Nick Saban to UGA recruit: “I’ll offer, if you commit … TODAY”

Nick Saban (AP photo)

Nick Saban to UGA recruit: "I'll offer, if you commit ... today" (AP photo)

Alabama’s Nick Saban tried to steal one of UGA’s top recruits.

DB Shaq Wiggins, who committed to UGA a couple of weeks ago, rode with a couple of his Sandy Creek High School teammates for an unofficial visit to Alabama last Thursday. Wiggins got called into Saban’s office.

“Coach Saban was describing my highlight film and talking about he hadn’t seen a cornerback with cover skills like mine in a long time,” Wiggins told the AJC on Sunday night.

“It was a great conversation, and right at the end he said ‘I’ll offer you a scholarship to Alabama if you commit … today.’ Then he paused, waiting for a response. He took me by surprise by saying all of that.”

“Then we started talking again, and I just kind of told him that I was honored but I’m staying with Georgia. And it was an honor. That was Nick Saban, and that will probably be a conversation that I will never forget.”

[Note: It was an ingenious recruiting approach by Saban. If Wiggins takes the deal, Saban wins one of Mark Richt's recruits in Hollywood fashion. If Wiggins declines (which he did), then technically Alabama never offered]

Saban isn’t the only coach trying to steal Wiggins away from UGA. After pledging to the Bulldogs, Wiggins was offered by Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Clemson — as if he never committed. However, that’s common with top prospects, to be recruited by competing schools until the paperwork is signed. This is not Big Ten territory.

“I don’t know what the deal is with all the offers after I committed to Georgia,” Wiggins said with a laugh. “When the colleges come up to my high school, they ask me ‘Are you with Georgia?’ My response is ‘I’m 100 percent with Georgia’ and then they’re like ‘We’re still going to put an offer on the table.’ I guess it’s a good thing, and I appreciate the offers, but I’m going to Georgia.”

DB Shaq Wiggins: Working as hard as UGA's coaches with recruiting for Bulldogs (AJC)

UGA DB Shaq Wiggins on Saban: "That will probably be a conversation that I will never forget.” (AJC)

Wiggins, with his outgoing and charismatic personality, may be UGA’s most important recruiter over the next year – sort of like Ray Drew was with the “Dream Team” class. He worked hard to speak on behalf of the Bulldogs to other UGA targets such as LB Reuben Foster, RB Alvin Kamara and WR Tramel Terry at Saturday’s Junior Day.

Foster, who is committed to Alabama but flirting with UGA coaches who are trying to steal him away, got excited when Bulldogs fans chanted his name at Saturday’s basketball game. “He really liked that,” Wiggins said. “I think Georgia’s coaches also did a good job with the recruits there with getting it into their heads that Georgia is a good place to be.”

Unfortunately for UGA, Mark Richt was not available to meet Foster or the other star-studded recruits in person because he reportedly out of town for family reasons.

Back to Wiggins: He plans to return to UGA for another Junior Day this Saturday. The Bulldogs and Georgia Tech are duking it out” for one of the state’s top offensive linemen.

[Click to read more about this past weekend's UGA's Junior Day]

RELATED: Georgia Tech offered two of the state’s top high school juniors on Saturday.

FROM OVER THE WEEKEND

IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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699 comments Add your comment

CreekDawg

February 27th, 2012
1:16 am

GATA, Shaq Wiggins!

@DanWeiner

February 27th, 2012
1:17 am

You didn’t publish the whole Saban quote:
“I’ll offer you a scholarship to Alabama if you commit today…but I’ll revoke that scholarship offer two weeks before signing day when a cornerback with better cover skills commits to Alabama.”

GT84

February 27th, 2012
1:22 am

@DanWeiner summed it up quite nicely!

trueUGAfan

February 27th, 2012
1:23 am

all i can say is “freaking Slick Saban”…SW stay honored and stay loyal…GO DAWGS

Dawg TD

February 27th, 2012
1:23 am

DANWIENER that’s funny.

Who would want to play for the Alabama GREYSHIRTS?

FlaDawg

February 27th, 2012
1:24 am

This is classic Mark Richt. We have the #2 prospect in the county in Athens for the weekend and Mark Richt is MIA. This would never happen at Alabama with Nick Saban. This is ridiculous and embarrassing.

slydog

February 27th, 2012
1:27 am

“Coach Saban was describing my highlight film and talking about he hadn’t seen a cornerback with cover skills like mine in a long time,” Wiggins told the AJC on Sunday night.”

