UGA is the frontrunner for OL Max Garcia, the former Norcross High School football star who was recently granted a release from Mayland.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder told the AJC that he will take official visits to Ole Miss on March 20, UGA on March 23, Florida on March 30 and Clemson at a later date.
“I’d probably say Georgia would be No. 1 because of location … probably Georgia and Florida,” Garcia told the AJC on Tuesday.
Garcia is an NFL prospect who started all 12 games at left tackle for Maryland last year as a sophomore. He both requested and was granted a release by Maryland in order to play closer to home. Garcia will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules and then have two years of eligibility.
UGA’s sales pitch is simple: They’re the SEC school closest to his home, they have an alarming lack of depth for offensive linemen and they have his college major (broadcast journalism, communications or public relations).
“Coach [Mark Richt], Coach Bobo and Coach Friend, I’ve pretty much been talking to all of them,” Garcia said. “Whenever I call, they just pass the phone around.
“They just say they are a good school if I want to go somewhere really close to home. They are 45 minutes away from home, and my family would get to see me play all the time. They have a need for offensive linemen, and they said they could put me in a great situation, as far as that goes. They have one of the top journalism schools in the country that I’m excited about looking at.
“I have a really good feel for Georgia. I like everything they are doing there, and I’ve got to just wait until the visit.
What about Florida? “As far as the tackle position, they could put me there. They don’t have a lot of experience out there. And you know, Gainesville is a just a great place to be. As far as an SEC education, they said they are one of the top two programs. It’s just a beautiful place … great fans, great game-day atmosphere. They seem to be doing great things under Coach [Will Muschamp] and it would be a good situation for me as well.’
It’s just like old times with Clemson, which was one of Garcia’s finalists out of high school, along with Maryland and Vanderbilt. Clemson recently became heavily involved after Maryland coach Randy Edsall changed his mind and lifted the restriction to transfer to another ACC member.
“Yeah, Clemson was actually in my top three the whole time when I was coming out of high school,” Garcia said. “It’s kind of funny that Coach [Dabo Swinney] and the rest of the staff is back on my board. They are like second opportunities. People don’t have many opportunities to go and play football at Clemson two times in their lives. So they want me to go up there for a visit and give them a shot. I know a lot of things about Clemson, as far as their tradition. I took an official visit there in high school, and I met a lot of players. I still know a lot of guys there. They also need some offensive linemen. It’s a great game-day atmosphere and it’s only about an hour and 45 minutes from home.”
Garcia on Ole Miss: “They have a great tradition and great game-day atmosphere as well. I talked to Coach [Hugh Freeze] and he seems like a great guy.”
Florida and Clemson are recruiting Garcia at offensive tackle, while UGA and Ole Miss will figure it out when he gets there. “Wherever a school has a need on the offensive line, I will play. I will play wherever,” he said.
Garcia will take official visits to all four schools and announce his decision within a month. “Probably sometime in late April or mid-April after I’m finished taking my visits. Really, I have all the way up until May or before summer school starts to decide. But I don’t want to wait that long. I want to make up my mind in mid-April so I can start getting my things together, as far as moving and getting the paperwork completed for the transfer.”
Garcia has been overwhelmed with the amount of interest he generated after announcing the Maryland transfer. There have been numerous other schools to express interest but he’s focusing only on four.
“My high school coaches were telling me about all these schools calling about me,” Garcia said. “It started with Georgia and Florida, and I was like ‘Oh yeah, I’m absolutely interested.’ Once those two schools got on board, everybody else just started coming along. Pretty much all the colleges say that I’ve already proven that I could play at the collegiate level. They love my athleticism but I definitely have a long ways to go with my technique. They all love my upside. They also like how next season I can be a red-shirt season to learn the offense and then I’ll have two years to play. It’s kind of like an ideal situation.”
SINCE YOU LAST LEFT YOUR DESKTOP …
IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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