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From the editor : vance leavy Well after a several month layoff, it sure is nice to be sitting in front of my opportunity to land a mega class in 2013, which most gurus are saying is the laptop again putting the final touches to another issue of BI. This one is some- deepest in decades as far as top, talented players coming out of the state of what special because it’s the first issue of our tenth year of covering our num- Georgia. Also, don’t miss our photos from Signing Day on page 9 and some ber one passion … Georgia football and its fan base. And I’m happy to report of the Bulldog Nation’s comments on the 2012 class. that the issue delivers with plenty of insight about the team. And, of course, The rest of this issue contains photos from two events that occurred rewe’ve captured some fun photos of great Bulldog backers showing their pride cently that represents the success of individuals that are alumni and backers for old UGA. of the University of Georgia. In case you missed it, Coach Richt and his staff garnered another solid On page 6, check out this year’s class of the Bulldog 100. The event put group of young man who have committed to continuing their football careers on by the UGA Alumni Association recognizes the fastest growing businesses at Georgia. Here at BI, we’ve always taken a little different approach to the re- that are owned or operated by UGA Alumni. It’s always fun to see the pride cruiting hoopla that has become such a massive part of college football. Rather in these folks’ faces at this event. Not only are they proud of their company’s than releasing our issue right after Signing Day, we prefer to let the dust settle success, but also of their university for producing so many bright individuin order to have the opportunity to learn a little als. more about a few of the members of the signing And then on page 10, don’t miss our phoclass. tos from the athletic association’s Endowment But rather than talking to the student-athLuncheon. Without question, this is one of lete himself, we go to the foundation, the parent Cheri and my favorite events of the year. Once or guardian who has guided the young man to a year, anyone who has endowed an athletic this point in his life. Our questions go beyond scholarship is invited to Athens to enjoy lunch the playing field because we like to remind with the student-athlete who is the direct reeveryone that these great athletes are also young cipient of the generous donation. This year we men who are trying to figure out their next steps sat with several members of the football team, through life like all 17-year-olds. a cheerleader and a freshman on the men’s tenBeginning on page 12, enjoy Murray Poole’s Sanders Cumming, Jennifer Grant, Reuben Faloughi, nis team (pictured on this page). Listening to conversations with six of our new signees par- Chris Burnette, Nathan Pasha and Chris Conley the chatter at the table certainly makes you so ents. From learning that several of these new very proud of the student-athletes at Georgia. Bulldogs have given their mother flowers as a thank you to a couple of them Not only were their manners impeccable, their interests beyond sports were enjoying watching Pokéman and Pocahontas, the interviews are always en- fascinating. Two football players at our table played the guitar. Our cheerleader joyable and a reminder that Coach Richt and crew always land quality young was zeroing in on her future of becoming a PA. What a pleasure to share a men, first and foremost. lunch with such a crew of bright youngsters, who are on the verge of being Three of the 2012 class are already enrolled at Georgia and are pictured quality adults. on our cover. I went with the Ring Team? tagline because I heard it menOk, enough of the mushy stuff … back to football. tioned on ESPN’s coverage on Signing Day. And I don’t know about you, but With the 2012 Signing Class in the books, the UGA team will begin I kind of like that the class coming behind last year’s Dream Team has such spring practice in the coming weeks. And I loved hearing that Coach Richt is high aspirations. committed to putting the best football players on the field at all times. This is In his column space on page 5, Murray Poole goes one on one with a long time coming in my opinion. You can’t fault Richt for wanting to play Keith Marshall, who is one of the early enrollees. The running back from as many players as possible like he’s done in his 11 years. But we all know how Raleigh, North Carolina came to Athens with tons of accolades on the foot- fine the line is when trying to win the SEC and playing for the national chamball field, but those are equaled by his prowess in the pionship. classroom and his community. And oh by the way, the Gotta go now. I’ll leave you with two items though. youngster can fly, just ask UGA receiver Malcolm Mitchell, First, get to Athens in the coming weeks and months to support the who Marshall beat in a couple of sprint races during his other UGA athletic teams. If you went to UGA, then you know there’s nothfirst week on campus. ing better than Athens in the spring. Bring your family, support a UGA team Our Signing Day coverage is also highlighted by Jeff and indulge in one of the many awesome eateries in town. Dantzler’s take on page 4 and Carlton DeVooght’s on pages Finally, I leave you echoing what Tavarres King said about the 2012 sea8 and 9. Both JD and Carlton are very pleased with this son. “There’s no goal too high for our team this year.” Now if that doesn’t get year’s class. It was extremely high on quality, despite being you fired up, then shame on you. small in total size. But that does leave our staff the ability See you at the G-Day game on April 14. to pick up a few more in the coming months and have the Go Dawgs
THEY DESERVE MOORE YOU DESERVE MOORE
2012 Signing Class Cha Cha Cha Publishing Inc. Editor Vance Leavy Editorial & Ad Director Cheri Leavy Sports Guru Jeff Dantzler Sales Kelley Blanton Holly Stanfill Caroline Kinney Sports Murray Poole Travis Ragsdale Layout/Design Vance Leavy Signee photos rivals.com Ad Design Cheri Leavy Columnists Carlton DeVooght. Al Hickson Rob Sherrell. Loran Smith. Chad White Online Student Editor Travis Ragsdale Interns Ashley Hanna Janell Niederriter Pierce Persons
Signing Class, February 28, 2012 FOR ADVERTISING OR TO SUBSCRIBE:
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Future championships are largely won in February. There is the constant argument of recruiting vs. development, but it’s a flawed one. It takes both to win at the highest levels. Alabama, which has won two of the last three national championships, has accrued and cultivated great talent. The Crimson Tide’s last five recruiting classes have been ranked No. 1, No. 1, No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 nationally. You’ve got to have the horses. Georgia is blessed to be in a state that produces high-end prep talent. And lots of it. In fact, according to Rivals.com, well respected recruiting web site, the Peach State has produced the third most four and five star (the bluest of the blue chippers) prospects in the nation over the past five years. Getting their fair share, and even more than their fair share of the state’s best prep talent, is the recipe for autumn gridiron greatness. Build from the state, supplement with high-end out-of-staters. Though it wasn’t a grand slam, Georgia’s widely acclaimed recruiting class of 2011, was considered one of the nations’ best because a majority of the state’s elite players picked Georgia. The Bulldogs haul of 26 players featured 19 from within the state’s borders. That class was ranked fifth nationally. Third in the Southeastern Conference. As a quick aside, this is a statistical lesson that I hope most SEC fans have learned. A top ten class in this league may place you fifth in this league. If you don’t consistently have top flight classes, you won’t contend. It’s the ultimate keeping up with the Joneses. How else do you explain the six straight national titles and consistently pumping out the most NFL players? It’s the ultimate reload. Back to the state and Georgia’s class of 2012: Per Capita, excellent. Numbers, disappointing. What Georgia got was very good. The Bulldogs haul of 19 players was excellent. But the Bulldogs could have pulled in at least seven more and did not. With the February dismissal of three second year players, the Bulldogs have 75 players on scholarship who were signed out of high school or transfers. That’s ten below the minimum. That’s a self-induced probation. According to Rivals.com, there were 24 players who were four/five star players in the Peach State this year. The Bulldogs signed six. The Bulldogs must do better. And the Georgia coaching staff will be the first to tell you so. Now the Bulldogs did an excellent job of pulling in some elite out of state prospects, highlighted by North Carolina tailback Keith Marshall, an early enrollee, and Jacksonville offensive tackle John Theus. Georgia also did an excellent job of pulling in some of the best in-state prospects, such as outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons, linebacker/defensive end Jordan Jenkins and defensive tackle Johnathan Taylor.
