say what we will look like at WR but Hill should do fine if he bulks up some and GT probably relied on Thomas to much. If the ball gets spread around more it can only help and now Hill and Smith have a year in the program.

destin dawg

July 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

charged up about this year !! we’ve got the athletes.. now the new DDEEEE coaches… teaching basics like aggressive tackling LB’s…. backpeddling DB’s…. rush the QB… Run the ball !!!! we will suprise some folks .. It’s better is be an over achieving under dawg than the other way around !!!!

Monticello Dawg

July 2nd, 2010
1:58 pm

“Jan Kemp didn’t slow us down,” says 78 Dawg. I respectfully disagree. After the Kemp situation, for a number of years UGA was not recruiting on a level playing field with most of our SEC rivals. Along with the arrival of Pat Dye at Auburn, that was a major reason Dooley never won another SEC title.

Andy Landers lost 3-4 recruits to rival schools, due to raised UGA entrance requirements, that later made All American. This was at a time in the 80s when the Lady Dogs were going head to head with UT. Of course, in the late 80s and 90s the Lady Vols began to dominate the women’s game until Geno got things rolling at UConn.

RxDawg

July 2nd, 2010
2:15 pm

“And I think Sloan needs to be in every scene. I don’t care what the context is; she just needs to be in every frame.”

Best idea ever. Love some Entourage.

OGATORO

July 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Keep Evans!! Thst’s great for UF!!

joe

July 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Why on earth, Monticello, would you bring womens B-Ball into a football recruiting conversation. NOBODY cares…

Monticello Dawg wants illiterate’s to represent UGA

July 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

After the Kemp situation, for a number of years UGA was not recruiting on a level playing field with most of our SEC rivals. Along with the arrival of Pat Dye at Auburn, that was a major reason Dooley never won another SEC title.

Yeah, It is a shame that you expect UGA to recruit and win exactly the same as before Jan Kemp. YOU CHEATED – that’s how you won. When UGA doesn’t cheat, they don’t win! So sad that UGA can’t allow kids that can’t read/write play football for the Dawgtards.

Dawgtards = illiterate UGA supporters (not just the players)

Attila the Hun

July 2nd, 2010
2:32 pm

JB has a point about branding. I travel a lot also and I’ve noticed that in conversations in sports bars, hotel and airport bars around the country that when you talk about college football most people think of Alabama and Florida in the sec and that’s pretty much it. They think of Florida because of Spurrier, all the exposure of Tim Tebow the last few years, and lets face it. The gators have been the nation’s winningest team the last 20 years. As for Alabama they’ve got the big name and tradition. People think of them as being the Notre Dame tradition of southern football. Its definitely the biggest name and tradition by far in the south. Its freaking weird but I’ve talked to guys in their 50s and older who can be way up north, never been to Alabama but have always been quasi Alabama fans going back to the Bear Bryant days. Why? Because Bama was featured a lot in national games back then. They played a lot of the big time home and homes against USC, Nebraska, ND, USC, heck even I remember some of them games. Bear’s teams played with class as the old fogies like to say so that was another reason folks seemed to like them.

We’re taking a step in the right direction by playing home and homes outside the southeast even if they are also sorry programs like colorado and ASU. We just got to play bigger time teams. We also got to reverse the Florida streak and put together a great run that includes a national title or 2 and some dominance over the gators. I don’t think we’ll ever have the name the Bammers have but we can still become nationally prominent. Heck I remember when Miami was a doormat. Now people refer to them as the U and they aint been good in 8 years. It only took them a decade 1983-1991 of dominance to build a national name. We can get started on it this year. Got to beat the gators first. Go dawgs.

Monticello Dawg

July 2nd, 2010
2:45 pm

Georgia alumni are not proud of what went on with Jan Kemp, so we took our medicine, and upgraded academic requirements, above the NCAA minimum and those of many neighboring schools. However, by doing this, UGA was at a recruiting disadvantage for a number of years, as the Dogs had to play against some talented athletes denied admission to UGA due to the raised entrance requirements, who signed with rival schools.

And unlike some on here, I like UGA to do well in all sports, not just football. I used the Lady Dogs basketball players as an example of how the post-Jan Kemp era affected all sports, not just football.

BULLDOGMANIAC

July 2nd, 2010
2:50 pm

My favorite part of the article:

Chip: So far the Yellow Jackets haven’t landed what could be deemed an elite prospect. Their commitments are all three-star-rated recruits or less.

ChicagoDawg

July 2nd, 2010
2:52 pm

Dixie Clear — It is a winning combination that has stood the test of time in CFB…here is hoping that it continues to work it’s magic.

