Friday, April 5, 2013
Inside the DawgHouse: G-Day edition
By Kipp Adams & Radi Nabulsi
DawgNation is here to take you Inside the DawgHouse -- a confidential look inside Georgia football recruiting for DawgNation subscribers only. As it will be every week, everything reported Inside the DawgHouse stays on The Pound forum. We are providing this information for our subscribers and hope that you help keep this information protected by keeping it here.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, all of the attention at Sanford Stadium will be "between the hedges" as Georgia takes part in its annual G-Day spring game. But throughout the day the Bulldogs’ coaching staff will also be entertaining some of the top prospects in the country.
Of those expected in Athens are several ESPN Watch List prospects, including linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County). The 6-foot-2, 249-pound Under Armour All-America Game selection is coming off a trip to Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have entrenched themselves as the team to beat. Georgia has its work cut out for them against the Buckeyes, as well as Alabama and Clemson, for the top spot. This trip could help put the in-state program in the right direction.
Alabama is hinted to be the leader for Dante Sawyer but Georgia could sway him with a former teammate.
Another Watch List target on defense visiting Georgia is Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett). While Sawyer has no official leader, he did hint last month that Alabama might be the team to beat. Georgia signed one of his teammates, ESPN 300 offensive lineman DeVondre Seymour, in February, and is hoping it helps sway Sawyer.
While Georgia might have some ground to make up on McMillan and Sawyer, that’s not the case with two other ESPN Watch List targets visiting this weekend. The Bulldogs are in great shape with running back Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), who could be closing in on a decision. Kendall Baker (Atlanta/Marist), who is being recruited as a defensive tackle but is versatile enough to play offensive tackle as well, named Georgia his outright leader last month. No decision date is set for Baker, but a commitment from 6-5, 270-pound prospect soon would not be a surprise.
Two other ESPN Watch List defensive tackles, Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) and Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), also plan to be at Georgia on Saturday. While Russell committed to UGA on Monday, there is no doubt that Shaw would be a welcome addition for defensive line coach Chris Wilson. Alabama is the biggest for Shaw.
Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County) got his first offer from Georgia, but with other offers likely to come soon, getting him on campus this weekend could pay huge dividends for Georgia’s chances with the 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback/wide receiver.
Out of state target Nolan Kelleher (Wando, S.C./Wando) has been a hot name on the recruiting trails as of late, picking up several offers, including one from Georgia. Offensive line coach Will Friend and the rest of the staff will have a chance to make a solid impression on both linemen Saturday.
Several underclassmen with early scholarship offers are visiting as well. D’Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) is a rising junior who already holds an offer from Georgia and holds the Bulldogs in very high regard. He came very close to committing during his visit earlier this spring. Another class of 2015 pass rusher, Arden Key (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), is close to earning an offer from Georgia if his grades check out. Class of 2016 tight end Isaac Nauta (Buford, Ga./Buford) made several impressive plays in front of the Georgia coaches last June at the Mark Richt 7-on-7, and he could very well leave Athens Saturday knowing he has a scholarship to play for the Bulldogs.
One prospect that could leave Athens with an offer is ESPN Watch List prospect Isaiah Wynn (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood). The 6-foot-2, 275-pound offensive lineman was very impressive at the Orlando NFTC and has racked up close to 20 offers over the last few months. Georgia could be next.
RB recruiting wrapping up? With the Bulldogs possibly close to adding Chubb, the attention then turns to ESPN Watch List tailback Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage). The elite running back will be visiting Florida this weekend because of a nearby track meet, but as it stands now, the Bulldogs appear to be the front-runners. The interest in nearby Miami is likely to continue, but Georgia has an outstanding shot to add Michel to its 2014 very soon, possibly by the end of the month.
If Georgia gets commitments from Chubb and Michel, keep an eye on the progress of 2012 signees A.J. Turman and Brendan Douglas. If either struggle, Georgia could still look to bring in others such as ESPN Watch List prospects Shai McKenzie (Washington, Pa./Washington), Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic), Darrell Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret) or Adam Choice (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central).
