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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Coveted OLB names a top five

By Radi Nabulsi

ATHENS, Ga. -- Outside linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) isn’t exactly sure of how many offers he has. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has not counted them. Once he had received over 30 offers to the top programs in the nation, there really seemed no point in doing so. Pugh is more concerned about the five that he has on top.

“It’s Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, USC and Kentucky,” Pugh said.

For the record, he has 39 offers to date from schools such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, South Carolina and Michigan State. Pugh recently picked up a surprise offer from the Bulldogs.

“I had talked with Coach [John] Lilly and Mark Richt on the phone,” Pugh said. “And then about two weeks ago Coach Lilly offered me. I was very pleased. I mean I was surprised and shocked. I have a lot of offers but I really like Georgia so I didn’t know what to say when he told me. They are a pretty good team from what I have seen when they played. I am supposed to be going up in the spring sometime to see a practice.”

The coveted junior also plans to take in Alabama, North Carolina and Kentucky in the coming months. He has been to Alabama before.

“When I went over there for a junior day, the coaching staff showed me a lot of good things they have to offer,” Pugh said. “That football program wins a lot of national championships.”

The Crimson Tide have been after Pugh for a while and when former Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt left to become the new defensive coordinator at Florida State, Pruitt continued the recruitment he had started in Tuscaloosa.

“Florida State offered me but Florida has not,” Pugh said. “Coach Pruitt was at Alabama when he started recruiting me, but now he is at Florida State. So I like that he is there. I mean I had liked Florida State but they didn’t offer me, so my interest fell off. But when they finally got the new coach, that is when everything changed.”

A coaching change is also at the heart of why Pugh is so high on the Wildcats.

“Coach [Mark] Stoops was at Florida State but now he is at Kentucky,” Pugh said. “He and I have been talking for a long time, ever since he started recruiting me at Florida State. Now he is at Kentucky so I have interest in them.”

As for the Trojans, Pugh said just being USC is enough to warrant further study.

“I don’t really know that much about USC but I know it’s Southern California,” Pugh said. “I am hoping I can take a visit out there and see what it is like. I just never thought that they would offer me. I am just blessed.”

Although Pugh can play defensive end as well as outside linebacker, he plans to concentrate more on schools running a 3-4 defensive scheme.

“I prefer to be an outside linebacker,” Pugh said. “I can play either but I choose to be standing up and get to the quarterback.”

His coach, Ronnie Cottrell of the state champion Godby Cougars, agrees that Pugh’s future is at outside linebacker.

“He is just a fantastic defensive player,” Cottrell said. “He has tremendous instinct and is just so athletic. He is a playmaker. He has proven he can rush the passer, he can cover, play in space or in the box -- he is an outstanding player. He could be an offensive player to but he is just so important to our defense here. His strength is obvious when he is on the line of scrimmage in that he has a quick first step. It has been a mismatch for many of the tackles we have played against.”