UGA’s recruiting coordinator, Rodney Garner, was hired by Auburn on Thursday night.
How much will Garner’s departure affect the Bulldogs with recruiting?
It’s too soon to tell — but probably not as much as one would think.
Garner was considered one of the best recruiters in the business 10 years ago, but his impact with the team’s current recruiting class was limited, especially after the Bulldogs hired Daryl Jones as Director of On-Campus Recruiting. Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham are considered the team’s premier recruiters. Garner’s loss will likely be felt more as the team’s defensive line coach as he guided a steady flow of Bulldogs into prosperous NFL careers.
If there is any impact with loss of Garner, it will be with UGA’s defensive line targets – since Garner coached the position with the Bulldogs.
Georgia has one DL prospect signed, Chris Mayes of Mississippi Gulf Coast junior college, so no worries there. They have another one committed, John Atkins of Fork Union prep school, and Atkins is unlikely to go anywhere else because of academic concerns.
Where it may hurt Georgia – but still is unknown – is with a pair of uncommitted targets, 5-star Montravius Adams of Dooly County High School and Toby Johnson of Hutchinson junior college.
“I just found out,” Adams told the AJC on Thursday night. “Yes, it affects how I feel about Georgia, but I’m not sure how much. I’m still trying to take it all in.”
Rather than have a negative impact on UGA, it will probably be more of a positive for Auburn. Adams said he may take his fifth official visit with the Tigers, now that Garner is hired. “Yes, that will probably be it,” he said.
What about Toby Johnson? “I like Coach Garner but Georgia is still my leader. As long as I have a good relationship with new defensive line coach, I think everything will be OK.”
However, Johnson said he was considering taking an official visit to Auburn after his recruiting trip to Mississippi State on Jan. 11.
The bigger question is this: Who wil UGA hire as its recruiting coordinator? The most popular choice would be Mike Bobo, who has recruited strongly in South Georgia. He’d probably have to give up his duties as offensive coordinator (probably back to Richt), something that Bobo might not be willing to do if he truly aspires to be a head coach one day.
There’s also running backs coach Bryan McClendon, who is young and popular among the kids. But he was the UGA position coach for Isaiah Crowell, Washuan Ealey, and Caleb King, among others. However, McClendon also oversaw the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
UGA tight ends coach John Lilly was the former recruiting coordinator at Florida State.
RELATED: As discussed by many on Twitter, from an Auburn perspective, it is really going to be interesting to see how the conversations go between Rodney Garner and Carl Lawson, the ESPN No. 2 overall prospect who is committed to the Tigers. While at UGA, Garner famously passed on offering Lawson — with the Bulldogs waiting until two months after Lawson committed to Auburn to show any serious interest. By then, it was much too late for UGA with Lawson, who grew up a fan of the Bulldogs. Now that Garner is at Auburn, his top recruit is … Lawson.
Carl Lawson & Rodney Garner call will be interesting. Garner passed on offering at UGA, now Lawson is his top-rated commit.
— Kipp Adams (@KippLAdams) December 21, 2012
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