The drive to greatness begins on signing day
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BU L L D AWG Issue 2 - Signing Day
From the Editor Mark Richt and company are finally getting some much needed rest after the 2009 recruiting season wrapped up a few weeks ago on Signing Day. However as all the recruiting fanatics will tell you, there is still a young man from Tampa who sure could make this year’s class even better. Since this issue of Bulldawg Illustrated will be out for two months, tight end Orson Charles from Tampa will have made his decision if you’re reading us after February 20. Let’s all hope he joins his Plant High School teammate, Aaron Murray, in becoming a Georgia Bulldog! Either way, Georgia’s 2009 recruiting class gets a solid “A” grade from this scribe. However I must preface that by saying I’m hardly a recruiting junkie. In fact, the entire recruiting process troubles me. I worry that building young men to such lofty levels, before they have done anything at the college level, only leaves one place for the majority of them to go … down. However recruiting has become such a big deal that if you love your collegiate team, like I do, then you darn sure better hope your coaching staff is cutting the mustard. Thankfully Georgia’s staff continues to deliver year after year which is shown by the fact this was the eighth straight top ten class, which no other program in the nation can claim. However what I continue to like best about any of Georgia’s signees is that character continues to be just as important as football talents. As we do every year in our Signing Day issue of BI, Murray Poole tracked down parents of eight of the new
signees. Now our Q&As only have one or two questions relating to football and that is by design. I want our readers to get a different look at the 18 year-olds that will be representing our awesome university for the next four or five years. And I’m happy to report that, like every year we have done this, our program is in great shape for the future. When you read not only about the certain player, but also some of the values instilled in him by his parents, it truly is powerful stuff and makes you feel proud to be a DAWG. Well before I lose our readers out there, who buy into what I’m saying, but are more fixated on beating the Gators and winning a national title, I better switch gears. However please do take the time to read every Q&A. And be sure not to miss our recruiting guru, Carlton DeVooght’s report (page 9) on the entire class. His passion for recruiting certainly adds a ton to our publication and we appreciate his efforts! Next to the 2009 recruiting class, the biggest news to hit the Georgia football program has to be the announcement of Stacy Searels being named Running Game Coordinator. Ironically enough, I asked Searels about running the football more than 50% of the time after the Signing Day press conference. He told me the offense generally goes with what is going to give them the best chance to win at the time. He cited the fact that at the end of 2007 Georgia ran the ball a great deal with much success, while in 2008 the passing game moved the chains more often. However he ended our conversation by saying that ultimate success in the SEC depends on being able to run the football consistently. Oh my, isn’t that music to your ears? As I said in a recent blog on our website (http://www.bulldawgillustrated.com/blog/175) , Godspeed Stacy Searels. This mentality is all that is missing in the Bulldog Nation’s pursuit of a national title in my opinion. And the fact that Coach Richt came up with a clever title for Searels only tells me that the entire staff is very serious about running the rock. And if you’ve ever been around Searels you can’t ask for a more focused person for this momentous commitment. Godspeed Stacy Searels. There is also some other big news in Athens and that is the million-dollar question as to whom Damon Evans will hire as the next men’s basketball coach. Bobby Knight, a.k.a. “The General”, certainly gave
Georgia some free national exposure by expressing his possible interest in the job. Immediately the debate swept the airways nationwide as to whether the Hoop Dawgs program should consider the controversial legend, who has won more men’s Division 1 basketball games than anyone. On one side, you had great basketball minds like Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas saying that Georgia should hire him immediately. And on the other, media folks like the AJC’s Mark Bradley and the Athens Banner-Herald editorial board wrote scathing pieces warning of the possible problems of hiring someone like Knight. Well let the record show, that I would love for Georgia to hire Bobby Knight. However thankfully that decision isn’t mine. I do hope that Damon Evans will at least interview Knight. How do you not when one of the winningest coaches of all-time has expressed an interest? Not to mention, I think Evans should ask Knight the tough questions as to why the Georgia program should take a chance on him when there have been some problems at previous stops. Bottom line is the Bulldog Nation deserves a basketball program that they can rally behind. Someone like Bobby Knight certainly gets me excited. Whomever Evans hires will have his work cut for him. But as Jeff Dantzler points out (page 4) it can be done, particularly with the hotbed of basketball talent in the state of Georgia. That will do it from here, but do enjoy this entire issue of BI. Look for our Spring Issue on April 21. And do make plans to attend the G-Day game in Athens on April 11. The ESPN Gameday Crew will be on hand which puts the football program and Athens front and center across the nation. And perhaps ESPN is a good luck charm as last spring they were in Gainesville, Fla., which ended rather nicely for the Gators. FYI … 257 days until kickoff in Jacksonville! — Vance Leavy ON THE COVER - New Georgia signees, (left-right), Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Dallas Lee, are already enrolled at Georgia and are still smiling despite their participation in the early morning mat drills which began in early February.
new ONLIN ONLINE NE -Herschel -Herschel on The Appr Apprentice e entice (a video that previews prreviews e hiss upcoming adventure adventure on tv with the T Trumps) rrumps) -The -The W World o orld According to t (BI staffers)... (BI staff each did tall allss in a blog, Q&As to get to know ourr staff)
5 Aaron Murray - An amazing story already 18 Kappa Sigma Black & White Ball Murray Poole talks to newest Bulldawg QB about his swift return from injury to lead his team to a state title.
Editor, Vance Leavy attended his fraternity at Georgia’s centennial celebration with fellow brother, Sonny Perdue.
8 The dedication it takes for recruiting
20 Fans of the week
Read about what is involved for the Georgia coaching staff in recruiting the nation’s elite.
Both fans this time out agree in their disdain for Florida.
11 Parent Q&As
See what the Bulldog Nation has to say about the 2009 recruiting class.
BI talks to 8 of the new signees’ parents beginning on this page. Some of the players like history, some like math.
12 UGA Endowment Luncheon Photos from the athetic department’s annual day of thanks. Publisher Cha Cha Cha Publishing Editor Vance Leavy Editorial & Ad Director Cheri Leavy
Sports Editor Jeff Dantzler Sales & Marketing Andrew Miller Austin Keeble Web Maven Cheri Leavy
21 Signing Day in Athens 22 Diamond Dawgs preview Coach David Perno is pumped as his team tries to match the awesome accomplishments of 2008.
