Recruiting Rewind: DE serenaded by Mark Richt, beats Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in pool

ML King WR Blake Tibbs (left) signed with UGA, while teammate Kenderius Whitehead ended up at NC State (AJC)

ML King WR Blake Tibbs (left) signed with UGA, while teammate Kenderius Whitehead surprisingly ended up at NC State (AJC)

NC State pulled off one of the state’s biggest recruiting upsets this year by beating out UGA and Clemson for DE Kenderius Whitehead.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder from ML King High School had UGA as his early frontrunner but backed off on the Bulldogs because they wanted him as outside linebacker and he preferred remaining at defensive end in college. Whitehead talked about recruiting with the AJC:

What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention? “It was when Mark Richt sang me Happy Birthday, because I went down there on my official visit to Georgia on my 19th birthday [on Dec. 9]. They had something for recruits over at Coach Richt’s house. He, his staff and everybody sang me Happy Birthday. They had me cake and everything. I was surprised and shocked.” .

You took official visits to UGA, Clemson, NC State and North Carolina. What was the funniest thing that happened on a recruiting trip? “I remember I played [Clemson coach] Dabo Swinney in a game of pool. I beat him in pool, and that was pretty funny. I got lucky on that one. He scratched on the eight ball. He took it pretty well, with good sportsmanship and all.”

A recruit "got lucky" against Clemson's Dabo Swinney in pool (AP)

A recruit "got lucky" against Clemson's Dabo Swinney in pool (AP)

You were a longtime “lean” to UGA. What happened there? “Really I grew up in Georgia and in Athens, Ga. I don’t want to backtrack and go back home because I’m a momma’s boy. I want to go out there in the world and see something new … you know, venture off and get away from home for a little bit. Not too far away from home but far enough away from home. I didn’t want to go back home to Athens. There could’ve been a lot of distractions, being in my hometown with my family and everything. I decided to go somewhere else, play somewhere else and see something new … I got to go become a man on my own.”

How did UGA take the news when you informed them you weren’t coming there? “They were pretty upset. But, I mean … hey, it’s life. You can’t have it all.”

What is the funniest thing any coach said to you during the recruiting process? “The funniest thing that said is that they can get me to the league, to the NFL. That was pretty funny. It was a number of coaches that said that. It was funny because nobody can get me to the NFL but me and God.”

Which college coach liked your mother’s cook the best during an in-home visit? “The coaches never really came to my house. They went to see my mom at her job at the funeral home. They had a conference meeting at her job.”

Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting? “No school really disappointed me but I think I disappointed some schools because I was coming there.”

Mark Richt both surprised and impressed a recruit by signing "Happy Birthday" (AJC)

Mark Richt both surprised and impressed a recruit by signing "Happy Birthday" (AJC)

What school came in second for you? “Clemson. I really liked Clemson but I really went with my heart with N.C. State. I felt like it was a great fit for me and a great opportunity for me to play. Also, the school was great, too.” What could Clemson have done a little better? “Nothing really, to be honest. I prayed about the situation, and I asked God to show me what was best for me. And He did.”

What was the biggest recruiting rumor about you that wasn’t true? “They were saying I was going to flip on signing day to Clemson. That wasn’t true at all. I was 100 percent with my decision.”

Which non-NC State coach was the nicest? “Coach Swinney. He was a nice dude but my heart was at NC State.” Which one was not the nicest? “All the coaches were nice. They are going to say and do anything to get you there. Of course, they are going to be nice to you. It’s all a game.”



– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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70 comments Add your comment

Bama man

May 10th, 2012
1:54 am

Is it just me that thinks it awkward that CMR sings to recruits? Saban would never do %@#& like that.


May 10th, 2012
1:55 am

Hey, Clemson!!! West Virginia just scored again!!!


