Ex-UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez returns to Georgia to recruit St. Pius DB Geno Smith

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.

Why not recruit Georgia? Oklahoma assistant Willie Martinez built a lot of relationships in Georgia in his nine years at UGA (AJC photo)

Why not recruit Georgia? Oklahoma assistant Willie Martinez built a lot of relationships in the state during his nine years at UGA (AJC photo)

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

144 comments Add your comment


January 29th, 2011
9:37 pm


January 29th, 2011
9:40 pm

Try your best Coach Martinez,you never know may be GA kids may take an offer from sooners


January 29th, 2011
9:41 pm

I hope these recruits remember how fast our Defense fell after he took over as DC.

Big Daddy

January 29th, 2011
9:42 pm


January 29th, 2011
9:45 pm

Jeez, I can’t believe he’d be dumb enough to recruit the state where he proved he was incompetent to lead a defense.


January 29th, 2011
9:46 pm

If you can’t find enough players in Oklahoma and Texas, God help you!


January 29th, 2011
9:53 pm

Slick Willie is barkin up the wrong tree

SoCal Dawg

January 29th, 2011
10:00 pm

Willy is a loser and hopefully all the recruits remember this.


January 29th, 2011
10:01 pm

Good luck with that, Willie, looks like Richt and Grantham are building a fence around this state. I would say the early line is at 9 to 1 that he becomes the next great UGA DB.


January 29th, 2011
10:05 pm

getting coached by Willie???

I’ll be…


January 29th, 2011
10:06 pm



January 29th, 2011
10:11 pm

relax people


January 29th, 2011
10:29 pm

Why would any kid from Georgia play for him? Everyone saw how horrific his defenses were.


January 29th, 2011
10:33 pm

What a bunch of tools.

CWM dedicated himself to UGA, worked hard for years, and moved up to a position that perhaps he wasn’t quite qualified to handle.

He was a DGD, nonetheless, and infinitely more capable and intelligent than most of the goobers here tonight.

5150 UOAD

January 29th, 2011
10:45 pm

Well he worked for St RICHT so he should FEAR being struck by Lighting when he is in XI’s house. Willie why don’t you ask bobo to help you coach the Sandy Springs 130lb Saints? You guys can do the fields and get all the leftover hot dogs and hamburgers to feed your families.

5150 UOAD

January 29th, 2011
10:46 pm

respect the MUTT right?

Tech Forever

January 29th, 2011
10:48 pm

Here we have a kid who has taken Algebra II, Geometry, Trig, and Calc (will next year). THIS is one of the few Tech needs to get who can actually get in Tech with no strings.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Georgia Bulldogs-UGA, Chip Towers. Chip Towers said: Ex-UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez returns to Georgia to recruit St. Pius DB Geno Smith http://bit.ly/i2nnBA [...]

Red Dog 77

January 29th, 2011
10:59 pm

Willie, Willie, Willie………….Better save that airfare son, with the class coach Mark Richt is putting together for 2011, it would be a safe bet this kid will be wearing the RED and BLACK in 2012………….just sayin’


January 29th, 2011
11:01 pm

Under Van Gorder, Martinez coached the best defensive backfield Georgia’s had since the early 80s. He just wasn’t much of a coordinator. Glad he landed somewhere, he is at home as a position coach.


January 29th, 2011
11:05 pm

Putting together classes isn’t Richt’s problem, Red Dawg. Coaching ‘em up is the part he hasn’t mastered yet. And I suspect he’s got one more off-season to figure it out, or it’s bye bye Richt. He might be reunited with CWM as a position coach in Okie next year.


January 29th, 2011
11:07 pm

Hershel Walker just dropped another one!