Sports Murray Poole Layout/Design Vance Leavy Itty Bitty Bulldawg Jan Bone
Ad Design Cheri Leavy Andrew Miller Tech Support Chris Lee Cover Design Vance Leavy
Columnists Carlton DeVooght Al Hickson Reg Murphy Rob Sherrell Chad White Sudy Leavy
Issue 2 - Signing Day, February 17, 2009 - Credits: Chris Collins Photography, Georgia Sports Communications, Rivals.com
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Success in hoops begins wihin our borders National signing day yielded another bountiful crop of prep football talent for most of the nationâ€™s premier collegiate programs, including the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs put together a group rated again by the recruiting gurus as one of the nationâ€™s top ten. Chief rivals for the Southeastern Conference championship and national title contention also again put together stellar classes, as LSU, Alabama and Florida signed prospect hordes also ranked amongst the nationâ€™s top ten. Competing in the nationâ€™s toughest league, signing a top ten class is a must for consistent title contention. A great group doesnâ€™t get a program closer to a title more so than a weak one puts a team further away from the crown. Fortunate to be housed in a state jampacked with top ranked talent in nearly every sport, a vast majority of Georgiaâ€™s athletic teams have been able to survive and thrive primarily through home-grown talent. The Bulldog baseball team went to the College World Series in 2008 for the third time in five years and won the SEC title for the second time in that stretch with eight of the top nine position players and five of the top six pitchers all hailing from Georgia. Itâ€™s been well documented that the Bulldogs have excelled at their highest level on the gridiron when signing most of the Peach Stateâ€™s best. Herschel Walker, Buck Belue, Lindsay Scott, Kevin Butler, Guy McIntyre, Jimmy Payne, Freddie Gilbert, Rex Robinson and Scott Woerner. All Peach State natives, all key components in Georgiaâ€™s run to three straight SEC championships from 198082, highlighted by the 1980 national title. Thomas Davis, David Pollack, Sean Jones, D.J. Shockley, David Greene, Terrance Edwards, Fred Gibson, Johnathan Sullivan and Leonard Pope. All Georgia natives, all were key components in the Bulldogs run to two SEC titles and four straight double digit win, top ten finishes from 2002 to 2005. But controlling the state of Georgia is far from a given. Due to the Peach Stateâ€™s unique geography â€“ remember from your eighth grade Georgia History that during the Civil War, she was â€œthe breadbasket of the south â€“ many of the Bulldogs chief foes are located just across the border, and in much closer proximity to recruiting hotbeds than Athens. Clemson is 30 minutes from the border. Auburn even closer, and a much shorter drive than Athens to Columbus and LaGrange. Tallahassee is less than a half hour away from the border, and a much shorter drive than Athens to Thomasville and Valdosta. Same goes for Gainesville which is further from the state line, but far closer to South Georgiaâ€™s fertile grounds than Athens. Columbia is closer than Athens to Augusta. Knoxville and Tuscaloosa, too, are short drives. And of course, the biggest rival of all, resides just 70 miles away on the flats. All those players the last three decades that got away to play somewhere else â€“ William Andrews, James Brooks, Lionel James, George Rogers, Steve Wallace, Harris Barton, the Rocker brothers, Charley Ward, Takeo Spikes, Jamal Lewis, Cosey Coleman, Deon Grant, Ronnie Brown, Calvin Johnson, Morgan Burnett, Johnathan Dwyer and Eric Berry just to name a few â€“ cost Georgia untold championships, victories and glory. There are the lists. Those who came, those who didnâ€™t. Football and baseball have racked up major hardware by relying on the stateâ€™s best as the primary talent pool. The same can happen for basketball. But that list of those who came and those who didnâ€™t is decidedly one-sided. Norm Nixon, Jeff Malone, Al Wood, Dale Ellis, Kenny Walker, Pervis Ellison, Ricky Moore, William Avery and Jodie Meeks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the stateâ€™s best that got away. When Georgia last experienced sustained success, from 2001-2003, the Bull-
dogs did it with in-state talent. Over those final two years, six of Georgiaâ€™s top seven players were Peach State standouts. Jarvis and Jonas Hayes hail from Atlanta. Chris Daniels is a native of Albany, Rashad Wright from Statesboro. Ezra Williams is from Marietta and Steve Thomas from Carrollton. None of these players, even the superstar first round pick Jarvis Hayes, were traditional â€œfive starâ€? blue chip prospects. In fact, the twins began their careers at Western Carolina. Georgia is in the market for a new head basketball coach. His first order of business will be to make, maintain or rekindle recruiting contacts within the state. If the Bulldogs can pull in some of Georgiaâ€™s best, then Georgia can get back on the map and contend for an NCAA Tournament berth. And that should be the goal of the Dogs on the hardwood, to be a regular in the dance. Getting the stateâ€™s best can get the program there. But thatâ€™s not an easy task. Itâ€™s one thing if North Carolina or Kentucky calls. After all, Georgiaâ€™s history isnâ€™t exactly royal. Before Hugh Durham arrived in Athens, the Bulldogs had a losing record in 23 of the previous 27 seasons and had never been to the postseason. Georgiaâ€™s next coach will be the fifth (not counting the highly popular and likeable interim head man Pete Hermann) in a 15-year stretch since the 17-season tenure of Durham. To get the program into contention for the NCAA tourney, Georgia must beat the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Wake Forest and Auburn for the stateâ€™s best. The climb back wonâ€™t be easy, but thatâ€™s where it starts. The winningest program in the history of college basketball resides with Georgia in the SEC East. Along with Kentucky are two other beasts that didnâ€™t have nearly as sharp a set of teeth the last time Georgia made a coaching change. Florida has since won two national championships, Tennessee has been to back-toback â€œSweet 16â€™sâ€? and both regularly have raucous, jam-packed arenas that have made winning in Gainesville and Knoxville exceptionally difficult. Plus there is Kevin Stallings and always tough Vanderbilt and Darrin Horn and the rejuvenated Gamecocks of South Carolina. Finishing in the top half of the SEC East standings would be an accomplishment - one that would almost certainly land the team in the NCAA tournament. This will be a tough job, but the talent is available in the state for Georgia to get it done, if the next coach can pull it in. Thatâ€™s the crawling process on Georgiaâ€™s walk to the top half of the East and run to â€œthe Dance.â€? Jim Donnan took over the sagging and beleaguered Georgia football program on Christmas Day, 1995. In his second season, after Georgia had gone 22-22-1 the previous four years, Donnan led the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record, finishing the year ranked tenth nationally. Every year since, Georgia has won at least eight games. No other school in the country can claim such. In Richtâ€™s second season, Georgia went 131 and won the Bulldogs first SEC title in 20 years. The Bulldogs have the SECâ€™s most top ten finishes and double digit victory campaigns since. While football has flourished, Georgiaâ€™s athletics department has blossomed around the flagship program, experiencing incredible success in baseball, golf, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and womenâ€™s basketball just to name a few. And as volleyball coach Joel McCartney tells recruits about his program, which has the fewest NCAA tournament appearances of any at Georgia, if we can win at everything else, we can win at this too. And so sayeth, whoeverâ€™s job it will be to convince the stateâ€™s best basketball players that Georgia should be on their minds, too.
