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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Georgia safety commit clears hurdles

By Radi Nabulsi

Safety Kennar Johnson (Clermont, Fla./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) was supposed to enroll at Georgia this month.

He had been committed to the Bulldogs for more than three weeks when the junior college signing period began Dec. 18, and was expected to sign then. By Dec. 19 it was obvious something was wrong. Johnson could not be reached for comment. His coach stopped returning phone calls. Georgia put out a press release with the names of two junior colleges players that had signed with the Bulldogs. Johnson was not on the list.

Recently, a couple of Georgia coaches went to visit Johnson.

“Coach [Mark] Richt and coach Tony Ball, the receivers coach, came to see me a couple weeks ago,” Johnson said. “Last week Coach [Scott] Lakatos came to see me. They made me feel at home. It was a good thing that they came. They wanted to make sure I was still comfortable and still interested in coming there because I wasn’t able to enroll early.”

The problem was an SEC rule regarding the signing of junior college players.

“When you go to the SEC coming from a junior college, you have to have been at that college for at least three semesters,” Johnson said. “Summers do not count. So my transferring from California to Gulf Coast, even though I went to Gulf Coast last spring, summer and this past fall -- that doesn’t count. I would have had to go until May, but I have already graduated Gulf Coast. The SEC actually approved me to go to Georgia but they approved me so late that I would have been too far behind. It would have been all messed up.”

So how does he feel about the Bulldogs after all of the starts and stops?

“I was well set with them when I committed the day after Thanksgiving,” Johnson said. “But the fact that they are still coming out to my house, taking time out of their recruiting and taking the time to come and check on me, there’s nothing else to say about it; I’m going to Georgia.”

Just to be safe though, Johnson can expect at least one more visit.

“Coach Ball is supposed to come back this week one more time before I sign,” he said. “He or Coach Lakatos will be coming to see me.”