Recruiting Rewind: Georgia Tech’s Darren Waller can laugh about UGA rumors now

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North Cobb High School’s Darren Waller wasn’t happy about the rumors he was flirting with Georgia while committed to Georgia Tech.

The 6-foot-5, 224-pounder signed a football scholarship with Georgia Tech last February and will compete for playing time at either safety or wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets this season.

Waller now laughs about the awkward situation with the archrivals. After all, there were legitimate reasons to why the rumors started. He was spotted on Georgia’s campus several times. It’s true.

But it wasn’t for the reasons most people thought: Waller said he wasn’t there to for secret meetings with the Bulldogs but to visit his older sister, who attends Georgia.

“There was a little controversy,” Waller said. “We’d go to a basketball game or something like that, and then someone would tell me that they read on a message board somewhere that I was at Georgia on an unofficial visit. It was frustrating then, but it’s funny now when I look back at it.”

Georgia never issued a scholarship offer, but Waller felt like there was enough genuine interest from the Bulldogs that could’ve led to one. “They were calling my coach for film, and asking if I wanted to come up for [an unofficial visit] and talk. But it never got serious because I was always set on Georgia Tech.”

North Cobb Darren Waller

The 6-foot-5 Darren Waller signed with Georgia Tech to play safety but may end up at wide receiver (AJC Photo by Curtis Compton)

Waller talked to the AJC about recruiting:

You signed with Tech to play safety but you may get a shot at wide receiver; what’s the latest with all of that? They are still talking a little wide receiver. I guess they are making up their minds right now. When I go to watch spring practice, I will go to meeting rooms with both the wide receivers and defensive backs. I really don’t know what they are going to do with me. I guess I will find out when I report this summer. I’ll play either. Whichever one gets me on the field faster, that’s the position I will be happy to play.

If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting? Because so many guys commit before their senior year, I think colleges should be able to pay for some things when you go on unofficial visits as a junior. Nothing major, but little things like food and maybe some gas money.

What is the funniest thing any college coach said to you during the entire recruiting process? I was on my official visit to Georgia Tech and we went to Atlantic Station and all these luxury restaurants. I mean, it was something big and something fancy for every meal. One of those times, Coach Paul Johnson said “You better enjoy it while you can. It’s going to be best meal you’ll ever have at Georgia Tech” and we all started laughing. I’ve heard the food on campus is good but it won’t obviously be as luxurious as what you get during your official visit.

Any other funny stories about recruiting? Yes, having to do with South Carolina and Steve Spurrier. My mom didn’t want me to go there because she is a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins, and she didn’t like how it things went when [Spurrier] was there. It gave me a bad feeling before I even went to South Carolina. However, I did end up meeting with Coach Spurrier and he was a really nice.

What was the best single experience you had on any of your recruiting trips? It was going to the team banquet at Georgia Tech and seeing how they appreciated the seniors, and how emotional the coaches and players got about the end of the season. Then I got to go out with some of the players to a few parties. That was pretty cool.

What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process? As soon as Georgia Tech offered me, I pretty much had my mind made up. I would go to other schools and say “Oh, I’m really interested.” At one point, I even told Kentucky they were my No. 1 choice. But I was leaning to Georgia Tech the whole time.

Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting? It wasn’t that bad, but maybe Auburn was my most disappointing situation. During the early part of spring my junior year, Ted Roof, the defensive coordinator, came to the school and said they were really interested in me. I went there on an unofficial visit and to their camp. Then they had a couple of safeties committed and decided they weren’t going to recruit any more. It wasn’t that bad, but it was really disappointing for me at the time.

What school came in second after Tech? I really liked Kentucky. I don’t think they did anything wrong; it was just that I was waiting on Georgia Tech the entire time.

If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be? It would be “Don’t wait and hope the college coaches find you. You need to go out and find the coaches instead. You need to get your name out there as quick as you can, even if it means contacting the schools yourself.” If you wait too long, something may not happen. You may not get what you want.

Note: Checking with Waller with clarification of visit to South Carolina’s players lounge.

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

136 comments Add your comment

Dirty Dawg

April 11th, 2011
11:15 am

thebull35

April 11th, 2011
11:15 am

thebull35

April 11th, 2011
11:15 am

Dirty Dawg

April 11th, 2011
11:16 am

Really Haters???