Georgia’s 2012 crop of 19 players featured 11 from the state. Amongst those 11 in-state prospects is a quartet of “three-star” signees who could very well turn into standouts. John Atkins, a massive defensive tackle from Thomson, Moultrie tight end Ty Smith, Blackshear fullback Quayvon Hicks and wide receiver Blake Tibbs of Atlanta weren’t considered to be elite prospects. But all are good players who committed early and badly wanted to be at Georgia. Jenkins, Taylor and HarveyClemons are at the top of the list of defensive heir apparent(s) in this season’s class. That’s the young standouts filling backup roles and playing on special teams ready to step in the following year when upper class stars depart for the NFL. And as good as this season’s defense should be, a vast majority of Georgia’s starters will be moving on. On field success and recruiting is a chicken or the egg argument, but they go hand-in-hand. At LSU, Nick Saban and Les Miles secured that talented state’s borders and the Tigers started and continued winning big. The Bayou Bengals have played in the BCS Championship Game three times in the past nine seasons. If LSU can do it, Georgia can do it. Now the Tigers have no legitimate in-state recruiting foe. Georgia does have Tech, but more menacing is the proximity of several of the Dogs top rivals to the Peach State’s borders. Which is why recent recruiting triumphs the past two years in places like Valdosta, Columbus and Thomasville has been extremely important. After all, Gainesville, Auburn and Tallahassee are closer to these hotbeds than America’s greatest college town Athens, Ga. Even with the geography, UGA is the majority party of every county in the state. And with that flag planted firmly and the enormous shadow this great university casts, controlling the state is within the Bulldogs power. This coming season is a very important one. Georgia has a highly manageable schedule and a great deal of talent returning. A record superior to last season’s 10-2 mark through the first 12 games and a return to Atlanta is expected. If the Bulldogs achieve this and win the SEC Championship Game, a date in the BCS Championship Game would be on the agenda. And the top two prospects in the nation for next season at this point are Peach State products. Alabama won the national title and followed it up with the country’s top class. Georgia can do that this season. It’s the chicken and the egg. It’s taking advantage of a talented team and huge schedule break. It’s getting the best of the best in this state and adding in elite out-of-staters. It’s having a superb class, like Bama and LSU have done, a “dream team,” every year. It’s daring to be great.
poole shots By Murray Poole
A burner already enrolled in UGA classes You watch his high school video tape and shake your head. Because on that video, No. 4, Keith Marshall of Millbrook High in Raleigh, N.C., makes all of the rest of the players on the field appear like they’re running in slow motion. Yes indeed, the Georgia Bulldogs now already have a tailback in school who can run fast … very fast! In fact, if the 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash that Marshall said he was clocked at his high school is accurate, Mark Richt, Mike Bobo and the Georgia staff will dress out a player in Sanford Stadium who belongs in the world-class speed category. Yes, right there in the same speed zone that guys like Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson were in. And the Bulldogs are not only getting a fivestar rated football player who can turn on the jets in the open field but they’re also getting a very smart football player. In fact, Marshall’s GPA when he finished his high school work at Millbrook in December and then enrolled at UGA in January was 4.31, thereby joining a rare running back club that has a higher class-room average than a 40 time on the track. He was also a member of the National Honor Society. And before he’s logged a single carry at Georgia, Marshall has already begun picking up additional honors off the playing field. In Los Angeles recently, Marshall won the Watkins Award, which goes to a top high school scholar-athlete as presented by The National Alliance of African American Athletes. The coveted award is given to young, talented African-American athletes who, “by their example, help promote high academic standards and a commitment to community service.” Keith Marshall was undoubtedly the cherry on top of the Bulldogs’ solid 2012 recruiting class. Ranked as the No. 1 running back in the nation by Scout.com, he joins Bolles offensive tackle John Theus, Harris County outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins and Lowndes outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons as the only five-star rated players in the class. The 5-11, now 201-pound Marshall rushed for 4,552 yards in his prep career and also scored 332 points. As a senior, Marshall rushed for 1,891 yards and 25 touchdowns. Marshall was also the 100-meter champion in the AAAA state meet. But despite his eye-popping prep credentials, the low-key Marshall isn’t making any bold statements as to what he’s going to do in the red jersey of the Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, Marshall is confident in his abilities but as a guy who’s just attending classes at UGA and going through the off-season conditioning program in attempting to get ready for the start of spring drills on March 20, he said he’s simply trying to transition to being a college student at the moment. “It’s been a new experience here of course but I’m adjusting well,” said Marshall. “Enrolling early like I did and getting a head start, I’m able to get myself acclimated to college life before the season and all that stuff and, physically, I can get my body ready to compete.” Marshall said he’s not overly concerned about meeting the high expectations the Bulldog Nation has of him. “That’s why you have teammates and coaches and everything so I’m not really worried about all that,” he said. “Like I say, I work hard and take care of what I can do,” adding his goal for the upcoming spring practice is “to just learn the playbook and compete.” And yes, Marshall knows he has to compete for the tailback job with a guy named Isaiah Crowell, who despite some obvious bumps in the road, did win the SEC Freshman of the Year award while running for 847 yards this past season. “A lot of people ask me why would I come here with Isaiah, because obviously he’s a great player but I think that will make me better,” Marshall declared. “You have to compete every day if you want to play. That will make him better and make me better, too. I talked to him the day before I committed just to see what he thought about everything and he was supportive in everything. Isaiah’s a real cool guy. Like I said, he’s a great player and I think he can make me better and hopefully I can make him better and we can feed off each other and the other running backs, too.” Marshall said he chose Georgia over countless other schools because of the fact he’s closely followed the great tailback history of the Bulldogs and, well, because he just liked Georgia football early on. “I know a lot about the history of running backs, not just here but everywhere,” Marshall
related. “Obviously Herschel, but I could name a lot of running backs here. I haven’t seen a lot of tape on Herschel but I have the documentary on him in my room so I’ve watched it.” Being from ACC country in North Carolina, did the fact he’ll be playing in the top-rated league in the land, the SEC, also play a factor in Marshall signing with the Bulldogs? “I don’t know if it was the SEC, I’ve just like Georgia since I was young and Coach Richt, I want to play for him,” he said. “I liked Knowshon Moreno when I was in middle school and when he played that game against Hawaii (41-10 win in 2009 Sugar Bowl), ever since then I wanted to come here.” Oh, and back to that blazing speed Marshall will bring to the UGA running back table. “The fastest I’ve ever been timed in the 40 was a 4.22 at my school,” he said. “I also ran a 4.25 at a college camp.” Well, apparently, some of Marshall’s new Georgia teammates wanted to get an early glance at that speed out on the Woodruff practice fields. So, several of the Bulldogs set up a little race between Marshall and Georgia’s ultra-talented freshman wide receiver of 2011, Malcolm Mitchell, who is regarded as one of the fastest guys on the football team. After Mitchell nipped Marshall in the 40-yard dash on their first try, the newest Bulldog snapped back to beat Mitchell in their next two races. “We were just throwing routes and I guess they got talking about who’s the fastest person and then we just raced,” Marshall recalled. “It was his idea actually; I’ve heard people say I challenged him but it was nothing like that. The first time I’m not going to talk about,” he laughed, then acknowledged that he did nip Mitchell in the next two races. “All the guys thought he was going to win so it was kind of a cool feeling (to beat him) but we’re teammates and it wasn’t a big deal to me,” he said. Marshall is especially pleased he’ll be joined in Athens by his close friend and the other top running back from North Carolina, Todd Gurley. “I think he’s a great player and he’s a big guy, he’s bigger than me, probably 210 or something,” said Marshall. “I think we’re a little bit different; I think I’m faster and he’s more between the tackles right now but I think we can complement each other well.” Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon has stated that Marshall not only has the great speed to break runs to the outside but is plenty strong enough to get the yards from tackle to tackle as well. “When I went to see Keith, I saw this guy who had 25 runs and 21 were between the tackles,” said McClendon. “He ended up with almost 200 yards. What I've seen, he came in at 199 pounds, which obviously is great with the speed and everything else he has. I think he's an every-down back who can do everything we're going to ask him to do.” All Georgia head coach Richt knows is that the Bulldogs are very fortunate to sign such high caliber backs as Marshall and Gurley in the same recruiting year. “To get the top two players (running backs) from any state is very difficult, but these two guys – who happen to be very good friends – are also very high-character young men," Richt said. "They're extremely talented and both are already physical enough to play this game, plus they're highly motivated.” For a Bulldog Nation salivating at the thoughts of seeing Marshall and yes, Gurley too, the Sept. 1, 2012 season kickoff against Buffalo can’t come soon enough.