January 29th, 2011
11:17 pm

Tech Forever @10:48
Please, drop the academic BS. GT actively recruits the same group of players as everyone else. Simple fact is they aren’t interested in Fish Fry’s offense and playing in front of the 30,000 so who show up for one of those bigtime ACC games. Young men like Ray Drew, Sterling Bailey, Jay Rome, Amarlo Herrara, Damian Swann among others simply weren’t interested.
GT has had several players who were borderline qualifiers. GT’s players are not a bunch of Rhodes Scholars, the avg SAT scores of incoming football signees is almost identical to those at Georgia. Lest we not forget, GT served time on NCAA probation for playing academically ineligible players.

As for Willie Martinez recruiting Georgia for Oklahoma, if he recruits as well for the Sooners as he did for Georgia there won’t be many prospects from this state heading to Norman.


January 29th, 2011
11:18 pm

I always felt sorry for Martinez. He was fired to appease a bunch of snot nosed fairweathered football fans and a couple of goofball sportswriters like Schultz (who is the most unathletic person to ever live ((and that is actually documented)) and Mark Bradley, the never was, the never has been, and the never will be. Martinez wins the Sugar Bowl one season (and was one game away from the national championship game) and he is getting fired the next. He lost alot of players from the Sugar Bowl team. Plus, the offense was starting a first time qb with 2 redshirt freshmen rb’s. Just to get past emotion and rely on an actual fact, since he was fired, Ga had one of their worst years ever.


January 29th, 2011
11:41 pm

hes coming to uga… hes a fan and with boykin a senior this year he can start next season for his favorite team..


January 29th, 2011
11:52 pm

I can’t start wondering about next year with so many guys to pick up yet this year. We look to finish with a bang! Go Dawgs!!!


January 29th, 2011
11:53 pm

The entrance requirements are not substantially harder for Tech, but the coursework is definitely tougher for the average student, much less the average football player.

Before you go off on a rant about how most football players are management majors, you should realize that even management majors have to take Calc II.

No other 1A school I know of has the same requirement.

Math is one of those subjects that you either get or you don’t. Most football players fall into the latter category.

This means that the only guys who are going to enroll in Tech fall into one of these categories:

1. They “get” math and want to play for Tech. The Calc II requirement is no big deal.
2. They want to play for Tech and are willing to work hard in a class that is very difficult and doesn’t come naturally for them.
3. They didn’t get many other offers and Tech seems like the best choice. They suck it up and sign.

With this in mind, it IS important for us to go after smarter kids, as they are more apt to come to Tech. Not saying all UGA guys are dumb or all Tech guys are smart, but those are the facts.

Other coaches know this as well, and it has been known for some time that opposing coaches will show a Calc II book to kids considering Tech to dissuade them from coming.


January 29th, 2011
11:53 pm

Did Willie leave Georgia? Hard to tell.


January 29th, 2011
11:59 pm

Hey Saban, I bet You Bammers wish Richt would leave since he has won 3 out of 4 against them! His winning percentage against Bama is about the same as his winning percentage overall, about 75%!


January 30th, 2011
12:03 am

If he wants to learn how to be a failure let him go learn from Willie.


January 30th, 2011
12:10 am

The Dawgs D still has a long way to go, but they were still better than under CWM. Remember those 15 yard cushions the DB’s gave? Along with the poor tackling? Oh, that was horrible. Those things did improve.(Improvement is still needed on the Dline. UGA got dominated along BOTH lines of scrimmage this past year) CWM was the perfect example of the Peter Principle. I don’t hate CWM, but I don’t particularly like him either. He coached hard, but tended to blame the players in the media and didn’t stick around to coach those players in the bowl game. Don’t care what his feelings for CMR were, he had an obligation to those players to finish the season.


January 30th, 2011
12:19 am

Glad Willie got him a defensive position post at OK for which he is better
suited to coach; just didn’t make it as UGA’s DC. But he can stay out of GA in recruiting. Our in-state young men will do just fine going to UGA or one of the D2 schools in Georgia. Come follow this year’s ‘Dream Team’ in 2012, Mr. Geno Smith and make the Dawgs a fine DB. … Whichever school you choose, study hard, play hard, and make your parents, friends, and family proud of you. .. Go Dawgs.!!

Noles Rule!