April 11th, 2011
11:19 am

I don’t remember this guy? He didn’t even have an offer from UGA. Really?

dawgster

April 11th, 2011
11:22 am

If anyone read my comments from an earlier blog…the comments Mr. Waller made to the Kentrucky programs that they were “my number one choice”..but leaning towards Tech the whole time…This is the part that I don’t like with kids, not picking on Mr. Waller here, many play the recruiting game, but don’t string the coaches along, nor should the coaches string a kid along either….but anyway good luck to the young man at Tech…go dawgs

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
11:23 am

Look, I am trying to stray away from the UGA/Tech childish trash talk that is rampant on these blogs…..

But this quote…. “Georgia never issued a scholarship offer, but Waller felt like there was enough genuine interest from the Bulldogs that could’ve led to one. “They were calling my coach for film, and asking if I wanted to come up for [an unofficial visit] and talk. But it never got serious because I was always set on Georgia Tech.””

Sounds like any other prima donna high school athlete that feels like they are the king of the football world, and feels he can go anywhere he wanted to. Sorry son, that obviously wasn;t the case here. You simply settled for Georgia Tech, though you and your Techie followers would NEVER admit it.

This kid is learning from the Techies quickly, however, and fabricated stories about UGA for the sake of trash talk.

The only trash talk UGA needs for this kid and Tech goes like this……

“Once upon a time, on a Saturday after Thanksgiving…….” And you know the rest of the story.

61-39-5
GO DAWGS!!!!

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
11:25 am

And yes, good luck Mr. Waller. You are indeed a Georgia boy who chose to stay in state. And that I can respect.

Oakisland

April 11th, 2011
11:29 am

Who cares about a Tech recruit on a UGA page?

juvenal

April 11th, 2011
11:30 am

2A when i went there…….aw, D A, i thot u’d reformed……

Spike

April 11th, 2011
11:37 am

He won’t be laughing in November.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
11:38 am

juvenal,

I am reformed. There is a fine line in making childish trash talk and pointing out things relating to the above article and turning them into rivalry banter.

I will not tolerate this kid trashing UGA in his interview, when the truth is UGA didn’t want him.

And it’s convenient for you Techies to write off any hatred UGA has toward Tech as “classless drivel”, when Techies hatred for UGA is so glamorized within your little circle.

Rivalry= TWO (2) way hatred.

GO DAWGS!!!

Delbert D.

April 11th, 2011
11:45 am

Michael, did you know you were running “a UGA page?”

Funny story about Waller’s mom and Spurrier.

RxDawg

April 11th, 2011
11:46 am

Tokyo jacket

April 11th, 2011
11:47 am

Hmm, 6′5″, big and fast. Does that sound like any other Tech WR you can think of? Even still, 6′5″ and 224 lbs works at any position. This kid could end up playing linebacker before it’s all over. Interestingly enough, Michael Johnson came to Tech as a TE several years ago. Position changes can work out.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
11:47 am

He didn’t “trash” UGA…you’re just an obsessed fanatic. Get over yourself. He thought UGA showed a lot of interest in him and was asked about why they didn’t offer him, so he replied that he figured it was cuz he was set on Georgia Tech.

Not a single negative thing was said about UGA. Get over yourself and your program.

Luke

April 11th, 2011
11:50 am

D A, at no point did he ever “trash” UGA in his interview. He simply said that UGA coaches gave up on his recruitment because he was a very strong Tech lean. You can talk about how much UGA didn’t want him all you want, but he was a solid player for North Cobb and would probably have gotten a scholly had he kept his recruitment open longer.

Not our fault that you sometimes you can’t always get what you want. Go cry about it some more.

GTBob

April 11th, 2011
11:52 am

Look, I am trying to stray away from the UGA/Tech childish trash talk that is rampant on these blogs…..

You aren’t trying very hard.