2012 Bulldog 100 rankings
UGA Alumni Association Bulldog 100
1 2 3 4 Cara and Jeremy Fort, Jason Fort, Jayne and Ken Fort, Brad and April Beem 5 6 Patsy and 7 Tommy 8 Bryan, 9 Claire and 10 Thomas 11 Bryan and 12 Maggie 13 Bryan 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Byron and Kreslyn Odum Brooks and Sabrina and Chad Collins Bryan and Kristen Turner and Lauren and Nick Schkabla 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 John Holmes, Sim Holmes, Frank Eldridge and Paul Holmes Jeff and Lucky Ashby, John and Mary Butin and Katie Williamson 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 Frank Eldridge, Cindy Robinett and Kathy and Hal and Vicki Beaver and Scott and Erin 46 Marie Lillie Chamberlain Cliff McCurry 47 Beaver and Andy Garrison 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 Deborah Dietzler, BJ Prince and Jay Natalie Glenn, Christine Trulock and Debbie and Jim Garrett and Tim Chapman 58 Jennifer Allen Prince 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 Shannon Lambe, Anthony Moore and Tina Kukanza, Harriette and Robin Svein Oie, Kay Brown, Dana Strickland 69 Ryan Barrow Bohannon 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 Danny Brown and Tommy Bryan Susan and Stewart Brookes Umang Patel and Vikash Patel 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 88 89 Payson Comer and Steve Howard Judge Steve Jones and Tim Keadle Erin and Mike Griffin 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 Jere Morehead and Robert Sumichrast 100 Travis and Ann Reid Jason and Brooke Gray
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Fan comments and photos from Signing Day John Atkins
A look at Georgia’s well-rounded 2012 signing class
Last year’s recruiting class was nicknamed the “Dream Team”. This year, Georgia signed a class that is smaller on numbers but just as big on talent. Georgia’s 2012 class of signees is filled with blue chip athletes from all over the country. This group of young men, which is ranked as a top 10 class nationally by most recruiting services is full of athletes at every position. Many of these young men will be given the opportunity to earn early playing time with the Bulldogs. They have also begun helping to recruit more blue chip talent for 2013 class. Here are the newest Bull Pups, starting with my favorites, the Big Uglies.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE John Atkins, Thomson High School, Thomson, Georgia (6’4”, 300 lbs.) Atkins is the epitome of an athletic big man. One of my favorite pictures during last years recruiting season was Atkins lined up as a Goalie for the soccer team at Thomson High School. Atkins showed his versatility in the Under Armor All-Star game, where he lined up at Offensive Guard. This three star athlete explodes off the ball with a powerful punch upon initial contact. Look for Atkins to be given every opportunity earn some playing time this fall on the Defensive Line for the Bulldogs. He chose the Bulldogs over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State and many other powerhouse programs. Jonathan Taylor, Jenkins County High School, Millen, Georgia (6’4”, 315 lbs.) All Jonathan Taylor does is dominate opposing Offensive Linemen. This four star athlete is one of the top five Defensive Tackle prospects in the county and one of the top five players in the state of Georgia this year. In the Under Armor All-Star Game, Taylor drew multiple double teams, but was still able to get penetration at the line of scrimmage. Former NFL coach, Herm Edwards singled out Taylor’s play during the Under Armor practices. Taylor picked the home state Bulldogs over offers from top programs across the country. Just like Atkins, Taylor will be given the opportunity to see the field early next year. OFFENSIVE LINE Mark Beard, Coffeyville Community College, Coffeeville, Kansas (6’4”, 300 lbs.) Originally from the State of Alabama, Mark Beard was one of the top Offensive Linemen in Junior College football last year. As a Junior College transfer, Beard was able to enroll early and is already in Athens partaking in off-season conditioning with the rest of the team. The Bulldog coaches will give Beard a look at both Offensive Tackle positions, but this young man is willing to play wherever the team needs him. Beard had offers from all over the country, and looks to earn early playing time next year on the offensive line. He will have three years of eligibility left as a part of Coach Friend’s offensive line. Greg Pyke, Boys Latin School, Baltimore, Maryland, (6’6”, 315 lbs) Pyke is one of the most intriguing commitments in this year’s class. Besides being a road grader on the gridiron, this young man is also an attacker on his high school’s Lacrosse team. For those who know Lacrosse, Boys Latin School from Baltimore is one of the best Lacrosse teams across the county. For a man his size to play such a position on the lacrosse field, he has to have great footwork and athleticism. Coach Friend has indicated that Pyke will likely start out at Guard, which should make opposing defensive coordinators have nightmares. A man of his size, with his footwork as a lead blocker for a Running Back will wreak havoc on opposing defenses in the SEC. Pyke chose the Bulldogs over offers from Louisville, the home state Terps, Michigan State, Penn State, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. John Theus, the Bolles School, Jacksonville, Florida (6’6”, 300 lbs.) Theus is a five-star prospect at Offensive Tackle. He is also one the top three overall players coming out of the Sunshine State this year and one of the top five Offensive Tackles in the country. In my opinion, Theus is the best Offensive Tackle prospect in the country. This young man had offers from all of the elite across the county. Theus will immediately be in contention for a starting position at Tackle. He will join his older brother, Nathan, a Long Snapper on the Bulldogs’ roster. Theus is a well-mannered young man who uses his frame, footwork and long arms to dominate opposing defenders. Barring an unforeseen issue, look for Theus to start opening day for the Bulldogs on the offensive line. DEFENSIVE END Josh Dawson, Tucker High School, Tucker, Georgia (6’4”, 225 lbs.) Dawson was a real surprise for the Bulldogs late in the recruiting year. Originally committed to Vanderbilt, Dawson changed his pledge just a few days before signing day. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top 20 Weak-Side Defensive Ends in the country. Dawson will likely start out at Outside Linebacker in Coach Grantham’s 3-4 system. At Outside Linebacker, Dawson can use his speed (4.6/40) in both coverage and as a pass rusher. Besides being a top-flight player, Dawson is also an excellent student. The Bulldog coaches clearly pulled a coup in getting Dawson to switch his commitment.