Talk about a flat out lie. Where the hell are the parents with just a ’sprinkle” of common sense. Because if Mr. Wiggins didn’t believe that crap Saban just told him, then he would not have repeated it. To be honest, I do wonder what fable CMR tells recruits…lmao.

slydog

February 27th, 2012
1:29 am

So at this point, Shaq Wiggins is a better cover corner than Dre Kirkpatrick? or Patrick Peterson? or Maurice Claiborne? or even Janorice Jenkins? all who Saban has seen, coached, or coached against….lmao.

RTR 99

February 27th, 2012
1:30 am

@Slydog, I’m sure Saban meant “coming out of high school.” Watch Shaq’s tape. It’s linked above. But yes, all college coaches are basically used car salesmen. All of them!

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
1:34 am

slydog, I doubt the young man will be better than any of those guys you listed above but I think he will be a solid corner that will help UGA’s secondary for years to come. I’d liken him to a Branden Smith for UGA. Go Dawgs! Coach em up!

Ricky Bobbie

February 27th, 2012
1:43 am

Michael your obsession with CNS is getting the better of you. Dude you need to relax, the kid committed to UGA. It will be fine. We have CMR and we’ll again go to the Capital One Bowl and get our a$$ handed to us by a Big Ten team that BAMA beat by 40 points the year before. Maybe we need another “Blackout”?

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
1:43 am

It is refreshing to know that there are young men who honor their commitments such as Dillon Lee, Brandon Greene, and now Shaquille Wiggins. Now matter what team you root for commitment should be applauded especially at such a young age.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
1:47 am

Ricky Bobbie, With another embarrassing performance on the national stage such as the blackout vs. Alabama in 2008 or more recently the SECCG and the Outback Bowl Richt should be on his way out the door but Michael Adams (UGA president) has a strong affinity for Mark Richt (he fills up those seats on Saturday and UGA football produces about 80% of the universities revenue). Here is to hoping UGA can hire a better head coach in the near future and maximize the potential of all of these great players and stop with all the off the field stuff.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
1:57 am

Bama rules! Anyone who doesn’t agree will be “teabagged” and have at least one tree in their yard poisoned by one of our esteemed fans. We win at all costs and I mean ALL COSTS. We’re on NCAA probation as we speak and we’ll be facing NCAA sanctions again before you know it. That’s how we roll!

Ricky Bobbie

February 27th, 2012
2:00 am

But Bad Dawg, he’s a “good christian coach” who drives Ford trucks, doesn’t that win us a championship? Look here’s the deal….UGA will always get out coached, outplayed, out recruited, and out smarted by other SEC coaches like Saban, Miles, Spurrier etc. as long as CMR is in Athens. He’s got to go, and take BoBo with him. That third-down call in overtime, (field-goal) against Mich St. should have cost him his job on the spot.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:02 am

Bubba, why the Alabama hate? Is it because they are kicking UGA’s butt on the football field and recruiting the state of Georgia better than UGA? If any of the above is true you should email Greg McGarity and Michael Adams. Whining about Alabama is not going to change anything and it makes you look foolish. I’m not happy with the current state of the football program so I stopped buying tickets to home games and didn’t buy any UGA gear in addition to emailing McGarity and speaking with UGA alumni on several occasions about my displeasure with the football program. Man up dawg nation and admit UGA is getting blown past in football, recruiting, and coaching.

Ricky Bobbie

February 27th, 2012
2:05 am

Bubba just accept it and send your tax check to Tuscaloosa cause Saban owns Georgia.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:08 am

Bad, I’m as much of a diehard Bama fan as you seem to be a UGA fan. I’m not “hating”. I’m just being honest about my program’s history of NCAA sanctions. We are currently on probation as well. That’s fact. No need to email anyone about any of that. It’s all established fact that any college football fan would already be well aware of.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:09 am

Ricky Bobbie, That good christian tag has been abused and I don’t like it anymore although I think Richt is a fine man he is just a decent head football coach and that is what he is paid to do is win football games. His record show’s that he is winning but he is not winning the big games or competing in them for that matter. The scary part is that he wants to be in Athens for years to come. Even worse he is backed firmly by the school president. It pains me to say that Richt could be around until 2020’s but I will still support the UGA players just not the coaching on the offensive side of the ball. If Richt was such a good Christian he sure does a bad job at keeping his players out of trouble, he does not deserve all of the blame but since he is the head coach it falls squarely on his shoulders. All I want is for UGA football to be respectable again because right now UGA is the laughing stock of the SEC and will be until a legit head coach comes in.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:13 am

Bubba, Well in spite of all of those sanctions Alabama football remains the Mount Rushmore of college football and will be for a long time. While UGA on the other hand will continue to be considered the 6th or 7th best team in the SEC the way things are looking now. I mean the fans of the other SEC schools are practically begging for Richt to get signed to a contract extension. On the other hand people around the SEC are hoping that Saban jumps ship. It is sad really but it is what it is.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:19 am

Ricky, How do you figure Saban owns Georgia? The state of Georgia is one of the top 5 state in the country when it comes to producing football talent. Rules prohibit UGA from signing every talented prospect the state produces in a given year. UGA actually beat Saban head-to-head on the vast majority of Georgia recruits that they wanted (Jenkins, Taylor, DeLoach, Floyd, Harvey-Clemons, Atkins, etc.) in the 2012 class.