Listen up

April 11th, 2011
11:52 am

Outside Observer

April 11th, 2011
11:54 am

DA, I don’t really see how he trashed UGA in the article. He thought if he gave them a little more attention, if would probably have merited a scholarship offer. Sounds to me like he was praising Georgia, thinking it would be an honor to get an offer from a school like UGA. He was set on Tech, but a little extra praise never hurt anyone.
Also, I respectfully disagree with your assessment that he “settled” for GT. He had that offer from Kentucky, where he could have gone and played in the “all-powerful” SEC. But he chose the school he liked best. You can’t hate on a kid for that, especially since he, like you stated earlier, decided to stay in-state.

1eyedJack

April 11th, 2011
11:58 am

I believe UGA’s first two commits last year came from safeties, so he never really had a chance.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
11:58 am

HAHA!!!

I KNEW, KNEW, KNEW all the Techies would come out in force with my comments.

Again……

Techies need to read up on the definition of “Rivalry”

Let em help…… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_rivalry

It takes two, Techies. It takes two.

And you know what I think is “funny”??

9-1
61-39-5
And Tech still feels like they are superior on thew football field.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:00 pm

Let’s quit trying to argue logic with the 12 year old in the room.

DA will act like he’s trying to be so mature, get offended very easily, then revert back to childish name calling.

My 3 year old is more intelligent and more mature.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:01 pm

Only a Techie can proudly salute the classless “To Hell With Georgia” flag on that ugly car paraded around Bobby Dodd at every game (including or not including UGA), and turn around and think anything UGA fans say about Tech is “classless and disgusting”.

It makes Saturdays after Thanksgiving all the more enjoyable for myself, and UGA.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:02 pm

61-39-5, suckers!!!

I LOVE DOGS!!!

My mom was so proud when my extreme fandom finally made the papers!!!!!!

http://www.ajc.com/news/cops-south-georgia-man-684465.html

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:03 pm

Please point out where I was “name calling” RambleOn……

Truth is I am perfectly capable of arguing the above article, and talking trash about Tech the same way Tech endlessly obsesses over UGA…..

You just simply cannot handle it, therefore declare it “childish and immature”

JM

April 11th, 2011
12:03 pm

Darren sounds like a great young man. Thanks for posting the interview.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:03 pm

And only a dog fan can support the Jan Kemp Mutts

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:05 pm

GThe fact that “Jan Kemp” is still your only basis for crowning Techie football superior to UGA football, some 30 years later…….

shows and proves the desperation of Tech fans.

I LOVE IT!!!

hotdawg

April 11th, 2011
12:05 pm

Chip,
When I click the AJC sports web page button for “UGA,” I’m not searching for any information about Georgia Tech. The AJC is constantly “spinning” some story about how some two-star or three-star foofball prospect may have committed to Tech with some allusion to the notion that UGA was somehow spurned (when, in fact, as in the current report, UGA never showed enough interest to offer a scholarship). The fact is UGA has, and always will, dominate recruiting in the state of Georgia. The REAL NEWS of the past year or two is that Georgia Tech has fared more poorly than usual in landing UGA recruiting targets.

So, please, keep the Georgia Tech news off the UGA page. UGA fans who visit your web site are seldom interested in knowing about some out-of-state prospect or in some marginal in-state prospect.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:07 pm

No you are not capable of arguing at an adult level. You state he was “trashing” UGA, when he did nothing of the sort; you have no evidence to the contrary. He was asked why UGA did not offer, and he gave what he believed to be the explanation.

The “name calling” is all the “Techie” crap, followed by your standard go-to “argument” of the all-time record, cuz you have nothing else to say.

I don’t really care, but it gets old having to sift through your garbage all the time.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:07 pm

careful “hotdawg”,

The Techies are about to deem you “classless and childish”

You should know better than to express your disgust for your most hated rival.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:08 pm

Thirty years, isn’t that how long ago since you won your ONLY national title?

Oh, I forgot, it’s been THIRTY ONE years now, right?

What a powerhouse program you’ve got over there. You had to cheat to win your ONLY title.

Congrats.

GTBob

April 11th, 2011
12:10 pm

The REAL NEWS of the past year or two is that Georgia Tech has fared more poorly than usual in landing UGA recruiting targets.

No they haven’t. GT has always recruited poorly against UGA and most other SEC schools. This hasn’t changed recently and won’t change anytime soon in the near future.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:10 pm

Looking for another EXTREME dog fan to spend a lovely Saturday afternoon in Athens.

