Georgia Bulldogs: Alvin Kamara

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:


SEC lunchtime links

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
12:00
PM ET
After this weekend, all the underclassmen who wanted to go to the NFL are officially gone. Now begins the hectic final push in the recruiting season. Nick Saban did the electric slide, Lane Kiffin sang karaoke and that's just the nonsense going on at Alabama to impress recruits. Signing day is Feb. 5, so strap in tight because things could get really weird before it's all said and done.

SEC lunchtime links

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
12:20
PM ET
It's Friday. Coast through the rest of your work week by catching up with what's happening around the SEC.
video

The University of Georgia got some big news Tuesday, as four-star running back Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) committed to the Bulldogs over Auburn and South Carolina. After missing out on top in-state tailback targets Alvin Kamara and Tyren Jones in the 2013 recruiting cycle, Mark Richt and his staff have successfully reeled in their top two targets at the position in the 2014 class. This fills a huge need for the Bulldogs with almost eight months until signing day.

With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both set to be draft-eligible juniors in 2014, Georgia will need to start preparing other running backs to possibly take over in 2015. Former ESPN 300 prospect A.J. Turman is a promising addition, as is Brendan Douglas, but both are incoming freshmen and are unproven at this point. Regardless of their contributions, Georgia knew it needed to find some more backfield talent for this class.

Will Carter continue Alabama pipeline? 

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
9:03
PM ET
SUWANEE, Ga. – There is never a shortage of highly coveted football prospects in the state of Georgia. While it remains to be seen if anyone in the 2014 class will be rated as highly as 2013 standouts Robert Nkemdiche or Montravius Adams, there are already a couple defensive recruits that can stake claim to being recruited by just about every prominent program in the country. Raekwon McMillan is one, and Lorenzo Carter is the other.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UGA week in review: Richt's raise 

February, 16, 2013
2/16/13
7:00
AM ET
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:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Class heavy on in-state players, not top 10 

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s coaches often mention how the key to a successful recruiting effort is to focus on talent that resides within its home state or a drivable distance from the UGA campus.

And Bulldogs coach Mark Richt made that point once again on national signing day when he reminded those at his press conference that 21 of Georgia’s 32 signees -- a group that ranked 10th in ESPN’s class rankings -- came from the Peach State, which he said was “pretty normal for us.”

“Two-thirds of our team is from the state of Georgia. That’s about how it’s been ever since I’ve been here,” Richt said. “Philosophically when we go after guys out of state, we certainly want to find guys that are special in their ability and their academics and how they carry themselves, as well.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Now that the pens have been put to paper, the classes have been announced and most of your attention has turned to the 2014 recruiting season, it's time to take a look at how each school in the SEC did when it came to immediately filling needs.

We're checking out what all 14 teams did to fill holes, and we're looking at which holes still remain. We'll start with the SEC East:

FLORIDA

Needs filled: LB, OL, DB, WR, DT -- The Gators had one of the most complete classes out there, finishing second in the ESPN class rankings. Florida landed the top cornerback prospect (No. 3 nationally) in Vernon Hargreaves III, defensive tackles Caleb Brantley and Jay-nard Bostwick, linebackers Daniel McMillian and Matt Rolin, and safeties Keanu Neal and Marcell Harris. The Gators also added five wide receivers, including ESPN 150 members Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood.

Holes remaining: DE -- Will Muschamp seemed thrilled with his class, but he probably would have liked to get a least one more defensive end. The Gators missed on a few, including Tashawn Bower, who almost picked the Gators before signing with LSU. Four-stars Jordan Sherit and Antonio Riles were the only defensive ends in this class.

GEORGIA

Needs filled: ILB, S -- The Bulldogs had to replace a few bodies at middle linebacker, and did so by signing four. The star of the group is four-star ESPN 300 member Johnny O'Neal, who is the No. 5 inside linebacker in the county. Tim Kimbrough and Ryne Rankin, both ESPN 300 members, also signed with the Dawgs. Georgia also signed five safeties, including two junior college standouts. The top safety in this class is ESPN 150 member Tray Matthews.

Holes remaining: Elite OT, elite RB, elite DT -- Mark Richt was pleased with his 32-man signing class, but he knows it could have been better if a few elite players had signed with Georgia. The Dawgs barely missed on top offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss), No. 4 running back Alvin Kamara (Alabama) and No. 2 defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Auburn).

(Read full post)

We are just hours away from national signing day. I'm going to need all you readers to breathe and count to 10. It's almost here, which means it's almost over.

And with it being almost over, it's time to take one final look at ESPN's RecruitingNation class rankings. On the eve of the biggest recruiting day of the year, the SEC is still keeping it all in the family when it comes to the top classes in the country. The SEC has 12 teams ranked within the top 40 of the class rankings, with five coming within the top 10.