James Deloach, Jenkins County High School, Millen, Georgia (6’3”, 260 lbs.) Deloach and his teammate Jonathan Taylor both want to make their hometown of Millen, Georgia proud when they suit up for the Bulldogs. This three star prospect will be given a look first at Outside Linebacker, but will likely line up at Defensive End in Coach Grantham’s 3-4 system. Look for Deloach to take a year in the strength and conditioning program and then push for significant playing time at Defensive End in 2013. Leonard Floyd, Dodge County High School, Eastman, Georgia (6’4”, 217 lbs.) Floyd has great size and an incredible wingspan that will help him to close passing lanes for opposing Quarterbacks. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top 12 players in the State of Georgia and one of the top 13 WeakSide Defensive Ends in the entire country. He was also ranked as the 177th top overall player in the country. Floyd committed to the Bulldogs on April 29, 2011 over offers from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and many others. Floyd will be given an opportunity to see the field early, but he may need a year to bulk up before seeing significant time. He could also get early playing time on special teams next year. Look for him to grow into a true force at Outside Linebacker. Jordan Jenkins, Harris County High School, Hamilton, Georgia (6’3”, 245 lbs.) Jenkins is a dominating prospect on defense. He is ranked as one of the top five Defensive Ends in the country and one of the top three overall prospects in the State of Georgia. He is also ranked as the 56th best overall player in the country this year. Jenkins uses his size and speed (4.6/40) to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Jenkins will be given an opportunity at both Outside Linebacker positions as soon as he arrives on campus. If he does not earn a starting position outright, look for him to back up Jarvis Jones. Jenkins, an excellent student both in the classroom and on the gridiron, is excited for the opportunity to work with a dominating player like Jones. He was long thought to be favoring the Crimson Tide, but Coach Grantham won over Jenkins and his family. I cannot wait to see Jenkins between the Hedges. TIGHT END Ty Smith, Colquitt County High School, Moultrie, Georgia (6’3”, 228 lbs.) It’s not often that a Tight End is the Region Offensive Player of the Year. Smith had a great senior campaign and earned this honor for his region last year. One of the Top 10 Tight Ends in the entire Country, Smith is better than his press clippings might indicate. Although he has not been heralded to the same extent as Orson Charles was, his play has drawn comparisons to the Bulldog former standout. He runs very good routes and is a tough match up for linebackers because of his speed. Look for Smith to push for early playing time next year. DEFENSIVE BACK Sheldon Dawson, Ridgeway High School, Memphis, Tennessee (5’11”, 175 lbs.) Dawson committed to the Bulldogs very late in the process, having been previously committed to the hometown Memphis Tigers. Dawson had a number of offers from top programs across the South, but in the end chose to sign with the Bulldogs. Listed as an “Athlete” by most recruiting agencies, Dawson is slated to play Cornerback for the Bulldogs. He will also be given an opportunity on special teams. The Bulldogs may still add another Cornerback to this class from the Junior College ranks, but at this point Dawson is the only signee at Defensive Back. WIDE RECEIVER Blake Tibbs, Martin Luther King High School, Lithonia, Georgia (6’2”, 190 lbs.) Tibbs had a very impressive senior campaign. He is an electric playmaker on both sides of the ball and on special teams. He came up big in big games, including nine catches for 166 yards and five total touchdowns in a regular season matchup against powerhouse Stephenson for the Region Championship. With the deep receiving pool in Athens, Tibbs may need to redshirt a year to work on routes and get a little bigger and stronger to handle the physical Cornerbacks in the SEC. He will be given an opportunity to see the field early, and my guess is he makes the most of that opportunity. LINEBACKER Josh Harvey-Clemons, Lowndes High School, Valdosta, Georgia (6’5”, 208 lbs.) Harvey-Clemons was the top ranked player in the State of Georgia last year, a five star prospect and ranked as one of the top two overall “Athletes” in the country. He was also ranked as the 31st best overall player in the United States. Harvey-Clemons committed to the Bulldogs on signing day and was the crowning jewel of this year’s class. It is likely that he will be given his initial opportunity to see the field at Outside Linebacker. Harvey-Clemons and Jenkins could be a dominating duo at Outside Linebacker for years to come for the Bulldogs. While there was some drama surrounding Harvey-Clemons’ commitment and subsequent signing of his letter of intent, everything worked out according to this young man’s wishes and he is now a future Bulldog. This young man is a human missile who makes great plays in space. He is going to make many great plays in the future between the Hedges. QUARTERBACK Faton Bauta, Dwyer High School, West Palm Beach, Florida (6’3”, 225 lbs.)
Bauta is a dual threat Quarterback who really came on strong his senior season after moving to West Palm Beach, Florida. His size, speed (4.5/40) and footwork have drawn comparisons to former Gator quarterback, Tim Tebow. While Bauta appreciates the comparisons, he recognizes that he has a lot to prove before those comparisons should be drawn. Bauta had offers from powerhouse programs across the country, including Alabama, Florida, Miami, South Carolina and many others. While some programs felt he could line up at another position, the Bulldogs are committed to giving him an opportunity at Quarterback. Bauta is an early enrollee and is currently on campus in Athens.
“I’m really happy we got Josh Harvey-Clemons. That makes up for losing (Cordarrelle) Patterson (junior college wide receiver who signed with Tennessee) this morning. I’m pretty excited to be able to come down to the Blind Pig this morning – it’s really a great atmosphere with all the UGA fans here. Of course, I wish we had gotten Avery Young (offensive tackle from Pompano Beach, Fla. who chose Auburn). He would have been the cherry on top of this class.” - Woodrow Ware III of Athens “I feel good about our class; it fills our needs. I knew it would be a small class to start with but, like I say, it filled our needs. We got a punter and a kicker and added depth at linebacker and on the offensive line. And I’m excited about getting Josh HarveyClemons. Getting what we need is the bottom line.” - Scott White of Grayson
RUNNING BACK Todd Gurley, Tarboro High School, Tarboro, North Carolina (6’1”, 195 lbs.) Gurley came on strong his senior year. In fact, as the season went on, he became even more dominating. This four star athlete is ranked as one of the top three overall players in the State of North Carolina and one the top 5 overall Running Backs in the country. He was dominating in post season all-star games, putting on a clinic at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was virtually unstoppable in that game. Based upon his senior campaign and his dominating performance in the all-star games, Gurley made the largest jump in rankings history, jumping from outside the top 250 to the number 42 player overall in the country. He and his fellow running back signees will all push for immediate playing time when they arrive in Athens. This group of Running Backs was also the top overall Running Back class in the country. Quayvon Hicks, Pierce County High School, Blackshear, Georgia (6’2”, 245 lbs.) Hicks is a bruising Fullback from South Georgia. He played Linebacker in High School, but was recruited by the Bulldogs to line up at Fullback. He has the size and speed to be a punishing lead blocker for whomever the Bulldogs line up behind him. Ranked as one of the top two overall Fullbacks in the country, Hicks is also a natural born leader and an excellent student. Hicks will be given an opportunity for early playing time at Fullback and on Special Teams when he arrives in Athens. Hicks chose the Bulldogs over offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Tennessee and many others. He loves to play smash mouth football and I believe he will punish opposing Linebackers during his years in Athens. Keith Marshall, Millbrook high School, Raleigh, North Carolina (5’11”, 200 lbs.) The Bulldogs struck gold twice in the State of North Carolina this year at Running Back. Gurley and Marshall were the number 3 and number 4 player in the State of North Carolina this year. Marshall was ranked as the top all-purpose Running Back in the country, as well as the number 48 overall ranked player in the country. Marshall is an early enrollee, and has already demonstrated his speed in foot races against other current Bulldogs. Until Marshall arrived in Athens, Malcolm Mitchell was believed to be the fastest Bulldog on the football team. Marshall won two out of three head-to-head races with Mitchell and currently owns that title. While he’s listed as an all-purpose back and does have elusive speed, Marshall showed that he could finish runs at the Under Armor game. During that all-star game, he demonstrated a more physical style of running, knocking more than one opposing player on his duff. Look for Gurley, Marshall, and Hicks to push the other current Bulldog running backs to return Georgia to its status as “Tailback U”.
“I really hadn’t intended coming this year but I got excited thinking we might get some good surprises today. And us getting Jordan Jenkins (DE from Harris County) earlier made me want to come to signing day. I think we filled a lot of needs with this class. It may not be that highly rated but we did a good job filling the holes we had.” - Woodrow Ware, Jr., from Aiken, S.C. who accompanied his son to National Signing Day. “There’s a few guys left to get but this is a solid class so far. Getting Josh Harvey-Clemons this morning was huge. Getting him away from Florida State and Florida was big and I hope it means we’ve got that pipeline (from Valdosta and area) heading north now instead of south. Of course, our offensive line is always a concern and I would have been very happy if we had gotten Avery Young but skill-wise, I think we’re in good shape.” - Tony Lewis of Athens
Hank Tumlin and Will Maxwell
Greg Morris, Dennis Montgomery, Steve Daniel and Lewis Rogers
Stacy Bryant, Griffeth Bryant and Savannah Leigh Richardson
Steve Brinson and Anthony Martin
Carl Parks, Terry Allen and Greg Mautz
Joel Harbin and Jonathan Milford
Andrew Ward, Pete Rems and Phillip Bell
Greg Dement and Cal Holloway
Chap Sweat, Nate Mooneyhan and James McGee
Becky and Mike Ray
KICKERS Collin Barber (6’2”, 191) Cartersville HS, Cartersville, GA Barber is consider the top punter in the state of Georgia this year. With the departure of starter Drew Butler, the Bulldogs knew punter was a point of need in this recruiting class. Barber has a strong leg, recording over 80% of his kick offs as touchbacks last year. He also has shown the ability to get 5 plus second hang time on punts, which can help the Dawgs control the field position game. Barber was being pursued by Alabama and Clemson, amongst others, but shut his recruitment down when Coach Richt offered him a scholarship. Marshall Morgan (6’3”, 195) American Heritage HS, Miami, FL Place kicker was also a need in this year’s class, and the Bulldogs landed an excellent one. Morgan has been the top kicker in the Sunshine State his last three years of high school. He combines accuracy and a booming leg, and is one of the top kicking recruits in the country. In fact, Bulldog recruiting conspiracy theorists will love the fact that he was the top ranked kicker by most analysts until he committed to the Bulldogs. Tim Conrad, owner of BIGFoot kicking camps and consider the top high school kicking coach in the country says Morgan is the best he has ever worked with. Morgan also loves to tackle, unlike most kickers. He often tried to sneak into tackling drills in high school, only to be removed by his coaches. Morgan has offers from FSU, Florida, VA Tech and many others.\
There is still a chance that the Bulldogs will sign one or two more prospects from the Junior College ranks in the very near future. Right now, it looks like the Bulldogs are in the running to sign Mario Alford, a cornerback from Georgia Military College sometime this spring. The Bulldogs are also looking at a couple of Junior College offensive linemen. While none of this may pan out, Georgia fans should be pleased with the amount of talent in this class. What this class may lack in numbers, it certainly makes up for with firepower and attitude. All of these players are coming in determined to help get Georgia back to the SEC Championship Game and on to a National Championship.