By Murray Poole
Aaron Murray: An amazing story already I know how good Aaron Murray is throwing a football. Just take a look at Murray’s high school resume at Plant High School in Tampa, Fla. The 6-1, 205-pound quarterback passed for an amazing 4,013 yards and 51 touchdowns as a junior with just seven interceptions. Those figures surely stack up with what another high school quarterback, Matthew Stafford, put up in his career at Highland Park in Dallas … before then guiding the Georgia Bulldogs’ attack during the three years that followed. Murray then came back in his senior season at Plant this past fall and, despite being sidelined for nearly half the season, passed for 2,285 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. Murray, though maybe not owning the cannon Stafford does, has a very strong arm, one that can deliver the deep ball and drill the football into tight spots. With a quick release, Murray excels at throwing on the run and can also throw across his body. And I also know how good Aaron Murray is at running the football. With his quick feet and good agility, Murray, in that spectacular junior season at Plant, rushed for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns. And in his abbreviated senior campaign, Murray rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns. He has the elusiveness and athletic ability to buy himself second chances in the pocket and make something happen when a play breaks down …much more capable than Stafford in that department. But, you know what impresses me the most about this Parade AllAmerica QB who signed with Georgia on Feb. 4 and is already enrolled in classes at UGA? It’s nothing he did on the playing field but, rather, what Aaron Murray did off the gridiron this past autumn. When Murray went down with BOTH a broken leg and dislocated ankle in mid-October, all signs pointed to his prep playing career being over. With all the rehab Murray would be forced to do, the medical world and everyone who followed his record-breaking career figured – and, rightly so – that Murray wouldn’t be strapping on the pads again until his first college season in Athens. But somebody apparently forgot to tell Aaron Murray that he wouldn’t ever play another high school football game. After undergoing surgery for the broken fibula, Murray began the grueling process of rehabilitation and not only did he make it back for Plant’s participation in the Florida Class AAAA state playoffs, he threw a touchdown pass on his very first play … in the state semifinal game. Murray then came back in the state title game the next week against Tallahassee-Lincoln and passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns while leading Plant to its second state championship in three years. I don’t know about you, but this nothing-short-of-incredible comeback that Murray made, to do the things he did – things many other high school players wouldn’t even attempt to do – tells me all I need to know about what kind of quarterback Aaron Murray can be at the University of Georgia. And what kind of leader he can be. Use any words you want to describe this young guy – courage, determination, stamina and, yes, guts – and they are certainly all applicable to this amazing story. And, oh, by the way, following his state title game performance, Murray went on to play in the U.S. Army All-American game
on Jan. 3. “I guess being able to come back for the playoffs and then throw a touchdown on my first play, that would be the highlight of my high school career,” said the soft-spoken Murray, while greeting the media at the Butts-Mehre building on National Signing Day. “I never thought that could happen.” But Murray, ranked as the No. 3 prep QB in America by both Scout.com and Rivals.com and who was named MVP at the national Elite 11 quarterback camp, hasn’t had much time to sit around and savor his fantastic high school career (he set a Hillsborough County record for most passing touchdowns with 84). He’s too busy trying to get used to the way Mark Richt’s football program does things. “It’s definitely different, going from high school to college,” he said. “It’s a great transition you have to make. But, the good thing, (rising senior QB) Joe Cox has taken all of us (young quarterbacks) under his wings, and it’s really helped me. It’s really a big playbook you have to learn here but it’s starting to come to me a little better now.” Murray’s goal with the Bulldogs is just to become a complete quarterback, as he competes for playing time with projected Georgia starter Cox, rising sophomore Logan Gray and fellow freshman signee, Zach Mettenberger, the Oconee County product who brings one of the nation’s strongest passing arms to the Bulldogs’ program. “I think my strength is an ability to make plays when the play breaks down, be able to move around a little,” said Murray, responding to a question about his strong suits. “But I’m just trying to get adjusted to the Georgia offense (after operating strictly from the spread at Plant), hoping I can slow the game down some and not get overwhelmed by all this.” Murray, although growing up in Florida Gator country, said he always had considered the possibility of donning the red helmet and jersey of the Bulldogs. “And after my visit here, I fell in love with the place,” said Murray, who committed to Georgia on April 24. “The Florida coaches kept after me but I loved it here and knew that Georgia was where I was going to go. They’ve had great quarterbacks here and after Stafford and now Joe Cox, I just want to come in and work as hard as I can and hope to get better.” Like all the other Bulldogs – incoming freshmen and upperclassmen alike – Murray is just trying to make it through the grueling 5 a.m. mat drills under the watchful eyes of the Bulldog coaching staff. Get through those things and then Murray will be more than ready for his first spring practice in Athens, which kicks off March 17. “I had heard all the rumors about mat drills, and I would have to say they’ve lived up to those rumors,” remarked Murray, displaying a slight smile. “They are a very different type of drills than what I’m used to.” So Aaron Murray is quite a story before he even takes his first snap from center as a Georgia Bulldog. And I think Richt perhaps best summed up the future potential of both Murray and Zach Mettenberger when he issued this statement on National Signing Day: “If those two guys had decided this morning they were going to Georgia, the building would have exploded and everyone would have been jacked up to have two of the best quarterbacks in America coming to Georgia.”
