Ten@10: UGA gets first DB in Dawson, now needs more O-linemen

With national signing day bearing down on us and a plethora of UGA news swirling, it seemed like a good time to dust off  . . .


1. With the commitment of Memphis defensive back Sheldon Dawson on Monday, the Bulldogs now sit at 17 public commitments heading into national signing day. It does not appear that they’ll receive any more announcements before the official letters-of-intent start rolling in at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall early tomorrow. Meanwhile, don’t let Dawson’s original commitment to Memphis fool you. He committed to the Tigers before last season when he lit it up both offensively and defensively for Ridgeway High and showcased what has been reported as 4.4-second, 40-yard speed. By the end of his recruitment, Dawson claimed more than 20 offers and the majority were from major BCS programs such as Ohio State, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

2. Now Georgia looks to close strong, and it has the opportunity to do that. Probably the most important remaining piece of the puzzle for the Bulldogs is offensive lineman Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. It appears to be a Georgia-Auburn battle for Young (6-foot-6, 281 pounds), but he will include the caps of Florida and Miami on the table Wednesday when he makes his decision public at 2 p.m. Young told Rusty Mansell of Dawgs247.com he has made up his mind but that he hasn’t leaked word to anyone. “Even my mom does not know,” he said.

3. Securing Young is particularly important to the Bulldogs since they lost one of their previous offensive line commitments last week in Chester Brown. That left them with just three O-linemen in this class when they originally set out to get five or six. Dawson’s commitment was equally important as he is now Georgia’s only defensive back commitment.

The breakdown of the rest of the class goes like this: 3 outside linebackers/defensive ends, 2 tailbacks 2 defensive tackles, 1 wide receiver, 1 fullback, 1 tight end, 1 quarterback, 1 punter and 1 kicker. By all accounts the Dogs would like to sign five more players. Ideally that would be two more offensive linemen, another wide receiver, an inside linebacker and a defensive lineman or DB.

4. Speaking of Brown, his saga finally has a conclusion. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound lineman from Bradwell Institute, who had to back out of his longtime UGA commitment due to an immigration issue, has decided to sign with Central Florida after all. Brown committed to the Knights over the weekend during an official visit, but had second thoughts upon returning to Hinesville and finding that his school had been flooded with new opportunities for him.

Coach Jim Walsh said he received calls from 29 different schools either inquiring about Brown’s availability or stepping up with actual offers. Among the schools showing late interest were Auburn, Missouri, Miami, North Carolina and Southern Cal, Walsh said.

“We had schools coming in from everywhere,” Walsh said. “It almost became more of a burden. Just overwhlelming is a better way to put it. Up until [Monday] night our intention was to take it past signing day. It got sideways for a minute. But once Chester could clear his head he was able to make up his mind and he’ll sign with Central tomorrow.”

5. Of course, The AJC will be all over national signing day activities at the University of Georgia on Wednesday. I will be at the Butts-Mehre tweeting out the Bulldogs’ signings from @ajcuga at Twitter.com as soon as they become official early in the morning. I’ll also be posting continuous live blogs here and AJC recruiting reporter Michael Carvell will be posting news all day on The AJC’s Recruiting Page. So you should be able to follow all the recruiting day drama — and there figures to be plenty this year — from your computer.

6. Festivities at Georgia will begin about 8 a.m. I get an audience with head coach Mark Richt and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner around 1 p.m. on Wednesday and will be sharing their thoughts and insights shortly thereafter. Us media types have been told we may get the opportunity to talk to the Bulldogs’ midyear enrollees tomorrow. That’s something I’m looking forward to because five-star running back Keith Marshall, quarterback Faton Bauta and offensive lineman Mark Beard to date have been unavailable for interviews.

7. Speaking of Georgia’s coaches, UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity told me yesterday that the new contracts for head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham won’t be ready until sometime after national signing day. McGarity reiterated that there is “no rush” as deals have already been agreed upon in principle. A three-year extension for Richt and a new three-year deal (or two -year extension) for Grantham is anticipated. An athletic board meeting is scheduled next week and I suspect something should be forthcoming then. I talked to Grantham recently and he said, “I’m not worried about that. That’s been handled. I’m just trying to find some players.”

8. Another possible delay for getting agreements finalized was the sad news this week regarding President Michael Adams. Hubert Adams, his father, passed away suddenly on Sunday. He was 87. Mr. Adams, who lived near Stone Mountain, was a very spry and vibrant man and ardent Bulldog supporter who often attended UGA sporting events.

9. Read a remarkable story by Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News charting Auburn’s recruiting the last four years. According to him, only 18 percent of the signees from Auburn’s 2008 class are expected to exhaust their eligibility and just 43 percent of the 2009 and 2010 classes are still with the team. The Tigers are also sitting with the fewest commitments so far for 2012 (15). But there is hope. Currently they are 24 of 24 in the Class of 2011.

10. And finally, I read another interesting story at thepostgame.com. UGA’s Anna Watson apparently is “the strongest cheerleader in college football.” Who knew?