Georgia Bulldogs: Jaquay Williams

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and his staff have the SEC pedigree. Now they are filling the roster with much of the same.

The Cardinals could potentially add a fourth SEC transfer to the mix. Safety Tray Matthews was dismissed from Georgia on Tuesday, then tweeted he would transfer to either Auburn or Louisville. If he chooses the Cards, he would join three former SEC players -- his old Georgia teammates Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, and former Texas A&M receiver JaQuay Williams.

[+] EnlargeTray Matthews
AP Photo/John BazemoreTray Matthews, shown celebrating after an interception last September, tweeted that he's considering a transfer to Louisville after he was dismissed from the Bulldogs.
None of these moves comes as a huge surprise. All three Georgia players played for current Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. The decision to hire Grantham away from the Bulldogs clearly has paid off in more ways than one. His presence has helped bring Wiggins and Harvey-Clemons to the Louisville defensive backfield, an area with a major lack of depth.

Should Matthews enter the fold, Louisville would be in line to start nearly the same defensive backfield in 2015 that Georgia featured when all three players were healthy this past season.

That would be absolutely huge for a Louisville team making the transition into the ACC. Petrino has made foolish mistakes in his past, but he is not a fool when it comes to understanding what it takes to win -- especially on his side of the division.

Atlantic Division front-runners Florida State and Clemson are the only two ACC schools consistently recruiting at an SEC level on a consistent basis. To compete with them, Louisville must do the same. Accepting these transfers is one way to start closing the talent gap that currently exists between the programs. Williams, Wiggins, Harvey-Clemons and Matthews were all four-star recruits out of high school. The three Georgia players were ranked in the ESPN 300 and were dubbed the Bulldogs' defensive backfield of the future.

To understand how much catching up Louisville has to do, consider this: During the last five years, Louisville signed a combined 24 four-star players. Seven were ranked in the ESPN 300. Those are great numbers for the old Big East/American. But in the same span, Florida State signed 70 four-star and five-star players, and 55 were ranked in the ESPN 300. Clemson signed 55 four-star or five-star players, and 34 were ranked on the ESPN 300. It's easy to see why these two schools have separated from the rest.

As successful as Louisville was in its final years in the Big East/American, playing in a tougher conference means you need better players. Looking for transfers -- even transfers with baggage -- is one way to do that.

There are some risks involved. Harvey-Clemons and Matthews were both dismissed from Georgia. Though no specific details were given about Matthews' departure, Harvey-Clemons served multiple suspensions for team rules violations, including the 2013 Capital One Bowl.

Petrino was criticized during his first go-around with Louisville for bringing in players with discipline problems. Athletic director Tom Jurich told one reporter in 2008 that the Cardinals dismissed 21 players after Petrino left for the Atlanta Falcons because of disciplinary issues.

So the track record is not sterling. But Petrino and Jurich have both vowed things would be different in the program this time. Given where Louisville stands as it heads into the ACC, Petrino has to be willing to take a few risks. At the same time, he also has to show he means business with the players who have been in trouble in the past. Second chances are one thing, but there needs to be a level of discipline in the program that was not there the first time Petrino was in charge.

None of the incoming players are eligible until 2015, when Petrino will have a much better idea of where his team stands in the ACC. If he can maximize their potential and keep them out of trouble, Louisville will be well on its way.

ESPN Watch List WR shuffles leaders 

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Recruiting is never static, especially at this time of the year. Coaches are on the road and visits are being taken. That holds true not just for the Class of 2013 but for this year’s junior class, which is being wooed by college coaches trying to get a jump on the ever-quickening recruiting cycle.

Each day we find college coaches checking in on the top prospects for the Class of 2014. Such is the case with ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek).

Demarre Kitt's popularity on the rise 

December, 5, 2012
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TYRONE, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt has been popular over the last 10 days. A number of college coaches have stopped by Sandy Creek (Ga.) High School to check in on the 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior who sports offers from 11 major programs such as USC, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

Kitt was verbally committed to Georgia for a few months before reopening his recruitment. The Bulldogs had three coaches, Rodney Garner, Kirk Olivadotti and Scott Lakos, at his game Friday night. While their attention was focused mainly on Georgia commit cornerback Shaq Wiggins, Kitt was happy to see them.

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Williams makes call for Texas A&M 

December, 2, 2012
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Texas A&M continues to pick up commitments on the heels of its 10-2 inaugural Southeastern Conference campaign, and the latest comes from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy receiver Ja'Quay Williams.

