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Thursday, February 07, 2008
Signing Day 2008 has come and gone and UGA has brought in another stellar class. We signed 24 kids, most (if not all) will actually make it to Athens, and some of the talent in this group is ready to contribute from day one. All in all, I’d say we had a very successful day.

So, with that in mind, I’d like to focus on the 10 stories from yesterday that are worth talking about. Every Signing Day has drama and even this one wasn’t without its own share, but I think when the dust settles, these are the 10 things we’ll really remember.

The Top 10 Stories from Signing Day 2008:

10. 24 Commitments stuck to their word – With the high-profile kids we had committed to this class, it was going to be a challenge for us to fight off other schools for their commitment. However, very few of the recruits had any sort of “I’m committed to UGA right now” type of drama. Most importantly, the highest profile ones (A.J. Green, DeAngelo Tyson, A.J. Harmon) all committed, stuck to their word, and were some of the first ones to come across the fax yesterday. At least A.J. Harmon had the good sense to de-commit before signing day, giving Clemson some time to find another player for that scholarship.

9. Nerds hate us – We beat Georgia Tech in everything, you know? Football, basketball, recruiting. It’s just a non-stop ugly-fest when we go against them in anything. Check the quote from GT QB signee Tevin Washington. Washington let us know what’s on his mind when he said, “I hate Georgia.” Sure, you do, kid. You can’t stand us. You know why? Because we didn’t offer you a scholarship. You’re just not good enough. Sorry, but we don’t have time to see every single kid who can run fast and maybe can throw the ball. Paul Johnson does, but we’re too busy winning to even notice. This is eerily reminiscent of another QB Tech had at one time that couldn’t stand (or beat for that matter) Georgia. I’ll give you a hint. He couldn’t count to four. Alright Washington, you called down the Thunder. We’ll see you in November.

8. We’ve got a kicker – Kickers rarely get love, but at UGA they have been a very integral part to our success. If we never had Brandon Coutu or Billy Bennett, we don’t win two SEC Championships and have three appearances in five years. It just doesn’t happen. We also don’t go 11-2 this season. It just is what it is. Right now, UGA only has two kickers on scholarship and they are both punters. We are in bad need of a reliable place-kicker and we got one in Blair Walsh. 3-stars, 4-stars, 5-stars, 0-stars, this kid’s got a leg and I’ve seen the video to prove it. Whether or not he can keep his head in the game and be clutch for us is yet to be seen, but at least we know he’s got the talent to be good. We just have to get him where he needs to be mentally.

7. Mark Richt gained some national face time – It’s rare for us to be all over television, but with the class we compiled and the way we finished the season, a lot of major players were all over Mark Richt yesterday. I was able to listen in on his ESPN2 appearance and even though nothing major was said or done, it’s still nice to know that your team is now becoming part of that “elite” category. Couple that with Richt’s always classy approach and all you can do is sit back and just admire what we’re doing on and off the field.

6. Even when frustrated, the staff still keeps its head up – Here’s a quote from Richt that’s just gotta make you respect the man. In reference to the Dwayne Allen saga, Richt said, “We do things a certain way here. We don’t really have the glitz, glitter and bling. We choose to be as realistic as we can be when we talk to these kids so they know what they are going to get. We don’t want them showing up and saying, ‘That’s not what you said, coach.’ We’re always going to be honest with them. We’re not going to promise anyone a starting position, or say you might play for us this year. We don’t say anybody’s going to start as a freshman, no matter what.” Well, at least we know WHY Dwayne Allen left. Be sure to laugh like hell when he redshirts.

5. Xavier Avery may just be a Dawg yet – One of the best athletes of the entire class is Xavier Avery. He has starred in football, baseball, and track and could be the most gifted athlete to come through UGA in a long time. He has the physical makeup and the grades (4.0 GPA) to learn the system quickly and contribute immediately. One thing that’s scared UGA fans; however is that he is a premier baseball player. Much like Israel Troupe, this kid WILL get drafted in June, but he will go much, much higher than Troupe did. Some have even said that he’ll never see the field and that UGA should have pulled his scholarship. One thing is for sure, if he does leave college for the MLB, then it will take some convincing. Avery said yesterday, “I cannot wait to spend the next four years in Athens…It will take a lot for me to leave Athens (for baseball). I would be giving up a lot to play Major League Baseball, so they would have to make up for that.” Whether or not he ever steps on the field is yet to be seen, but at least the kid’s got his head on straight.

