Ex-UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner meets with 5-star Carl Lawson’s family

  • UPDATE: Lawson has set his first official visit, touring Clemson this weekend.

After Robert Nkemdiche, one of the Georgia prospects that made the biggest impression at the Under Armour All-America week was Milton High School defensive end Carl Lawson.

Lawson, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect by ESPN, dominated practices with his pass-rushing skills. In Friday’s game, Lawson finished with one quarterback hurry.
“It was a great week,” Lawson said. “I’m a little mad because I was so close to so many quarterback sacks (in the game). These quarterbacks get that ball out there so fast. The offensive linemen were good, and when I did get free, I would get a hair away from a sack. It was a great experience. I can’t complain.”

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The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder is still officially committed to Auburn but said he will set up official visits later this week to Clemson, Tennessee, and probably Auburn again. Ole Miss and North Carolina are also possible trips.

Lawson will take an official visit to either Clemson or Tennessee this weekend, according to his father.

When asked about the strength of his Auburn commitment, Lawson said, “Everything is just in the re-evaluation process.”

Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro, who attended the all-star game and practices, was asked if he thought Lawson would sign with Auburn on Feb. 6. “I’m not sure about Carl and Auburn, but I guess we will see.”

Auburn’s coaching change forced Lawson to consider other options. Ironically, the new Auburn assistant in charge of recruiting him is Rodney Garner, the former Georgia recruiting coordinator who famously passed on Lawson with the Bulldogs. It infuriated UGA fans in the Milton and North Fulton area, which has one of the state’s largest and most passionate fan bases for the Bulldogs.

There is heavy speculation on message boards that Garner’s hiring will push Lawson away from Auburn, but the 5-star recruit denies it. Lawson said the two have talked a few times over the telephone within the last week.

Carl Lawson is the state's best prospect not named Nkemdiche. Under Rodney Garner, UGA famously waited until two months after Lawson committed to Auburn to show any serious interest (AJC)

Carl Lawson is the state's best prospect not named Nkemdiche. Under Rodney Garner, UGA famously waited until two months after Lawson committed to Auburn to show any serious interest (AJC)

“It never really affected me (how Garner recruited me for Georgia),” Lawson said. “I mean, it is what it is. Auburn is a program, and one coach doesn’t change the program.”

Ole Miss is one school that was thought to be emerging, although the distance from Atlanta could be factor. The Rebels already have a commitment from his close friend and Milton teammate, tailback Peyton Barber.

“Nkemdiche is going to sign with Ole Miss, from what I understand, and Carl is taking a visit to Ole Miss,” DeCristofaro said. “Can you imagine both of them on the same defensive line?”

+ + +

UPDATE: Over the weekend, Rodney Garner had an in-home visit with Carl Lawson Sr., the former Georgia Tech football player and father of the 5-star recruit. The younger Lawson was unable to attend because he hadn’t returned from Florida after being diagnosed with the flu (Carl Jr. toughed it the whole week at the all-star game).

“It went well,” Lawson Sr. said. “We’re trying to build a relationship and find out what Auburn’s plans are, and see if there’s a possibility that things will work out.”

One thing that was immediately brought up by Garner was his explanation – when he was at UGA and in charge of recruiting Milton – on why he was so late in showing any serious interest in Lawson. UGA waited until two months after Lawson had committed to Auburn before considering a scholarship offer.

Lawson and his father take the high road on the topic, but the tardy interest likely ruined UGA’s chances of recruiting the best prospect out of Georgia this year not named Nkemdiche. The Bulldogs were a childhood favorite of Lawson.

“What (Garner) said was that as defensive line coach at Georgia, they run a 3-4 defense, and the defensive ends are really large,” Lawson said. “He said when they came to recruit Carl, they were recruiting him as a linebacker – and that position wasn’t his call. The reason Carl wasn’t recruited by him is because they were recruiting 3-4 defensive ends, and they didn’t see Carl as a 3-4 defensive end.”

When asked if he felt comfortable with Garner’s explanation, Lawson said, “We never took it personal. Contrary to popular belief, Georgia did try to recruit Carl. But it was a situation when they finally did show some interest in Carl, and I believe it was from (Todd Grantham), Carl already had more than 30 offers and had already developed relationships with other schools.