May 10th, 2012
2:25 am

You’re right, Bama man. Saban would rather stick to normal non-awkward stuff like sending 100 letters in a single day to a 17-year old or having what are surely non-awkward conversations with committed kids and their parents/guardians about how there really isn’t a scholarship for them after said kids get injured during their senior year. Why sing when you can just flat out lie and deceive. Much less awkward that way.

Red Dawn

May 10th, 2012
4:44 am

The biggest differences between Saban and Richt are Saban would
put a boot in a players behind if he was a trouble maker and Richt
would follow behind a troubled player with a row of TP!!! RTR


May 10th, 2012
5:35 am

So he thinks moving away will make him more of a mature man. If he loved Georgia as much as he is indicating when he was growing up then the mature , grown up thing Whitehead could have done was to have gone to Georgia. Also he will not play Defensive end at 210 pounds, so if he would have put on 30 to 60 pound he could have played Defensive end at Georgia. If Whitehead thinks he will be playing Defensive End in the Pro’s at 210 pound then he is crazy. He should have gone to Georgia where he could have been coached at the position that he would have had the best opportunity to play Pro ball.
If Whitehead is that good he could be in the Pro’s as early as three years and he probably will play Pro ball 2000 to 4000 mile from home. A mature family caring person would have gone to school as close to home as possible because three years is not very far away and then he won’t have a chose.
Whiteheads two main arguments for not going to Georgia, the team he grew up liking, sounds like someone very immature and not very smart.

FL Jacket

May 10th, 2012
6:31 am

My birthday’s coming up…let’s head on over to the Richt house and get free cake!

Year of the DAWG

May 10th, 2012
6:36 am

Wish him well in school. He can,t even speak english right now.


May 10th, 2012
7:01 am

Bama man is right. Saban has his own unique recruiting style. He dresses up as an oompa lumpa and chases the recruit’s mom around the room.


May 10th, 2012
7:20 am

Why can’t we get a blog about something important? What is UGAs most pressing need? Why hasn’t some journalist approached CWF with some hard questions? Any OLs leaning to the Dogs our if not, why??? Kenderious Whitehead, really???

FL Jacket

May 10th, 2012
7:52 am

““The funniest thing that said is that they can get me to the league, to the NFL. That was pretty funny. It was a number of coaches that said that. It was funny because nobody can get me to the NFL but me and God.”


This might have been the most mature thing I’ve ever seen any recruit say…yet you then harp on this kid by saying…

“If Whitehead thinks he will be playing Defensive End in the Pro’s at 210 pound then he is crazy. He should have gone to Georgia where he could have been coached at the position that he would have had the best opportunity to play Pro ball.”

Why don’t you read the thing before skewering a kid for not choosing UGA…


May 10th, 2012
7:55 am

Bama man… it’s not awkward… it’s flat out creepy! But it’s funny as hell too. This is one of the lamest things I’ve ever heard of a coach doing.


May 10th, 2012
8:07 am

Bama Man and Blackout, why do you even care? Get a life for crying out loud, your team just won the National Championship.


May 10th, 2012
8:16 am

7576… Bitter much?
This kid showed alot of maturity and common sense to not buy into the whole “we can get you into the league” speech. He also showed maturity in the fact that he wants to get away from home and tey to make it on his own. Will he succeed? Time will tell, but I like this kid even if he did choose NC St…


May 10th, 2012
8:17 am

Crimson Crush

May 10th, 2012
8:18 am


Working on another two or three … can you guys spare a QB … or two ? 8-)


May 10th, 2012
8:20 am

“Is it just me that thinks it awkward that CMR sings to recruits? Saban would never do %@#& like that.”

No what’s awkward is Bama fans coming on this blog to talk on an article that does not even mention Alabama or Saban and still have to comment. If I see an article that does not mention UGA, Richt, etc. at the top, then I see no reason to read it. Bama fans do and comment. Very strange indeed.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

May 10th, 2012
8:22 am

Conway says…”Happy Birthday Darling”……Richt=Weak..