4. Richard Samuel is a BEAST – The kid is an absolute physical monster, he hits the weight room hard, and he plays even harder on the field. Couple that with the fact that he is only 17 (yes you read that right…and he JUST turned 17) and you have a recipe that, with the right training, will turn him into a flat-out baller. If you’ve never watched his highlight video, you need to make some time to YouTube him. He is very physical, has good balance, is tall with long arms, and he sees the field well. Once he fine tunes some of his skills (I think he tends to over-pursue tackles), he’s going to be a leader of this team. Also, don’t be surprised at all if he winds up at linebacker. He’s good as a running back, but he loves to hit people and he’s too good at doing that to ignore it.

3. Jim Rome continues his douche-baggery – This was passed on to me from Ally. Here’s Jim Rome’s comments from yesterday about Mark Richt’s recruiting strategies: “Georgia coach Mark Richt has spent the last couple of months in the ‘convincing parade’ to get All-Americans to become Bulldogs by bringing them to his ‘crib’ to play ping-pong!...No wonder Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are getting over on him! Ping pong?! I don’t think I’m speaking ‘out of school’ when I say there are two things and only two things these kids want when they take an official visit. The way to get loaded! And they want to see some of the local talent…Again, I applaud Richt’s tact…at least he’s not greasy! But I guarantee Herschel Walker didn’t pick Georgia because of a knock down, drag out game of foosball with Vince Dooley.” Let me just say that I can’t f*cking stand Jim Rome, first. Second, all I have to say is that Nick Saban and Urban Meyer didn’t get over on Mark Richt last season, did they? Expect more of the same this year. Jim Rome can eat my @ss without the added benefit of grape jelly. If anyone wants to know what they can get me for a belated birthday present, it’s five minutes with that guy.

2. We missed Omar Hunter by THIS much – Trust me, the one that got away played on the defensive side of the ball. Our coaches commit to a kid until he de-commits from us. However, when he does so, everyone else is fair game. When DA left us for Clemson, it left us with an extra scholly that we promptly faxed to Omar Hunter. However, his LOI was already sent to Florida 30 minutes earlier. If Dwayne Allen mans up and even de-commits that morning when he woke up, then we snag Hunter. How do I know this? Check out this quote from Hunter himself: “When I de-committed from Notre Dame, Georgia was definitely the favorite at the time. I really like Georgia, it’s a great school in the state, but they really didn’t have a scholarship for me. Florida kept recruiting me and they became my No. 1…I went in last weekend looking at Florida and Georgia. They were two outstanding schools, and I really loved them both. But unfortunately, Georgia didn’t have a scholarship. It was just bad timing for Georgia.” All in all, I wish the kid the best. He wanted us and we wanted him, but it wasn’t meant to be. As long as he never plays in a WLOCP, I’ll root for him.

1. DeAngelo Tyson has a home – If you don’t know much about DeAngelo Tyson, you should do your best to find out real soon. This is a kid who has bounced in and out of foster homes his entire life and has worked extremely hard to get where he’s at right now. This kid appreciates the opportunity he’s been given and I guarantee you he will not disappoint off the field. On the field, I expect him to be a monster, but sometimes football just isn’t that important. This kid is getting an opportunity for a quality education that he earned through hard work, perseverance, and a desire to better himself and his situation. He deserves our respect before he’s ever donned a UGA uniform.

So, there you have it. I think the biggest question mark is which of these kids will redshirt and which will play, but we’ll have to wait until they’re all on campus and practicing in order to determine that.

Oh, and after signing this class, if you’re not excited you’re just not a UGA fan. Plain and simple.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
nice blog. When i think of this class i get chill bumps. Go dawgs!!

Blogger Richard said...
Great post!! 1 thought - thinking about our ultra-deep defensive line gets me fired up. The other thing that fires me up are WRs like Troupe, Hill, AJ, and King rolling into the picture. Wow!