If you’re a Georgia fan how much better do you feel about this year’s recruiting class today? As opposed to yesterday, before Jordan Jenkins, who many consider the state’s No. 1 prospect, made his stunning announcement?
Yeah, just about everybody in the Bulldog Nation is feeling a little more confident on Tuesday about UGA’s chances of finishing strong by February’s signing day.
After a disappointing start to this year’s recruiting efforts, UGA is starting to turn things around. The Bulldogs are the only school in the country to finish in the top 10 of the team rankings since 2002, according to Rivals.com. After Jenkins picked up the helmet with the “G” on Monday, Georgia moved two spots up to No. 19 for this year.
What’s next for UGA? They have 16 commitments for 2012, and project to sign between 24-27 in February. To finish with a record-breaking top 10 class, the Bulldogs will need to make a strong run on the top remaining free agents, elite prospects such as RB Todd Gurley, OL Avery Young, LB Josh Harvey-Clemons, RB Mike Davis and junior college WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
UGA is also going to have to steal away some elite prospects committed to other schools.
Two of UGA’s top targets committed to other schools, OL Brandon Greene and LB Markuss Eligwe, told the AJC that they are no longer considering the Bulldogs after strong flirtations.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Greene is from Cedar Grove High School is a longtime Alabama commit who made a surprise official visit to UGA last month. He told reporters at last week’s Under Armour all-star that he was sticking with Alabama, and confirmed it again to the AJC.
“Yeah, I’m a 100-percent Bama, man,” Greene said. “I’ve just been thinking about it for a long time and that’s where I really want to go.”
Why did Greene visit UGA? “It was really just to take a visit. Everybody kept telling me I need to visit another school to have something to compare to Alabama, so I did it.”
What was Georgia’s sales pitch? “Honestly, I really wasn’t even listening. I just went there to go on a visit. I’m 100-percent Alabama.”
What if UGA had offered earlier? Or at least before Alabama? Would that have made a difference? “Everybody keeps asking me that. I don’t even know. I can’t answer that.”
There were also rumors that Alabama’s Nick Saban wasn’t too happy about Greene visiting UGA and let the big guy know how he felt about it. Was that true? “I couldn’t answer that question. Yes, they talk to me after it got out on the Internet that I was at Georgia. Right now, I’m just trying to let all of that UGA stuff die down. I’ve talked to Alabama and we’ve gotten through all of that. I’ve still got Georgia and other schools calling but I’m not picking up the phone. I’m trying to let it ride out until Feb. 1 until it’s time to sign with Alabama.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Eligwe is an AJC Super 11 selection at linebacker from Stone Mountain High School. He committed to Florida State on his birthday last spring but took an official visit to UGA last month. Eligwe said the courtship with UGA is over.
“Yeah, I’m pretty much done with UGA,” Eligwe said. “I mean, it’s a great coaching staff and it feels like home. But it’s just not the place for me. I just feel like I can get a better education in Criminal Justice at Florida State, and I want to get away from home.”
Eligwe ignited panic attacks among FSU fans last week when he tweeted that he “was no longer committed” to the Seminoles. As it turned out, it was a prank by his all-star teammate, Stephenson LB Raphael Kirby, who sent out the tweet on Eligwe’s cell when he wasn’t looking.
“Kirby got me and that was funny,” Eligwe said. “But I had to call the FSU coaches and let them know so they wouldn’t have to worry.”
While Eligwe said he’s eliminated UGA, he still plans to take one more recruiting trip: He will go to Cal on Jan. 20.
“This is one of the biggest decisions of my life, and when signing day comes around, I want to make sure that I’ve checked out all of my options,” Eligwe said. “I’m most definitely committed to Florida State. I let the coaches and everybody know where I’m going and taking other visits. They know they have nothing to worry about.”
Eliwge will take his FSU visit this weekend.
Now it’s YOUR turn: What prospects committed to other schools do you think UGA will go after next? Please post below.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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