Friday, May 24, 2013
Five targets UGA needs to work on
By Kipp Adams
After next week, off-campus evaluations will cease until Aug. 1.During the next two months, colleges, including the University of Georgia, will attempt to get prospects on campus for instructional camps that provide an opportunity to evaluate and recruit top prospects. Yesterday, DawgNation took a look at 10 prospects who could commit to Georgia. Today, we discuss five targets the Bulldogs’ coaching staff are going to have to work hard to have a legitimate shot at signing in the 2014 recruiting cycle.
To their credit, Will Friend and the staff were able to get Sharpe, the No. 12 prospect in the country, on campus last weekend, only the second out-of-state program and fourth program overall able to do so thus far. With basketball taking up much of his schedule over the last few months, recruiting is only now moving to the forefront for Sharpe, so it was obviously good to make a solid impression on the 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle. Georgia was able to do so just that, and caught his eye by pitching the opportunity to play basketball as well. But to be able to reel in a lifelong Florida fan surrounded by a family of Gators fans in Jacksonville, the Bulldogs’ coaching staff will have to stay on Sharpe and at the very least secure an official visit. Getting him back in Athens this summer would be a huge step in the right direction as well.
Clearly Georgia has some ground to make up for the No. 3 in-state prospect, also the No. 14 prospect in the country. Ohio State is the outright leader for McMillan, even after his most recent trip to Georgia last month. After that, things get cloudy for the ESPN 150 linebacker, with Alabama, Clemson and Georgia rounding out his top group. The Crimson Tide is making a push for McMillan, making the battle for his commitment that much more heated. With a December decision likely, time is on the Bulldogs’ side, as is the McMillan family, which Raekwon admits would prefer he stay home and play for the childhood favorite "between the hedges." This one is far from over, but if McMillan is to enroll early at Georgia, a positive push will need to be made at some point by inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and head coach Mark Richt.
For a school that has yet to get Sims on campus, Georgia is actually in great shape with the ESPN 150 wide receiver. The problem: the Bulldogs have yet to get Sims on campus. That problem will likely soon be rectified, as Sims said this week he plans to attend the Mark Richt Camp at Georgia next month. The receiver-friendly offense, as well as watching the playmaking ability of A.J. Green, caught the eye of Sims growing up, and he is being sold on the potential of developing into that next elite big-play threat for the Bulldogs. Wide receivers’ coach Tony Ball could be just a few weeks away from getting his top target at wideout to visit. He needs to make the most of it.
The recruitment of McDowell has been a peculiar one to say the least. After netting an offer from Georgia last spring, the Bulldogs appeared to be in great shape to land the talented safety. Richt even offered the 6-1, 200-pound defensive back during an unofficial visit, but since then other teams like Tennessee and Florida State are more prominently mentioned by McDowell. An upcoming trip to Auburn for Big Cat Weekend could push the Tigers to the forefront as well. All hope is not lost for Georgia in its pursuit of McDowell, as he will make two trips to Athens next month and is in no hurry to make a commitment.
Another prospect that Georgia appears to have plenty of time to work on is Smith, a versatile defensive back who could help Georgia at cornerback or safety. Tennessee is a program he has high on his list, and other programs such as Clemson and Florida could be contenders as well. The Volunteers are making a hard sell on the opportunity for Smith to play early in Knoxville, a major factor for the ESPN 150 prospect. Smith intends on taking his official visits before making a decision. Another trip to Georgia should come soon. Expect the staff to show Smith how he can make an early impact as well for the Bulldogs.