Remember all that talk about a UGA “mystery football recruit” that never happened?
It’s probably going to happen now after a gut-wrenching turn of events for UGA over the last week.
On signing day, the Bulldogs went 2 for 9 on targets that held UGA scholarship papers – and could’ve signed with them. However, the devastating news arrived a couple of days later when three members of last year’s “Dream Team” recruiting class were dismissed for team violations (DB Nick Marshall, DB Chris Sanders, and WR Sanford Seay).
All of sudden, UGA has at least seven scholarships to fill – if it chooses – by this summer.
Expect UGA to sign one by then, maybe more. The top candidate would be a junior-college prospect somewhere in the middle of nowhere who was “overlooked” by scouts. Also fitting the profile would be a star player in prep school or currently in high school who is a borderline student and ends up qualifying late.
If UGA was willing to sign a kid to be a “kickoff specialist” nearly two months after 2009’s signing day [Brandon Bogotay], you can bet the house they will add at least one to the roster by the summer.
Flash forward to now: One of the candidates UGA is evaluating is track star Mario Alford of Georgia Military junior college. Mark Richt and his staff inquired within the last few days about Alford, according to 247Sports’ Rusty Mansell. Alford could play WR, DB, maybe RB and definitely some Wildcat QB — and he’s eligible to play next season.
Alford is a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder who was a stellar quarterback at Greenville High School as a senior for the 2010 season. He also had legendary status as a track star. Because the school didn’t have a track, Alford would train on grass. Because it was the spring and the practice field wasn’t maintained like it was during football season, the grass would sometimes be knee-high.
“If the grass was too high, then he would go run around on the asphalt in the parking lot,” former Greenville assistant Tripp Busby told the AJC with a chuckle.
As a junior, Alford won the state championship in the 100 meters with a time of 10.77 seconds. Last spring, in a showdown with Mitchell County’s Justin Scott-Wesley [now freshman football player at UGA], Alford was disqualified for a false start.
Many SEC and ACC colleges scouted Alford in football for his pure speed. They weren’t quite sure what position he would play, but he was fast enough to figure it out later on — until he didn’t get his schoolwork finished in time. Alford got an offer from Georgia Southern but didn’t sign there last February because he wasn’t qualified yet, according to Busby. However, Alford did end up qualifying very late — and enrolling at GMC. He was one of the team’s top players this past season (see video below).
“Mario can run with anybody in the SEC,” Busby said. “They’ve got some highlights of him on YouTube and man he looks good. He has got some serious wheels. If you put him in the slot and get him the ball … if he gets the sidelines, he is gone.”
“He’s a coachable young man and has a great work ethic. He’s a really, really good kid with a lot of character. And an unbelievable amount of speed.”
Again: UGA hasn’t offered Alford. They are just window shopping. If UGA does offer, they have a built-in advantage because two of his best friends are already with the Bulldogs – offensive lineman Kenarious Gates and basketball star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (both played at Greenville).
Because Alford has already qualified, he may be able to transfer to a major college this summer and have three years of eligibility.
IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES
INSTANT AJC RECRUITING CLASSICS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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