Florida and Alabama remain No. 1 and No. 2. The Gators have 26 verbal commitments, with 11 being ESPN 150 members and 15 being ESPN 300 members. The biggest members of Florida's class are top-rated cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who is the No. 3 player in the country, and top-rated running back Kelvin Taylor, who is the No. 8 prospect overall. The Gators have a few spots open and are still in the mix to sign defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick, junior college defensive tackle Jarran Reed and wide receiver James Clark. Defensive end and current Auburn commit Tashawn Bower is also on Florida's radar.

(Read full post)

Alvin Kamara: TweetChat 

February, 5, 2013
2/05/13
11:29
AM ET
Running back Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) will decide between Alabama and Georgia on signing day, announcing his decision at 3:35 p.m. ET on ESPNU. While it was thought that the Bulldogs were the team to beat several times last year, it seems the Crimson Tide are sitting pretty to add a fourth ESPN 150 running back in the 2013 recruiting cycle.

On Monday night, he consented to answer some questions that were submitted by fans on Twitter using the hashtag #AskKamara. Be sure to follow him at @A_kamara6.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

When it comes to recruiting, the readers believe it's still Alabama's world.

Florida might be No. 1 in ESPN's class rankings, but with more than 7,100 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, Alabama was picked to take home the recruiting class crown by grabbing 40 percent of the vote. Alabama currently has the No. 2 class, with 22 commits (10 ESPN 150 members).

Alabama has a chance to add to its already impressive class with a handful of ESPN 150 members still heavily considering the Crimson Tide, including top middle linebacker Reuben Foster, safety Antonio Conner, defensive tackle Dee Liner and running back Alvin Kamara. Adding a couple of those names might propel the Tide over Florida.

The Gators were third in our poll, as Texas collected 27 percent of the vote to come in second. The Aggies have the nation's No. 7 recruiting class and 32 commitments. A&M has six ESPN 150 members and is hoping to add to that number Wednesday with cornerback Mackensie Alexander and athlete Levonte Whitfield still in the mix.

Florida collected 18 percent. While the Gators would like to add to their class, the headliners might already be in hand. The Gators have a good shot of landing four-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. He's ranked No. 14 nationally by ESPN recruiting services and is the top remaining prospect on the Gators' board.

Georgia was fourth with 10 percent of the vote, while LSU grabbed 5 percent. The Bulldogs could have a very exciting signing day with Foster, Kamara, Liner, top offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and stud defensive lineman Montravius Adams still looking at Georgia. Landing a few those big names would shoot the Dawgs up the ranks, for sure.

LSU might not have a very exciting signing day. The Tigers own the nation's No. 6 class, with 26 commitments (six ESPN 150 members), but it looks like the staff is waiting on No. 1 Robert Nkemdiche and Auburn defensive end commit Tashawn Bower. Ole Miss is way ahead for Nkemdiche, while it could be tough to flip Bower.

Possibilities and predictions: Georgia 

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
9:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Last Friday demonstrated the reason why the recruiting hotboard in the Georgia coaches’ meeting room is kept on a dry erase board. As the day started, the Bulldogs had 10 targets in mind for signing day. By midnight, the erasers had been worked hard. Let’s review what happened so we can gauge the possible commits on signing day.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Mitchell, Rome helped spark UGA surge

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s football program seemed to be on the ropes with two weeks remaining until signing day 2011. Three seasons of declining results, capped by the program’s first losing record under Mark Richt in 2010, left the Bulldogs in an uncertain position.

But when Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome elected to join the Bulldogs’ “Dream Team” recruiting class on Jan. 20, 2011, an impressive finishing push for Richt’s coaching staff leading up to signing day was launched. That was a big step toward the on-field resurgence that allowed the Bulldogs to win back-to-back SEC East titles over the last two years.

Another strong signing class followed the “Dream Team” in 2012 and played a role in the Bulldogs’ division championship. And as Richt’s staff attempts to reel in a final batch of blue-chip prospects before national signing day on Wednesday, we can review the successes of the past two seasons and point to that mid-January day -- 13 days before signing day 2011 -- that Valdosta (Ga.) teammates Mitchell and Rome publicly committed to the Bulldogs as the jumping-off point for Richt’s staff to restock their roster with a flood of talent.

(Read full post)

ESPN Watch List DE flips over Athens 

February, 3, 2013
2/03/13
6:48
PM ET
Lorenzo CarterRadi Nabulsi/ESPN.comLorenzo Carter enjoyed his trip to Athens after getting an offer.

One of the top defensive ends in the state of Georgia for 2014 took a visit to Athens to hang out with the Georgia coaching staff for the first time since the Bulldogs offered him a scholarship last month.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Inside the DawgHouse 

February, 1, 2013
2/01/13
10:19
PM ET
Heading in to the last weekend before signing day, the news is coming fast and furious, as Georgia chases after its top targets and prepares for a breakneck end to the 2013 recruiting cycle. Here is a quick recap of news that has broken on The Pound in the last 24 hours.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

The top five freshmen in the SEC
The SEC Network highlights the best freshmen football players from the SEC this year.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12