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Recruiting the elite takes dedication and sacrifice photos byVance Leavy
By Murray Poole BULLDAWG ILLUSTRATED
The University of Georgiaâ€™s ability to bring in a top 10 national football recruiting class almost every February in Mark Richtâ€™s eight years at the Bulldogsâ€™ helm requires much dedication to the task, hard work and a great deal of sacrifice. Sacrifice not only from head coach Richt and all his assistant coaches but, also, from the coachesâ€™ wives and children. At least, during the course of the football season itself, the Georgia coaches can come home each night after practice â€Ś even though on some nights it may be well after midnight when they do. But during the peak of the recruiting season, when the Bulldog coaches are able to have in-home visits with the top high school prospects, the Georgia coachesâ€™ wives see their husbands gone for several days at a time. With the UGA staff now targeting some of the leading prep players from around the nation, the coaches travel thousands of miles to make face-to-face contact with the recruits, and when one considers the Bulldogs start targeting some of the very elite performers (Matt Stafford, A.J. Green, etc.) as early as the 10th grade, those travel miles can add up to staggering numbers over a three-year span. But, to a man, the Georgia coaches know the long hours they put in on the road chasing high school phenoms is just a vital part of having the privilege to coach at a prestigious school like Georgia. They knew when they bought into the Bulldogsâ€™ way of doing things that recruiting was â€“ and always will be â€“ the lifeblood of the program. They knew if they didnâ€™t, as a collective coaching team, bring the right players to Athens, they would soon be looking for work elsewhere. The first thing Richt said, in his afternoon press confer-
ence with the media on National Signing Day, was this: â€œFirst of all, Iâ€™m very thankful. Our assistant coaches have worked so hard for this class, and weâ€™re already working on the 2010 class. Weâ€™ve had 17 guys committed for some time and theyâ€™re all coming to Georgia. (This said before All-America wide receiver Marlon Brown signed with the Bulldogs less than two hours later). Not one wavered despite a lot of schools fighting like mad to take some of them away from us.â€? And those Bulldog commitments never wavered because of the strong bond they had developed with their respective recruiting coaches from Georgia over the past months and, yes, years too. â€œIt (long hours of recruiting) is tough but you knew that going into this job,â€? said Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. â€œNot only are you looking for guys who can contribute to your program but, as coaches, you want to make an impression on these young menâ€™s lives and to do that, youâ€™ve got to have a passion (for recruiting). Yes, it can wear on you but at the same time, you like it and know how important it is. â€œAs far as the miles we travel, it depends on where the players are geographically,â€? said Bobo. â€œTake this year. Zach (Mettenberger) was right here in Athens while Aaron (Murray) was in Tampa,â€? he pointed out, alluding to the Bulldogsâ€™ two talented quarterback recruits who are already enrolled in classes at UGA. â€œWith some, weâ€™re traveling to see them once a week so say you have one guy in Texas and one guy in North Carolina, thereâ€™s a little more travel involved there.â€? The father of five children, Bobo canâ€™t say enough about the support he gets from wife Lainie as he travels the nationâ€™s highways and byways recruiting for the Georgia Bulldogs. â€œI have a great wife who understands all of this and tells me so,â€? Bobo said.
â€œWe just have awesome wives,â€? echoed Richt. â€œOur coaches spend so much time away from their families, beginning in August right up to today (Feb. 4). Itâ€™s a six-month grind and not only are we grinding ourselves but our families are also. And our wives do an awesome job with it. The thing that helps a lot,â€? Richt added, â€œis that they lean on each other (during season itself and recruiting season), and thatâ€™s great.â€? Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels appreciates the fact his wife, Patricia, and daughters, Taylor and Savannah, realize that all the hours heâ€™s gone away from home, heâ€™s doing it for the good of the University of Georgia and, their own welfare. â€œYouâ€™ve got to have a very supportive wife who understands the business,â€? Searels said. â€œYou never want to be away from the kids but, you know what, my kids are over here in the season (at athletic complex) when we have family night, so I get to see them a lot. â€œAnd,â€? Searels continued, â€œmy girls understand that if I donâ€™t go recruit, they donâ€™t get to go to Disney World or go to bowl games. So they want me out recruiting. Like I say, if Iâ€™m not recruiting, they know they donâ€™t go to the Sugar Bowl or Disney World, like we did this year.â€? So, Bulldawg Nation, as you watch players such as Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, Marlon Brown, Branden Smith and many more top recruits from the 2009 class perform at Sanford Stadium over the next few years, be extremely grateful for all the many hours the UGA coaches have put in, and the thousands of miles theyâ€™ve traveled, to make these guys Georgia Bulldogs. And, too, remember the sacrifices these coachesâ€™ wives and kids have had to make to enable their husbands and dads to become successful recruiters for this football team.
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RECRUITING NEWS By Carlton DeVooght
College Recruiting Class Ranked No. 9 – So Far Wednesday, February 4, 2009, eighteen blue chip athletes signed letters of intent to play college football for Coach Mark Richt and the University of Georgia. Due to scholarship limitations, this class is smaller than the recruiting classes signed in recent years, but it is loaded with talent. While Alabama and LSU finished ahead of Georgia in the overall team rankings, both schools signed significantly more players in their 2009 classes. With an average star rating of 3.83 (out of a possible 5) per player, Georgia’s class ranks as one of the top four most talented classes in the country, behind only Florida (3.94), Southern Cal (3.89) and Texas (3.85). Georgia is still battling with Southern Cal for one more signature in this year’s class. Orson Charles, the talented tight end who was teammates with Bulldog signee Aaron Murray, is scheduled to take an official recruiting visit to Southern Cal the weekend of February 20. It is anticipated that he will sign a letter of intent with the college of his choice after that visit. Regardless of what Charles decides to do, the Bulldogs have signed an extremely talented class. This class has one five star player, thirteen four star players and four three star players. This class also has a lot of speed at the skill positions and at linebacker, and freakish speed at defensive end. There appear to be more playmakers in this class on both sides of the ball than in previous years. In the profile for each of these athletes, I will give my thoughts on whether the player will likely redshirt or make an impact his freshman year. As is my tradition, I like to start the profiles with the Big Uglies, since they get the least amount of fanfare