Georgia Bulldogs: D'Andre Walker

Every year it seems there is a battle within a battle in SEC recruiting. It's a game of one-upmanship in which schools look to get the most attention with new and creative ways to sell their program.

A couple of years ago, Alabama overloaded the mailbox of running back Alvin Kamara with 105 letters in one day. It worked, as today Kamara is on the Crimson Tide roster. Such success often results in copycat maneuvers, as Tennessee followed suit a year ago with athlete Stanton Tuitt (who ultimately chose to sign with Auburn).

SEC recruiters have shown that there is little they won't do. From singing karaoke to sending pictures, photoshopped images, puzzles and more. This is serious business.

Now Georgia has hit on the latest in a long line of eye-catching recruiting pitches. The Bulldogs have sent hand-drawn portraits to prospects with a personal note from coach Mark Richt included. There was speculation Richt had drawn the pictures, but safety Rashad Roundtree was told by Georgia coaches that somebody working in the Dawgs’ football office had drawn the portraits. Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith was told the same thing.

“It was really cool,” said Roundtree, who has Georgia among his leaders and also has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, South Carolina and others. “Only a few people got them. A lot of other mail is just stats and posters, but it’s nice to see something different. It made me feel one-of-a-kind.”

Smith, who has offers from more than 20-plus schools and lists Georgia among his leaders, said the portrait was the “most creative thing” he’s received in the mail and speaks volumes to how important he is to the Dawgs.

“To have them take their time to have somebody do that for me was great,” he said. “I loved it. It shows they take time out for their recruits.”

In the dog-eat-dog world of recruiting in the SEC, schools jockey to differentiate themselves when communicating with prospects. Most elite recruits receive around 50 letters a day from schools all over the country, but Georgia has done something that has caught the attention of recruits and separate itself from the other schools.

One rival SEC assistant coach said he wished he thought of the portraits and immediately sent his recruiting staff to come up with something “better.”

Have a look:


Summer Recruit Wrap: Georgia 

July, 23, 2013
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With the camp season over and the fall season rapidly approaching, DawgNation takes a look back at the biggest recruiting news of the summer.

[+] EnlargeSony Michel
Davide De Pas/ESPN.comClass of 2014 RB Sony Michel is one of the many big names in Georgia's class.
1. Summer has been very, very good to Georgia
Heading into June, Georgia had five commitments, after going without one in May. Some analysts had pegged the Bulldogs as being off to a slow start for 2014, but with a class of 33 in 2013, Georgia has had to be very selective with this class. Even with a decommitment last week, the Bulldogs have added 12 commitments in June and July, headlined by the additions of five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) and ESPN 300 athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). As August approaches, Georgia can realistically pick and choose to fill its remaining spots.

2015 ESPN 300 targets: Georgia 

July, 16, 2013
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Football offers and commitments are occurring earlier and earlier. To keep in line with this new world of accelerated recruiting, ESPN announced its release of the initial ESPN 300 for the 2015 class on Tuesday.

The list is once again loaded with targets for Georgia. DawgNation takes a look at 10 targets to keep an eye on for 2015, in order of their ranking in the ESPN 300.

1. OL Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)
6-foot-6, 270 pounds
ESPN 300 rank:
4


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Lessons Learned: McEachern 7-on-7 

June, 27, 2013
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POWDER SPRINGS, GA – The annual McEachern 7-on-7 tournament has become a showcase for top talent in Georgia. This year was no exception, with more than 30 FBS prospects among the 14 teams competing for the championship. Here are five things DawgNation learned after attending the event.

Langston Hughes is loaded


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With the University of Georgia staff on hand, 14 high school teams from Georgia and Florida fought off stormy weather to take part in the first session of the Mark Richt 7-on-7 tournament. DawgNation was on hand to watch, and here are five things we took from the event.