MUST LOVE DOGS AS MUCH AS ME. PLEASE HIT ME UP. You can find me behind the Athens Varsity listening to Dave Matthews Band on my boombox.

Love, Henry Gene Ivey

http://www.ajc.com/news/cops-south-georgia-man-684465.html

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:11 pm

What on earth is the difference in “Techie”and “Mutt”??

I think “Techie” is just a shot-hand nick name for “Georgia Tech supporter”.

And as far as the “overall record being your go-to argument”, is that anything like a Techie being called out by a UGA fan and the only “go-to” argument the Techie has is “Jan Kemp” or the most recent UGA-Florida score??

Truth is, Tech has NO/ZERO “go-to” argument involving anything related to UGA vs. Tech on the football field. And that proves we are doing something right in this RIVALRY, and Tech is NOT.

61-39-5 <—– "go-to" argument

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:13 pm

RambleOn84,

Ok, now I have a srious question for you. A moment ago you stated “Thirty years since your ONLY championship” or something like that……

My question is, why does Tech refuse to acknowledge UGA’s 1942 National Championship??

And How do you sleepo at night claiming 1990 as a Tech “National Championship”

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:15 pm

Two reasons:

A. 1942 was not recognized by an NCAA-recognized selector
B. The US was fighting a war in 1942, and we all know UGA does NOT count any games fought during wartime, right?

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:16 pm

Whoops, caught me.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:17 pm

And who is the “immature” one on here Ramble??

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:18 pm

Ramble,

I am glad you keep that dog-lover article in your quickstops.

Some men like porn involving women. We clearly see what gets you going.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:19 pm

Yeah, after having my own name stolen numerous times I came back with my own. No one’s perfect.

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:20 pm

Hey, if you found an article with me, you know you would keep it on file. I found one of you so of course I kept it.

south georgia jacket

April 11th, 2011
12:21 pm

Now we know what the”DA” stands for!

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:21 pm

And about Tech’s 1990 title? You can hate Tech all you want, but everyone knows Colorado is the only one who deserves an asterisk next to that one.

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:24 pm

I find this interesting……..

Other years in which the Bulldogs finished with a number-one ranking in at least one of the final national polls and included in the official NCAA Football Record Book:[11][31]

* 1927 – With a 9-1-0 record, the Bulldogs were called the “dream and wonder team” and were ranked No. 1 in the nation with one regular season game remaining, but were upset by Georgia Tech by a score of 12-0 at Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia.[32] Nevertheless, at the end of the season, Georgia was ranked number 1 in two polls recognized by the NCAA.[33] The Bulldogs were also listed as number 1 in two other polls of the 1927 season, but most recognize Illinois as the 1927 National Champion.[34]
See also: 1927 Georgia Bulldogs football team

* 1946 Georgia went 11-0 and beat North Carolina 20-10 and was proclaimed national champions by one poll recognized by the NCAA.

* 1968 Georgia was chosen by one national poll when they went 9-1-2 losing to Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Overtime was not allowed in the NCAA yet so Georgia tied with Tennessee and Houston.

SO, if UGA claimed National Championships the same way Tech does, we would actually have five (5) National Championships, to Tech’s “4″.

Chew on that one for a minute.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Bulldogs_football

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:25 pm

Y’all don’t hate!

Don’t knock it til ya try it!!!

My mom is so proud, I became her most successful son!

http://www.ajc.com/news/cops-south-georgia-man-684465.html

D A DoubleU G

April 11th, 2011
12:27 pm

oh, RambleOn,

Didn;t you say something earlier about me being “immature”, and you also said something about having a “3 year old daughter”???

I’m finding that extremely hard to believe.

61-39-5

RambleOn84

April 11th, 2011
12:27 pm

Tech only has 3 picked by NCAA-recognized selectors (1952 was not), but nice try. If Tech used the same criteria you just used, we’d have a few more, as there were a few years under Dodd where we would qualify under those.

So why don’t you chew on it insted, if you’re done with that dog’s backside.

FredGT

April 11th, 2011
12:29 pm

D A double U, you said “I am trying to stray away from the UGA/Tech childish trash talk that is rampant on these blogs.”

You apparently were not trying very hard, were you? You could not even get through that very post without it. Nothing like talking about the high road, then turning on the low road.