NCF On The Trail: Georgia Bulldogs

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 21, 2014
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There once again was a lot of big recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There was a big commitment, key visits and several new offers. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.

A lot of talent has already come off the board, but there’s still quality at the top of the ESPN 300 that could give at least 10 teams a shot at the second-best class. Plus, Penn State's James Franklin continues to be the most talked about coach in the Washington D.C. metro area.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M are trying, but it’s going to take a lot to get Penn State defensive tackle commit Adam McLean to change his mind. Plus, James Franklin's ability to spread the Penn State brand in Washington, D.C., was on full display Monday afternoon.

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No Todd Gurley. No problem?

Gurley, Georgia’s Heisman Trophy candidate running back, was indefinitely suspended Thursday pending an investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules. And while it will be impossible to completely replace him, there is no program better equipped than Georgia to handle the loss of a key player such as Gurley.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
David Goldman/Associated PressNick Chubb has given the Bulldogs a lift as a true freshman and will be expecting to do more with Todd Gurley out.
Thanks to triumphs on the recruiting trail in the past three recruiting classes, the Bulldogs are stacked at the position and might just be able to weather the storm as they travel to Missouri Saturday for a critical SEC East matchup.

Two of those running back recruiting victories came just last February, when the Dawgs were able to lure two top-10 running backs to Athens.

Nick Chubb didn’t garner as many headlines nationally as some other 2014 Georgia recruits, but he’s turned into the biggest impact signee from the class. Ranked as the No. 7 running back, the Cedartown (Georgia) product could have gone anywhere he wanted in the SEC and to a number of other national programs. But he was drawn to Georgia’s strong running back tradition and picked the Dawgs over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and numerous others.

“It’s amazing to be going in behind guys like Herschel Walker and Todd Gurley, two of the best running backs ever,” Chubb said after signing with the Dawgs. “I’m going to make a name for myself, and I’m going to do my best.”

His best has been more than good enough so far, as Chubb is the Dawgs’ second-leading rusher with 224 yards, a very good 7.2-yard average and two touchdowns. He likely will be called upon to carry a bigger load Saturday, and while you never expect a true freshman to excel in this type of situation, Chubb came into Georgia ready to deal with the spotlight and pressure.

“There’s always going to be pressure, and people are going to be watching to see if we can live up to it,” Chubb said. “I’ve been doing this since I was young, and I’m going to continue doing it. I’m going to do my best.”

Georgia also got another big running back pickup in February Sony Michel committed early to Georgia, picking the Dawgs over a host of nationally respected programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and others. Despite repeated pushes from local schools, namely Miami, Michel stuck with the Dawgs because of UGA’s deep running back tradition. Unfortunately Michel and a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/530937/keith-marshall" target="_new">Keith Marshall, the No. 2 running back in the 2012 class who came to Georgia with Gurley, are injured and out on Saturday, leaving Chubb to take the majority of the carries.
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With Brandon Wimbush switching to Notre Dame, where does Penn State turn to fill its need at quarterback? Plus, why should Washington State feel like it has a shot with an ESPN 300 prospect from Washington, D.C.?


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ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jonathan Ledbetter was presented with his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance and held at the Tucker (Georgia) High School gymnasium during a school pep rally. A large crowd consisting of family members, students, teammates and faculty members cheered loudly as the jersey was given to the 62nd-ranked in the country.

The Georgia commit, who recently switched his commitment from Alabama to the Bulldogs, said he was honored to be selected for the game.

"It's just an honor. Not a lot of people get selected for the game,” Ledbetter said. "There was a few select spots and I had an opportunity to go to the junior combine last year and they told me they really liked the way I played at the combine and they wanted me to come play in the game. I definitely accepted it.

"It was between this game and the Army game and I told Under Armour I would love to be in their game because I did their combine and liked the way they run things. I'm glad I just have the opportunity to be in such an elite all-star game.”

Since switching his commitment to Georgia, Ledbetter admits his recruitment has slowed somewhat, but that several schools, including the school he had been committed to, continue to recruit him.

