Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Peek at Recruiting

I've been saving this blog for a couple of days, for the sole reason that I didn't want that stellar NCAA tennis analysis to leave the top of the page. But now I'm done waiting. Coming to the blog 15 times a day just to keep viewing "The Original Gator Hater" wasn't cutting it for me.

UGA football recruiting is progressing very nicely toward 2009. The Dawgs currently have 10 known commitments, 8 of which hail from within Georgia borders. This figures to be the prevailing theme as we look to next February. UGA could land as many as 14 of the state's consensus Top 20 players, during a very solid, but not exactly "flashy" crop of in-state prospects.

Former University of Tennessee quarterback (and current quarterback coach at North Cobb High School) Tee Martin recently commented to the AJC's Carter Strickland on both of UGA's 2009 quarterback commitments, after working with them at the Nike and Elite 11 Camps. Martin is obviously sold on these guys. Unlike Logan Gray, who heard rumors of a position change throughout his first season on campus, there will be no question that Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger will be quarterbacks. With Gray not set to be a senior until the 2011-12 season, there will be quite a competition on campus in the next few years. One thing is certain, UGA has seen an era of quarterbacks in Athens since Mark Richt arrived that has been absolutely unrivaled in its own storied history. That certainly does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon.

From a personal standpoint, the most interesting commitment thus far in the 2009 class is linebacker Chase Vasser. Aside from the fact that he looks like he'll be a can't miss player and a possible anchor of Wil-Mart's defense, I was intrigued to learn that he carries a 2 handicap on the links, and that he is considering asking UGA golf coach Chris Haack if he has an available roster spot after he gets to Athens. While a 2 handicap is certainly very strong, I doubt he'll have much chance at contributing for one of the best collegiate golf programs in America. I do think it would be a very interesting idea, and I'm quite certain that Vasser would be the only D1 college athlete to pull the ole' Bo Jackson football/golf combo.

Dennis Felton is having a nice run lately himself. The Dawgs' SEC Tournament Championship has parlayed itself into a nice couple of late backcourt commitments from the Atlanta area, to cap off what was already a solid class. The 5-player 2008 class has a chance to be a Top 25 class nationally.

2009 could be the class that ultimately puts the UGA program off the top. Barring any unforeseen attrition, UGA will look to sign a class of 3 next year. Already committed is Frankin County combo guard Demario Mayfield. With potentially 2 additional spots to fill, UGA will look to beef up its frontcourt. One thing is certain, a spot is being held for one guy who many say is the top player in America, South Atlanta PF Derrick Favors:
The most likely candidates for the 3rd spot in the '09 class (assuming UGA is lucky enough to secure Favors) would be:
  • 6'7 wing from Wheeler HS in Marietta, Ari Stewart. Stewart is easily the #2 player in GA (behind Favors) in the 2009 class, a true inside-out swing forward. Like Favors, everybody in the country wants Stewart, so landing him would be a major coup.
  • 6'7 Mary Persons PF Terrance Shannon, a tremendous athlete with a great deal of raw potential. Shannon plays much bigger than 6'7 thanks to his explosiveness and leaping ability, in the mold of a Josh Smith.
  • 6'9 power forward from Columbus, Torin Walker, more of a true post player, but also a skilled passer that would excel in Felton's motion offense.

While we're on the subject of Felton, I was pumped to learn earlier this week that UGA's men's basketball program finished 2nd in the SEC only to Vanderbilt (no shame in that) in the annual NCAA Academic Progress Rate rankings. Given the state of academics in this program not 6 years ago, combined with the criticism that Felton has taken for his tactics in dealing with player punishment, and his disciplinary methods ever since he stepped on the UGA campus, the release of the NCAA academic rankings do not represent a small news story. This validates Felton as a leader of men, as much as the SEC tournament title validated him as a solid college basketball coach. Georgia is lucky to have Felton, and I see uncharted territory for men's basketball at UGA in the very near future.

4 comments:

Bop said...

I can honestly admit that I have never wanted a recruit in any sport as much as I want Derrick Favors.

Sr's: AJax and McPhee

Jr's: Swansey, Barnes, Price and Brewer

Soph's: HT3, Drazen, Ware, Jacob, Leslie and Anyaorah

Fresh: Mayfield

Add Favors to that lineup = FINAL 4

DallasDawg said...

Bop,

Thanks for the kind words for our blog over at Dawgs on Top. I just checked out your site, and you guys are doing a great job. I've added you to my links. Thanks again, and keep in touch. Our email is dawgsontop at g mail dot com.

Bop said...

Dallasdawg,

Thanks for stopping in and for linking us to Dawgs on Top. Enjoy your site.

Check in with us in the next cpl weeks....JJ will soon be doing a regular piece that I believe the Bulldawg Nation will enjoy on a daily basis.

Mister Willie said...

Lol, oh man, I thought I was the only one who liked squidbillies...that is hilarious. All they're missing are those gator hater buttons with the bulldog gin drink recipe...did you find that online or see the actual episode?

Nice look at the recent recruit efforts, too. 2009 is going to be a class to beat, most def. Glad to see Felton getting some much deserved props, too, after the season he had.