NCF On The Trail: Shaq Wiggins

ESPN 300 CB names UGA his leader 

July, 8, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff is looking for another cornerback in the Class of 2014 to pair with ESPN 300 athlete commit Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). Its chances improved over the weekend as another ESPN 300 standout Kendall Randolph (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) named the Bulldogs as his leader, followed by Florida State and South Carolina.

Lilly a key factor in UGA class 

February, 7, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Multiple coaches had a hand in Georgia’s landing another top-10 signing class on Wednesday, but John Lilly might have been the standout in the collaborative effort. The Bulldogs’ tight ends coach played a key role in recruiting at least six of the Bulldogs’ 32 signees, including two of their top early enrollees.


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Signing day primer: Georgia 

January, 23, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- With national signing day exactly two weeks from today, DawgNation looks ahead to what Georgia has coming and who the Bulldogs still need, and why.

Team needs: Georgia has a number of holes to fill, considering the defense is losing 10 players who started last season. All-American junior Jarvis Jones and two-year leading tackler Alec Ogletree have declared for the NFL draft, which means the incoming prospects will have to be ready to play early.

Also, consider that Georgia only signed one player for the secondary, one wide receiver and not one inside linebacker in the class of 2012. Those positions are a priority. The secondary is in special need of attention as both starting safeties and two starting cornerbacks were seniors this past season. The Bulldogs have decent depth at the outside linebacker spots but the SEC championship game proved Georgia needs help on the defensive line. Junior nose Kwame Geathers has also opted to leave early for the NFL, so Georgia needs to sign some quality prospects to fill in the defensive trench.

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ESPN 150 CB Wiggins makes decision 

January, 17, 2013
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Sunday, ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) returned from an official visit to South Carolina. Later that evening he received a call from Mark Richt. The Georgia head coach asked if he should be worried about Wiggins changing his commitment from Georgia to the Gamecocks. Wiggins told Richt no, but that he still planned to take visits to Florida and Texas A&M.


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Richt checks on his top commit 

January, 15, 2013
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ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) spent Sunday morning eating breakfast with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, then ended that night on the phone with Georgia coach Mark Richt.


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Shaq Wiggins back from South Carolina 

January, 13, 2013
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ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) was in Columbia, S.C., to take a closer look at South Carolina during his official visit. Wiggins said during practice for the Under Armour All-America game last week that the Gamecocks had the best chance at getting him to switch his commitment from the University of Georgia.

“I am still committed to Georgia, but I just need to take these last few visits and I will have a better idea of what my final decision will be,” Wiggins said.


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Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013
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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

Gamecocks make push for CB Wiggins 

January, 3, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) has been committed to the University of Georgia for more than 10 months, but when asked this week at Under Armour All-America Game practice about his future, Wiggins did not sound so certain about his plans.

“I am still committed to UGA, but there is a very good chance that if I don’t go to Georgia, that I go to South Carolina,” Wiggins said. “After that it is Ole Miss, then Florida, then Texas A&M.”

The Gamecocks have emerged as a true threat to steal Wiggins, the No. 5 cornerback prospect in the country, from the Bulldogs.

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#UAGame practice: Day 2 notebook 

January, 1, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There were several standouts at Tuesday's Day 2 practice for the Under Armour All-America Game (5 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN). Two players -- one for Team Nitro, the other for Team Highlight -- said they are closing in on their college decisions and will make their announcements Friday. Meanwhile, the nation's No. 1 player left the field at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports with an injury.

Folston closing in on decision

Four-star athlete Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) is set to make his college decision Friday. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound ESPN 150 will chose between Notre Dame, Florida State and Oregon.

Folston has been a standout defensive back during the first two days of practice, but he's being recruited by all three of his final schools to play running back.

He said he likes the familiar feeling he gets from Notre Dame and Oregon.