“It was late on Georgia’s part. But I can’t speak on their system and how they do things. It was just a done deal with Auburn by then. There was probably some personal disappointment with Georgia by that point. You’re going to assume that maybe they didn’t think he was good enough or whatever. So that was definitely an original thought. But when we sit down think about things now, this is a business and I guess they were looking at it from a schematic point of view.

Recruiting karma? The kid Rodney Garner passed on while at UGA ... is all of the sudden his top priority at Auburn (AJC)

Recruiting karma? The kid Rodney Garner passed on while at UGA ... is all of the sudden his top priority at Auburn (AJC)

“I don’t agree with Georgia not recruiting him earlier. But if that was their reasoning, then that’s their reasoning.”

When Garner took the job at Auburn, the kid he infamously passed on … instantly became his top recruit. Garner is trying his best to secure Lawson for the Tigers by the Feb. 6 signing day.

“What’s at issue is whether they can build a successful relationship in a short amount of time,” Lawson said. “They have to build some chemistry and get to know each other. There’s no doubt that Auburn’s new staff is very impressive. But what is good for Auburn might not be good for us. I’m not saying the two are separate, and I applaud what coach (Gus Malzahn) has done with his staff.”

The elder Lawson said “there’s a very good possibility” that they will take an official visit to Auburn this month, even though they’ve seen the campus countless times.

USC has been eliminated because of distance, while Ole Miss and North Carolina might be out of the picture, too. “When Carl was in Florida, his mom and I started to get the feeling that he doesn’t want to be too far from home,” Lawson said. “It’s probably going to be some place 4-5 hours away from Atlanta, tops.”

OH MY … HAVE YOU HEARD THE LATEST?

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102 comments Add your comment

Joe Cox

January 8th, 2013
5:56 am

foist. errr… foyst

Big Dawg

January 8th, 2013
5:59 am

Hey Rodney, karma is a @&%$ isn’t it? You blew it for us with the kid, and now you have to go back crawling on your knees (and telling lies). What a hilarious explanation. Did you look Mr. Lawson in the eyes at all when giving it? Oh yes, blame it on the LBs coach. Now what Grantham needs to do is to call Carl and tell him the truth, we wanted him all along but Garner poopooed on him. Now that Garner is gone, we want you. Lawson would be a serious upgrade over Mustafaa.

FL Dawg

January 8th, 2013
6:03 am

Coach G, do you really think the Lawsons are dumb enough to fall for your lies and excuses? Karma, baby. What the heck is a grown man doing carrying around Reuben Foster’s trophy at a hotel lobby?

PS Carl I hope you consider the Dawgs now that Garner is gone

tenn.DAWG

January 8th, 2013
6:24 am

What goes around comes around.

gomdawg

January 8th, 2013
6:28 am

TOP 5
1 ALABAMA
2 TEXAS A& M
3 GEORGIA
4 OREGON
5 OHIO STATE

Joey

January 8th, 2013
7:30 am

Good work, Rodney. Unbelievable that you didn’t want a playmaker, because his size didn’t fit your DE specs, so you passed.

I thought yu were D-line coach and RECRUITING COORDINATOR.

bo

January 8th, 2013
7:33 am

I tend to think there is not as much logic to this process and the players, their families, and recruiting gurus claim.

01HAWK

January 8th, 2013
7:36 am

The MONEY BAG MAN GARNER will drop some cash for LAWSON on the floor and leave.

He is good as gone to AWBARN.

Maybe AWBARN can bring back LOWDER, WAYNE HALL, and some other CROOKS.

As you know, or maybe you have not heard that GARNER was paid at the BARN and he distributed money to other players when he was at the BARN.

Fill Fulmer

January 8th, 2013
7:37 am

He is all Vol. C Ritzman will talk some sense into the Big Man.

dougsmugs

January 8th, 2013
8:02 am

It is odd that not only was Garner the recruiting coordinator, but the DL coach and he passed on this young man. Garner was either lazy, biased, or something.

He also messed up with Robert Nkemdiche by not offering his talented brother, and he messed up with Dillion Lee by not getting an offer to him before he committed to bama, even though we already had his brother on the team!

I think Garner just became complacent. Maybe, a job change will re-energize him, but I hope not. The Barn can rot for all I care.

Aunt Pittypat

January 8th, 2013
8:54 am

The real “barn” in Alabama is located at Tuscaloosa. Georgia doesn’t even have a barn, it’s more of a shack where they keep the mongrels and it’s in Athens.

