I am so glad that I opened this new e-mail account, AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com, for the purpose of fielding your questions for the weekly Recruiting Mailbag. Never could I have dreamed it would lead to such good fortune!
So far, I’ve won a total of 2,350,000 euros in lotteries and sweepstakes I didn’t even realize I’d entered. There’s one young lady who wants to start a relationship with me and another one, Miss Aisha, who wants “to tell me something and send me a picture.” I’ve apparently gotten some great news from Quebec, only I can’t read the French to figure out what it is. And then there’s this poor lady named Mrs. Magret(sic) Winter who’s on her sickbed and needs me to contact her lawyer.
But I’m going to have to get around to all of that later. My inbox is so stuffed with questions from you guys that I haven’t had time to make my claims. So without further ado, let’s hurry and answer the mail so I can claim my booty (as in goods and money, shame on you!).
RAWdawg asks: I would like to know what kind of impact UGA’s football facilities expansion will REALLY have on recruiting. These types of projects cost big money, and I was wondering if you think Georgia will actually reap recruiting benefits from it or not? What kind of impact do you think facilities have on the recruitment of the blue-chip prospects?
Chip: Good question, RAWdawg. Obviously facilities matter because the SEC has been in the throes of a facilities “arms race” for the better part of a decade or so. The bottom line is you don’t want the other guys to have something you don’t. And if you have the same things, yours can’t be cheap if theirs is done first class. In the case of the SEC, its rich television deal with CBS and ESPN gives these programs the financial foundations they need to invest in expensive projects, such as the $40-plus-million expansion of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall at UGA.
But don’t take my word for it. I asked Rodney Garner, Georgia’s recruiting coordinator, for his thoughts about this. “Facilities are very important,” he said. “You have to keep up with your competition. The number one question we get from recruits and parents is about the Butts-Mehre expansion and an indoor facility.”
Chad Simmons, South recruiting manager for Scout.com, agrees. “It definitely matters. Kids nowadays know who has the biggest stadiums, what type of uniforms they wear, the types of cleats they wear. Number one, it shows them [the school is] putting money into the program, that they want it to be the best. So, yeah, I think what they’re doing right now over at Georgia definitely will help them.”
Dustin Thomas asks: What are the chances Georgia Tech lands Kasen Williams? Do really think someone of his caliber would go to a run-first type of offense?
Chip: I’d say the chances are at least 1 in 10 Williams ends up on The Flats. That’s because Williams — the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation according to Scout — listed the Yellow Jackets in his top 10 released just last month. As you know from Demaryius Thomas 1,000-plus yards last season, Tech can produce some very big numbers for a primary receiver. But it will encounter some mighty competition for this 6-foot-2, 196-pound athlete from Skyline, Wash. His other favorites are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Washington and Washington State.
TybeeDog asks: What kind of chances does Georgia have in landing Gabe Wright? Last I heard the Dogs were running third behind Bama and Auburn. Also, do you think that Chris Mayes might sign with us?
Chip: TybeeDog, how about I just let Gabe answer you himself? I forwarded him your question. His reply (via text): “UGA is 2nd and close to AU!! G.90″ So there you go. . . . Didn’t talk to Mayes but I’d say odds are decent he could end up with the Dogs. Right now they’re his only “power” offer other than Miami. But he has lots of suitors.
Adam Bruce asks: How realistic are Georgia’s chances to snag some of the nationally elite prospects, particularly Jadeveon Clowney, Tim Jernigan, and Malcolm Brown?
Chip: This is recruiting, Adam; we don’t deal in reality. . . . Seriously though, I don’t give the Dogs much of a shot with any of the guys you mentioned. Brown is the only one I’ve done an update on lately and, earlier this week, he listed a top two of Alabama and Texas with FSU a distant third. Clowney continues to list Georgia on his recruiting profiles but I haven’t seen much action between the two parties. And I’ve heard next to nothing about Jernigan other than he has an offer from the Dogs. But who knows.
Tunde Ayinla asks: Is Deandre Smelter, the talented two-way athlete from [Macon's] Tatnall Square Academy, attending Georgia Tech or is he pursuing his dreams as a Major League baseball player?
Chip: Smelter, who signed with the Yellow Jackets’ baseball team last November, was drafted in the 14th round with the 435rd pick overall by the Minnesota Twins. As of Thursday he had not signed a pro contract and is scheduled to enroll at Tech on Aug. 16th, Tech officials said. But until he enrolls, he’s on the market.
Chris Groskreutz asks: Now that Seantrel Henderson has been fully released from his scholarship from USC, does he have any eligibility restrictions wherever he ends up? Do you have any idea where he might be looking now?
Chip: First, Mr. Groskreutz, a question for you. Any relation to Heidi Groskreutz of “So You Think You Can Dance” fame? See photo. Is that you doing the heavy lifting?
As for your question, “fully released” means just that. Henderson does not have any restrictions, other than he needs to be enrolled somewhere before fall semester begins to be able to play. Best bets for the 6-foot-8, 330-pound offensive lineman’s destination are Miami and Ohio State, two of his finalists before he inexplicably signed with USC despite the hovering NCAA hammer. But I can promise you Tech and UGA have inquired, and so has most everybody else in the FBS.