once the games begin. Offensive Linemen Chris Burnette – Troupe County High School, Lagrange, Georgia (6’2”, 300 lbs; 5.1/40). Four is the magic number for Burnette. This dominating offensive guard is one of the top four offensive guards in the country, is ranked as a four star prospect, is ranked as one of the top four overall players in the State of Georgia for 2009, and currently carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Burnette would already be enrolled in Athens, but he has an opportunity to be the Valedictorian of his high school class. The Burnette family and Coach Richt thought this was too important of an opportunity for this young man to pass up by enrolling early. Besides dominating in the classroom, Burnette has been a dominant force on the field. The coaches at the U.S. Army All-American Game consistently stated that Burnette picked up the offensive schemes for the game faster than ANY player on the squad. While Georgia will have more offensive line depth than it has enjoyed in recent years, Coach Searels may be hard pressed to keep this tough young man off the field. Burnette has been committed to the Bulldogs since February 1, 2008 and has stayed true to his commitment. He is going to be a force on the interior offensive line for the Bulldogs. Dallas Lee – Buford High School, Buford, Georgia (6’4”, 290 lbs; 5.0/40). Dallas Lee is another four star standout at offensive guard who signed with the Bulldogs this year. Lee is already enrolled in Athens and is participating in off season workouts. He has that nasty streak on the field that offensive line coaches love. Much like current Bulldog freshman Ben Jones, Lee doesn’t stop blocking his man into the ground or off the field until the referees have blown the whistle. While he was probably overshadowed somewhat by the signing of Chris Burnette, Lee is just as impressive. By enrolling early, Lee is giving himself every opportunity to adjust to the Bulldogs’ system and earn early playing time. While it is likely that he will redshirt this year, his tenacity and determination may leave Coach Searels with no choice but to play him this year. Austin Long – Briarcrest Christian Academy, Memphis, Tennessee (6’5”, 268 lbs) Austin Long has the prototypical frame of an offensive tackle. This four star athlete was one of the top two players in the State of Tennessee in 2009, second only to another Bulldog signee you will read about below. Long dominated at the high school level showing tenacious drive and intelligence on the field. Assuming that Trinton Sturdivant and Vince Vance both successfully return from their respective knee surgeries, Long will likely redshirt during the 2009 season. This will give him a year under the strength and conditioning guru, Coach Van Halanger. Like Burnette and Lee, Long definitely has the talent to play soon in Athens. Barring another injury marred season like 2008, I think Long will redshirt in 2009, and be ready to contend for serious playing time 2010. Defensive Line Avery Jones – Northside Warner Robbins High School, Warner Robbins, Georgia (6’3”, 273 lbs) The Bulldogs will have three seniors at defensive tackle this year, so this was clearly an area of need. Jones is just the type of player the Bulldogs were looking for. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top ten defensive tackles in the country. He is also ranked as one of the top ten players overall in the State of Georgia. A dominant force on the interior defensive line, Jones will need to bulk up to handle the constant pounding delivered by SEC offensive linemen. That shouldn’t take too long under the watchful eye of Coach Van Halanger. He is still learning the finer points of the defensive tackle position, and will benefit from a redshirt year. There are depth concerns at this position in 2010, so it is not out of the question that one or both of the defensive tackle signees in this class could see playing time next year. Derrick Lott – North Cobb High School, Kennesaw, Georgia (6’4”, 272 lbs) Like Jones, Lott fills a big need for the Bulldogs. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top twenty overall players in the State of Georgia this year. He committed to the Bulldogs on October 8, 2008. Slightly taller than Jones, Lott will also need to add some weight to endure the wear and tear of knocking skulls with 300 plus pound offensive linemen. He is a runstopper who effectively clogs the middle by himself. Lott and Jones should be a strong force for the Bulldogs at defensive tackle in the years to come. Montez Robinson - Avon High School, Avon, Indiana, (6’5”, 235 lbs; 4.59/40) The Bulldogs were decimated by injuries at defensive end last year. Even those that played often played hurt. Robinson brings incredible athleticism and speed to this area of need for the Bulldogs. This four star prospect is ranked as one the top eight defensive ends in the country, and finished the 2009 season ranked as the top player in the State of Indiana. He has amazing athleticism for a defensive lineman. His incredible time in the 40 (4.59/40) is just the type of burst that Coach Fabris likes off the edge of the Bulldog’s defensive line. While Robinson will need to add some bulk, injuries at defensive end have opened up an opportunity for early playing time for this young man. Linebackers Michael Gilliard- Lowndes High School, Valdosta, Georgia (6’2”, 200 lbs; 4.6/40) Gilliard is a fast and rangy outside linebacker who hails from “Title Town”, Valdosta, Georgia. This four star athlete is ranked as one of the top fifteen linebackers in the country and as one of the top fifteen overall players in State of Georgia. He brings speed and athleticism to the outside linebacker position. Gilliard could benefit from a redshirt year, which would allow him to further develop his coverage skills. Gilliard is fast to the ball, and brings the wood when he meets the ball carrier. He has the potential to grow into a fearsome outside linebacker for the Bulldogs. Dexter Moody - Emanuel County Institute, Twin City, Georgia (6’2”, 205 lbs; 4.5/40) Moody was a member of the “ECI Trio” that helped lead their high school team to the state championship game. He is an underrated prospect, who currently is ranked as a three star prospect, and is one of the top seventeen linebackers in the country. Moody is very fast, and with a redshirt year will learn to use that speed in coverage and to shut down ball carriers who try to get to the outside. In high school, Moody was a threat whenever he had the ball in his hands, scoring 6 touchdowns as a receiver and 2 touchdowns as a punt returner. Moody is electrifying whenever he is on the field. Chase Vasser – Chestatee High School, Gainesville, Georgia (6’3”, 208 lbs; 4.52/40) Chase Vasser is a throwback type of player. Ranked as one of the top twenty outside linebackers in the country, this three star prospect uses his speed to launch himself like a missile all over the field. Vasser committed to the Bulldogs in January of 2008 and has stayed true to his commitment. It is clear from watching his video highlights that he worked very hard over the course of his senior year to improve his game to prepare to play for the Bulldogs. Like the other two linebacker signees, Vasser combines speed, tenacity and toughness that will allow him to wreak havoc on opposing offensives. All three linebackers will likely redshirt next year.