JUNKYARD DAWG

January 8th, 2013
8:59 am

Rodney the bagman Garner is about to seal the deal boys.

WDE

January 8th, 2013
9:02 am

Rodney is trying to build a relationship with the elder Lawson, now that he is back at Auburn will he be building the same sort of relationship that was forged with Cecil Newton?

JB

January 8th, 2013
9:14 am

Richt needs to take notice that Garner and we know Kirby from Bama know too well that this state is loaded. We can’t and won’t keep them all, put it pains me to see Bama sign the #2 LB from here and we get the #15……..

Quantity vs Quality

January 8th, 2013
9:14 am

Snoop Dawg sees that UGA has recruited 30 athletes to fill all the vacancies on the roster from the past few years. Wow, that’s great, huh?

My questions are one, how many of those 30 are 5-star? And two, how many of Georgia’s top ten rated HS players have signed with UGA.

See, Lawson is just the latest example. Remember how Richt famously remarked that he thought Cam Newton was considered as a tight end but wasn’t recruited? These stars in-stat who UGA shuns come back and whip our fannies. Just look to see where the beef on Alabama’s line comes from.

My point is that quality counts, not quantity. Until the Bulldog Nation demands it, then the beat goes on and we watch Georgia kids win championships for other SEC universities.

The buck stops with Richt himself, not one of his staff.

RHall55

January 8th, 2013
9:17 am

I think dougsmugs is correct….RG became complacent and lazy…hope he keeps that same work ethic @ AU…mseesd up on Nkemdiche…Lee…Lawson, etc while @ UGA….too lazy…UGA needs to open up their eyes and to win a NC, you have to win in the trenches!!!

WDE

January 8th, 2013
9:31 am

Quantity vs Quality I think you forget how many of the best players we get from other states, Marshall and Gurley both highly rated players from N.C and John Theuss (sp) was the top rated OL from FL….so yeah we like the home grown talent but we didn’t exactly waste slots on those out of staters

Alabama: Where Champions Tread

January 8th, 2013
9:46 am

Do You Want to Be a Champion?

- Paul “Bear” Bryant

(Slogan on 1970s Alabama Football Recruiting Poster of Bryant Sitting Against Desk, Holding Helmet)

Tim Dawg

January 8th, 2013
9:49 am

Garner sucks UGA have let to many elite High school players live the great state of GEORGIA. Why are the kids going out of state to Fl,Al,SC,and Clemson? The reason is UGA is to laid back and thinking they will just always get the top players CMR and staff FOLLOW THE DAMN DRILL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gene

January 8th, 2013
9:53 am

Rodney has some character issues, but he’s put a lot of players in the NFL.

Kingdaddy

January 8th, 2013
9:55 am

Take the money and run Gumph …

TIDE ROLL

January 8th, 2013
9:57 am

UGA Is absolutely hilarious. Garner is telling the truth. It was Grantham thinking Lawson didn’t physically fit the 3-4 as a defensive end. What an idiot. The real laugher is UGA’s failure to sign DENZIL NKEMDICHE. If he doesn’t make his grades, then place him, like you did John Atkins. If he does make his grades, which he did, then you have a stud linebacker with an inside track to his brother ROB! Kind of like Ole Miss now does! It really is incredible what goes on in Athens. Devonte Daniels, the Notre Dame wide receiver, is the son of former UGA player and Washington Redskins All -Pro PHILIP DANIELS, who is now an executive in the REDSKIN’S front office! CHANCE WARMACK, who plays left guard for BAMA (and plays it quite well, wouldn’t you say) is from Atlanta Westlake and whose position coach there was RESTY BEADLES. a former offensive lineman for, you guessed it, UGA ! And last, but cetainly not least, you pass on the best dual threat Quarterback in America, ANTHONY JENNINGS, in favor of Bryce Ramsey. Jennings, who won the Elite 11 regionals over 90 other Quartebacks including Ramsey, who didn’t place in the finals, grew up a huge DAWG fan because, you guessed it, HIS FATHER PLAYED THERE. Jennings, who has a 3.1 GPA, will enroll at LSU on Jan 11th.!!! Do it Richt , Do it Booboo. and do it DAWGS!! 33 friggin years No damn wonder.

Alabama: Where Champions Tread

January 8th, 2013
9:58 am

Do You Want to Spend a Night in Jail?