[+] EnlargeWilliams
Jamie NewbergJa'Quay Williams, once committed to Auburn, also considered in-state power Georgia, as well as South Carolina.
"After looking at everything and taking time to evaluate for now and into the future, Coach [Kevin] Sumlin, his staff, and the program is where I need to be and where I am now committed, 110 percent," Williams said. "I indicated so tonight!

"I have officially committed to Texas A&M."

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Decision soon for WR Ja'Quay Williams 

November, 29, 2012
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Wide receiver Ja'Quay Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Fork Union Military Academy) might have decommitted from Auburn last week, but the 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect appears to still have plans to play in the SEC. After taking official visits to Texas A&M and Georgia the last two weekends, Williams will check out South Carolina this weekend, with a decision coming immediately following his trip.

"I'm going on an official to South Carolina now and committing Sunday," Williams said.

South Carolina has come on late for Williams, beating out Mississippi State, Miami and Michigan for the chance to get the talented wideout on campus. A four-star receiver out of Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, Williams is close friends with ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), another prospect the Gamecocks are making a move to get. The two are contemplating signing with the same program.

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Georgia commits looking elsewhere? 

November, 29, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia has the nation’s second largest recruiting class with 30 prospects verbally committed to for the Class of 2013, despite having had four decommitments in the last year. The Bulldogs are hoping to add six more targets and to sign the largest class Mark Richt has ever had. But will the 30 recruits verbally committed to Georgia stick? Recent history says no.

So who could flip? That is tough to gauge but we thought we would examine a few players that have been rumored to be looking around.

CB Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) -- The No. 5 ranked cornerback is also Georgia’s highest rated commitment. Wiggins has been a tireless recruiter for the Bulldogs, trying to help Georgia sign as strong a class as possible. He would seem like the most solid recruit Georgia had but additions to the class have the Under Armour All-American worried.

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Weekend Rewind: Georgia 

November, 26, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff had a lot to be thankful for this past week as the Bulldogs picked up three commitments in five days. On Tuesday, ESPN 300 athlete Brendan Langley (Marietta, Ga./Kell) announced that he had decommitted from South Carolina and planned to line up at cornerback for the Bulldogs. The next day, junior college wide receiver Jonathon Rumph (Cayce, S.C./Holmes) called the coaching staff to let them know that he also had decided to commit to Georgia. Then late Saturday night, juco defensive back Kennar Johnson (Clermont, Fla./Mississippi Gulf Coast) committed to Mark Richt while on his official visit.

All three will enroll in January which is important for two reasons. First, Georgia is losing four of the starters to graduation in its secondary so having Langley and Johnson go through spring camp will go a long way to preparing them to contribute in an area of need. Rumph, too, will benefit from spring camp as he learns Georgia’s playbook and blocking responsibilities.

Secondly, the Bulldoga have 30 commits already and want to bring in four to six more. The only way Richt can sign so many players is to have around 10 of them enroll early and count backwards towards last year’s small signing class. There is plenty of room on the roster and Georgia will likely suffer more attrition as some players decide to leave early for the NFL.

Georgia’s recruiting momentum might net a couple more commits in the coming weeks. Wide receiver Ja’Quay Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Fork Union) took an official visit over the weekend. He was committed to Auburn while he was in town but with Sunday’s news that Gene Chizik had been fired, Williams decommitted from the Tigers. The situation on the Plains also has top inside linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) looking at other options. He is still committed to Auburn, but he took an unofficial visit to Georgia on Saturday to speak with the coaches in Athens.

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Ja'Quay Williams decommits from Auburn 

November, 25, 2012
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The writing was on the wall a couple weeks ago for prep wide receiver Ja'Quay Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek). But after the news that Auburn coach Gene Chizik had been fired, the four-star prospect made it official.

"Ja'Quay Williams is decommitting, officially," his legal guardian said. "Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State are on the current list. And Auburn is still in the mix."

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New commit Rumph fills sizable WR need 

November, 21, 2012
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The commitment of juco wideout Jonathon Rumph (Cayce, S.C./Holmes Community College) to Georgia is a big addition to the Bulldogs’ receiving corps -- pun intended. Georgia does not have a returning receiver on the team now or committed in the Class of 2013 who resembles the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Rumph. He is a large target -- something this recruiting class was missing.

As it stands, Georgia has commitments from wide receivers Reggie Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln), Uriah LeMay (Matthews, N.C./Butler), and Rico Johnson (Swainsboro, Ga./Swainsboro). Athletes Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./ Goose Creek) and J.J. Green (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County) will play multiple roles on the offense as well, including slot receiver. Aside from LeMay, who stands at 6-2, this group of receivers is not known for size, but rather speed and technique. Rumph will be the wideout who creates the most mismatches with opposing corners. He is not fast like Davis or Terry, but in a red-zone situation he will present a nice option.

