Surprise! UGA DE target picks NC State over Bulldogs and Clemson

UGA LB target Kenderius Whitehead of M.L. King (pictured) is really liking Clemson because they will let him play DE (AJC)

Recruiting is always full of surprises. Onetime and longtime leader UGA finished third behind NC State and Clemson for DE Kenderius Whitehead (AJC)

One of UGA’s top remaining targets made the surprising decision to commit to NC State over the Bulldogs and Clemson on late Wednesday night.

Kenderius Whitehead, a defensive end from ML King High School, told the AJC that NC State “has been in my heart.”

“I was looking for the best school for me, as far as playing time and my education,” Whitehead said. “I want to do computer science and NC State is a great school for that degree.”

It was a shocker for Georgia, which had dispatched recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner to ML King earlier in the day on Wednesday for a face-to-face meeting with Whitehead.

“Rodney Garder met with Kenderius for a little bit, and Georgia definitely wanted him,” ML King coach Mike Carson said. “He was a priority for them and said there was no doubt about that. Kenderius was definitely in their plans and Coach Garner said that he hoped they would have the opportunity to continue recruiting him and to persuade him to be a Bulldog.”

UGA was Whitehead’s longtime leader after earning a scholarship offer at Dawg Night prospect camp last summer. However, UGA offered Whitehead at outside linebacker and he was more comfortable playing defensive end, where he was recruited by both NC State and Clemson. The Tigers finished as runner-up to NC State for Whitehead’s services.

“I think that factored into it,” Carson said. “He didn’t like the idea of playing outside linebacker and ‘in space.’ That was his concern with Georgia. In my opinion, he’s definitely a ‘hands-down guy’ [defensive end].”

What happened with UGA? “I grew up around Athens my whole life,” Whitehead said. “I thought about this decision a lot. I just want to see some different places and do different things.”

Did the commitment of Jordan Jenkins affect his consideration of UGA? “No, not at all. No sir. No way. There’s great competition at every school.”

Note: UGA was feeling confident about its chances for Whitehead. It will be very interesting to see who UGA now targets as the backup plan with Whitehead going elsewhere. Predictions? My guess is that UGA throws everything but the kitchen sink at Tucker defensive end Josh Dawson, who is committed to Vanderbilt but took an official visit to UGA last weekend. Dawson has an in-home visit with UGA’s Rodney Garner on Thursday night. Also, Garner made an in-home visit on Wednesday night with WR Blake Tibbs, the ML King WR who remains committed to UGA.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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328 comments Add your comment

Right On Time

January 18th, 2012
10:30 pm

Teddy Roosevelt

January 18th, 2012
10:31 pm

James

January 18th, 2012
10:31 pm

Scared of that UGA Depth Chart? :)

Best of luck at NC State.

Dawg Days!

January 18th, 2012
10:32 pm

bwkdawg

January 18th, 2012
10:35 pm

We lead for him all year up until the time we got a surprise commit from jordan jenkins one suprise brings on another surprise. Good Luck to him hope he does well.

SCarolina DAWG

January 18th, 2012
10:36 pm

It is what it is and wish him the BEST. We move on and continue the MARCH to Spring Practice

Red n black

January 18th, 2012
10:36 pm

He is scared of that dept chart!!!

Red n black

January 18th, 2012
10:37 pm

He is scared of that dept chart!! Don’t wanna compete

bwell

January 18th, 2012
10:37 pm

really! it felt it felt what.

Happy

January 18th, 2012
10:38 pm

Show some class, congratulate the young man and move on. Not everyone in the state wants to be a Dawg!

tenn.DAWG

January 18th, 2012
10:41 pm

Good luck big guy,have fun.

Isaac

January 18th, 2012
10:43 pm

Good luck in all you do. He’ll regret he didn’t choose UGA.

Just Saying

January 18th, 2012
10:43 pm

Yep, something doesn’t add up with this one. Strange choice. No offer from Auburn, Alabama, Florida, FSU, and he chooses NC State! I’m sure Clempson’s defensive performance against WVU and the fact Dabba Dabba Dabo can’t hire a DC may have hurt their chances. Good Luck to the young man. NC State seems to have things turned around, O’Brien has a good track record over the years.

