Georgia Bulldogs: Orlando Brown Jr.

Signing day wrap: SEC

February, 5, 2014
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The Southeastern Conference had a strong finish the 2014 recruiting class. Alabama, which received a commitment from four-star outside linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) on Wednesday, finished with the top overall class by a landslide, and seven of the top 10 recruiting classes in the country are in the SEC. Here’s a closer look at some of the top news from around the SEC on national signing day.

Top class

[+] EnlargeRashaan Evans
AP Photo/Butch DillESPN 300 OLB Rashaan Evans, who chose Bama over Auburn, made a great class even better.
There is no question Alabama had the top overall class. The Crimson Tide finished with 27 signees, including 19 ranked in the ESPN 300 and five five-star prospects. In addition to the incredible class Alabama put together leading up to signing day, the Crimson Tide were also able to land Evans, the No. 52 player in the country. Evans chose Alabama over arch-rival and hometown Auburn Tigers.

The Alabama class was led by the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), the No. 2-ranked defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and the No. 2-ranked cornerback in the country Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), who is already enrolled.

The SEC West alone had three schools, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, finish in the top five of the final recruiting team rankings. In all, 13 of the 14 SEC schools finished in the top 40 of the team recruiting rankings.

South Carolina, LSU and Georgia finish strong

South Carolina had arguably the best finish of any class in the SEC. The Gamecocks were able to flip ESPN 300 defensive end Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and defensive tackle Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. They were also able to land ESPN 300 defensive backs Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) giving the Gamecocks a very athletic secondary.

If South Carolina was the best, LSU wasn’t far behind. The Tigers were able to land the No. 1 wide receiver in the country Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic). Dupre chose LSU over UCLA, Ole Miss, Alabama and FSU. Valentine had decommitted from three different schools – Louisville, Florida and Miami -- over the course of his recruitment before finally settling on LSU. The Tigers were also able to hang on to defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine), who had been wavering on his commitment leading up to signing day.

Georgia, meanwhile, added five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), who chose the Bulldogs over LSU, FSU and Florida. They also added four-star wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage). The ESPN 300 wide receiver wasn’t even considering Georgia until earlier this week, but a late offer from the Bulldogs was enough for McKenzie to pull the trigger and sign with Georgia.

Several schools lose commits

Signing day was full of surprises, including several prospects who backed off of their commitments and signed with a different school. Three-star defensive tackle Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory), a long-time Tennessee commit, spurned the Volunteers and signed with Mississippi State. But not all was good news for Mississippi State. Ole Miss was able to steal junior college defensive back Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Holmes CC), the No. 22-ranked player in the ESPN JC 50. The Vols took another hit when three-star offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) unexpectedly signed with Oklahoma. The Volunteers, however, were able to land four-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers (Nashville/The Ensworth School), and had the No. 5 recruiting class in the country -- one that included 11 players ranked in the ESPN 300.

Quarterback Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) backed off his pledge to FSU and signed with Florida. Offensive tackle Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino) was only a part of Vanderbilt’s class for one short day, but the three-star tackle flipped on Tuesday night and signed with Florida on Wednesday. Four-star Alabama safety commit Chris Williams (Kingsland, Ga./Camden Co.) flipped and signed with UCF because of personal family reasons. Four-star wide receiver DeSean Blair (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) flipped his commitment from Louisville and signed with Missouri.

Vanderbilt able to rebound

The Vanderbilt class may not be filled with four- and five-star prospects, but the job new head coach Derek Mason did to rebuild the Commodores’ class is nothing short of amazing. After James Franklin left to take the head coaching job at Penn State and a string of decommitments followed, Vanderbilt was down to eight verbal commitments. After an impressive few weeks of recruiting the Commodores finished with 22 signees, including 17 prospects ranked three stars or higher.

The class is led by ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian) and four-star running back Dallas Rivers (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson). After losing ESPN 300 quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels to Washington, Vanderbilt was able to flip Pitt quarterback commit Wade Freebeck (Fort Lauderdale, Fla/St. Thomas Aquinas) and former ECU commit Shawn Stankavage (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons).

Vols, Dawgs can lean on OL classes 

December, 12, 2013
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In most cases, missing out on the nation’s No. 18 player would be a crushing defeat.

The battle to land David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle, had plenty of twists and turns with Tennessee and Georgia each taking a turn in the leader’s spot before he pledged to Florida Thursday. In the end, Sharpe saw an opportunity for early playing time and a lack of depth at tackle in Gainesville he couldn’t pass up.

Many fans are going to flock to social media to complain their beloved Dawgs or Vols missed out here, but they shouldn’t. Looking deeper at each school’s situation shows not landing Sharpe wasn’t a swing and a miss at all.

Tales From the Road: Georgia 

June, 5, 2013
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Each week, Tales From The Road will provide news and updates about Georgia prospects.


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Lessons Learned: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 13, 2013
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BUFORD, Ga. -- The Southeast, in particular Georgia, prides itself on its football talent. When the 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour made a stop outside of Atlanta on Saturday, the recruits who participated did not disappoint. After a competitive Saturday, dominated for the most part by the defensive line, six players earned invitations to The Opening.

Recruiting Nation’s Greg Ostendorf attended the camp. Here’s what he learned:

Headed to Oregon

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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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UGA week in review: Richt's raise 

February, 16, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Perhaps the biggest news to surface around DawgNation this week was that the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors approved a raise and contract extension for football coach Mark Richt, extending his deal through 2017 and pushing his base pay to $3.2 million.

