Thursday, July 11, 2013
Five storylines to watch at Dawg Night
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- The list of visitors for the annual Dawg Night camp at Georgia this Friday reads like a who’s who of the Bulldogs’ top recruiting targets. The coaching staff will be hard-pressed to spend quality time with each of the big-name prospects who have said they will attend. We could write a blurb on the 80 recruits we have confirmed so far, but instead here are the top five storylines to watch.
1. All eyes on Williams: Wide receiver Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland) picked up an offer from the Bulldogs last month when he lit up the Mark Richt minicamp. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound four-star rising senior has 11 other offers, but the one from the Bulldogs was the special.
“Georgia was the offer I was hoping to get,” Williams said. “I was waiting to earn this one. I do not think there is an offer out there that could top this one.
Four-star WR Shakenneth Williams could commit to Georgia pretty early into Dawg Night.
Williams said he thought about committing when he received the offer but he decided to hold off for the time being. Georgia would like him to pull the trigger sooner rather than later, so Williams could be the first commitment of Dawg Night.
2. Sims returns with family: Offensive tackle Dyshon Sims (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes) spent the day in Athens three weeks ago with his position coach and a teammate. He spoke with the Georgia staff and toured campus. Richt and offensive line coach Will Friend didn’t push for a commitment that day since they appear to be expecting one when Sims returns for DawgNight.
“I guess they think when my mom comes up there with me next time that I might end up making a commitment,” Sims said.
The 6-4, 265-pound lineman will be bringing his family up to check out the Bulldogs, although they are quite familiar with the program since his cousin, Josh Harvey-Clemons, is the starting safety for Georgia. Sims could be the second commitment of Dawg Night.
3. Pair of 2015 targets getting close: Speaking of commitments, Georgia appears to be in a good position to pick up a couple commits in the Class of 2015. The staff was the first to offer defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (Albany, Ga./Westover) and offensive guard Dallas Warmack (Atlanta/Mays). Alabama and Tennessee followed suit. Thompson also has seven other offers, but he is constantly tweeting about committing to Georgia and the Bulldogs’ coaches were all over him at the minicamp in June. The constant hugs and jokes made it look as if he had committed already. Thompson may just be waiting for Dawg Night.
Warmack, younger brother of Alabama All-American Chance Warmack, just concluded a visit to Athens on Tuesday with his family. He plans to make a commitment soon, and back-to-back trips to visit Georgia could bode well for the Bulldogs.
4. Top targets return: While commitments on Dawg Night are often used as the measuring stick of success, that is really not a fair assessment of the event. Georgia could make moves with some of its most coveted prospects that would pay off later in the recruiting process. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will have a chance to knock Florida out of the lead for five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). ESPN 300 defensive end Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) will visit Athens for the first time since naming the Bulldogs his leader. ESPN 300 outside linebacker Christian Miller was just in Athens two weeks ago, and his quick return is a good sign as well.
Georgia will get to make a push for ESPN 300 linemen Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and Isaiah Wynn (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood). Shaw, a four-star defensive tackle, has Georgia in his top three and Wynn, a four-star offensive guard, has the Bulldogs on his short list. A number of other prospect with Georgia offers will also be in attendance such as 2015 standouts Terry Godwin (Hoagansville, Ga./Callaway), Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), Natrez Patrick (Atlanta/Mays), Jordan Scarlett (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School), Taj Griffin (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern), George Brown (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winston Woods) and Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek).
5. Secondary thoughts: Georgia has one safety commit and one cornerback commit so far in Nick Glass (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) and Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County), respectively. The staff in Athens would like to add one more at each position. Two of their cornerback targets will attend Dawg Night in Kendarious Webster (Stockbridge, Ga./Stockbridge) and D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton). Webster said he was waiting to see who offered first between Georgia and Alabama and when the Bulldogs did, he moved Georgia to the top of his list. Smith was targeted early by the staff when they were recruiting his former teammates Brandon Kublanow and Tyren Jones. Georgia would be thrilled with either of them. Kublanow, a freshman at Georgia this year, has vowed to make sure Smith joins him in Athens.
ESPN 300 safety Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove) will participate in Dawg Night, giving the coaches a second time in as many months to impress the four-star standout. McDowell participated in a 7-on-7 tournament in Athens last month. Safeties Kendall Gant (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson) and C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian) will also be in attendance. It will be interesting to see if Georgia makes a move with Hampton, the No. 195 player in the ESPN 300.