Jaron Solomon and Matt Baker
Brandon Banks and Shad Kates
Larry Quidley, Cole Quidley and John Quidley Van Roe and David Brooks
Bucky Jenkins and Murray Poole
“I like this class. I think it filled our depth issues, addressed our needs on both sides of the ball. We got the running backs we were looking for. I’m especially happy with what we have on the defensive side of the ball and I think we’re going to have a really good team next year.” - Matt Zorn of Roswell
“We got the No. 1 linebacker in Harvey-Clemons, and I think we’re going all the way with this class. It’s looking great for filling our needs and I think we’ll finish in the top five recruiting classes.”
“We got a solid class this year. Our coaches closed strong and I think it will be a top 10, maybe even a top five class. Getting Harvey-Clemons was a huge get for Georgia, what with Valdosta being a pipeline for Tallahassee in the past. I think Mike Bobo did a great recruiting job down there this year.” - Peter Birdsong of Athens
“It looks like we’re getting another strong class – it will be a top 10 class. But now, our coaches need to do something with them. If these players are that good, our coaches need to show us they can coach them and win a championship.”
“We filled a lot of needs with this class. We got a lot of people that we needed to get … Josh Harvey-Clemons, John Theus and Jordan Jenkins. They’re all big guys who should be game changers. We had to replace two kickers and we got two good ones (in Marshall Morgan, Collin Barber).” - Tony Glass of Sugar Hill
“I think it’s a very good class, one that filled our needs. Of course, not getting Avery Young hurts because we’re especially thin on the offensive line. But getting two great running backs (Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley) adds depth behind (Isaiah) Crowell.” - Matt Howell of Athens
- Mike “Big Dawg” Woods of Colbert (he of the painted head)
- Johnny Deaton of Loganville
Bulldog Club Endowment Luncheon
Aaron Murray, Ardith Sweatt, Brenda McCollough and Breann Sweatt Charles Purcell, Arthur Lynch, Wes VanDyk, Matt DeGenova and Christian Robinson
Mary Jefcoat, Ty Frix and Helen Castronis
Ann Dylla, Stacey Smith, Kathleen Gates and Adam Parker
Manny Diaz, Hill Griffin and Greg McGarity
Kathy Slonaker, Mike Castronis and Mark Slonaker Dexter Fisher and Judge Steve Jones
Andy Tillman and Neal Fuchs
Jim Booz, Mitchell Cason and Hughes Marielle Williams. Howard Williams and Hunter Williams Williamson
Doris Ramsey and John Adams
Keith Marshall and Chris Conley
Orlean Castronis and Rue Walker
Chip Moree and Jennifer Moore
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Leading by example Christrian Robinson and Tavarres King are setting the pace during off-season workouts By Murray Poole rior to the kickoff of the 2011 football season, Mark Richt cited his team’s being able to finish better as one of the keys to Georgia’s chances of bouncing back from the dismal 6-7 season of 2010 and once again becoming a bona fide contender for the SEC championship. And, without question, the team’s first full season under the guidance of Director of Strength and Conditioning Joe Tereshinski enabled the Bulldogs to be a stronger football team, both mentally and physically, and be able to put teams away when the game went on the line in the fourth quarter. But, then, that journey from the depths of 2010 to becoming a championship team again didn’t quite make it to the top of the mountain. That said, it was hardly surprising when the UGA coaching staff brought back the infamous mat drills this winter … albeit a scaled-down version of the grueling before-daylight workouts. Georgia’s first mat drill this season came in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 15. “It was a challenge getting the young guys ready for the mat drills, getting them the feel of it and show them what they would be doing,” said Robinson. “We get in there and we get warmed up and then it’s an hour of non-stop running, agilities and just team-building exercises. “I think the matt drills are something special,” Robinson said. “I think it really helps build team camaraderie and helps you not rely on just yourself because there’s a lot of drills that you can do and do well but, in the end, it’s about you and the guy next to you doing the best you can for the team and I think that’s what mat drills are trying to accomplish. The upperclassmen really have a grasp of it and it is just a different intensity that the younger guys have never seen before and don’t know what to expect. It’s a growing process for them and helps the coaches to see who’s gonna fight through or who’s gonna give up, and that’s the main thing mat drills are designed to do.” “With the mat drills, I’ve been here five years, my fourth year doing them, so it was normal for me,” declared another of Georgia’s rising senior leaders, flanker Tavarres King. “Some guys really struggled with it the first day but that’s part of it; mat drills are implemented because they not only build team character and a team bonding thing but team chemistry also. It makes you mentally tougher and a stronger person.” As Robinson stated, Georgia’s way of doing things in the unglamorous days of off-season is a completely new deal for the Bulldogs’ incoming freshman players. “I think my role is to be an example to the younger guys,” Robinson said. “I have Keith Marshall and Faton Bauta (both early enrollees) in my workout group and just to be with some young guys who are on the opposite end of the spectrum from where I came in and just showing them the ropes, that’s what I’m trying to do. I feel like that maybe early on it took a while for me to find those guys but now I’m just starting now with these young guys and just being that brother figure that they don’t have to be scared of and know I’m just there to help them get better. As a team leader, I feel like I just need to set the example, be first in everything and set the tone. I’m already helping these two freshmen; early on, I had to pick up Keith and drop him off for class because he was lost. Like I say, just being there for them and not having them scared of upperclassmen, I think that’s the main thing. If you can build that connection between the young and the old, it helps your team be closer.” “I’m basically just picking up where I left off last year and showing the young guys by example,” echoed King. “I’m just trying to do everything asked of me by my coaches and by my work ethic, be an all-around leader which, to me, is a part of the total process.” An average off-season work day, when there are no mat drills to cope with, begins with all the Georgia players meeting in the “green room,” or multi-purpose room. “Coach T (Tereshinski) usu-
Photos by Rob Saye
ally talks to us, makes sure everybody is tuned in,” said Robinson. “Then we get to stretching and go through a dynamic warm-up and then we do our abs workout. Then we all hit the weight room and start whatever we have that day, whether it’s upper body or lower body. Coach T takes us through a circuit and then at the end we either run outside, do sprints, do a practice run through the mat drills or do agility.” The Bulldogs are split into groups in the afternoon workouts. Linebackers, running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks are all in the two o’clock group, defensive backs and wide receivers are in the four o’clock group, and all the linemen work at six o’clock. The workouts normally last about an hour and 45 minutes. Tereshinski then moves the previous group out of the weight room and makes room for the next group. “I think ultimately what Coach T has brought has been an attitude of discipline and accountability,” said Robinson. “When you get in the weight room, he’s holding everybody accountable to do the work and do it to a certain level. He’s just so passionate about it and I think that’s why he was chosen (for his present role). He’s so passionate about this program he wants the best because he was here, he coached here and has been through it all so why not put somebody there who’s going to be accountable and who’s going to hold everybody else accountable. And that’s been the biggest difference (these past two years). When you don’t have negative attitudes on the team and when you’ve gotten rid of guys that might have been trouble because through this process of discipline and accountability, when you get to those parts of the game that matter, you’re able to have those guys who did everything in the off-season and did it right and are accountable, that’s why you win games … getting guys to do what they’re supposed to at the right time. Guys like Michael Bennett, he’s made a bunch of catches, and Chris Conley and (Bacarri) Rambo making a pick, when you have those guys that were there in the off-season doing it the right way, when they have an opportunity, they make those plays. You don’t have to worry about it because they’ve done all the work.” “I feel really good about this team,” King added. “I’m not too worried about the O-line because we picked up some great recruits and we have some young guys who can step in and be big for us. Our backfield is going to be tremendous, there’s going to be a lot of competing going on back there and there’s going to be competing going on in my segment as well. There are four or five guys who can step up and when you have that kind of competition, you make your teammate better and make your team better. So I feel really strong about this spring and this upcoming season and I’m excited to get it underway. A huge reason why the majority of these guys came back to this program is to get back to the SEC championship game and win it,” King said. “As juniors they came back because we had some unfinished business and we had a huge opportunity in front of us. We feel we can get back there and turn some heads. There’s no goal too high for our team this year.”