[+] EnlargeMark Richt
Jeff Vest/Icon SMIOn the heels of Georgia's 12-2 season, coach Mark Richt was rewaarded with a raise and contract extension.
Athletic director Greg McGarity said after the board meeting that he expects to offer a pay raise to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, as well, although he did not yet have any specifics to divulge.

Otherwise, the time between national signing day and spring practice (which starts March 2) is typically quiet around the football program. The players are participating in offseason workouts and mat drills, and the 13 newcomers who enrolled in January are getting familiar with their surroundings on campus.

We focused on several of those newcomers in stories this week:


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Position scouting report: OT 

January, 17, 2013
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Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart and project how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s offensive tackles:

2012 two-deep depth chart:
LT: Kenarious Gates (Jr.), Mark Beard (So.)
RT: John Theus (Fr.), Watts Dantzler (So.)

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Georgia juniors arrive at UA Combine 

January, 4, 2013
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More than 150 of the top underclassmen prospects in the country were in attendance for registration to the Under Armour All-America Combine, several of which are from Georgia.

Massive OL looking to visit Wolverines

[+] EnlargeOrlando Brown Jr.
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comOrlando Brown Jr. is looking forward to visiting Michigan and other northern schools.
ESPN 2014 Watch List prospect Orlando Brown Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) should have no problem finding a place to play at the next level. At 6-foot-8, 370 pounds, the mammoth offensive lineman boasts offers from 36 programs, although he maintains eight of them are at the top.

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2014 OT Orlando Brown Jr. trims list 

December, 16, 2012
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Orlando Brown Jr.Tom Hauck for ESPN.com2014 ESPN Watch List offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. has cut his list to eight schools.
Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) announced his top eight schools Sunday night.

He’ll cut that list to three at the beginning of his senior year and then will concentrate on his final high school season.

For now, however, the mammoth ESPN Watch List junior has eight schools in the mix. Those eight -- in alphabetical order -- are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and South Carolina.

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Orlando Brown gives Georgia a look 

October, 2, 2012
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Offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) is used to getting a lot of stares. He knows his 6-foot-8, 370-pound frame is going to draw a lot of slack-jawed, wide-eyed gawkers. The gentle giant just rolls with the looks, even going so far as to make jokes about the rubber-neckers. He recently tweeted, “People look at me like snow in the south!! Surprise!!”

[+] EnlargeOrlando Brown Jr.
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comOrlando Brown Jr., is comfortable in his own 6-foot-8, 370-pound skin, as the ESPN Watch List OL relishes the celebrity his size and skill provide him.
Brown, who appropriately enough is nicknamed "Zeus", explained his tweet this way.

“I walk around school land people look at me like that,” Brown said. “I get a lot of attention. Everywhere I go people think I am some famous athlete or something. They are used to seeing country boys but they don’t see anyone with my style -- from the way I dress to my height. It is kind of weird, but it’s also pretty fun, pretty cool.”

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UGA fills 2014 ESPN Watch List 

September, 27, 2012
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Mark Richt is in the midst of his 12th season at the University of Georgia, and the SEC’s longest-tenured head coach has consistently brought in top-ten recruiting classes every year. It helps to be in the backyard of one of the deepest talent pools of any state in the country.

While it might be hard to match this year’s depth of top-tier prospects -– Georgia has 31 prospects in the ESPN 300 for the 2013 class –- there is no shortage of talented in-state juniors either. Twenty-five recruits from Georgia are in the initial ESPN Watch List, including three already committed to the Bulldogs in running back Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy), wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) and defensive back Nick Glass (Atlanta/St. Pius X).


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SEC tour makes choice tough for Riles 

June, 11, 2012
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Four-star defensive lineman Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer) has had a busy week. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound prospect camped Monday at Alabama, Thursday at Georgia and Saturday at Florida, but he admits his journey got off to a surprising start.

“Getting an offer from the Tide really caught me off guard,” Riles said. “The Alabama offer changes things, and I am highly considering them.”

In May, Riles mentioned Florida and Georgia as co-leaders, but on Sunday he was not ready to name a particular school as No. 1.

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DawgNation on the radio

May, 8, 2012
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DawgNation’s Radi Nabulsi was on ESPN’s Athens affiliate 960 The Ref this morning to talk about Georgia recruiting, golf and baseball. Some of the questions answered:
  • What does Robert Nkemdiche’s postponed announcement mean for Georgia?
  • Who are some of the next targets for the Bulldogs?
  • Which Georgia recruits were recently invited to The Opening?
  • Who should fans look for at the state track championships this week?
Listen to the radio show here.

Peach State Quick Hitters 

March, 30, 2012
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The Peach State has firmly entrenched itself in producing the fourth most FBS talent in the country, and while Georgia has some growing to do before it catches California in overall talent, it trails only Florida in FBS signees per player. Over 100 prospects from Georgia in the 2013 class are already claiming offers, with close to 10 in the 2014 class. In today's Peach State Quick Hitters, one glance at the number of schools mentioned by the prospects and it becomes evident that colleges from coast to coast are hoping to sign players from Georgia. Get the latest on several of the top recruits in Georgia right here:

  • Defensive lineman Marcus Adams (East Point, Ga./Tri-Cities) says Ole Miss has offered.
  • Running back Peyton Barber (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) says Ole Miss, Purdue, Clemson, UNC, Vanderbilt, UCF, Kentucky and Louisville have offered.

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SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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