Friday, July 12, 2013
Five-star DT close to a decision
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- With much attention is focused on the annual Dawg Night camp that will start at 4 p.m. ET, next weekend might have some fireworks as well. Five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard is scheduled to visit the Bulldogs on July 20, and according to his head coach, Bill Sochovka, Georgia has positioned itself well.
“I think he’s got a good idea where he wants to go and he’s going to make that announcement definitely before we kick off our season, so I’m assuming within a month he’s going to make the commitment to the school he wants to go to,” Sochovka said. “He had planned to go visit Georgia, South Carolina, and Clemson again this month with family members just to kind of see the campus and go on like a little family vacation. I say the reason why Clemson and South Carolina were one of the ones we had talked about geographic reasons, just to kind of get a perception of looking at something different than Georgia and always having a backup plan if something falls through.”
The nation’s No. 12 player initially wanted to visit Athens last Sunday.
Lamont Gaillard's last trip to Athens vaulted the Bulldogs to the top of his list. His next could result in a commitment.
“He was originally supposed to go this past weekend, the July 6th weekend," Sochovka said, "but that kind of got bumped, the family vacation, so I was expecting something this weekend from him in that regard."
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound rising senior has had Georgia in front since his visit in May.
“When we left Georgia that day there was a little gas station we stopped on the outskirts of town, and I think he had a good idea already where he wanted to go at that point,” Sochovka said. “Not to say the other schools didn’t do a good job recruiting, because they did, it’s just, he went down there, there was no fanfare, it was low key, they didn’t do the overwhelming, pulling out the red carpet for you, it was just us and the coaching staff. Coach [Mark] Richt for an hour and a half sat and talked to us, it was just really, really low key. Then they hooked him up with Todd Gurley. Keith Marshall and Tramel Terry and they sat down, we had dinner, and they were just talking real normal, and those three were just talking -- no pressure on him whatsoever. It was more about Lamont and the student-athlete than Lamont the football player.”
The Georgia coaches were a hit as well.
“There may be more, but it was just a different feel,” Sochovka said. “You could see the coaches know how to recruit and have recruited kids like Lamont before, and they know how to deal with head coaches. There was never a, ‘I’m so and so from so and so University and you’re just Bill from Fayetteville yada yada.’ Real good, cordial, respectful recruiting methods all around, and I think Georgia just hit it home.”
Gaillard did have some doubts about Georgia at first. When he and his teammate Harold Landry accompanied Sochovka on the visit, they were not sure what they would find.
“And it was funny, we were driving there and the comment was made -- because it’s pretty rural -- they said, ‘Coach are you sure you’re going the right way? Because I don’t think Georgia is in this area,’ ” Sochovka said. “And I said, ‘Guys, I’m telling you, it’s here because I’ve been there before.’ I’m a big Penn State fan, and it reminded me a lot of State College -- it’s out in the middle of nowhere. If you take Penn State out, there’s no State College, if you take UGA out of Athens, there’s no Athens. And we drive right in, and they’re like, ‘Wow.’ There was the concert that weekend so they couldn’t drive us up in cars to the Stadium so they had to take those guys up in golf carts because all the roads were blocked off. They saw how big the stadium was, they saw how people were flocking to go see a country music star, and I think the comment was made, ‘Well this is nothing, you should see it on a game day.’ So they really go to see something from that perspective.”
Gaillard is not easy to impress.
“I was telling our local newspaper the other day for a kid as young as he is and being thrown all these different carrots -- with championship rings being thrown at him and bowl rings, the oohs and ahhs -- he has remained pretty level-headed and he understands the process,” Sochovka said. “He asks the right questions, and I’m pretty amazed at how he deals with the whole thing.”
The process might come to an end next weekend when Gaillard returns to Athens with his family.
“They’re going to go down on the 20th,” Sochovka said. “I said, ‘Whenever you decide call me and I’ll put the word out to everybody.’ It’s pretty much a waiting game. Once he makes that official, I’ll make it official.”