@Northgabdog…2011 is over at Bama and so is that NC. As Saban says winning isn’t enough.


May 10th, 2012
8:25 am

Funny how Carvell is so quick to harp on why he didn’t want to go to UGA. Nowhere in this article did he ask him what he liked most about NC St. And then to find out that UGA wasn’t even his 2nd choice must have really stung… hhaha


May 10th, 2012
8:28 am

Funny how he asks questions about why he didn’t go to UGA but never asked what he liked about NC St. Agenda maybe?


May 10th, 2012
8:32 am

some of these kids just want to leave the state. there is nothing wrong with that.. what bothers me is the headline that reads “UGA loses another one” when the kid had plans to leave all along. there is a lot to experience outside of GA. some of these posters are delusional.


May 10th, 2012
8:56 am

I think your comment speaks to a level of insecurity from some posters, even while their team is doing well, they feel a need to run down other schools. Talk is cheap, show up in Atlanta and let’s settle it on the field.


May 10th, 2012
9:11 am

The reason all the Bama fans post on here is because they have “UGA Obsession Disorder”. I was always told to never shoot downhill, so this could be the only explanation.


May 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Headline made me laugh,” beats Dabo Swinney in pool”….for some reason my first thought was of some kid beating the crap out of Dabo in a swimming pool.

FL Jacket

May 10th, 2012
9:15 am

“•It’s rare when NC State beats out heavyweights such as #UGA & Clemson for top Georgia DE”

Slow down MC…

Kenderius Whitehead is no Jordan Jenkins…he’s a 3-star tweener OLB-DE who everyone (including GT) was recruiting him for OLB or a standup 4-3 pass-rusher. He wanted to develop into a DE coming out of a 3-point stance and NC State was one of the few schools who accepted him and will give him the chance. However, it’s quite obvious he needs to bulk up by AT LEAST 40-50 lbs to get there…which will probably zap a RS year at least so he won’t be on the field until 2014 at the earliest.

Jordan Jenkins is pretty much ready for that DE role now…I doubt UGA is losing sleep over it.

Taco Meat

May 10th, 2012
9:24 am

I don’t blame the kid. Unless you have ties to UGA then growing up in Athens can be rough. Especially for a young black male. So many negative influences and the poverty rate in Athens is through the roof. I commend him for leaving old friends and old influences behind to seek a better life for himself. He sounds like a smart young man and I wish him well.

Thomas Brown

May 10th, 2012
9:29 am

I’ve had my conversations with him on that topic, sir. Directly to the points he has made.

You just want to believe that being a fan of a program is to be an unfan of every other program, to the point of blind faith and made-up stories on the points you make which are weak and open you up to our weaker points on every point you ever make.

I thought his explanation of the loss in Nick Saban’s 1st year compared to Mark Richt’s loss at home to a far worse team than that in his 6th year, was what he felt about it and not as precise as it might have been. I thought my point was far more salient to your point, whom I directed myself to, not him.

Being a fan of UGA does not mean that you team-up as you put it with other fans who have made the statement that somehow there is something positive about our program right now besides playing 11 of 12 regular season games against teams who did not make any top 25 list, us without a secondary, and us losing our entire defense, while we suffer this self-imposed probation right now of 76 of the 109 scholarships Mark Richt signed here, all that remain toward to his 85-man limit.

Perhaps you feel that I should side with a clear minority compared to the 300 list of unique IP addresses provided to you by me to AJ-C blog who say as I, nah who say as WE that – well, sir, it’s not that great losing 9 games in a row starting Kentucky 2007 who are SEC teams who made a winning SEC record while you brag about the SEC teams we play with us the # 6 SEC team 2012 in won/lost record the current 4-year period ?

You know full-well that isn’t happening.

You’re just wrong.

What you should be doing is joining the 300 of us who WE demand the coaches and players GATA.

That will get us out of this funk.