We have a commitment from Foster in the 2013 class, but it’s worth noting that Foster actually grew up in Alabama. Besides, there’s another 11+ months until he can sign and he seems very interested in UGA.

Ricky Bobbie

February 27th, 2012
2:25 am

Well said Bad Dawg. Nobody fears Richt or UGA. Saban and Smart were NOT losing sleep at the thought of playing UGA this year. I bet that Bobo is very happy Bama came off the schedule however. I was mocking the “good christian coach” saying. What UGA needs is an A-hole for a coach, like Saban, Bryant, or even a Spurrier. CMR is building a mindset where winning 9 or 10 games is fine, and this becomes the norm. All you UGA fans ask yourself this; Is this the coach who can win us a National Championship? Can he even win UGA another SEC championship?

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:28 am

I would rather be on the top looking down than being in the middle of pack fighting to get to the top. UGA has had its fair share of sanctions in the past but have remained fairly clean as of late. If you are not cheating then you are not trying lol. Being clean only gets you 2 national championships about once every 30-40 years the latter allows for multiple championships in short time spans. Nice guys finish last!

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:35 am

Ricky Bobbie, If you can get more of dawg nation thinking like that then the potential for UGA football is limitless. Richt sets the bar at simply winning the division, championship coaches set their eyes on the crystal trophy. The UGA fans will defend Richt though because he is such a good man and they would love for their children to play for a coach like him. I think most have lost their perspective on what football is about. There is nothing nice, pretty, or Christian about football (except Tim Tebow). It is an ugly sport and you have to have a totalitarian of a head coach to get anywhere. I can not think of any coach who is considered one of the best to be known as a nice guy in his profession; off of the field is a different story. If Richt was winning big games and was a genuinely nice guy I would be all for it but the constant embarrassing performances on national television are unbearable.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:39 am

Bad, the latter also allows for national ridicule and embarrassment when your program is perceived to be one of the dirtiest in the nation. Trust me, I’ve lived it for just over 48 years as a Bama fan. Winning is great, but history tells all us Bama fans that we should be very wary of what waits just around the corner! Too often it has been sanctions, probation and vacated wins which result in a major black eye for my school.

Rammer Jammer Cledus

February 27th, 2012
2:43 am

Bubba RTR:

Preach it, brother! Your comments are dead-on, especially @ 2:19, 2:22 and 2:39. I’m not quite as old as you are but I definitely know what you’re talking about and how you feel.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:45 am

Bubba, I would hope Alabama has no impending sanctions on the horizon. I know those fifteen years of bad coaches and losing to Auburn was unsufferable but everything occurs in cycles. I don’t see any reason for Alabama to have to cheat as the university sells itself (recruits from everywhere are lining up to get into Tuscaloosa which is a great sign for Alabama football). I think there are other schools that have more to worry about with the NCAA other than Alabama does.

Bad Dawg

February 27th, 2012
2:47 am

Well its time for me to checkout for the night. Nice talking to you guys. Go Dawgs!

Joe Willie

February 27th, 2012
2:50 am

Bubba where do you get “dirtiest in the nation”. UA is the most watched program in the country by the NCAA. UA also has the largest compliance staff of any university in the nation. I believe AD Moore when he talks about maintaining a “tranparent ” program. You want dirty, look at Miami or Ohio St. Guess everybody hates a winner.

Ricky Bobbie

February 27th, 2012
2:52 am

We are sliding towards irrelevancy.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:53 am

Bad, There are some things floating around out there that have me awful worried (Trent Richardson’s numerous cars, etc.). Like I said, there’s too much history of Bama with NCAA sanctions to not fear something else is around the corner. Just go back and look at the timeline. I hope I’m wrong, but I have an uneasy feeling like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’re right about everything occurring in cycles though. From about 2000-2008, Bama was in the dumps while teams like LSU, Auburn, UGA and UF were on top in the SEC.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:57 am

Joe Willie, Are you not aware of Bama’s long history of NCAA sanctions? If not, do some research on it. While you’re at it, go back and look at some opinion pieces from writers across the land the last time we were hit by the hammer of the NCAA. Like I’ve said, I hope we’re clean this time, but it’s hard not to fear what’s around the corner given our history stepping afoul of the NCAA.