January 30th, 2011
12:19 am

Saturday before signing day and that’s it???? Everyone call in sick or just a little lazy with the warmer temps today????


January 30th, 2011
12:26 am

Mike Fannon for President!

5150 UOAD

January 30th, 2011
12:39 am

Football! What is football? Ain’t dat what you southerners do tween chasing youRN sister for sex and stillN dads PBR?

The Watergirl

January 30th, 2011
1:19 am

Hey if Geno wants to learn how to face guard and never make an interception then Willie is the coach for him!!


January 30th, 2011
1:37 am


Well where is the rest of the story that should be about whos recruiting Smith from all of the other 20 schools?

Answer: Who cares. Why is an article about an ex UGA coach doing his job a story for a recruiting blog? If you just wanted to mention that G.Smith is a heavily recruited player that would be cool. Instead, four days before NSD you drop this bombshell. Maybe a recruiting blog about one of the hundreds of potential scholar athletes in this state that are Seniors would be a little better?

I read your blogs and most of the time appreciate your work, however this just feels like a space filler when you could have “plugged” someone else.

Just sayin…

UGA owns you tasty bees..

January 30th, 2011
3:21 am

PLEASE, for the LOVE OF ALL THINGS UGA, quit putting “just sayin..” at the end of your comments people, my 15 year old brother and all of his friends say it, and its really getting old. No one thinks its cool. No one appreciates it, and furthermore, the world would be a better place without it… Kind of like Gt football.. Lastly, I don’t think Geno Smith is a future terrorist, so that greatly decreases the odds of that gt offer being more than gt coaches throwing a piece of paper at him in desperation (like the other top recruits from the state, including ATL)..

UGA owns you tasty bees..

January 30th, 2011
3:23 am

I’m serious about the “just sayin” comments, ITS AS OLD AND LAME AS AL GROH(SE)

tell me again

January 30th, 2011
6:46 am

willie and bobo are good position coaches – they were just promoted beyond their abilities. Bobo’s main problem is just that he is not creative or consistent. Sometimes he’s downright brilliant but then he turns right around and calls some of the most inane plays imaginable – 4th and inches after driving 92 yards……in a worthless bowl…..field goal anyone?? I’ll never forget that one.


January 30th, 2011
7:16 am

wdm…..your shot at sportswriters not looking like an athlete is way off base. If you have enjoyed reading George Enright, Phil Pepe, Murray Allen etc, you would know you don’t need to look like the players/sport you cover. You just need to know about the sport you cover.


January 30th, 2011
7:46 am

If Smith has any sense he will come down here to Gainsville and learn what it means to be a champion, something he will never know in athens. He would also learn character here in Florida, something else that is lacking at georgia. Unless he is wanting to build up a rap sheet, he needs to stay as far away from athens as he can

just a fan

January 30th, 2011
8:04 am


Why do you keep talking about character at florduh it was non existent while the crier was there he let them run a muck i.e.brandon spikes half game suspension. I am about to post a link that will show you what kind of men of character they were.



January 30th, 2011
8:15 am

@Gatormeat ….character in Gainesville…really..LMAO


January 30th, 2011
8:20 am

Richt has 2 hands full of championship rings as a coach, Muschamp- not so much.


January 30th, 2011
8:31 am

Geno: Great job but stear clear of a school on probation.


January 30th, 2011
8:40 am

RambleOn84: Nice post. The world is not just about football. TECH is a great school.

Rodney Dangerfield

January 30th, 2011
8:44 am

Come to UGA Geno, where some of the heavy hitting questions on exams are “how many points do you receive for making a 3-point basket?”

Hint – it is between 2 and 4.

Rodney Dangerfield

January 30th, 2011
8:46 am

Maybe UGA has a History of Rap class now. Unless you are into Rock N Roll – they already have The History of Rock N Roll class.


January 30th, 2011
9:02 am

To the Tech folks regarding academics: We all know that colleges can get around academic requirements if the player is good enough. They have tutors to do any class work and even take the test for them if necessary.