ATHENS –- Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked who first came up with the idea of pitching a “Dream Team” in recruiting.
“I really don’t remember whose idea it was,” he said.
“It was actually yours,” recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said.
“It was my idea?” Richt said. “I didn’t want to take credit [if] someone else thought of it first.”
Georgia built its 2011 recruiting efforts, which culminated with Signing Day on Wednesday, around the high-profile notion of assembling a Dream Team of in-state talent. The Bulldogs wound up signing the state’s top three prospects, four of the top five and eight of the top 12.
The concept of a Dream Team was born almost a year ago as Georgia coaches embarked on what they knew would be a crucial recruiting season in a talent-rich state.
His memory jogged, Richt said: “As you’re looking at the guys you really want the most, you kind of dream about that as a coach, and that’s where I just came up with the idea: ‘This is my Dream Team. This is our Dream Team at the University of Georgia.’ We literally had names and pictures targeted that we could look at and shoot for, and we actually nailed it pretty good. You never get them all, but we came pretty darn close. And I would certainly say the dream came true.”
Richt said the concept resonated with recruits, who “bought in and got excited about it . . . and wanted to be on the Dream Team. I think it was effective.”
He acknowledged there was a risk of the concept backfiring if Georgia had signed a less-than-stellar class. In that case, he said, people might have “called it a nightmare class or whatever.”
“But we just said, ‘You know what? Let’s go for the best and go with reckless abandon and not care what anybody says.’”
Richt plans a Dream Team encore next year.
“Quite frankly, we’re in the process of putting together the 2012 Dream Team,” he said. “We’re formulating ideas and looking at film and deciding who’s going to be on that team.
“I hope ninth graders right now are looking at this thing and saying, ‘I want to be on that Dream Team when my time comes.’”
Garner gave a lot of credit for the success of the Dream Team concept to Ray Drew, a five-star outside linebacker from Thomas County Central who not only signed with Georgia but enthusiastically lobbied other players to do so as well.
“Even though [last season] sort of tarnished us,” Garner said, “he was able to recognize that the University of Georgia is still gold. We just need to shine it up. We just need to get the glitter back.”
Speaking to fans at the Butts-Mehre building, Richt offered some insight into recruiting in this state:
“One of the hardest things for us to do is to evaluate and nail down who you’re going to go after, especially in our own state. A lot of the out-of-state teams will just come in and just offer like mad. They’ll come in and just offer like candy. Quite frankly, I’m not going to name names of schools, but a lot of them will do that just to get in the fight. And if the kid commits too soon and they’re not sure they want [him], they’ll just tell them, ‘That’s not a committable offer.’ Whatever the heck that means.
“If we offer a kid in our state and he says he’s coming, we want to take him, OK? Sometimes we’re a little bit slower to offer maybe than some out-of-state schools. Sometimes that might hurt a kid’s feelings. Sometimes that might hurt a coach’s feelings. That’s not our intention. Our intention is to have integrity when we offer a kid and be able to follow through.”
– Tim Tucker, UGA Blog