Instead, you want to present a front, a phony set-up of you on the Internet that isn’t who you are. Because I speak the language (among others) and you have said the SAME AS ALL 300 OF US,


You have each of you have your post plastered up here.

You for example, are about as adamant about Aaron Murray as anyone ever anywhere.

Likewise on Mike Bobo.

Isaiah Crowell.

You want some more of your statements in the context in which you presented them after this

HEAVEN KNOWS WE’VE HAD MANY MISERABLE HORRIBLE LOSSES you admitted yesterday. While trying to ignore we haven’t beat the top teams.

Thomas Brown

May 10th, 2012
9:41 am

What you said is that I make valid points.

Thomas Brown

May 10th, 2012
9:53 am

He did not, sir.

“IF he did do” is the subjunctive case. The subjunctive case is contrary to fact. He clearly said IF he did do, not he does or he wants. You’re just lost in the desire you have to say what you think a fan is or isn’t. You and a very small vocal minority who want everyone banned who does not subscribe to your own minority viewpoint that you must pretend that you didn’t say you hate all these losses and your ignoring of our inability to beat top teams for years, while we continue with the bad press off-the-field of only 76 scholarship players remaining of the 109 we signed toward our 85-man limit.

The rest of us Bulldogs’ fans, 300 of us, far in excess of the minority viewpoint you hold here on AJ-C blog want us to win and say nothing none of you minority haven’t also said.

When we lose the games, you run in here and say it.

2 days later, you are back to your front that it’s just me.

Never mind the 300 others.

Acting like you never said it.

Yeah, you did.

Everyone of the minority has. Name me one of the minority you think has maintained this phony front you’ll try to put up that you only say positive statements.

For weeks I have asked for positive statements.

Haven’t gotten so much as one.

Your attempts to make his subjctive case of me a drug user, are as failed as your attempts to say at feigning that I am not what I am. Or that you know some ulterior motive, you cannot even come right out and state. And, just as lame as your attempts to paint a 6-6 team in 2007 who beat a 8-5 team, beat a 8-4 team, beat a 5-6 team, beat a 7-6 team as a WORSE team somehow in your mind that candy backside in 2006 Vandie whose only wins were over 1-11 Temple only and 0-12 Duke.

George Stein

May 10th, 2012
9:56 am

“The funniest thing that said is that they can get me to the league, to the NFL. That was pretty funny. It was a number of coaches that said that.

Any coach that says this to a player is not to be trusted. It’s nice to see a player get that.

Seminole Pride

May 10th, 2012
10:00 am

Hey kid if you don’t think your coach can help get you to the NFL with development – then you are delusional. Absolutely you and God are two major players in getting you to the NFL, but your coach has a huge say in getting you there also.

UGA Insider

May 10th, 2012
10:19 am

Bad move by this kid….. The UGA defense will be in total rebuilding mode in 2013. He should have looked at the depth chart.

nh gamecock

May 10th, 2012
10:24 am

congrats to this kid… hope you do well.


May 10th, 2012
10:32 am

Mark Reich gets the recruits Bama does not want, Bama owns the state of Georgia so get outta of the way you delusional dawg fans. RTR!

Alan Carson 7

May 10th, 2012
10:35 am

salute to my boy whitehead love you bruh


May 10th, 2012
10:42 am

Hey kid if you don’t think your coach can help get you to the NFL with development – then you are delusional.

Of course coaching helps, but even bad coaches aren’t bad enough to keep a talented kid from finding his way to the NFL.

bitter "spoiled recruit"

May 10th, 2012
10:45 am

no room for him at UGA———————-and the mat drills scared him off——–no worries

—————–best defence in 2012 collage football——————–go dawgs

bitter "spoiled recruit"

May 10th, 2012
10:47 am

@T/B———————————————-what???—–you su_x


May 10th, 2012
10:50 am

Good luck to the young man but I don’t think UGA was all that upset about him going else where. UGA is loaded at his position – that is a major reason for him to go out of state.

Delbert D.

