Wednesday, October 3, 2012
UGA, Gamecocks in border battles
By Kipp Adams
With South Carolina and Georgia bordering each other, the SEC rivals have clashed often on the recruiting trail. Over the last decade, Georgia has signed nine players out of the Palmetto State, stealing super sleeper and future NFL standout Tim Jennings with a late offer and one of the best to ever play in All-American A.J. Green. The Bulldogs have two South Carolina natives on the roster this year in defensive tackle Kwame Geathers and outside linebacker Dexter Morant.
On the flip side, the Gamecocks have thrived on the depth of talent in Georgia. Over 50 prospects from the Peach State have signed with South Carolina over the last decade, including a steal of their own in defensive end Eric Norwood, who left as the All-Time sack leader at South Carolina, and tight end Jared Cook, now with the Tennessee Titans. Twenty-four players from Georgia are on scholarship for South Carolina this year.
Despite a big push from UGA, Marcus Lattimore decided to attend in-state South Carolina.
DawgNation takes a look at a few prospects the two foes have clashed for in recent years:
As a recruit: Ranked as an ESPN 150 prospect, the No. 2 running back, the No. 1 prospect in South Carolina and the No. 19 prospect in the country. Selected to play in the 2010 Army All-American Bowl game.
How it went down: With an early offer and an older sister already on campus in Columbia, Lattimore was seemingly destined for South Carolina from the start. But Georgia still made him their top priority at running back in the 2010 class. Early on, Lattimore was receptive to Georgia’s pitch, even saying the Bulldogs were neck and neck with the Gamecocks. But the summer before his senior year, the elite tailback took Georgia off his list, with the stable of running backs in Athens that included Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, Dontavius Jackson, Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas being a key factor. Although he would mention Georgia sparingly later in his recruitment, the Bulldogs were not considered a contender and he chose South Carolina the day before signing day.
Since he enrolled: The National Freshman of the Year and two-time ALL-SEC selection has 64 carries for 358 yards and three touchdowns rushing in two wins versus Georgia, and is considered one of the most talented running backs in college football.
As a recruit: Ranked as the No. 30 defensive tackle and the No. 23 prospect in South Carolina for the 2009 class.
How it went down: With one brother playing defensive for Georgia in Robert Geathers and one for South Carolina in Clifton Geathers, the two programs were long thought to be the favorites to land the next standout in the family. Early in his recruitment, Kwame was projected by many to play on the offensive line in college. Few saw him play during his senior year, but after a standout performance on defense in an All-Star game, Geathers admitted that he preferred to play defense in college. South Carolina had other plans for Geathers, and thus was replaced at the top by Tennessee and UCF. Geathers, like his brothers before him, waited until weeks after signing day to announce he was going to play at Georgia.
Since he enrolled: Kwame has played in 25 games, making four starts 31 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a blocked kick.
As a recruit: Ranked as an ESPN 150 prospect, the No. 19 offensive tackle, and the No. 8 prospect in South Carolina. Shell was selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl game.
How it went down: Once again, the Bulldogs were playing catch-up with the Gamecocks from the start for one the top prospects in South Carolina. Georgia was able to stay in the top group throughout, but in the end Shell chose to stay home near his mom and attend the same school as several of his friends.
Since he enrolled: Shell has started games at left and right tackle this fall after redshirting last season. Although he is considered the most talented offensive lineman for South Carolina, he has lost playing time to Mike Matulis and Corey Robinson at each tackle position.
As a recruit: Ranked as an ESPN 150 prospect, the No. 3 athlete, the No. 1 prospect in South Carolina and the No. 42 prospect in the country for the 2013 class. He has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Bowl game.
How it went down: Georgia targeted another standout at Goose Creek in Terry, although early on in his recruitment, Terry maintained that South Carolina was in the lead for his commitment. Then he attended Dawg Night at Georgia last year, committing with close friends John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles), Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden Co.) and Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee). The very next day, Terry admitting he was a soft commitment and made plans to attend South Carolina's Gamecock Showcase camp the following Friday. A later visit to Clemson would cause Terry to reopen his recruitment, ending his commitment to Georgia. He would recommit to Georgia on March 6. Terry has maintained he is solid in his commitment since then, although he visited South Carolina for the UAB game and is expected to visit Clemson this weekend.
As a recruit: Ranked as an ESPN 150 prospect, the No.5 safety, the No. 14 prospect in Georgia and the No. 123 prospect in the country. Selected to play in the 2012 Under Armour All-America game.
How it went down: Elder was thought to be a heavy Georgia lean after an early offer from the Bulldogs, but an interesting twist occurred over the summer when South Carolina offered Elder as a cornerback. From then on, the Bulldogs trailed the Gamecocks, and Elder announced for South Carolina at the Under Armour All-America game.
Since he enrolled: Elder will likely redshirt this year.
As a recruit: Ranked the No. 29 athlete in the country and the No. 27 prospect in Georgia.
How it went down: South Carolina and Georgia both went all out for Commings, who wrestled with his decision until late October before choosing the Bulldogs. South Carolina continued to pursue Commings even after he committed, but he chose not to take an official and kept his commitment to the in-state program where he felt more comfortable.
Since he enrolled:Commings has played in 42 games, making 116 tackles, seven interceptions, 13 passes broken up, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was named SEC co-defensive player of the week last week after making two interceptions versus Tennessee.