Defensive Backs Jordan Love – Deep Run High School, Glenn Allen, Virginia (6’0”, 185 lbs; 4.41/40) Jordan Love is my pick for the sleeper of the 2009 Recruiting Class. Watching his highlights, he should have more than three stars. He has incredible closing speed and good footwork. Also, at 6 feet tall, he is bigger than most SEC cornerbacks. His vertical leap of 37” gives him a combination of speed, size and leaping ability that has to make Coach Willie Martinez drool. Love is also coming in with the attitude that he is going to make the Bulldogs’ secondary better immediately. While some of the other signees may be ranked higher than Love, watch for him to make a big impact on the Bulldogs’ secondary sooner rather than later. Branden Smith – Washington High School, Atlanta, Georgia (5’11”/171 lbs; 4.4/40) Branden Smith is the only five star athlete in the Bulldog’s 2009 class. Ranked as one of the top five cornerbacks in country, Smith is ranked as the most athletic cornerback, the fastest cornerback and one of the two best cornerbacks in coverage in the country. He is also ranked as the top player in the State of Georgia this year. Smith committed to the Bulldogs at the Under Armour All-Star Game, where he displayed his coverage skills against the best wide receivers in the country. He is the crown jewel in this year’s class. This summer he will be working out with a name familiar to all Bulldog fans, Champ Bailey. He is hoping that the opportunity to work out with this all pro will help prepare him for his arrival in Athens for pre-season practice. Like Bailey, Smith could be a two way threat at some point in his career. Many recruiting experts predict that Branden Smith will be the first freshman to see the field in this class. Shawn Williams - Early County High School, Blakely, Georgia (6’1”, 195 lbs; 4.5/40) Shawn Williams may just be the second coming of Thomas Davis. He is a hard hitting safety who has the speed to provide run support and the power to crush receivers coming across the middle. Do not let his three star ranking fool you. The Bulldog coaches aren’t the only ones who recognize how much potential Williams possesses. In their analysis of the recruiting classes for all the SEC schools, Rivals picked Shawn Williams as the sleeper of this class, calling him “one of the more underrated safety’s in the nation.” Once Williams spends some time with Coach Van Halanger, he will be a terror in the middle for the Bulldogs. Running back Washaun Ealey- Emanuel County Institute, Twin City, Georgia (5’11”, 205 lbs; 4.45/40) Washaun Ealey is the reigning touchdown king of the State of Georgia. Ealey dominated opposing defenses this year. Despite his injury, he still played a tough game for ECI. Ealey is ranked as one of the top ten running backs in the country, one of the top six or seven best players overall in the State of Georgia, and is a four star prospect. With four running backs on campus, the Bulldogs only looked to sign one running back, and they got their man in Ealey. He will challenge the four running backs currently ahead of him on the depth chart for playing time. While it is likely that he will redshirt during the 2009 season, Bulldog coaches will be careful to make sure they do not have a repeat of the situation with Knowshon Moreno. When Washaun Ealey is healthy, he is a threat to take it to the house everytime he touches the ball. Tight Ends Arthur Lynch – Dartmouth High School, Dartmouth, Massachusetts (6’5”, 240 lbs; 4.7/40) The Bulldogs reached into Massachusetts to pluck the number one ranked player from that state. Arthur Lynch (formerly known as Arthur Fontaine),who is also the number two ranked tight end in the nation, committed to the Bulldogs in August of 2008 after de-committing from Boston College. Lynch has soft hands and deceptive speed that allows him to separate from linebackers trying to cover him. While he could stand to add a few pounds, he has the height, speed and hands that the Bulldog coaches like to see in a tight end. There is a definite possibility that Lynch could see the field this fall. Look for this four star prospect to make his presence known early for the Bulldogs. Wide Receivers Marlon Brown – Harding Academy, Memphis, Tennessee (6’5”, 205 lbs) Marlon Brown was known by most recruiting prognosticators, but he burst on the national scene in the Under Armour All American Game. Brown took the first pass from scrimmage, a simple slant route, more than 60 yards for a touchdown to give his team a lead they would never relinquish. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top five wide receivers in the country, the fifty-third best overall football player in the country, and the number one prospect in the State of Tennessee. When Lane Kiffen was named the new coach at the University of Tennessee, he said that Marlon Brown was the top recruit that he needed to sign in his first class at UT. Brown picked the Bulldogs over the home state Vols for an opportunity to play with freshman All American sensation AJ Green and because the Vols coaching staff “did not have a track record yet”. With the addition of Brown to this class, the Bulldogs could have as many as three wide receivers on the field at any time that stand 6’4 ½” or taller. Take into account that the average SEC cornerback stands just shy of 5’10”, and you know that quarterback Joe Cox has to be excited to have the opportunity to throw the ball to big talented wide receivers like Brown. Brown was the last recruit to sign with the Bulldogs on signing day, but he was well worth the wait. He is a natural talent who will hone his route running skills under “new” wide receivers coach, Tony Ball. Marlon Brown was a huge addition to this class. Rantavious Wooten – Glade Central High School, Belle Glade, Florida (5’10”, 158 lbs; 4.45/40) Rantavious Wooten is the next in a long line of speedsters from the Belle Glade area. Don’t let his posted time in the 40 yard dash fool you. Once this young man has the ball in his hands, he seems to find another gear. This four star prospect is truly a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball. He could return kicks or take a screen pass for a touchdown. Our coaches wanted to find a dynamic playmaker at wide receiver to add to the 2009 class. Rantavious Wooten is that player. He is that quick, shifty receiver we have lacked. Quarterbacks Zack Mettenberger – Oconee County High School, Watkinsville, Georgia (6’5”, 229 lbs; 4.7/40) Zack Mettenberger is the prototypical drop back passer. He is big, has a strong arm and can make all the throws. This four star prospect is ranked as one of the top ten Pro Style Quarterbacks in the country, and was invited to participate in the EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback camp competitions. The Bulldogs wanted to sign two quarterbacks in this class and they inked two of the Elite 11 in the country. Mettenberger, from Oconee and whose mother works in the athletic department, is very familiar with the Bulldogs and has already enrolled at UGA. This opportunity to participate in spring practice will give him a leg up on learning the offense. He and his fellow signee, Aaron Murray, will make a dynamic tandem at quarterback for the Bulldogs. Although his fellow signee has received more publicity, don’t forget about Mettenberger. Aaron Murray – Plant High School, Tampa, Florida (6’0”, 198 lbs) Even though Murray is ranked as the third best Pro Style Quarterback in the country, he is still probably underrated. The four star ranking and his ranking as the 46th best overall player in the country are not enough. This young man is a true leader that came back from a severely broken ankle to lead his team to a state championship. He has the arm to make all the throws and good enough footwork to buy time for his receivers to complete their routes. Like Mettenberger, Murray participated in the Elite 11 camp. No other team in the country signed two of the Elite 11 Quarterbacks. It is my strong belief that if Murray was 6’3”, he would be ranked as the top Pro Style Quarterback in the country, ahead of Southern Cal signee Matt Barkley. I guess some recruiting prognosticators seem to forget how good quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Doug Flutie were at the college level. Murray is a dynamic leader and very talented football player. He is also a grounded individual who could challenge for playing time early in his career at UGA. Like Mettenberger, Murray is also enrolled and will have the opportunity to compete during spring practice this year. The Bulldogs are truly blessed to have Murray and Mettenberger in this class. This is a very strong class for the Bulldogs. There is a nice mix of Big Uglies up front and talented playmakers. Sprinkle in two of the best quarterbacks in the country and this class deserves to be a top ten class. I think as many as eight of these players have a chance to see the field during the 2009 season, even without any injuries to players on the current roster. This class includes the top ranked player from the State of Georgia, the State of Indiana, the State of Massachusetts and the top two players from the State of Tennessee. Having watched some of the best recruits from Georgia go to UT, I always love to steal the top talent from the Vols’ backyard. It also includes four of the top ten and seven of the top twenty players from the State of Georgia. More than anything else, this class is full of natural leaders, a key element to any championship team. Recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner and the Bulldog coaches have once again signed an amazing class.