Is Williams still committed? The first commitment in Georgia’s 2014 class was running back Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy). Williams, then at Apalachee High School, committed to the Bulldogs in July 2011 at Dawg Night. But almost immediately following his early pledge, Williams began visiting other programs.
Since then, speculation has increased on just how long Williams would stay committed to Georgia. As it turns out, Walton head coach Don Williams says the two parted ways almost three weeks ago.
“Stanley wanted to look around, so Georgia and Stanley Williams decided to go their separate ways as far as him being committed,” Williams said.
When reached for comment, Williams would not publicly confirm his recruitment status.
“I have not officially decommitted yet, but I am open to all of the schools recruiting me,” Williams said.
Short visit for Watch List DE Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) dropped by Georgia on his way to Clemson last Friday. He and Georgia cornerback target Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) only spent an hour on campus, but half of that time was spent with Mark Richt.
The Bulldogs might know Sony Michel's decision before the end of the April.
“We watched the highlight tape, talked to Coach [Joe] Tereshinski about strength and conditioning and how their guys stack up in the NFL and how prepared they are once they leave Georgia,” Allen-Williams said. “Wesley and I sat down in the locker room and had about a 30 minute talk with Coach Richt just about how good the team was going to be this year.”
A lot of Georgia fans would like to have listened in to that conversation.
“He said this team is going to be great,” Allen-Williams said. “They are going to be young but he said they are all willing to work to get better. So it was a good talk. He talked about the guys that were leaving and that they lost nine defensive starters. But they signed 33 guys and he said it was one of their best classes ever and he felt that in time they would all come in and play early.”
Allen-Williams maintains that South Carolina is his leader but that he is still open to other schools.
“I will cut my list down to a top 15 before the summer starts and then keep cutting over the summer until I have a top five before the school year starts,” he said. “… I won’t commit before August -- that would be the earliest.”
It is a tradition at Cedar Grove that highly-recruited players commit at the first pep rally. Allen-Williams’ younger brother, Antwuan Jackson, could be in the same position in two years as he already has offers from Clemson, South Carolina and Auburn.
“Georgia is probably about to offer my brother pretty soon,” Allen-Williams said. “I was talking to Coach [Chris] Wilson that Friday and said, ‘When I came down there I can’t talk to your brother but I am going to size him up. If he is as big as I think he is we are definitely going to offer him.’”
That will be a key factor for Allen-Williams.
“Whatever school I go to, he is going to go to,” Allen-Williams said. “If I go to Georgia, he is going to come with me. If I go to South Carolina, he is going to come with me.”
Bryant on the radar early Running back Kawon Bryant (Bogart, Ga./North Oconee) can almost hear the whistles when Georgia takes to the practice fields. He might not be quite that close to campus, but playing in the bordering county means Bryant is very familiar with the Bulldogs and vice versa.
“I am starting to get letters from schools,” Bryant said. “Georgia is still the top one in sending me letters. I have been taking little visits to Georgia for junior day and camps. That has been fun. They talk to me about how it is a big transition to college from high school. They tell me to stay healthy and train a lot.”
Bryant has also been hearing from schools not so close to home.
“I have been hearing from UCLA,” Bryant said. “They told me if I sent them my highlights that there was a chance they offer. LSU said the same thing. I have a lot of schools asking me to come to their camps.”
2015 updates Another prospect visiting Saturday that impressed at the Mark Richt 7-on-7 last year is Terry Godwin (Hoganville, Ga./Callaway). The 6-foot, 170-pound athlete earned an offer from Georgia after a dominating performance at cornerback and wide receiver, and could project to either position in college. On Thursday, Georgia offered Christian Owens (Griffin, Ga./Griffin), a 6-foot-5, 205-pound rising junior that could play wide receiver or grow into a hybrid tight end in college. His coach says it is an offer he has been waiting on and that a week after visiting Georgia, he will return to Athens Saturday.