Top WR in town


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The next few days are very important for the University of Georgia’s recruiting, as the staff is set to host a 7-on-7 camp Thursday and Friday, followed by a one-day prospect camp on Saturday. Hundreds of prospects will be in attendance, including several top targets. Here are five storylines to watch this week.

Chance to impress Sims

ESPN 150 wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish High School) might be the highest-rated prospect in the 2014 class visiting this weekend. Expect the Bulldogs’ coaching staff to make sure he feels wanted while he is there. Another ESPN 150 wide receiver target, Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp), was on campus last week, and with a smaller class this recruiting cycle, Georgia might only have room to take one more wideout. Sims has visited Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State this week as well, but his coach said last weekend that Alabama was the team to beat. Georgia will do its best to change that Saturday, so expect the 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver to get a lot of love during the Mark Richt Camp.

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D'Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) racked up 105 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a blocked punt last season as a junior. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound pass rusher played a huge role in helping his team to a 10-2 record and its first playoff berth in school history and hit the recruiting map late in January, when North Carolina became the first program to offer Walker.

Since that time, 34 other programs have offered Walker. While Walker says all schools are now even, three coaching staffs have been able to connect with him the best so far. The 2015 prospect almost committed to one of them a few months back.


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Inside the DawgHouse: G-Day edition 

April, 5, 2013
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DawgNation is here to take you Inside the DawgHouse -- a confidential look inside Georgia football recruiting for DawgNation subscribers only. As it will be every week, everything reported Inside the DawgHouse stays on The Pound forum. We are providing this information for our subscribers and hope that you help keep this information protected by keeping it here.

In this week's update:

  • Plenty of talent expected to visit for G-Day
  • RB recruiting close to done?
  • Latest on Stanley Williams
  • 2015 RB on the radar
  • Short visit for ESPN Watch List DE

Get Inside the DawgHouse now.


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Lessons Learned: VTOSports Prep 100 

March, 11, 2013
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SUWANEE, Ga. -- The VTOSports Prep 100 brought close to 200 prospects to compete on Sunday, including some of the top prospects in Georgia. After an educational seminar on the NCAA and the recruiting process, focus shifted to positional drills and the 1-on-1 competition with standout performances by highly coveted recruits and sleepers alike.

RecruitingNation writer Kipp Adams attended the regional. Here are five things he learned:

MVP performances

Toward the end of the camp, the top five performers at each position were singled out for showcase style 1-on-1 competion in front of the rest of the camp. The winners at each position included a few well-known names in the recruiting world, as well as a couple unknowns hoping to emerge with opportunities to play at the next level.


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ATHENS, Ga. -- The big news out of Athens this week concerned raises for each of Mark Richt’s football assistants -- including a big raise and new three-year contract for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Bobo received a $240,000 pay bump to $575,000 per year and assistants Will Friend and Tony Ball also got sizable raises, but all nine Richt assistants received a pay increase of some sort.

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ATLANTA -- More than 1,700 student-athletes took part Saturday in the Nike SPARQ Combine here, a record for the event. Players from across the Southeast braved freezing conditions, snow flurries and significant wind chill to compete and test their athletic ability in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and power ball throw. Below are the standouts from the event, which includes several prominent recruits and some off-the-radar prospects for the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Top SPARQ Ratings

Daryl Rollins, RB (Knoxville, Tenn./Fulton) - 111.21
Dillon Bates, LB, (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra) - 109.05
Nick Chubb, ESPN Watch List RB (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) - 107.16
Khari Blasingame, DB (Huntsville, Ala./Buckhorn) - 106.89
Taj Griffin, 2015 RB (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) - 105.42

Top 40-yard dashes

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2015 DE almost made commitment 

March, 2, 2013
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ATLANTA -- Sophomore D’Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) has made quite a name for himself already. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defensive end tallied 105 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a blocked punt last season while helping his team to a 10-2 record and its first playoff berth in school history.

He was rewarded with his first scholarship offer last month, which caught him completely off guard.


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