May 10th, 2012
11:00 am

Whitehead: “I want to go out there in the world and see something new … you know, venture off and get away from home for a little bit.”

Could it be that someone is actually following my advice?

Thomas Brown

May 10th, 2012
11:02 am

Both kids look like great kids.

Kenderius Whitehead got scholarship offers from every top-school in the nation except from Florida and Auburn.

10 on the Defensive Line for us including the 2 commitments. Only 2 are seniors this 2012 season coming up for him to have competed with on a loaded DL for us 2012. 2013, different story. Our DE are 300 lbs; he’s 210. Abry Jones is 306 lbs. and Garrison Smith a junior 2012 might jump with a great showing is 294 lbs. I really like both of them. Be honest, our depth chart he had to study to see you’re right and he’s wrong to try the ACC ?

It will be interesting to see if he can play end in the ACC, perhaps he beefs up. I think he’s listed at like 210 lbs. If NC State leaves him at DE which he says clearly he wants to play, that’ll be fascinating to watch too. That many offers, better tell him what he wants to hear, not linebacker.

That’s why we lost him. We told him the truth. Too bad, he’s a great-looking kid and the one we did get, too. Blake Tibbs is a good-get with his hands. I like kids like both of these great guys. Fun to watch their career.

We got the guy with the great hands. Chris Conley type hands. That’s what I look for in a WR. It should do well for Blake Tibbs moving up the wide-open WR depth chart. Wide open because we stripped it of our 60-yards per game leading team average Malcolm Mitchell. I hate that.

Gorilla Biscuit

May 10th, 2012
11:31 am

This article is beating a dead gorilla, but at least it’s not another what did Robert Nkemdiche have for breakfast article.

Dekalb Fan

May 10th, 2012
11:43 am

The best receiver on the UGA team is enrolling in June. Barring any preseason injuries Blake Tibbs will be the most skilled WR on the field. He does things that you cannot teach.

Thomas Brown

May 10th, 2012
12:41 pm

Soft hands cannot be taught.

Big Wally Butts

May 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

Does anyone even read what Thomas Brown posts anymore?


May 10th, 2012
1:06 pm

CMR is a JOKE! I hope he stays at UGA for twenty years. CMR always in the money, but NEVER a CHAMPION!


May 10th, 2012
1:07 pm

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why an Alabama fan has any interest in a Georgia blog. That said, can any of them read? Mark Richt did not sing a damn solo to Whitehead. He had a cake and “He, his staff and everybody sang me Happy Birthday” according to the article. What’s creepy about that? He was hosting a top recruit and it just so happened to be his birthday. Bama… I will be so happy when the inevitable downturn occurs within their program and they turn on each other.

pooh p

May 10th, 2012
1:47 pm

Apparently that Thomas Brown dude is not familiar with the term “brevity is the soul of wit”.

bitter "spoiled recruit"

May 10th, 2012
1:55 pm

@coach—–(saban im sure) dawg fans are proud of CMR growth as a head football coach—–so go F_____ your____


May 10th, 2012
7:18 pm

Knew he would start out red shirting – didn’t want to wait on something that he may never get – a starting job.


May 10th, 2012
7:21 pm

UGA fans don’t care if Whitehead went out of state. He is gone. Next.


May 10th, 2012
8:46 pm

Who did MLK lose to in the play offs last year? That team was loaded!!!!

Crimson Saban

May 10th, 2012
9:08 pm

To all you DAWG fans who wonder why Bama fans are on this blog.

Reason is bc you all talk smack about the Tide. You Dawg fans stated after LSU destroyed the DAWGs in the SEC Championship game that the TIGERS would kill BAMA. Well the TIDE shoved it down their throat like LSU did to you guys. Your coach needs to not worry about recruits but about the Athletic Department keeping the local bails bondsman on the payroll. CMR needs to worry less about singing and worry more about Xs and Os or he needs to find a good moving company to move all his crap from Athens to New Mexico.