- UGA Campus Police

(Spoken Nightly @ UGA Athletic Dorm)

23 SEC Titles

January 8th, 2013
10:01 am

Lawson just like Nkemdiche ask Clowney. We can win with you or without you. Your either with us or against us…… Yes your talent will probably gey you to the League, but the BIGBOYS practice against each other every day at Bama.

Roll Tide and toooooooooooo many championships and counting

TIDE ROLL

January 8th, 2013
10:09 am

You needed 5 damn yards against us to win the NATIONAL TITLE. You don’t think CHANCE WARMACK could have seen to that for you. He sure has for us through the years. You know he’s got to be thanking his lucky stars you fools didn’t go after him. What’s he got now, THREE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS ? Roll Tide and thank you Richt and the entire Bulldawg staff for CHANCE, Hepzibah Georgia, and Seattle Seahawk 1st round draft pick, OT James Carpenter, and most recently. Carpenter clone, OT Brandon Greene, from Atlanta Cedar Grove. Thank you UGA. If we could, we’d send you all a RING. After all, it’s you who got us there! Hilarious. Keep ‘em coming Richt.

Vampire Bill

January 8th, 2013
10:15 am

So did UGA ever offer Lawson?

The AlphaDawg

January 8th, 2013
10:18 am

Georgia still has not offered the #2 2014 recruit Lorenzo Carter ; DE from Nocross Georgia. He is a Bulldog Fan

The AlphaDawg

January 8th, 2013
10:18 am

Georgia still has not offered the #2 2014 recruit Lorenzo Carter ; DE from Nocross Georgia. He is a Bulldog Fan

dawgfacedboy

January 8th, 2013
10:20 am

You don’t think you can slap 25 lbs on him pretty easily?? I can’t believe we didn’t go after this guy. DIdn’t a DE just swap to OSU too?

The AlphaDawg

January 8th, 2013
10:22 am

If everything Tideroll said is true this is very disturbing. Way to much talent leaving the state.

Kingdaddy

January 8th, 2013
10:24 am

Kingdaddy

January 8th, 2013
10:31 am

23
congratulations on a great win läst night. Now try not to be a jerk today. We will see y’all next year …

Kingdaddy

January 8th, 2013
10:36 am

Alpha Dawg
are you kidding? Tide roll is the biggest troll on the blog. Don’t encourage him …

TIDE ROLL

January 8th, 2013
10:38 am

It’s like ya’ll are just dumb. Did you know that this is the 7th straight year an SEC team has won the National Title? Hell. it’s not that big a deal anymore. It’s expected. We’ve got three, LSU two, Florida two, and Auburn one. We’re all waiting for y’all to catch up. We feel embarrassed for you. It’s like your slow thinking or something. We need to send you to remedial classes. For example, here’s a test question. Say there’s 15 seconds left in the game and you’re out of timeouts. Do you (a) Try to run a play? or (b) In the name of all that is holy, spike the damn ball to stop the clock? If you answered (a), then it’s probably been 33 years since you won a National Title!

Flo - Ri - Duh

January 8th, 2013
10:44 am

First of all – Lawson is NOT a 3-4 DE – good pass rusher for sure – not so good against the run. Sorry but that is his M.O. Needless to say your DEs have to be run stoppers in the 3-4. Like Monte Taeo, Lawson is a good player but definitely not the #2 player in the country. Dee Liner is a 3-4 DE but UGA never went after him – don’t know why. Nkemdiche is a 3-4 DE and Garner never had a chance with him. No way was UGA going to get Nkemdiche without a package deal for little brother who was questionable with his grades up to the end of recruiting but qualified at the very end. Mama Nkemdiche holds resentment against UGA for not offering big bro. Garner also whiffed on Isaac Rochelle and was way behind on Montraveous Adams. Garner was no longer the recruiting force at UGA that he once had been. Good time for him to move on. Good time for UGA to get some new blood.

Flo - Ri - Duh

January 8th, 2013
10:46 am

Tumble Bug Rolls – we all know you aren’t a TIDE fan …. you are pathetic. Still living with mama at the age of 37 and still wetting your bed. Just pathetic.

dawgfacedboy

January 8th, 2013
10:55 am

The top 2 DE in the country were from Ga and no more than an hour and twenty minutes from Athens we didn’t get either, only recruited 1 of them??? HUH??

TIDE ROLL

January 8th, 2013
10:56 am

And here’s the troubling thing: Your head coach and your offensive coordinator answered (a)!