"It's just a home feeling, the fans around there are great fans. The community is all involved in football. It's just a nice town and a home feeling environment. With Oregon, it's pretty much the same as Notre Dame. They are two different schools but I call it 'the village,' just everybody in that place comes together and helps support the team."

Florida State is the only school Folston is considering from his home state, but he insists distance won't be a factor in his decision.


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#UAGame practice: Day 1 notebook 

December, 31, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Team Nitro and Team Highlight took to the fields at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on Monday for Day 1 of practice for Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). Two powerhouse programs in the Southeastern Conference look to battle it out for one of the standout running backs, and one of the top uncommitted offensive linemen is out with an injury.

Tide and Dawgs at top for RB Kamara

The Under Armour All-America Game boasts a bevy of talented running backs, and after the first practice ESPN 150 prospect Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) drew comparisons to one of the best.

[+] EnlargeAlvin Kamara
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN 150 RB Alvin Kamara says Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon have been key to his recruiting process.
“They say I play like Percy Harvin,” Kamara said.

The 5-foot-10, 192-pound tailback has made a name for himself as a home-run threat out of the backfield or lined up in the slot, which makes it no surprise that programs across the country are pining for his commitment. Two from the SEC are in the lead.

“Alabama and Georgia are the front-runners, but I am still looking at Oregon -- and Tennessee too, with Butch Jones being there now,” Kamara said.

The nation's No. 4 running back has yet to set any official visits, but plans to do so after he gets home from the UA Game. A decision will likely come after his visits.

“This is not going to be a busy month so much as it is just something I need to buckle down and do,” Kamara said. “I am going to take these visits and base my decision off of that.”

One factor in his decision will be the relationship he has with the coaches recruiting him. The Tide could have a slight advantage because they made first contact with Kamara.

“Kirby Smart and I are really close,” Kamara said. “He was the first coach to ever talk to me. He snuck me his card after practice and I could not believe it. For a coach of his stature to be the first coach to talk to me is great. We have been in contact ever since, and we have a great relationship.”

Georgia might counter that with their running backs coach being Kamara’s recruiter of record.

“Coach [Bryan] McClendon and I have a great relationship too,” Kamara said. “With him being my position coach, I could see myself playing for him. We are on a friend level and we do not even talk about football most of the time.”

The in-state Bulldogs also have a few people in Kamara’s ear this week, though he admits they have been putting the pressure on him for quite some time.

“Even when we are not in a big event like this, guys like Shaq Wiggins, Brice Ramsey, even Reuben [Foster], even though he is not committed, are always asking where I am going,” Kamara said. “They are joking, but they are on me pretty hard sometimes.”

Newsworthy: OL Crowder deals with injury, sets officials

ESPN 150 offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond) will be unable to play in Friday's UA Game after aggravating a hand injury he sustained a few weeks ago at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. While he is disappointed, Crowder said today he is looking forward to the home stretch of his recruitment and choosing from one of two programs.

“It is Clemson No. 1 and Georgia No. 2, and I will decide on signing day,” said Crowder, ranked the No. 2 OG in the country.

The Tigers have been after the 6-foot-1, 330-pound offensive lineman for more than three years now, and they have location and familiarity working in their favor.

“Clemson has been recruiting me since I was in ninth grade,” Crowder said. “I like what they have going on and I have built a strong relationship with them. It is close to home and I have some family close to Clemson. I will take my official there Jan. 11.”

Crowder has not been to Athens for six months, but he has fond memories of his visit.

“Georgia is a great powerhouse team in the SEC,” Crowder said. “When I went down there during the summer I really liked the campus and enjoyed meeting the coaches. I spoke to them two weeks ago and set an official visit Jan. 18.”

Trending

It was only the first day of practice, but Team Highlight (Black team) quarterbacks got off to an impressive start.


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Weekend Rewind: Georgia 

December, 17, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- As the dead period in college football approached, the Georgia coaching staff tried to make the most of this past weekend.

Assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner and offensive line coach Will Friend were dispatched to the Georgia Dome to see and be seen by the Bulldogs’ targets playing in the Georgia state championship games.

Between them they witnessed cornerback commit Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), offensive line commit Josh Cardiello (Buford, Ga./Buford), running back target Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), linebacker target Korie Rogers (Buford, Ga./Buford), athlete target Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and wide receiver target Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) win state titles. They also saw defensive tackle priority Montravius Adams and his Dooly County (Ga.) High School team come up short in their championship game.

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Weekend rewind: Georgia 

December, 10, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff was on the road Friday, as usual, checking in on commits and targets alike. In what had to the most fortuitous turn of events of the day, tight ends coach John Lilly and inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti just happened to be stopping by Auburn (Ala.) High School right after the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker, Reuben Foster, decommitted from Auburn University. Both coaches met with Foster, who reopened his recruitment, citing reports that his mentor Trooper Taylor had been let go at Auburn.

Later that night, another coach would also prove lucky as defensive line coach Rodney Garner was on hand to congratulate Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County) after the top-ranked defensive tackle won the chance to play for the Georgia Class A championship.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon were on hand to see the Bulldogs’ top tailback target, Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), win his semifinal game as well. Alabama’s Kirby Smart was also there, and the battle for Kamara is still neck and neck.

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Alan Knott recruits as hard as he blocks 

December, 7, 2012
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TYRONE, Ga. -- Much of the recent reporting from Sandy Creek (Ga.) High School has referenced skill players like cornerback Shaq Wiggins, quarterback Cole Garvin and wide receiver Demarre Kitt. But just as in college and the NFL, the success the Patriots have seen starts on the lines. Which for Sandy Creek means it starts with offensive tackle Alan Knott.

[+] EnlargeAlan Knott
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comAlan Knott is aggressively recruiting Georgia commit Shaq Wiggins, his high school teammates, to South Carolina.
Knott is committed to South Carolina, having picked the Gamecocks over Miami, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, among others. In his last playoff game against a stingy Burke County (Ga.) High School defense, his Patriots were in an unfamiliar position: trailing after the third quarter.

“We were down and it was kind of nerve-racking right there for a little bit but we persevered through it,” Knott said. “We got Eric Swinney running that football and we made some adjustments on the line.”

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DT Chris Williams eats big, plays big 

December, 6, 2012
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TYRONE, Ga. -- With three Georgia coaches watching on the sideline on Friday night, defensive tackle Chris Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) picked an inopportune time to do his first Willie Beamen impression. Like the quarterback from “Any Given Sunday”, Williams was sick to his stomach on the field, but shook it off and kept playing.

[+] EnlargeChris Williams
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comTyrone, Ga., junior defensive tackle Chris Williams is seeing plenty of interest pick up in his recruitment.
“We fought,” Williams said. “I was throwing up a lot tonight. I don’t know why. I think I ate too much of the pregame meal. We had chicken biscuits and potatoes. I have never had that happen before. I guess it was because I ate three chicken biscuits. Eat big, play big.”

Teammate and Georgia commit Shaq Wiggins joked that Williams was eating biscuits “like Starbursts.”

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Weekend Rewind: Georgia 

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
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ATHENS, Ga. -- After coming within 5 yards of playing for a national championship on Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs really needed some good news on Sunday. To make matters worse, one of their top targets, wide receiver Ja’Quay Williams chose Texas A&M over Georgia on Sunday night. Missing out on a BCS bowl game did not help the mood in Athens, either.

Just when it seemed the Bulldogs could not catch a break on the field or on the recruiting trail, coach Mark Richt received a phone call. One of Georgia’s top targets, ESPN 150 athlete Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) was on the line. Terry had gone quiet after a visit to Clemson, deciding to mull over how he would fit with the in-state Tigers. He had already decommitted from Georgia once and the pressure to remain in South Carolina weighed on him. Terry was torn between the two programs. But during the call to Richt, Terry revealed he had made a decision.

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