Dawg Realist

January 18th, 2012
10:44 pm

Rodney Garner is an old poot and needs to retire. He sucks at recruiting metro Atlanta. He’s lazy and the kids don’t know have a clue who he is. Remember all those “job offers” he made up every year to get a raise? And Damon Evans fell for it. Maybe he’ll take another job this spring and we can get some “young blood” in there.

Paul in NH

January 18th, 2012
10:44 pm

Good luck to Whitehead – I hope he enjoys Raleigh.
Who knows – maybe he’ll be the next NCSU defensive player to be a #1 overall pick in the NFL.

duronimo

January 18th, 2012
10:45 pm

Alrighty then. Next.

hugedawgfan

January 18th, 2012
10:49 pm

Good luck Kendarius. Represent the state of Georgia well.

Reggie Ball

January 18th, 2012
10:51 pm

Welcome to the ACC. We RUN THIS CONFERENCE!

cnhoward11

January 18th, 2012
10:51 pm

All of you talking trash to this kid about “not wanting to compete” makes other Dawg fans look like ignorant rednecks. Congratulate the kid on making the best decision for him and his family…Best of luck Mr. Whitehead, but Goooo Dawgs!!

guess he got a wiff of the library

January 18th, 2012
10:52 pm

and the classrooms at uga. LMAO

Vance Duly

January 18th, 2012
10:52 pm

It was reported that Whitehead wanted to play DE and Georgia wanted him only as a linebacker, and that this led to Georgia not making the cut after being considered the “leader” for months…… But, at least we knew that Cam Newton would make a great tight end!!! (insert weak laugh here….)

@ just saying

January 18th, 2012
10:53 pm

this guy had plenty offers…….
Kenderius Whitehead
6′4”, 220 lbs. | Class of 2012
HometownLithonia, GASchoolMartin Luther King High SchoolPositionDefensive EndStatus Committed North Carolina State 01/18/2012
Scout Grade
79
30 POSITION
131 REGIONAL
28 STATE
Recruiting ActivityScouting ReportPlayer NewsStats
SCHOOL LIST
SCHOOL STATUS OFFER VISIT RECRUITER
North Carolina State Committed 11/18/2011
Arkansas
Georgia Tech
Georgia 12/09/2011
Notre Dame
Kentucky
Louisville
Ole Miss
East Carolina
North Carolina 09/16/2011
Wake Forest
Nebraska
Clemson 01/13/2012
Virginia Tech
Mississippi State
UCF
Miami (FL)
Southern Miss
South Carolina
Tennessee

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 18th, 2012
10:57 pm

He probably would have been red shirted at UGA. There were similar players in talent to him already on the team. I am just glad he didn’t pick a SEC team but maybe Ga Tech would have been a better choice if he could handle the class work. I wish him luck.

twest

January 18th, 2012
11:00 pm

Carvell my feline side kick Clyde Boogie, has a xmas present for you. Some cat nip someone gave him he does not want. So he wants to give it to you Hey Dude it’s the thought that counts.

Buzz2011

January 18th, 2012
11:01 pm

He picked a better school with much more discipline in NC State..

Choke

January 18th, 2012
11:01 pm

Best of luck to Whitehead. If OLB was out of the question, then NC St is definitely the better pick for him. In any event, UGA will be loaded at the position, especially if we get a commit from JHC. If you’re mocking him for doing what he felt was best for him, grow up. He’s done nothing but carry himself w/ class, and he made a very reasonable decision. Some of you should take notes.

Happy

January 18th, 2012
11:02 pm

Where’s The Beef?

coloradobulldog

January 18th, 2012
11:03 pm

Good luck to ya buddy. Make good on your free education and do you school / family proud.

GADawg92

January 18th, 2012
11:03 pm

Good luck to him. Would have loved to see him in Athens though.

BullDawg

January 18th, 2012
11:09 pm

It does sound a little shady, comitted for a while and right after another top notch player signs he backs off. We all know that NC state is not on the same level with GA. If he does not want to be here, we don’t want him!

KeepDreaming

January 18th, 2012
11:14 pm

NC STATE, Where all our useless fodder end up playing (see Michael Lemon)

Enjoy sucker!

Real Deal

January 18th, 2012
11:15 pm

Pretty sure he was UGA’s backup plan in case Jenkins went somewhere else. Jenkins commited to UGA and took Whiteheads spot. It’s all in the game. Still a good get for NC State. Whitehead is a great player.