BB

January 8th, 2013
10:58 am

So, Tide Troll- tell us the truth. Are there ANY white kids on the UGA squad that you like? You bigoted troll. We get it, you only see in colors – black is good, white is bad.

I guess it doesn’t matter to you that some kids just don’t want to stay in state, it is all UGA’s fault for not forcing them to sign.

tony

January 8th, 2013
11:05 am

Mark Richt will win a national championship whenever he decide to hold every member on his team too a higher standard including himself. Will he take his family to a resturant that has a 1 star rating or a 5 star rating? What about a doctor, lawyer, car shop, meat market etc? Companies with these high star ratings commit themselves to the highest standards, in terms of behavior, commitment, and achievements.

Mark Richt should expect the same quality of service from himself, assistent coaches down to his players.

A game

January 8th, 2013
11:06 am

Funny..Garner was all love at UGA..now that he has moved on UGA fans gives all hate. While at UGA Garner did what he was told and recruited player that DC and Richt told him to. It was not his decision alone. Go dawgs.

A game

January 8th, 2013
11:11 am

01HAWK=idiots born everyday.

DeeLine

January 8th, 2013
11:12 am

It’s like ya’ll are just dumb. Did you know that this is the 7th straight year an SEC team has won the National Title? Hell. it’s not that big a deal anymore. It’s expected. We’ve got three, LSU two, Florida two, and Auburn one. We’re all waiting for y’all to catch up. We feel embarrassed for you. It’s like your slow thinking or something. We need to send you to remedial classes. For example, here’s a test question. Say there’s 15 seconds left in the game and you’re out of timeouts. Do you (a) Try to run a play? or (b) In the name of all that is holy, spike the damn ball to stop the clock? If you answered (a), then it’s probably been 33 years since you won a National Title!
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Old Tech Roll at it again. Tech Roll, I remember your reaction from Tech the blog in 2010, ” How can they take our ACC championship from us over $300.00+ when A.J. Green sold his jersey for $1000.00?

Old Tech Roll “STILL living vicariously through other teams because Tech still can’t beat UGA. I swear, I laugh at your pathetic drivel every time you try to convince us you are a Bama fan.

The General Feeling

January 8th, 2013
11:27 am

UGA has so many to pick from in state…. what’s another high school all-american?

DeKalb Dawg

January 8th, 2013
11:30 am

You ever wonder why Rodney left for the plains of Auburn?
To be the DC? NO!
To get a big pay raise? Maybe.
To start fresh because Grantham is kicking his ass for not recruiting quality players at Georgia? Absolutely!
GRR, should be on every player’s helmet next year.
Good Riddance Rodney!
Go DAWGS!
Jarvis, one more year for unfinished biz!

only a matter of time

January 8th, 2013
11:33 am

A game is right. The biggest difference between Ala and UGa comes down to players that believe in their system, coaches, managers, waterboys etc and will fight to defend them all. Winning national titles is the expectation each and every year. It’s not about winning the SEC West for them, that’s just a rung in the ladder for them. You heard Saban, he gives his guys 48 hours to celebrate and then it’s on to next year and getting focused on defending the championship. All I know is Bama is returning a bunch of kids next year that are young and hungry and experienced. The road to the BCS next year will go through Tuscaloosa once again. When UGa gets serious, they will get and keep all the highly rated players in state and give the scraps to Bama and LSU and Florida and all the other places that come in here and pluck the choice talent. Until then UGa will be playing for the SEC East whenever Florida and/or South Carolina don’t want it.

TIDE ROLL

January 8th, 2013
12:12 pm

We got Chance Warmack at Left Guard. A Georgia kid, who happened to be the best player on the field last night. Y’all go with Dallas Lee. Do you UGA fans, and I’m being serious, not see the difference? Do you not think it makes a difference? Until you recognize the difference, and demand a change, and if it doesn’t happen, then change coaches, then it’s just more of the same.33 years.

JUNKYARD DAWG

January 8th, 2013
12:30 pm

TIDE TROLL, who gives a fvck about you or Bama. Take your prejudice azz back to the trailer park you piece of sh!t.

Ampwoody

January 8th, 2013
12:41 pm

Those who underestimate Hugh Freeze will do so at their own peril.

Kingdaddy

January 8th, 2013
1:23 pm

” The Boogie Man, The. BOOGIE MAN, BETTER WATCH OUT FOR THE BOOGIE MAN! “