Friday, April 26, 2013
Inside the DawgHouse
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- This year Tax Day marked the first day of the spring evaluation period which, so far, has turned out well for a number of prospects who now have verbal offers from the University of Georgia. The Georgia coaches also looked into a few other prospects who could eventually pick up an offer from the Bulldogs.
Michel ready to pick ESPN 150 prospect Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) knows where he wants to play next season. At 4:30 p.m. ET, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound running back will announce his decision on ESPNU. The No. 16 prospect in the country, Michel is considered the No. 2 running back in the 2014 class, and narrowed his choices down last month to Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Notre Dame.
He was able to check out all five programs, and says he instantly fell in love with one college during his visit.
“I had to take unofficials to all of my finalists to see if I could find the place that where I would feel most comfortable,” Michel said. “When I first stepped on campus at the school I am committing to, I knew it was the right fit for me. It was like a home away from home and that played a major role in my decision.”
After making his commitment known, Michel says he wants his recruitment to end.
“I am not going to take any visits after I announce my commitment,” Michel said. “I hope it dies down so I can focus on my senior season.”
Super sophomore gets early offer
Defensive line coach Chris Wilson returned to his old stomping grounds in Memphis, Tenn., to check out mammoth sophomore Drew Richmond at the Memphis University School. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive tackle called Wilson on Thursday night and received some good news.
Georgia is the latest to enter the recruiting fray for Drew Richmond.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Richmond said. “They sent me a questionnaire and I filled it out and that was it. Later on Coach Wilson came to the school but he couldn’t talk to me so I called him after school. He asked if I would be interested in Georgia. I told him yes because I had a cousin [Ty Montgomery] that ended up going to Stanford but he was about to go to Georgia. I told Coach Wilson that I had heard good things about Georgia and he said they really wanted me. I want to visit there this summer.”
Richmond should not have been too surprised. He has already picked up offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Virginia. No school has the inside track this early in Richmond’s recruitment, but the Buckeyes started out strong.
“I was a big fan of Ohio State growing up,” Richmond said. “That was my school growing up. I was really, really excited when they offered me but I can’t make a decision on who I liked when I was growing up. I have to continue to get to know then and go up there to check them out.”
Richmond could be taking a visit to Auburn as well. The Tigers’ coaching staff told Richmond that they wanted him but would prefer to offer in person at one of their camps. By that time though, the talented sophomore’s offer list could take a while to read.
“I want to hear from Washington, USC, Texas, South Florida, Texas A&M, LSU, Notre Dame, Miami and South Carolina,” Richmond said. “I want to go to Washington and visit. I have a coach that played there and he said it is a great academic school.”
While all those schools are out of state, Richmond has a strong sense of state pride for his native Tennessee. He visited the Volunteers on Saturday.
“In-state will play a big part for me. I have always wanted to put my city and my state on my back," he said. "But right now I am just taking it all in and looking at all my options."
Dawgs offer another offensive tackle
Georgia has offered 15 offensive linemen that we know of in its never-ending quest to combat the SEC’s defensive talent. Last week, Brian Wallace (St. Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers College) became No. 16.
“Actually they started out just sending me letters but after a while I contacted them through Facebook,” Wallace said. “After a while I called them and we started talking more and more. And then last week they offered me. One of the coaches stopped by the school to check on me in the morning.”
Wallace now has offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Arkansas, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and UCLA, among others. He is also speaking with other programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame and Tennessee. He reached out to the Bulldogs a while ago.
“I initiated contact because of the fact that they are in the SEC,” Wallace said. “Before this whole recruiting process got started I had been watching Georgia play a few games. Plus some of my friends like Georgia.”
The 6-foot-6, 304-pound junior will finish school next week and plans to hit the road.
“I have already visited Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa and I will take more visits over the summer depending on my dad’s schedule,” Wallace said. “Right now the three that I would like to visit are Georgia, Arkansas and Ohio State.”
His father, an IT professional also named Brian Wallace, is appreciative of all the attention his son is getting, but not surprised.
“For jokes and giggles he will run through the kitchen and pick me up,” the elder Wallace said. “I am 350 pounds myself. He just picks me up. He was a defensive tackle last year but then he switched to offensive tackle and that is when things took off for him.”
Huggins’ popularity growing fast
Just when you thought defensive end Albert Huggins’ (Orangeburg, S.C./Orangeburg Wilkinson) super-charged recruitment couldn’t go any faster, the spring evaluation period proved that theory wrong. Coaches are flocking to his school to check out the 6-foot-3, 279-pound sophomore, who has already picked up offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee.
“South Carolina and Coastal Carolina came by Monday and then Georgia, Clemson and Louisville came by today,” Huggins said. “Louisville offered me today too. I also talked to one of the coaches at NC State on the phone.”
Huggins described Georgia earlier this year as his “dream offer” but now says all schools “are the same.”
“Georgia came by this morning at 9:00,” Huggins said. “It was Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti. He just said hello but we had never met him before, so that was good. Georgia coming by shows they are interested in me and want me to go there. They want me to come visit.”
The Bulldogs are not alone in wanting to get Huggins on campus. His list of camp invites will likely grow once he starts practicing May 1. So far the only trip he has planned is to see the Gators in July, but he has not had a chance to plan out the rest of his summer visits.
Coaches drop in on sophomore quarterback
The nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville), was voted the top performer at the Atlanta Elite 11 regional camp two weeks ago. Not only is Watson a top target for the Bulldogs, but the Georgia coaches recently looked in on his protégé Tyler Queen (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb).
“I have offers from Buffalo, Middle Tennessee, and North Carolina and I am talking to Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Clemson,” Queen said. “Hopefully I’ll get to the camps of all the colleges this summer, and kind of get a feel for what they want. I’m definitely going to be back at Dawg Night at Georgia.”
Queen, who performed well in his own right at the Elite 11, has familiarity with the Georgia program.
“It’s a great place with a great coaching staff,” Queen said. “I’ve got a good relationship with Coach [Mike] Bobo. It’s a great place to play. There is just a great feel up there in Athens and I really like the atmosphere up there.”
Watson has said similar things about Georgia. The two quarterbacks get along well.
“I’d say you can call him a mentor because he’s taught me a lot of things about my footwork because we run basically the same offense,” Queen said. “It’s just been fun going on the camp circuit with him and following him to see how he does things. We just talk a lot -- a bunch of technique stuff -- so it’s good to collaborate with him.”
Muschamp gets an early look
Outside linebacker Robert Muschamp (Rome, Ga./Darlington School) is known for more than just being Florida head coach Will Muschamp’s nephew. The hard-hitting sophomore is making a name for himself in the recruiting world as well.
Muschamp visited Georgia for a junior day last month that was limited to select Bulldogs’ targets.
“It was great, I loved it,” Muschamp said. “I spent about 40 minutes with Coach [Todd] Grantham. After we talked he got Jarvis Jones to come and talk to us for a bit. It was real cool. I had a real good time; it’s definitely one of my favorites now.”
Last week the Georgia coaches returned the favor, stopping at Muschamp’s school to look in him and freshman defensive end Landon Rice.
“Coach [Scott] Lakatos came by and said he wanted to check in and see how I was doing,” Muschamp said. “So that was good. I am going down to Florida on June 9, Georgia on June 15 and Auburn on June 20.”
The 6-foot-1, 212-pound sophomore is also receiving interest from Georgia Tech, Auburn and Missouri, but Florida could be a tough team to beat as family ties are stronger than state pride for Muschamp.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play for my uncle but it will not be the whole factor of what I choose in a college,” Muschamp said. “There are a whole lot of other factors that will come into play besides that.”