John

January 18th, 2012
11:15 pm

Good Luck young man…. Represent Well

Concrete Pete

January 18th, 2012
11:15 pm

Come on guys, I’m the biggest dawg fan there is, but let’s let the kid live. He didn’t jilt us for Bammer, Awbuhn, Florida, etc. NC ST has nothing to offer for just football, so education obviously played into this. Plus, if he didnt want to play outside backer, he probably would never had played for us. He certainly wouldnt be able to add 80 lbs and play end in our 3-4. lets get Dawson and Harvey Clemons…

Dawgfanforever

January 18th, 2012
11:15 pm

Word has it that UGA is sending Coach Grantham and Coach Bobo to Valdosta Thursday. They are after Josh Harvey Clemons heavily. Appears that they may be sweetening the lowndes connection by bringing 6′3″ 293 left tackle Jared Davis to Athens with Clemons. He would play guard for Georgia. May break the ice in Lowndes with this one – two punch.

Rick James

January 18th, 2012
11:16 pm

@Buzz2011

Tech fans will sniff the jocks of any school that beats Georgia at anything.He will still play against you,just in the ACC..

Reggie Ball

January 18th, 2012
11:18 pm

Georgia is Georgia dawg, they ain’t nothing but a speed bump!

We RUN THIS CONFERENCE!

GTBob

January 18th, 2012
11:24 pm

Scared of the depth chart? Come on. Maybe he just liked NC State better then UGA. I know it sounds crazy but just imagine for once that UGA is not appealing to everyone.

Nashville4UGA

January 18th, 2012
11:28 pm

Even playing outside linebacker there are many plays where he would end up on the line, typical DE’s in the 3-4 need to be bigger than this kid, unlike the 4-3 where they are typically smaller, but I played that kind of hybrid role in high school and college and it’s FUN. You get to rush the passer some, play some pass defense, you don’t always have to take on a monster OT. Oh, well, best of luck to the kid. If his heart is at NC State then he made the right choice and you can’t blame the kid.

RedandBlackDawg

January 18th, 2012
11:30 pm

Good luck young man. Now you can be at a different place and do different things. Get that degree,

Paul in NH

January 18th, 2012
11:32 pm

Do UGA fans know anything about any teams outside the SEC? When was the last time that a UGA defensive player was drafted #1 overall in the NFL? For NCSU,it was 6 years ago.

Rick James

January 18th, 2012
11:37 pm

Jamie Newburg says that as it stands Georgia’s recruiting class is top five maybe even number three.UGA will be fine..I know Tech fans Georgia always has top ten recruiting class they never blah blah blah..But they do beat Tech so save it.

The Grinch

January 18th, 2012
11:45 pm

Regardless of the reason – whether it’s the depth chart, education, or whatever – the kid chose where HE wanted to go. He owes NO ONE an explanation. Nuff said and best of luck to him.

The Grinch

January 18th, 2012
11:46 pm

Paul in NH
January 18th, 2012
11:32 pm

Interesting….but when’s the last time a player in New Hampshire was drafted #1. :cool:

The Grinch

January 18th, 2012
11:49 pm

GTBob
January 18th, 2012
11:24 pm

True. No school appeals to everyone.

I hate it when people mock and criticize the decision of a 17 or 18 year old. I guess those people would do the same if the kid chose a car to buy. “You bought a KIA…..what a loser!!”

GTBob

January 18th, 2012
11:50 pm

Jamie Newburg says that as it stands Georgia’s recruiting class is top five maybe even number three.

Who the heck is Jaime Newburg? Neither Rivals or Scout have UGA in the top 15.

Dr. Dave

January 18th, 2012
11:53 pm

The kid plays really well in space and would be an ideal OLB. He proved this in the recent all-star game. He would have been a standout in Todd Grantham’s system. Now he gets to play for a very average team in the ACC. I wish him well.

MY Dawg

January 18th, 2012
11:55 pm

Good luck at NC kid, and do Georgia proud………

The Grinch

January 18th, 2012
11:56 pm

GTBob
January 18th, 2012
11:50 pm

The issue here is number of commmitments. UGA has 17. All of the “Top 10″ on scout have more “commits” than UGA with the exception of Notre Dame, who also has 17. Once we fill out the class our ranking will rise (for what that’s worth).

Jamie Newberg? Talking head. http://www.csssports.com/pages/jamienewberg

Kevin

January 18th, 2012
11:56 pm

@GTBob: I believe nor was the word you were looking for. So much for that fine Tech education…