There may not be another recruiting topic that gets UGA and Georgia Tech fans fired up as “what commitment means” and related issues.
This year, Georgia Tech had two longtime commitments (both pledged since last summer) abruptly decide to take recruiting trips on the final weekend before signing day. Although neither ended up having their Georgia Tech scholarship offers withdrawn, the Yellow Jackets lost both with OL Will Adams signing with Auburn and DB Antonio Crawford going to Miami.
When things like that happen, it’s a complicated, baffling, heart-breaking, sometimes understanding, sometimes disappointing, and all-too-common in the modern era of recruiting.
We asked about a hot-button issue to both UGA’s Mark Richt and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson: If a recruit has been committed to your school for six months or longer but then decides to visit another school on the last weekend or two before signing day, do you still consider him committed to your school?
- UGA’s Mark Richt: “You know what? I would say (pause) … there are … I don’t have a hard and fast policy about that. I’m not going to say if a guy visits somewhere else, that all of a sudden I’m taking him off our list and pulling his scholarship offer from him. However, I would say that if any guy does something like that, he does take that risk. But I’m not going to sit here and say I have a [blanket] policy that says every time a guy does that, that’s what we’re going to do.”
While Richt sort of sidestepped the issue on whether or not he would still consider the player “committed” to UGA, his in-state coaching adversary gave a detailed and more direct answer.
Mark Richt (right) and Paul Johnson give their opinions on a hot-button recruiting topic (AJC photo)
- Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson: “Basically what you tell them is ‘If they’re looking, [we're] looking.’ What do you do? Do you just sit there and don’t recruit anybody else? Now if you don’t fill up, sure, yes, you take them. But if somebody else comes along and says they want to come, why are you going hold something for somebody visiting somewhere else a few days before signing day? Common sense would tell you that nobody does it that way. There’s no way you could do it that way because could never hit your target [of signees]. Whether other coaches say that or not, nobody is doing that. You can either recruit on top of them, if that’s what you want to do, and then if you get somebody, you can cut them loose. But the bottom line is this: If guys are visiting that late, then you need to be looking yourself. And if guys are visiting you, I don’t view them as being committed somewhere else. Now they still might go to school at the other place. But, in my mind, they are still shopping around. They’re not satisfied with what they got if they’re still looking. That’s just kind of the deal. It’s not like if you go visit, you’re going to get your scholarship pulled. It’s like if you go and somebody else takes it while you’re visiting somewhere else that late, then you may not have one. You can’t have a reservation and then keep shopping around. That doesn’t make sense, and 90-percent of college coaches feel exactly the same about it. I don’t care whether they say it [publicly] or not, but they are exactly the same on this. Because if somebody could tell me a different way to do it, then I would be all ears. So you’ve got 22 scholarships, you’ve got 22 kids committed, and five of them are visiting other schools … How many are you going to sign? What are you going to do? You just hope that none of them go anywhere else? How unlikely is that?”
RELATED: Avery Young’s high school coach says he was NOT part of a UGA “package deal” that went wrong. The 5-star OL prospect ended up signing with Auburn over UGA, and there was an interesting twist that his coach says is just a “coincidence.” (click on story link)
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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