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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Coach's take: Brendan Langley

By David Ching

ATHENS, Ga. -- Todd Grantham has demonstrated a preference for big, physical cornerbacks in his three-plus years as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. With that in mind, Brendan Langley should fit comfortably into the Bulldogs’ secondary.

Langley’s coach at Kell High School, Derek Cook, said his combination of 6-foot-1 size, top-end speed and a 315-pound bench press will give Langley every opportunity to become an impact player in college -- particularly his “senior-type strength as a freshman.”

“To be that tall and still be able to move that kind of weight on the bench press is really abnormal,” Cook said. “He’s got those really, really long arms. Most of those long-armed kids can’t really press that kind of weight because they’ve got so far to push it. It’s usually those shorter, stockier guys.”

ESPN listed Langley, an ESPN 300 honoree, as a four-star athlete instead of a cornerback, which is understandable given the many ways he affected the game at Kell. Of course he was dominant in the secondary, but he also played receiver, running back and contributed on special teams.

Recounting a 2011 game against Pope where Langley posted 100 yards both rushing and receiving, Cook recalled thinking, “This kid is unlimited. He’s the only thing that’s going to get in his way.” And his senior year was more of the same, with Langley earning Georgia’s Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year honors while also catching 12 touchdown passes on offense.

Brendan Langley
Enrolling early in January could give Brendan Langley a chance to get on the field at cornerback for Georgia this fall.
“He was a tremendous player for us as a senior,” Cook said. “As an underclassman, he had a role and he fulfilled that role, as well, but as a senior, he was the guy.”

The athleticism that allowed Langley to contribute in so many ways in high school will obviously be an asset as he transitions to SEC football. But it also means he hasn’t focused exclusively on the position he will play in college -- and Cook said that will be his biggest obstacle as he tries to absorb Georgia’s defensive scheme.

He simply must refine the technical details that separate a great cornerback from an average one.

“He does the big things well. He runs well, he lifts well, he works hard,” Cook said. “He’s got to really refine the technical parts of his game as a corner that will really set him apart because he’s already got the big package with his size, speed, athleticism and strength. It’s the little things -- and he didn’t have to be great at the little things in high school because he was so physically superior to most other kids that he played against. It ain’t going to be that way in college.”

Grantham singled out Langley last week for working to learn his defensive responsibilities even before arriving on campus next month. It helps that Langley’s close friend Quincy Mauger enrolled at Georgia in January and got an early start at safety by participating in spring practice, enabling him to offer some pointers to his former Kell teammate.

Cook believes that Mauger’s presence and the opportunity to play early -- Georgia lost two senior cornerbacks from last season, Sanders Commings and Branden Smith -- were enough to lure him to Athens following a flirtation with South Carolina.

“Brendan was captivated by Georgia from beginning,” Cook said. “He liked the defensive back coach at South Carolina a lot, but that was really the extent of his relationship with that school. He didn’t really particularly care for anything else. So once he kind of took away that part of it and looked at the big picture, he felt like Georgia was the best place for him with an opportunity to play right now and to be close to family and also play with one of his high school teammates and best friends.”