Former UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez returned to his old stomping grounds to recruit one of the state’s elite 2012 prospects.
After Martinez was fired by the Bulldogs just over a year ago, he was quickly hired an assistant at Oklahoma. He coaches defensive backs for the Sooners.
This past week, Martinez made some recruiting rounds in Atlanta, including a lengthy stop at St. Pius. Martinez offered an Oklahoma football scholarship to one of the nation’s top defensive backs for 2012, Geno Smith.
Smith said he easily recognized Martinez this past Thursday at school, due to watching or attending Georgia games in past years. Martinez met with the St. Pius coaches for a long conversation about Smith.
“My coaches said he sounded like a real cool guy,” Smith said. “He wasn’t really talking that much of football. He said that [Oklahoma] wanted to recruit the right kind of character guys. Coach Martinez told my coaches that if I was really interested, that he would be recruiting me very hard for Oklahoma.”
How interested is Smith in Oklahoma? “It’s a great school with a great tradition, but I don’t really have any favorites right now,” said Smith, backing off earlier statments that he was favoring BCS champion Auburn.
Smith, who is a contender for the state’s No.1 prospect for next year, has around 20 early offers, including Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, and South Carolina. Notre Dame also officially offered last week.
“I was surprised with the scholarship offers from Oklahoma and Notre Dame,” Smith said. “I’ve been following college football for a long time, and those are two of the most storied programs around … so getting offers from those two schools is an honor.”
Oklahoma hasn’t focused heavily on Georgia prospects in recent years — none of last year’s recruits or this year’s commitments to the Sooners are from Georgia. However, Martinez could change that with his longtime connections to the state while coaching at UGA for nine years, including the last five as defensive coordinator.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC College Recruiting