HugoStiglitz

July 2nd, 2010
2:58 pm

Really BULLDOGMANIAC? You liked that more then the Sloan picture? Im starting to wonder about UGA fans.

Gravy Train

July 2nd, 2010
2:58 pm

Just like every season during Richt’s tenure, the goal will be to win the East and get to the Dome. I know this team can make it there. Get the A-Train rolling and the swagger and momentum will be theirs. Lat year expectations were not met and changes were made. 2010 will be the begining of a new era for this program.

Did I even dream of thinking about this scenario when Goff or Donnan were at the controls? Not only no, but heck no!

There is no hot seat. Mark Richt is a champion.

BigTimeTECHFan

July 2nd, 2010
3:22 pm

Very nice Mailbox, props to Chip and those who submitted questions.

“So far the Yellow Jackets haven’t landed what could be deemed an elite prospect”

If by elite you a referring to 5 star types?

Chip, Rivals is reporting Kyle Harris signed with Tech, one of the star performers at UGA’s OL camp.

George Stein

July 2nd, 2010
3:35 pm

Call me Damon!

Huh?

July 2nd, 2010
3:36 pm

It’ll be pretty funny when CPJ beats Georgia with those three star or less recruits.

Huh?

July 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

I love how three years ago UGA fans talked about how all Tech got was a bunch of three star recruits and a few years later act like they were all-world. I think Tech’s gonna be just fine.

South GA Dawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:52 pm

I am a die hard UGA fan but I pull for GT in the ACC. Tech is a great school with a really good football program. I would love to see UGA and Tech meet undefeated. Of course I will be pulling for them dogs but I do hope Tech and UGA both have great years. I mean really wouldnt it be great to play each other for the NC title? This would be one heck of a game.
Go Dawgs!!!

BigTimeTECHFan

July 2nd, 2010
4:01 pm

South GA Dawg – If that every happened I would be going nuts that whole week waiting for the game. You think Jacksonville is crazy I would love to see what a Athens or ATL gameday would look like with Tech/UGA meeting undefeated. ESPN Collage Gameday crew would have to leave town, they couldn’t handle it.

dog789xyz

July 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

HammerDawg1, I am a big bulldog supporter. I especially love the running game. You ask why wouldn’t a top notch RB/TB come to UGA. Are you watching the games at all? Why would any good RB/TB come to UGA and play in this pass happy crap of an offense? Even the running plays are fake passes. The plays are designed to slow the pass rush. Hardly any plays are designed to just run the ball. The offense is a running backs nightmare. I love UGA , but I would advise any talented RB/TB to attend school where his talents would be utilized.
Richt just wants to throw 40 yard or more, low percentage passes. He has not realized that the vast majority of championships have been won with a potent running game and a great defense. Play keep away with the running game. The other guys offense can’t score when we have the ball.

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
4:17 pm

Every other year Georgia has a running back drafted. Long string of them. Some pretty good.

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Is Mack Strong still playing or has he turned to dust?

SILLY UGA FANS

July 2nd, 2010
5:18 pm

bigtimetechfan,
I am sure UGA fans will soon remind you he is only a 3 star recruit. Looks like a great pickup to me and I think several of our lowly 3 stars will be 4 by years end anyway. Besides CPJ has the ability and asst. coaches to get 5 star quality out of these kids.

gtrchompone

July 2nd, 2010
5:32 pm

so evans cried and wiped his tears with red panties?
This story just is wacky re: the UGA A.D.

Damon Evans

July 2nd, 2010
5:34 pm

I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m the athletic’s director at the University of Georgia…

Damon Evans

July 2nd, 2010
5:38 pm

Do you like my red panties? Oh, and she’s just a friend (with benefits).

gtrchompone

July 2nd, 2010
5:41 pm

…..”ok. You may go then”, LOL

gtrchompone

July 2nd, 2010
5:42 pm

yes, my ‘friends’ always take off their panties…(right)

CDawg

July 2nd, 2010
5:42 pm

More Sloan is an excellent idea, except that it means more of the annoying little red-headed dude. Maybe Drama could make a move on her. More Ari plus more Drama = better Entourage. Of course, that’s always been the case.

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
5:44 pm

I would cry too if I just saw a half million a year go up in smoke and the spector of an ex-wife and child support looming.

gtrchompone

July 2nd, 2010
5:59 pm

After he was arrested, the father of two — who refused a Breathalyzer — told the trooper, “We go through life and we all drink and jump in a car.”

Now thats not good (or funny)