Georgia Bulldogs: Kyle Kearns

ND commit Barnett is first Elite 11 MVP 

January, 5, 2014
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Quarterback Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif./Santiago) burst onto the scene during a terrific junior season.

It's safe to say the 6-foot-4, 185-pound signal-caller is still gaining speed.

On Sunday, Barnett was named MVP of the first Elite 11 Regional event, held at Santa Monica (Calif.) College.

Camp preview: What to watch 

June, 13, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff hosted 28 teams in 7-on-7 competitions last week and on Thursday they will welcome 20 more to Athens. This third tournament will have some of the top schools in the state in attendance. On Friday, the staff will host an overnight camp where players that signed up will get to experience life as a Bulldog for the day. Looks like another busy week for the coaches so let us look at five stories to watch.

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From June 5-15, Georgia will host a kicking camp, eight varsity day camp sessions, three youth camp sessions, three 7-on-7 tournaments with 50 high school teams with 20 players on each team, including an OL/DL camp that coincides with the 7-on-7, and for the first time, an overnight camp. In the middle of that is last Saturday’s Mark Richt Camp which brought in over 300 prospective student athletes, the largest group in the camp’s history. Add that up, and you have a lot of football players to get on campus.

Here’s where Daryl Jones, UGA’s director of on campus recruiting, comes in. His job is to make sure the prospects and coaches are where they are supposed to be, and the event runs smoothly. But Jones’ efforts start long before the first player steps foot on campus.

Daryl Jones
Miller Safrit/ESPNDaryl Jones is a veteran of planning prospect events.
“A camp like this does not start with the camp, it starts with the preparation of the camp,” Jones said. “My department generates material that advocates for our camps. Then during the course of 168 [spring evaluation days], our staff is all over the place at different parts of the country, continuously pushing to get kids on campus during the course of the summer.”

This registration push is the key to getting the talent in Athens in June and July, and it is no easy task.

“We sent out close to 2,500 email communications about the variety of camps that we have,” Jones said. “That is on top of the amount of emails we send out to every high school coach in the state of Georgia about our 7-on-7 camp and then we sent out 7-on-7 information to all of the coaches of guys we have extended offers or guys close to offers so we can get good evaluations. It all starts on the front end driving registration by creating mail outs and camp brochures.”

From April 15 to May 31, assistant coaches are on the road for the spring evaluation period, all the while trying to persuade prospects to get to Athens.

“What a lot of folks don’t realize is the amount of effort, really personal time, effort that goes into Facebooking, tweeting, and talking to high school coaches,” Jones said. “Guys are traveling all over the state, on the phone, talking to coaches, answering the emails, Facebook messages and Twitter requests about the camp they are legally allowed to respond to. It is all generated through the position coaches and there is so much effort put into it -- it would be hard to describe unless you actually have lived in the world of it.”

This year Georgia's staff had prospects from California calling at 1 a.m. ET to inquire about the possibility of attending the camps. Thei diligence likely paid off as 2015 quarterbacks Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) and Kyle Kearns (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill) to campus for this weekend’s overnight camp.

The Bulldogs’ director of football operations, Brad Hutcherson, works side by side with Jones and UGA’s compliance department in constructing the camps while avoiding any possible recruiting violations.

But they are not alone.

“We utilize every staff member we can muster, plus volunteers and we would not be able to pull it off without the assistance of the high school coaches who come and help us for very minimal compensation under the NCAA allowances,” Jones said. “I promise you they put in way more effort than we are allowed to pay them for.”

When the camps begin, the football staff will spend time the night before the 7-on-7 events to discuss each team involved. They evaluate each school and the prospects involved.

After the 7-on-7 camp ends each day, the coaches go from evaluating the talent on the field, to scrambling to do individual drill work with 20-25 varsity day campers, and there was also little down time for the football staff in between sessions on Saturday during the Mark Richt Camp.

“We flew upstairs and organized our thoughts on what we had just seen and what actions needed to be taken going forward,” Jones said. “Then we go back down and begin the second session.”

After this weekend’s overnight camp, Georgia will hold one more camp, Dawg Night on July 12. Between now and then, the staff won’t be resting on their laurels.

“We will have constant recruiting, constant Facebook, constant Twitter and Coach Richt will be calling high school coaches to encourage their players to come to us,” Jones said. “It really is a group effort of the high school coaches supporting us, us communicating with the high school coaches and players within compliance. Then once they get on campus, it is my job to make sure we are organized in our camp settings.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- On Day 2 of the Mark Richt 7-on-7 tournament, 14 more high school teams from Georgia, South Carolina and Georgia traveled to Athens, Ga., to compete on the University of Georgia practice fields. Unlike Thursday, the weather held off on Friday and the first offer of the 2013 camp season was issued to a familiar name in the Southeastern Conference. DawgNation was on hand to watch, and here are five things we took from the event.

Dynamic duo dominate

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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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Tales From The Road: Georgia 

May, 29, 2013
Each week, Tales From The Road will provide news and updates about where Georgia’s coaches have been and what prospects are standing out.

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Peach State: Top Tier Recruiting Ground?
California, Florida and Texas are largely considered the "Big Three" in college football recruiting. But national recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to explain why Georgia deserves to be in the top tier and has numbers to prove it.