"Alabama has still kept in contact with me,” Ledbetter said. “Coach [Lance] Thompson came by to see me like two or three weeks ago. We just kind of talked and he told me they were still going to recruit me and try to get me there. Florida, Miami, Ole Miss, Auburn and schools like that have been talking to me. They've been checking in.

"I'd say I'm 100 percent, 110 percent actually. I'm not going to switch, I've made up my mind."

 

Seven questions with Jonathan Ledbetter

If you were to start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?
Ledbetter: Of course I'd have to get a quarterback. I'd actually pick Blake Barnett, that's my boy. He's just a great player and we kind of bonded when I was committed to Alabama and he makes a lot of good decisions on the field. He's just one of those sound quarterbacks.

Who is the best player to ever play in the Under Armour game that you know of?
Ledbetter: I would say definitely say Jadeveon Clowney. He's a freak of nature. He does stuff I've never seen a human being do before. He's just an overall great athlete. He's a good person and has a great work ethic. He's ridiculously quick and can do a lot of things and can rush the quarterback.

What is your earliest football memory?
Ledbetter: I'd have to say when I lived in Maryland. I went and tried out for the team, made it. I was probably five or six years old. I was playing with my little brother and my oldest brother was on the older team. It's a funny story because this is when I hated football and didn't want to play at all. I played for two or three weeks and then I quit. My brother's made me quit. Every day my brothers would get on me. Then my older brother would come join our practices and come hit me. He wasn't even allowed to be on our field but he would just come on our field and come hit me. I was like "I'm sick of it, I quit." They ended up going undefeated but I didn't get a trophy because I quit. That's my earliest football memory.

Which football player did you idolize or be like when you were a kid?
Ledbetter: I didn't really like or watch football growing up so there wasn't really a player I wanted to be like. Now that I'm older I like players like J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh. They are both great players.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport, who would it be?
Ledbetter: I'd have to say Michael Jordan just because I'd love to play basketball against him. He's old now so that kind of kills it, but Michael Jordan in his younger years.

What number do you wear?
Smith: I wear No. 9 now. I had 81 last year and everyone is like 81 divided by nine is nine. I know James Vaughters had No. 9 when he was there and Detric Dukes had it last year and now he's at UGA. So everyone kept telling me I needed to get nine so I just went ahead and did it.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Smith: I used to play the piano. I have a grand piano at my house and I used to play. I also have an acoustic guitar. I can play both of them.

Help is on the way: SEC 

October, 8, 2014
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Almost midway through the season and teams such as Arkansas and Texas A&M have shown the obvious strengths of their teams with their running backs and wide receivers, respectively. But in most cases every team has an apparent weakness, too. Here’s a closer look at how each team in the SEC will address its needs through recruiting.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss, Kentucky and Auburn impressed several recruits with their big wins on Saturday and there were a few new offers in the SEC over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Juco recruits to watch: SEC 

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
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Generally SEC teams build their football programs by recruiting the top high school prospects in the country. Sometimes, however, the prospects don’t have the grades to qualify, there are transfers from other programs, or they just slip through the cracks and try to go the junior college route instead of signing with a lower level school. With the debut of the 2015 Juco Watch List, the SEC has 17 prospects already committed who are on the list.


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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 5, 2014
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From the Ole Miss win over Alabama to Kentucky’s big come-from-behind win over South Carolina, there were some incredible games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended the games, while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend around the SEC:

Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson took a visit to Ole Miss for its huge 23-17 win over Alabama. Jefferson tweeted out a few different photos of his experience in Oxford, Mississippi. Florida, Alabama and Florida State seemed to have been the favorites for Jefferson, but Ole Miss certainly helped its chances of landing the talented pass rusher.

 
The nation’s No. 2-ranked outside linebacker, Roquan Smith, also visited Ole Miss this weekend. The four-star athlete tweeted out a picture of himself on the sidelines at the game. Ole Miss has made a big run at the talented prospect.