Bubba RTR

February 27th, 2012
2:57 am

And with that, I’m going to call it a night. RTR!

gbal

February 27th, 2012
3:30 am

early signing

59bulldawg

February 27th, 2012
4:35 am

Thank you Shaq! It’s good to see a young man realize what a great thing we have in Athens. Can’t wait to see you don the red and black.

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
4:49 am

What’s up with all these UGA people on our Bama blog ?

RHall55

February 27th, 2012
4:54 am

I was talking to my son yesterday (UGA Grad) and who just got promoted to a new position in his new job!! Killer instinct!! He is on track to being the best manager of producers from being the best producer!! UGA Football is lacking that killer instinct in recruiting compared to Alabama, Florida, Clemson and South Carolina!! Too many major players from the state are leaving!! Wake up and smell the roses: when you can get only 19 LOI’s within a state that is so rich in talent, c’mon man wake up!! Release Rodney Garner; promote Mike Bobo to Recruiting Coordinator and demote him to QB Coach!! Hire an Offensive Coordinator w/ imagination to release all this talent (ie Orson Charles shining @ the combines, but CMB does not throw to him in the Bowl Game!!) C’mon man!! Coach Mark Richt will create his own demise if he does not make the proper personnel changes; quit drinking the Kool Aid: recruiting in the State of GA has been ravaged, lack of an ultra creative offense has created losses to all ranked teams, and the lack of being proactive on replacing non-productive Asst Coaches has created this situation!! How many NC’s could have Saban won if he were @ UGA with all the talent in this state!! Kool Aid Drinkers, nothing but a NC should be acceptable!! Period!! New contract should have if you do not win a NC within the contract extension, then you must resign w/o financial penalty!!!

valley boy32

February 27th, 2012
5:00 am

BAMA DONT RICHT HAVE WINNING RECORD ANGAINST SABAN YALL LOVE TO THROW UP STATS AND RECORDS OKAY!!

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
5:26 am

No VB … he doesn’t … now quit asking us to do your research work for you

7576DAWG

February 27th, 2012
5:28 am

RHall55
I totally agree with you .If Bobo had any respect from his peer’s he would be getting a lot of interview’s from other college’s to fill their opening’s. But he is a DGD and I want him to stay at Georgia as Quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator. Garner should be placed in an administrative job but someone with more energy and younger need to be recruiting coordinator.
I am putting my faith on McGarity to keep the pressure on Richt to improve or make the changes needed that are obvious to everybody who can be objective and not wishing thing’s were better but looking at the result’s and Georgia’s failure’s over the last few year’s to beat top 20 team’s speak’s volume’s that there is a major problem that need’s to be addressed.

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
5:57 am

@fake Bubba

Since we have an “expert” on the comment section regarding the “long history of Bama cheating ” … I have always wondered … how many times prior to 1995 had Bama been put on probation or found guilty of major violations ? It is always good to ask an “expert” with the obvious “expertise” of a fake Bubba . ;-)

tenn.DAWG

February 27th, 2012
6:07 am

Saban = Scumbag,to sit there and say he hasn’t seen skills like that and demand a commitment on the spot without a parent or guardian present is wrong.

K9 NONSENSE!!!

February 27th, 2012
6:10 am

WITH HIM OR WITHOUT HIM………….WE WILL STILL WIN!!!

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
6:16 am

@tenn.Dawg

So are you saying Coach Saban can’t properly evaluate the skills of defensive backs ? That his duties as a defensive guru really hasn’t allowed him to develop that ability yet ?

Or are you saying the young man actually sucks and Saban just lied to fill up a spot in a limited class with a scrub ? ;-)

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
6:20 am

BTW tenn.Dawg … no young man can sign the papers NEXT year without a guardian’s approval anyway which is why I didn’t even bother asking you about that part of your diatribe . It was sort of a silly point and I figured you would just rant without acknowledging that fact anyway :-)

navy92

February 27th, 2012
6:25 am

Obviously the kid was not a priority, otherwise Saban would have offered him and told him his offer stands.

navy92

February 27th, 2012
6:28 am

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the report on the conversations James Franklin and Dabo Swinney have with Wiggins when he visits those schools also. Somehow I don’t think they will be reported. This obsession with Nick Saban is unhealthy.

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
6:34 am

navy92

Saban is The Lord of the Rings … the Eye that sees all ;-)

Paddy

February 27th, 2012
6:41 am

navy92…….you may be right about an unhealthy obsession with Saban if we lived in Deleware or Maryland. There is nothing unhealthy in the deep South I have learned where football is concerned.

Jesus Christ

February 27th, 2012
6:49 am

Jesus says Sweet Home Alabama. Mr Saban is a better Christian than that hypocrite Richt.