Save The Date
44th Annual Blessing of the Fleet Darien, Georgia
April 20-22, 2012 Entertainment Includes:
Featuring: DArts & Crafts DClassic Cars DStreet Parade DFood DArt in the Park DEntertainment DMarine Parade
Sensational Sounds BlackHawk of Motown Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m
www.BlessingoftheFleet.com (912) 437-4837
Friday F r da rid ay & S Saturday atur urda day y tic tickets: ckets: etss $5 5 (13 ( & up u up) p) - F Free ree e (12 2&y younger) o ger) ou oung er) r) www.bulldawgillustrated.com
S Sunda Sunday: nda d y da y: FREE E EE 11
“He admires Tebow but doesn’t think he should be compared with him”
In 6-3, 225-pound West Palm Beach, Fla. quarterback Faton Bauta, the Georgia Bulldogs signed a dual threat signal caller who is capable of inflicting damage on opponents with both his legs and passing arm. Having been compared to the legendary Tim Tebow because of his size and bruising running style Bauta, who throws righthanded instead of left, played his senior year at Dwyer High in West Palm Beach after spending his previous prep career at a Brooklyn, N.Y. private school, Poly Prep Country Day School. A member of the SuperPrep All-Dixie Team, Bauta is a Rivals.com and Scout.com three-star rated player and was ranked by Rivals as the No. 15 dual quarterback in the country. He was a member of the Orlando Sentinel Class 7A All-State Second Team Offense after completing his senior season with 1,432 yards passing and 17 touchdowns and 779 yards rushing and eight more scores. Here, in this question-and-answer with Bulldawg Illustrated, Faton’s mom, Myra Bauta, provides Georgia fans with a personal look at her multi-talented son.
Parents names: Mel and Myra Bauta
football. But he has always been interested in sports nutrition and might want to make a career in that.
Siblings’ names and ages: Luman, 32; Lavdrim, 27; Idriz, 25; Imer, 23; Ferdesa, 21.
Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? When our kids were young, my husband and I were always very busy with our jobs. Well, when our oldest son, Luman, was graduating from high school, Faton was just four at the time. We decided to take them to Disney World for a nice and total surprise so we told the kids we were going to my brother’s house in Jersey, which was just about an hour away. We had them guessing for a while but the longer the trip went, the older ones caught on and we told them we were going to Florida. Then, out of nowhere, Faton said, “Mommy, we’re going to Florida’s house?” And to this day, the other boys will kid Faton, “Oh, we’re going to Florida’s house again?” But Faton was saying the whole trip, “We’re going to Florida’s house.”
What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Faton’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? We just met with Coach Richt when we went up there at camp – it was the only time we met him. We met his family, sat with him in his office and just had a good conversation. He seemed very down to earth and we felt very comfortable. He told us he wasn’t planning to take a quarterback in this class but was very impressed with Faton. In the end, why do you think Faton chose Georgia? I honestly think Faton was very comfortable there because the coaches were very straightforward with him. Faton told them if he couldn’t play quarterback, then Georgia wasn’t the place for him. Faton was very direct with Coach Richt and they were direct with him. He told Coach Richt, “I like you and feel comfortable here but if I can’t play quarterback, you’re wasting my time.” And I think it should always be that straightforward because sometimes coaches tell players something and then don’t always follow through with it. But Faton is at Georgia to do a job and hopefully he’ll make a success out of it. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? Faton had so many plays. When we moved from New Jersey to Florida for his senior year, he started passing the ball a lot more. But when he jumped over so many people while running the ball, oh my god! In New Jersey, Faton commuted 55 miles one way to a Brooklyn private school, Poly Prep Country Day School and he started in all three sports there … basketball, baseball and football. Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Faton is just always watching football, always has a playbook in his hand. But he’s just a big teddy bear. He’s a good kid, a good student and his friends always have such respect for him. He was always a big boy and had friends half his size and when he was younger and wouldn’t participate in class, nobody else would either, because they had so much respect for him and wanted to be like him. He’s not into video games and when he’s back home with the boys in New Jersey, they’re constantly playing
What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Faton never really had a favorite show, he was always just watching sports. The only thing I can tell you is that he loved the movie, “The Lion King.” When it came out in 3-D just a couple of months ago, he took me and his dad to watch it. What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? The nicest thing Faton did for me was here recently in Florida. Out of nowhere, he bought me flowers from Publix. I thought he had bought them for his teacher. I said, “who’s that for?” and he said, “it’s for you, mom.” That meant so much to me. It wasn’t any special occasion but just because I’m his mom, he wanted to get me flowers. That was amazing. Finally, why do you think Faton will excel at Georgia? It’s his work ethic. And I think if the coaching staff really likes him and gives him a chance, teaches him the right ethics and shows him what they want from him, he will really excel. You don’t have to worry about his work ethic, he’s there to do a job. There’s not enough time in the day because football takes so much work and Faton knows he’s got to work to get where he’s going, and that’s not going to happen unless you’re hungry and want it. As far as the comparison to Tim Tebow goes, he admires Tebow but doesn’t think he should be compared with him because Tebow is already in the NFL and has accomplished a lot of his goals. Faton says, “Mom, I first need to work to accomplish mine and I’ve got a long way to go to get there.” Faton said it’s awesome to be compared to Tim but he’s not there yet.
“He ran through all the players on the other team ...”
In recruiting, it’s very difficult for a school to sign the top running back from a particular state, much less that school being able to land the top TWO backs from the same state. But that’s exactly what the University of Georgia did when it inked North Carolina’s top two tailbacks from the 2011 season in the persons of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The 6-1, 210-pound Gurley, from Tarboro, N.C., was named the North Carolina Associated Press Player of the Year for 2011 and also the NCPreps.com 2A Player of the Year. Also named to the Super-Prep All-Mid-Atlantic Team, Gurley was rated a Rivals.com and Scout.com four-star prospect and was ranked as Rival’s No. 5 running back nationally and Scout’s No. 13 RB nationally. Gurley led Tarboro to three consecutive 2A State Championships while rushing for 242 yards and four touchdowns in the 2011 state title game. As a senior, Gurley totaled 2,600 yards and 38 touchdowns after running for 1,472 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior. Gurley also ran track for Team USA in Europe during the spring and summer of 2011. In this question and answer with Bulldawg Illustrated, Todd’s mom, Darlene Simmons, gives the Bulldog Nation a special insight into a player who certainly is capable of making an instant impact in the red and black of Georgia. 12
Parents names: Todd Gurley and Darlene Simmons. Siblings’ names and ages: Princeton Simmons, 24; Devin Simmons, 21; Shannon Simmons, 21. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Todd’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? It was coach Bryan McClendon. He was nice, honest and very direct with us. He answered all our questions and was very persistent – he said he wouldn’t stop until Todd signed with Georgia! In the end, why do you think Todd chose Georgia? It was because he really liked the Georgia coaches and the chance to play football in the SEC. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? I remember one game, it seemed like he ran through all the players on the other team. There were so many of them (defensive players) trying to get him but they couldn’t stop him. But he made a lot of touchdowns like that and he really had a big game (242 yards, 4 touchdowns) in the state championship game this past year. Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Todd loves basketball, swimming and bowling. He loves hanging out with his friends and playing XBox. And he loves his cell phone, loves to twitter.
Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? When he was little, about four years old, he could really ride a 10-speed bike well. A lot of grown men in our neighborhood couldn’t believe he could ride that bike the way he did. They used to sit around and bet that he couldn’t ride it and he would prove them wrong each time.
What was his favorite TV show or TV character? He loved the Simpsons, Bart Simpson. And he always loved watching sports. He would watch sports with his grandmother on his father’s side.
What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? Last year, for Valentine’s Day, Todd went out and bought me some flowers in a vase along with a nice card. The card was just so beautiful, you could really tell that he took his time picking it out. And the nice words he wrote on the card, well, it made me cry. That was really special.
Finally, why do you think Todd will excel at Georgia? Todd will excel at Georgia because he wants it. He’s a competitor and really works hard. Even as a little boy in elementary school, Todd would go out on his own and shovel snow, cut the grass, rake leaves … things like that.
“The one that sealed the deal was coach Todd Grantham” Parents names: Ronald and Phyleshia Jenkins.
In Harris County standout Jordan Jenkins, Georgia landed arguably the top defensive player in the state, and one of the best in the nation, this recruiting season. Named to the SuperPrep Elite 50, All-America, and All-Dixie Teams, the 6-3, 245-pound defensive end, who is projected to be an outside linebacker at UGA, was ranked as a Scout.com five-star player, the No. 5 defensive end and No. 19 overall prospect in the country and also as the No. 1- ranked prospect in the state. Jenkins was a Rivals.com four-star player, the No. 6 defensive end and No. 56 prospect in the country. Jenkins was named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 and Class AAAA All-State Team and the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA first-team and participated in the Under Armor AllAmerica game in Florida. In this question and answer with Bulldawg Illustrated, Jordan’s mom, Phyleshia Jenkins, provides Georgia fans with a special insight into her talented son.
Siblings’ names and ages: Aysha, 19. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Jordan’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? In the beginning, it was coach John Lilly but the one that sealed the deal was coach Todd Grantham. He’s an awesome coach and one of the first coaches to actually sit down and show John where he was at now as a defensive lineman and where he could be in making the transition to outside linebacker at Georgia. He compiled video highlights of Jordan in high school and then showed Jordan the same skills he would be doing under him and how he would do it. In the end, why do you think Jordan chose Georgia? It was a tough decision for Jordan. Like other recruits, he could have gone anywhere in the SEC and the night he picked Georgia he had helmets there from Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Florida. In the end, it came down to Florida, Alabama and Georgia for Jordan and he had to think about a great many things … not just football but getting a good education, the environment, being close to home, playing time, the coaching staff and making friends with the players, and then making mom and dad happy. He had to feel comfortable and trust Mark Richt and when Coach Grantham communicated to us that Coach Richt was going to be around for a while, all of those things swung the pendulum to UGA. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? It was against Hardaway High in his sophomore year. They were coming off their own goal line and when Jordan missed a tackle on the running back there at the goal line, he got up and outran everybody all the way down the field and caught the boy on the other side of the field around the 50-yard line. He just body-slammed the kid and the crowd went crazy. Then, another time in a game at Griffin, we were getting to our seats late and looked up to see him coming down the field on the kickoff coverage team and he cracked the kid with the ball so loud, everybody in the stadium went crazy. What a way to start a game! Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Jordan really likes to read. He’s a really smart kid, a simple country boy who likes to fish and just be around his friends.
He volunteers at the middle school here and helps kids with their reading every single day. That’s why he didn’t enroll early at Georgia. He enjoys helping the kids and really, he gets more out of it than they do. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? With Jordan, he didn’t really want to play football to start with. And when he was playing T-ball, he hit the ball so hard off the tee, the next year after that, they wouldn’t let him play. They moved him up to the older league. As a mom, I wasn’t sure about that because that was my baby, but Jordan handled it real well. He played just baseball and soccer up until about the fourth grade when he started playing football. He continued playing baseball up until the sixth grade and I remember his fifth grade year, he couldn’t hit the ball at all. But in the sixth grade, he started hitting the ball out of the park almost every time at bat. Only thing was, his dad went to the sergeant-majors academy in El Paso that year and didn’t get to see him hit the ball at all. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Jordan loved those animated Japanese characters, Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z. And he bought all of those trading cards, Pokémon and Yugioh cards. What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? We used to have book fairs come to Jordan’s school and I would give him $3 at a time for the book fair. Well, in about the sixth grade Jordan saved up that money for a few weeks and one day came home with a silver necklace in a little black case that had a little blue heart on it and gave it to me. It wasn’t any special occasion or holiday and as far as I was concerned, that could have been a diamond. It was really special to me and I still have it today. Finally, why do you think Jordan will excel at Georgia? I think Jordan will excel at Georgia because he comes from good parents who instilled in him a hard work ethic. He likes to play and likes competition and I think Coach Grantham will be the driving force for him. He showed Jordan and Jarvis Jones what they can be in that defense and I think it’s an awesome defense, second to none. And Jordan can only add to that once he gets his strength up in the weight room. Once he gets in there with Coach Grantham, I think the sky’s the limit for Jordan. He works hard, he’s hungry and is just a coachable kid. me. - Compiled by Murray Poole
“He just turned 18 and he is extremely focused” Keith Marshall
For the second consecutive year, the nation’s top-rated high school running back is coming to Athens. Following 2011 recruit Isaiah Crowell is Raleigh, N.C. tailback Keith Marshall. From Millbrook High School, the 5-11, now 201-pound Marshall is a Scout.com five-star prospect as well as the nationally No. 1-ranked running back and the No. 12 overall player. Rivals.com ranked Marshall as the No. 2 running back nationally and a four-star prospect. Also an ESPN.com five-star prospect, Marshall owns the Millbrook records for rushing yards in a season and points in a season. He rushed for 4,552 yards in his prep career and also scored 332 points, both school records. As a senior, Marshall rushed for 1,891 yards and 25 touchdowns on 258 carries. As a junior, he ran for more than 1,500 yards and also totaled more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore. Also the 100-meter champion in the AAAA state meet, Marshall was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year and played in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game. Here, in this question and answer with Bulldawg Illustrated, Keith’s mom, Denise Marshall, gives the Bulldog Nation a special insight into the player who will be wearing No. 4 for the Georgia Bulldogs. www.bulldawgillustrated.com
Parents names: Warren and Denise Marshall Siblings’ names and ages: Marcus, 15; Jasmine, 12. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Keith’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Of course, we talked to Mark Richt and then Bryan McClendon was his recruiting coach, as he will be Keith’s position coach at Georgia. They were easy to get along with and they answered all our questions, and we had many. They just did a good job recruiting Keith. In the end, why do you think Keith chose Georgia? There were a lot of things but in the end, I think Keith just followed his heart. He had a connection with Georgia early on, in middle school. He did all his homework, really studied all the schools and made his own decision. And that was tough for us as parents, to be able to sit back and let him do it. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? In his junior year, he had a 94-yard touchdown run against Southern Durham. And in his very first game as a sophomore, he had a breakout game when he got into the end zone five times, four of which counted. That was my favorite one. Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Keith loves to fish. There’s a lot of lakes around this area he got acquainted with. My dad, Keith’s granddad, has a little pond that Keith likes to fish, he and his brother. And, like most teenagers, he loves music.
Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? Well, when he was seven or eight and playing for the North Raleigh Bulldogs in the Pop Warner League, in his very first scrimmage, he got a touchdown. And when he was under the age of four, he had really short legs and would run all around in the office where I worked. All my coworkers knew him and he was a favorite there.
What was his favorite TV show or TV character? It’s hard to say. He didn’t really watch sports on TV that much as a young child. All of my children were very active and were more outdoors kids.