Georgia signed only one wide receiver in the Class of 2012, and Blake Tibbs redshirted this season. The coaching staff knew it would have to bring in some playmakers with the next class.

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Juco WR Rumph is UGA commit No. 29

November, 21, 2012
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A day after adding a cornerback with the size coveted by secondary coach Scott Lakatos, the Georgia Bulldogs gained a commitment from a wide receiver with the size any college program would love to have. Juco wideout Jonathon Rumph, at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, announced his commitment to Georgia tonight at Spires Recreation Center in Cayce, S.C., his childhood stomping grounds.

“I chose Georgia because I love the atmosphere there, the fans, and how the coaching staff is filled with real people,” Rumph said. “They have my best interests at heart for me in regards to my career and my path to becoming a quality young man.”

Rumph chose Georgia over offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas Tech, among others. In nine games this season, Rumph caught 44 passes for 575 yards and 3 touchdowns.

With the upcoming graduation of Georgia’s Marlon Brown and Tavarres King, Rumph sees an opportunity to make an impact in Athens.

“The situation at receiver is such that I feel I can come in, work my way up the depth chart, and have a good chance at earning a starting position,” Rumph said. “With my size, the pro-style scheme at Georgia is a perfect fit because it puts me in 1-on-1 matchups where I can be a big help to the offense.”

He also likes the potential for success at Georgia.

(Read full post)

UGA's top five remaining offensive targets 

November, 20, 2012
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With verbal commitments from 27 prospects, spots are filling up fast at the University of Georgia. In this feature, DawgNation takes a look at top five remaining offensive targets on the board for the Bulldogs.

OT Laremy Tunsil -- Lake City, Fla./Columbia

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DawgNation Q&A 

November, 16, 2012
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I asked for questions on The Pound, DawgNation’s message board, and our readers had quite a few. This week I was asked to make a lot of predictions, projections and prognostications.

DantesInferno60: Do you think Georgia will continue to recruit Steven Nelson (Warner Robins, Ga./College of the Sequoias)?

Radi Nabulsi: I doubt it. When the coaches originally got word that the talented cornerback might be wavering a few months ago, they called Nelson immediately. He continued to remain a commit until this week. When I spoke to him prior to his Oct. 6 official visit to Oregon State, he sounded much more excited about the Beavers than the Bulldogs. I think Georgia moves on from Nelson and continues to try and flip Brendan Langley (Marietta, Ga./Kell) from South Carolina. Also, juco defensive back Riyahd Jones (Columbus, Ga./Garden City Community College) is visiting Georgia on Saturday. He might get an offer in light of Nelson’s decommitment.

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Auburn WR commit does some thinking 

November, 15, 2012
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Wide receiver Ja’Quay Williams’ nebulous commitment to Auburn University will likely become even cloudier over the following weeks according to a source close to his family. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound wide receiver has not formally decommitted from the Tigers but he is taking visits.

“Ja’Quay is scheduled to take official visits to Texas A&M this weekend and then Georgia next weekend,” said a family member who asked to be only identified as Williams' uncle and legal guardian, and not to be named.

Williams signed with Auburn in February but did not qualify academically and later enrolled in prep school at Fork Union Military Academy. Where he will enroll in January seems to be in question. The uncertain future of the coaching staff at Auburn is one of the key issues for Williams.

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Ja'Quay Williams re-evaluating options 

October, 31, 2012
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One of the top wide receivers in the 2012 class, Ja’Quay Williams (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy), signed with Auburn out of high school but was unable to qualify. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound wideout went the prep school route, enrolling at Fork Union Military Academy in an attempt to become eligible by January.

With Auburn’s struggles on the football field this fall, Williams will be firmly re-evaluating his options, per a member of his family.

“We are five or six games into the season and the quarterback is not working out,” the family member said. “The situation is what it is down there at Auburn and there are a lot of variables involved, so we are re-evaluating whether or not there needs to be a change and if there does, which program he intends to look at.”

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DawgNation signing day primer

January, 30, 2012
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The Georgia Bulldogs are hoping to add another top-10 class with head coach Mark Richt, and the 2012 class is ranked No. 5 in the ESPNU rankings.

Running back Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook), quarterback Faton Bauta (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer) and offensive lineman Mark Beard (Coffeyville, Kan./Coffeyville CC) have already enrolled and are on campus. Sixteen prospects are committed to Georgia, with nine others still being actively recruited by the Bulldogs.

DawgNation has you covered on when to expect each prospect to sign his letter of intent and add his name to the Bulldogs' 2012 recruiting class.

Commits

DT John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) 8 a.m.

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