The postgame confrontation between Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham appears to be a positive for Vanderbilt’s recruiting efforts.
The Atlanta area is prime recruiting territory for Vanderbilt, which has six of its 17 commitments from the state of Georgia. All six of them crossed over the state line for last Saturday’s game, and were on the Vanderbilt sidelines to witness the confrontation.
“You know, Georgia won the game fair and square but they didn’t really show that much class about it,” Stephenson linebacker Darreon Herring told the AJC. “To be honest, I think Mark Richt should’ve handled the situation a little better than he did. The whole game, the Georgia DBs were talking trash, pointing fingers and taunting the Vanderbilt sidelines. I just feel like Georgia didn’t have that much discipline.”
“Yes, Vanderbilt was right to step up after all of that. They disrespected our head coach with all the taunting toward the sidelines and dancing on the Vanderbilt star in the middle of the field. Georgia should’ve just shook hands after the game and left it like that.”
Tucker linebacker Jacob Sealand said, “I respected the way Vanderbilt played, even with Georgia having several personal fouls. Vandy didn’t react to any of them. They didn’t get any personal fouls. Coach Franklin said he is going to coach with class and if we’re going to win, we’re going to win with class. I think that’s something that everybody can respect.”
Sealand said he felt like running on the field in support of his future college coach. “Honestly, it got my heart pumping, and I know with a lot of the recruits around me, it got their hearts pumping, too. It gave me a lot of pride about Vanderbilt and made me realize how much I love that school already without being up there yet. Coach Franklin has won his players over, and has already won me over, too.”
East Paulding defensive lineman LaDarius Banks, “Honestly, I liked the confrontation. I’m all for getting after it. At a certain point, though, it’s college football and you’re supposed to conduct yourselves accordingly. As of right now, there are a lot of players on Vanderbilt’s team from Georgia, and what happened on Saturday is going to stir up a good rivalry over the next few years.”
Banks met with Franklin after the game. “I can’t really explain how Coach Frankin was … OK, he was [angry]. All the other coaches were trying to calm him down. Everybody was fired up about what happened.”
UGA is still actively recruiting Tucker defensive end Josh Dawson, who committed to Vanderbilt last summer. Dawson, who was at the game, said, “There were a lot of emotions from the game and when they got the two teams together afterwards, it got out of hand for a second but that was about it … I think it showed people that Coach Franklin and Vanderbilt are not going to back down from anybody.”
Shiloh defensive end Stephen Weatherly and Buford defensive back Paris Head, who are both committed to Vanderbilt, were also there on Saturday, along with two of Georgia’s top uncommitted prospects – Stephenson linebacker Raphael Kirby and Liberty County tailback Shadrach Thornton. Both Kirby and Thornton were on official visits to Vanderbilt. The six other Georgia prospects committed to Vanderbilt (Herring, Dawson, Sealand, Weatherly, Head, and Banks) were on unofficial visits.
THE DAY’S RECRUITING NEWS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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