What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? Keith is just a great family kid. He really loves people and is very protective of his siblings, especially his little sister. And when he was young, he always did sweet things for me. He hugs me a lot and once in a public forum when he was in school, he sent me a message on Facebook saying, “I love you, Mom!” I don’t know if he got teased a lot for it by the other kids but that didn’t matter to him. I know it really meant a lot to me.
Finally, why do you think Keith will excel at Georgia? I think Keith is very mature for his age. He just turned 18 and he is extremely focused. He’s gifted in academics but it doesn’t come real easy for him; he puts in the work to excel. I think he’s settled in real nicely at Georgia and seems to know how to balance his role of being a college athlete with his classroom work.
“He strives for perfection and that comes from him” Parents names: Dana Morgan Murphy and Mark Murphy
After losing four-year starting place-kicker Blair Walsh to graduation, Georgia was in dire need of securing another top kicker in this year’s recruiting class and in Marshall Morgan, of American Heritage High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the Bulldogs appear to have landed a gem. Morgan, 6-3, 195, was rated a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com and the No. 7 kicker nationally by both recruiting services. ESPN.com ranked Morgan as the No. 5 overall kicker in the country. Morgan was a four-time all-state selection in Florida including his freshman year as a punter. He hit 15-of-16 field goals and 63-of-64 PATs while averaging 43.7 yards per punt his junior year at Archbishop McCarthy and holds the record for longest field goal at Archbishop McCarthy of 53 yards. In his senior year at American Heritage, Morgan tallied 10-of12 field goals and had kicks of 44, 45 and a school-record 59 yards to lead his team to the District 15 5A title. The team MVP both his junior and senior years, Morgan’s 59-yarder ties the record for the longest field goal in the county and was the longest in Florida for 2011. In this question and answer with Bulldawg Illustrated, Marshall’s mom, Dana Morgan Murphy, provides Georgia fans with a special insight into her son.
Siblings’ names and ages: Dulcie, 28; Alex, 24; Zach, 23; Shane, 23. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Marshall’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach John Lilly. He’s warm, friendly, very hospitable and very family-oriented. He spent a lot of personal time with us and we really appreciated it. In the end, why do you think Marshall chose Georgia? It was because of Coach Lilly and Coach Richt. Their recruiting styles were so different. They really made Marshall feel special; it was just the reverse of other schools in that they came across, what can we do for you instead of what can you do for us. They identified Marshall as their No. 1 kicking prospect in the country and they made him feel comfortable right away. Marshall liked the facilities at Georgia, with everything being new and all. And he also liked the fact they use Nike balls, because he likes kicking them best of all. Also, with my husband being an ordained minister and both of us and Marshall being Christians, we were happy that the Georgia staff consists of really strong Christian men. In your mind, what is the best kick he made during his high school playing days? Of course, the 59-yard field goal stands out in my mind but Marshall also made the 47-yarder that won the game for the West all-stars in the Semper Fi All-American Game on Jan. 3 in Phoenix. Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Marshall is just a very positive young man and that’s why everybody enjoys being around him. He wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. He enjoys all water sports with surfing being his hobby. And he works out almost every single day. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? Marshall always played soccer but in the sixth
grade he tried out for the sixth grade rec football team. But after he kicked the first year, he didn’t want to play again after that because he wanted to skateboard. Well, we were in a restaurant one day and when my husband went to the rest room, he noticed Coach Fitz, Marshall’s football coach, eating there. Mark told Coach Fitz that Marshall wanted to give up football to skateboard. Well, Coach Fitz said he wouldn’t hear of Marshall giving up kicking so he went to him and made Marshall sign a napkin that he would continue kicking up to high school. He told Marshall he had too much talent to not keep kicking and that this napkin was like a contract and that when Marshall went pro one day, Coach Fitz would still have that napkin that Marshall signed. So because of this silly story and because that napkin kept Marshall kicking, he went on to kick two more years for Coach Fitz and then in high school for Tim Conrad, who’s been Marshall’s kicking coach ever since. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Marshall was never much of a TV person. All of my boys were always outside … doing the water sports, trampolines, skateboard ramps and so on. What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? Marshall is just a great kid. Pretty much every single day he tells me how much he loves me. And on my 50th birthday, he sang that song by Nat King Cole, “L-O-V-E,” to me and with me on the microphone and then we danced together. Finally, why do you think Marshall will excel at Georgia? Marshall will excel there because he only sees success; nothing else is an option with him. He loves life, loves people, is a go-getter and it’s never a choice for him not to exceed. I was looking at the local paper here and it had the top 25 football players in Broward County listed. I was reading the list to him and he said, “Am I No. 1?” I told him, no, you’re No. 8 on the list. But Marshall just wants to be at the top of anything he does. He strives for perfection and that comes from him – we don’t put that kind of pressure on him.
“Off the field, he’s just a big goofball” John Theus After losing long-time starters Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson, the Georgia Bulldogs must rebuild their offensive line for the 2012 football season. And in incoming freshman tackle John Theus, Georgia has a player who is expected to make an immediate impact for that line. At The Bolles School in Jacksonville, the 66, 292-pound Theus earned 2011 USA Today AllAmerica first-team honors, was named to the Parade Magazine All-America team (UGA’s only 2012 signee so honored) and played in the U.S. Army All-America Game. Theus was ranked as a Scout.com five-star prospect, the No. 2 prep offensive lineman in the country and the No. 7 overall national prospect as well as the No. 1 player in Florida. Rivals.com also rated Theus a five-star prospect, the No. 5 offensive tackle nationally and the 23rd overall prospect nationally. Theus helped lead Bolles to FHSAA state titles in 2009 and 2011, as well as an undefeated regular season and district title in 2010. He also competed in the shot put and discus on the Bolles’ track and field team. In this question and answer with Bulldawg Illustrated John’s mom, Lori Theus, gives UGA fans a personal insight into a player who is bound to become a household name in Athens over the next four years. 14
Parents names: Paul and Lori Theus. Siblings’ names and ages: Nathan, 19, a redshirt freshman snapper at UGA; Jeremiah, 16. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during John’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? It was Will Friend, the offensive line coach. He was down to earth, very open with us. Coach Friend was very honest and really seemed to love the kids. In the end, why do you think John chose Georgia? I just think John felt very comfortable and loved it there. He felt like it was home away from home for him. And of course we couldn’t pick a better coach for John to play for than Coach Richt. He’s a man of character, a man of integrity and is someone we know who will take care of our son. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? I think his last game, when (The Bolles School) won the state championship, was one of his best ones. He made a lot of great blocks and opened holes for the runners. He opened a big hole for the go-ahead touchdown in that game. Of course, John had a lot of great blocking games. Can you tell the Bulldog Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? John likes to have a good time. He likes going to the beach and hanging out with his friends. Off the field, he’s just a big goofball, always joking around. He likes playing basketball and is playing this year for Bolles.
Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? John is pigeon-toed and when he was four years old, we got him some corrective shoes that he absolutely hated. One Sunday morning, we put the shoes on him and started to church, which was about 45 minutes away. Well, on the way, he pulled them off. We were on the interstate but his dad stopped the car, put the shoes back on John and told him not to take them off again or he would get a spanking. Well, John took the shoes off three times and got three spankings on the way to church. That showed how strong-willed John was. Three months later, we threw those shoes out. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? He’ll probably kill me for this but his favorite show was Pocahontas. He watched that movie over and over. Of course, it’s a given that he watched a lot of sports growing up. Now, for him, it’s all Sports Center on ESPN. What is the nicest thing he's ever done for you? John was just always a thoughtful child. There’s no one thing – he does things for me every day. And of course he always remembers me on the special occasions. Finally, why do you think John will excel at Georgia? I think John will do amazing things there. Coach Friend has a program in place for him and once he gets John in the weight room, I think John will get bigger and better. And the defensive guy Georgia signed, “The Freak,” Jordan Jenkins, I think he and John won’t do anything but make each other better. I’m really glad John chose Georgia, not only because it’s a great program that can help John get better but also because John can help Georgia get better.
Published on Feb 27, 2012
Coverage from signing day, including Q&As with six parents, fan photo from Bulldog 100 and Bulldog Club Endowment Luncheon and much more ...