Hugh Jass

May 11th, 2012
7:09 am

Actually, God may help get you to the NFL through putting good coaches in your path, such as those at UGA rather than NC State.

[...] a cynicism well beyond his years, Kenderious Whitehead had this to say about the coaches he spoke with during the recruiting process: “All the coaches [...]

[...] State, has some thoughts on blushing coach promises issued on the recruiting trail. As told to the AJC: What is the funniest thing any coach said to you during the recruiting process? “The funniest [...]

"The Georgia Way"

May 11th, 2012
1:18 pm

“We’re in the jailhouse now,” would be a more appropriate serenade for recruits.


May 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

Apparently for some of yall it’s awkward when people sing happy birthday. Poor souls must’ve spent their entire childhoods living in fear. Seriously, it ain’t like CMR broke out the guitar and sang the dude a love song.


May 11th, 2012
2:33 pm

Umm, yes the coaches can get you to the NFL. They are the ones that prepare and COACH you. I have a hard time believing you could teach yourself techniques, playbooks, show your own mistakes. This kid sounds like a jerk. Personally, I’m glad he didn’t come to Georgia, because I want players that want to embrace Georgia and want to be on campus. He can go play in the weak ACC and never make it on TV and be marketed like SEC schools. Best of luck to the kid, because the way he is talking, he’s gonna need it since he’s the only one that’ll get him to the NFL. As a firm believer in our Lord, he’s not going to get you into the NFL, he’ll stand by you and help you see the road, but you have to achieve that goal, not wait for him to somehow do it for you.


May 11th, 2012
7:31 pm

Richt offered him year round tanning bed options :-)


May 11th, 2012
7:32 pm

Ok, we have a segment on a kid that is not going to UGA, but the kid that decide to go to UGA there is nothing.


May 11th, 2012
8:49 pm

WHAT kind of handle is DABO?? Who would lay that on someone?

Vinning Dawgs

May 11th, 2012
9:46 pm

@ Bama Man, yeh you are right, instead Saban would stalk the Recruit lol like a true redneck.


May 12th, 2012
12:12 am

He said it all when he talked about playing time… at Clemson and UGA he is redshirted or doesnt see the field except in clean up… at NCST he might see the field as a true frosh.


May 12th, 2012
6:45 pm

Bama man

May 10th, 2012
1:54 am

Is it just me that thinks it awkward that CMR sings to recruits? Saban would never do %@#& like that.

How do you know? Singing happy b’day takes 2 minutes, tops. How did Saban fill that 90 minutes?


May 12th, 2012
9:07 pm

Crimson Saban …………………………You are so correct. UGA fans talked SMACK that LSU would give BAMA a beat down on this blog. They all had egg on their face.

Do not give Nick Saban that amount of time to prepare for a game. Most likely you will lose.

BCS Tiger

May 13th, 2012
10:36 am

Clemson puts more DE’s into the NFL than UGA & NC St combined. This hurts lol.


May 13th, 2012
8:22 pm

JT I believe it was UGA that left the kid Kevin Burns from Caver Hi twisting in the breeze when he brought his mother and dad and fiends to UGA on a visit to see him commit. and they yanked the offer. At least Saban stop by and told Justin Taylor on MLK birthday a couple of months before signing day that he didn’t have a scholarship that he could grey shirt and do rehab on his knee and sign in 2013. Thats more than the UGA coachs gave Kevin Burns..


May 13th, 2012
8:41 pm

I’ll bet Saban didn’t spend that 90 minutes singing Happy Birthday. That kind of sheet went out with the ToothFfairy and the Easter Bunny


May 13th, 2012
8:46 pm

I remember how the dawg fan thought LSU was going to beat Bama just because they beat the Dawg Sheet out of them. Different Team Different Results Could have been Bama played 4 Quarters and UGA only played 2.

[...] REWIND: DE serenaded by Mark Richt, beats Dabo Swinney in pool [...]