 
ESPN 300 wide receiver Ryan Newsome took a photo of Katy Perry, who was also on the sidelines for the Rebels' big win.

 
Auburn hosted several key visitors for its big 41-7 win over LSU on Saturday. ESPN 300 linebacker Jeffery Holland was on hand and tweeted out a few different photos and videos of his experience, including one of himself alongside five-star defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

 
Despite losing 10-9 to Florida on Saturday, Tennessee still had some big visitors on campus. ESPN 300 defensive end Ricky DeBerry tweeted out a photo of the field at Tennessee and recent defensive tackle commit Shy Tuttle tweeted out a photo of himself and a friend.

 
Kentucky had a thrilling come-from-behind victory over South Carolina on Saturday night, and several recruits were in attendance. Three-star defensive end Kengera Daniel tweeted a photo of himself along with Kentucky true freshman Kendall Randolph.

 
The No. 1-ranked running back in the ESPN 300, Damien Harris, has been to Kentucky numerous times over the last several months. He was once again in Lexington for Saturday's game. What seemed like a long shot for Kentucky is now seeming like a real possibility of landing this elite athlete.

 
Mississippi State safety commit Jamal Peters was impressed with how well the Bulldogs played against Texas A&M on Saturday. After the thrilling win, it was announced that ESPN’s "College Gameday" would be in Starkville next Saturday for Mississippi State’s game against SEC West opponent Auburn.

 

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
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There was a ton of big recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference this weekend. Several top prospects made their verbal commitments, Georgia flipped an FSU commit, and Missouri -- despite its big win against South Carolina on Saturday -- lost a commitment. Here is a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Best of the visits: SEC

September, 28, 2014
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There were some great games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended games while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend:

ESPN 300 tight end and Texas A&M commit Jordan Davis tweeted out a photo of himself with three other ESPN 300 Aggies commits: James Lockhart, Larry Pryor and Justin Dunning. The four players were in attendance for Texas A&M’s thrilling 35-28 overtime win against Arkansas Saturday afternoon.

 

Four-star athlete DeAndre McNeal looks as if he also enjoyed his time in Arlington, Texas, for the Aggies game. The talented prospect tweeted a photo of himself with former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's family members. McNeal is also scheduled to visit UCLA, Miami and Oklahoma State later this year.

 

Georgia picked up a huge commitment from ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Chauncey Manac Saturday. Manac also visited Georgia for its big win over Tennessee. He is the third 2016 commit for the Bulldogs, and all three are ranked in the ESPN Junior 300.

 

The seventh-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, Deontay Anderson, took an unofficial to Auburn Saturday for its 45-17 win over Louisiana Tech. This photo was captured on one of his social media accounts by ESPN national recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton.

 

The No. 1-ranked running back in the country, Damien Harris, visited Kentucky this weekend for the Wildcats' 17-7 win over SEC East foe Vanderbilt. A fan captured this photo of Harris hanging out with Kentucky commit Eli Brown. Harris also tweeted about his experience in Lexington.

 

LSU 2017 commitment Dylan Moses posed for a photo at midfield at Tiger Stadium on Saturday while on an unofficial visit to watch LSU pound New Mexico State 63-7. Moses' father, Edward Moses, tweeted the photo.

 

SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
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There are once again some big games around the SEC this weekend. While Arkansas vs Texas A&M might be the game of the week in the conference, it is a neutral site game and not many visitors are expected to attend. The Tennessee at Georgia game, however, is expected to draw many top recruits. Vanderbilt at Kentucky and Missouri at South Carolina should also expect to see some important visitors. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here’s a closer look at some top expected visitors for the weekend.


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Early Offer: Sumlin's message for Lodge 

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
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Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin sent a not-so-subtle message to former commit DaMarkus Lodge at his Tuesday news conference. Plus, Mississippi State captured a monumental victory over LSU this past weekend, but the Bulldogs are also winning on the recruiting trail.


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