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2009 Georgia Signees - Chris Burnette
OG, 6-2, 300 LaGrange, Ga., Troup County HS Born: April 22, 1991…High School: Troup County...2008 MaxPreps Medium School All-America Team...PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team…2008 SuperPrep AllDixie Team….2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Georgia’s Super 11, Super Southern 100, Georgia 150 and Class AAA All-State first team...2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAA All-State selection...2009 Rivals.com four-star prospect, Rivals 100 (81), offensive guard (3) and Georgia Postseason Top 75 (4)...2009 Scout.com three-star prospect ranked #9 in Georgia, #76 in the South, #147 in the nation, and #31 offensive guard...UGASports 2009 Georgia Top 75 (5)...Ranked #58 overall and #2 at OG in ESPNU 150...2009 Athlon Consensus 100 (88)….2008 Georgia Football Magazine/Georgiafb.com All-State Phenoms first team...2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant and named honorable mention for “best feet” award...Projected to be high school valedictorian...High School Coach: Bubba Jeter.
In offensive guard Chris Burnette, the University of Georgia is getting the total package … both athletically and academically. The 6-2, 300-pound Burnette, from Troup County in LaGrange, was named to the 2008 MaxPreps Medium School All-America Team, PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team and 2008 SuperPrep AllDixie Team. A first-team Class AAA all-state player and a 2009 Rivals.com four-star prospect, Burnette was a participant in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl game. But what is most amazing about the Bulldogs’ signee is that Burnette has made all A’s in every subject since he was in kindergarten and is in the running to be the valedictorian at his senior graduation. Here, in this question-and-answer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Chris’ proud mom, Pamela Burnette, talks about her son. Parents/Guardians names: Anthony and Pamela Burnette. Siblings names and ages: Tony Burnette, 22; Mikayla, 5. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Chris’ recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach Rodney Garner. He has been very helpful as far as things we need to be prepared for. He’s very people-oriented and makes you aware of all the details to be prepared for whatever is coming your way. Coach Garner has made the process real smooth for us. In the end, why do you think Chris chose Georgia? I believe Chris chose Georgia for both its academics and football. He knows Georgia has been a strong team for years and that he can contribute to their program. Chris feels UGA is a good college where he can get a great education, one he can use all over the world. Ever since middle school, he said Georgia was where he wanted to go and when they contacted him, he was so excited. There was no question of where he was
going to go. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Chris loves to draw. Ever since he was a young child, he’s drawn things like a Bulldog garage. About three years ago, he drew Bulldogs art on one wall of the garage and Carolina Panthers art on the other. He likes all kinds of artistic things, and he’s constantly looking for things he wants to sketch … whatever young people are doing now. Chris also sends emails out to his friends regarding his faith … not to pressure them but just to encourage them to seek out a higher power. What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? He once gave me a unique Mother’s Day gift. He made a picture frame in a work class at school. It was actually a combined gift from both my sons. In the frame was a picture of myself in the center and all three of my children on the side, with the words “Happy Mother’s Day” on one side and a rose Chris had sketched on the other side. It was just so unique and was something I’ll cherish forever. When something is made instead of bought in a store, it really touches your heart forever. What makes him a leader on and off the field? I think it’s just Chris’ dedication to whatever he sets his mind to do. He has an influence that people just gravitate to. Chris is not perfect but he has positive beliefs and his friends listen to him and seek his advice. That’s why I think he’s a leader both on and off the field. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? There’s been so many cute stories about Chris, it’s hard to pinpoint just one. What is his favorite school subject and why? That’s a hard one. He just likes them all
and has done well in all of them. Years ago, I know he really loved art the most. And least favorite and why? Because he struggled some with Calculus, that might be his least favorite, but he still got an A in it. He’s taking the second part now. What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? That everything in life is a challenge but if you set your mind and heart to achieve it, it’s possible. And that’s what I tell all my children. Just try to build a strong foundation from the start. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Power Rangers and My Brother and Me. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? It was always Georgia and professionally, the Carolina Panthers. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? When Chris was playing defense, his goal was to sack the quarterback but that was more in middle school. Chris was constantly able to get to the quarterback then. On offense, he used his body, mind and skill to protect the quarterback and keep the defensive players from coming through. He did a lot of protecting in high school and also had a lot of pancake blocks. Who were his heroes growing up? Chris has written several papers stating that his brother and his dad are his heroes. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? That his faith is No. 1 to him, and that’s what we believe as a family, too. If he tells you something, we believe him – he keeps his word. We believe our son will be in good care under Coach Richt. - Interview by Murray Poole
2009 Georgia Signees - Abry Jones Georgia can always use help in the trenches, on the defensive line, and the Bulldogs have plenty of that help on the way with the signing of Northside-Warner Robins tackle Abry Jones. Rated a four-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, the 6-3, 273-pound Jones was named to the USA Today All-USA Second Team Defense, was named to the PrepStar Dream Team, the Maxpreps Second Team All-America and also, was chosen as the Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year in Georgia in 2008. As a senior, Jones recorded 95 tackles, including 15 sacks. He also played in the Under Armour All-America High School Game. In this question-andanswer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Sharon Potts gives the Dawg Nation a special insight into her son. Parents/Guardians names: Sharon and Marvin Potts. Siblings names and ages: Fredrick, 27. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Abry’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? It was both Coach (John) Lilly and Coach (Rodney) Garner. I liked the fact that both of them have the soul of family men. They were so easy to talk to and could answer any questions you had. They just really made you feel at ease. In the end, why do you think Abry chose Georgia? I think Abry chose Georgia because they were honest with him. He wanted to be recruited as a defensive end instead of a defensive tackle, and Coach Lilly, Coach Garner and Coach Richt told him he would be given that opportunity if, when he got bigger, he maintained his speed and quickness. Otherwise, he would be a tackle. And they gave Abry examples of people who played each position to read up on and why coaches look for certain things at both tackle and defensive end.
Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Abry likes to read and play chess. And he actually likes to work out to achieve his goals. He also likes music. What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? One of the best things he ever did for me was when he once told me, “Mom, you never have to worry about me doing my school work because you told me that’s my job.” That meant a lot to me and I never have had to check to see if he’s doing it. What makes him a leader on and off the field? Abry knows who he is and what he wants and how to work to get what he wants. He genuinely cares about the people in his life. And he really likes to help people accomplish things. If someone is taking the SAT, Abry will wake them up, pick them up and drop them off. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? Abry was a horrible child – he was just bad. He fought all the time with other kids. I was in the Army at Fort Polk, La. and Abry was in the first grade. Well, everybody in my office had to be on his emergency pickup list, where someone is allowed to pick up your child from school. Abry was so bad and got into trouble so much, anybody in the office could go pick him up. And that’s something nobody believes today. But around the second grade, he had a complete turnaround. That was when he became a punk and began letting everybody pick on him. Back then, I didn’t think it was possible for Abry to become the young man he is today. What is his favorite school subject and why? History. He always had a fascination with it. And, he also likes math. And least favorite and why? Spanish. He took Latin and French and enjoyed them, but he just didn’t like Spanish.
What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? That there is a God and he loves you and expects you to treat everybody like the children of God. The main thing I always told him is that if you like the life you’re living now, you have to be able to earn it for yourself later … to get you the career that will get you things you enjoy having. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Ninja Turtles and for a movie, it was Major Payne. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? College, it was the University of Miami and professional it was the Pittsburgh Steelers because he said they always had the best style of defense. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? I think his best one was when we played Lowndes this past year. He was stopping everybody behind the line for losses that game. Everybody was talking how great he was that game and Abry would look at them like they were stupid, because we lost the game. Who were his heroes growing up? Abry always thought his dad was cool because he was a Calvary scout in the army and was always the best shooter, and best in physical training, too. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? Coach Richt’s patience. No matter how many people come up to him for autographs or to shake his hand or take his picture, the smile is always in his eye as well as on his face. On Coach Richt’s official visit with Abry, I asked him to come out to Robins Air Force Base here where there are a lot of Georgia fans. Well, Coach Richt made it a special day for those fans, and they’re still thanking me for it.
DT, 6-3, 273 Warner Robins, Ga., Northside HS Born: September 8, 1991.… High School: Northside… USA Today AllUSA Second Team Defense…PrepStar Dream Team… Atlanta Journal Constitution 2008 Georgia’s Super 11, Super Southern 100, Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year, and All-State Team… 2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year and All-State Team… Maxpreps Second Team All-America… 2008 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game participant….Rivals.com four-star prospect… Rivals.com #9 DT prospect nationally, #6 overall prospect in Georgia… DT rankings: Quickest (3), Best pass rusher (4)…Scout.com fourstar prospect… Scout.com #2 DT prospect in the South, #10 nationally, and Dawg Post #4 overall prospect in Georgia….#22 ranked defensive end prospect by ESPN.com… as a senior, recorded 95 tackles, including 15 sacks… as a junior, recorded 72 tackles, including 13 sacks and nine tackles for loss…High School Coach: Conrad Nix.
- Interview by Murray Poole
UGA Athletic Endowment Lunch - Athens Country Club
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(left-right) Aaron White, Mike Cavan and Mark Richt
(left-right) Lesley Black, Allison Hush and Alicia Shrum
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(left-right) Kelsey Ann Williams, Chas Williams, Liz Williams, Dawson Williams and Charlie Williams
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2009 Georgia Signees - Austin Long Memphis, Tenn., the home of the blues and Elvis Presley, was very kind to the Georgia Bulldogs this recruiting season. Not only did the Bulldogs land All-America receiver Marlon Brown, they also signed the state of Tennessee’s No. 2 high school prospect in offensive tackle Austin Long. The 6-5, 268-pound Long, who played at Briarcrest Christian, was named to the SuperPrep and PrepStar All-America teams as well as the All-Dixie team. Named as the No. 1 offensive tackle in Tennessee and the No. 12 offensive tackle nationally, Long was also selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game. In this question-and-answer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Lisa Long provides Georgia fans with a special insight into her son. OL, 6-5, 268 Memphis, Tenn., Briarcrest Christian HS Born: December 12, 1990…High School: Briarcrest Christain…SuperPrep AllAmerica and All-Dixie teams…PrepStar All-America Team…2008 Atlanta JournalConstitution Super Southern 100… Knoxville News Sentinel Top 10 in Tennessee…TSWA All-State Football Team for Division II …selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game…2009 Rivals.com #2 overall in Tennessee…#1 Offensive Tackle in Tennessee and #12 OT nationally…ESPNU 150 #47 overall, #5 Offensive Tackle nationally…Sports Illustrated Top 200 (#33)…2008 Scout.com four-star prospect rated #6 OT in the nation, #75 overall, #2 in Tennessee, and #35 in the South…also played baseball and basketball through his junior year …his father, Tim Long, played offensive line for Memphis and for three NFL teams…High School Coach: Major Wright.
Parents/Guardians names: Tim and Lisa Long. Siblings names and ages: Hunter, 16. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Austin’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach Stacy Searels. We fell in love with Coach Searels. He was like a good friend. We were very comfortable with him from the beginning and he answered all our questions. Coach Searels is very genuine and easy to talk to, and he’s very accessible. In the end, why do you think Austin chose Georgia? It was tough. Austin grew up a Florida fan and then Alabama was the first to offer him. And he has a friend in Memphis that signed with Alabama. But Austin then went to visit Georgia, and (UGA QB commitment) Aaron Murray called and talked to him. And after the phone call from Aaron, Austin came in and said Georgia was where he wanted to go. We were just thrilled because we thought Georgia was the best for him all along, with Coach Richt being a Godly man and all. Now we didn’t like the distance (from Memphis) but we knew
Austin would be well taken care of. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Austin loves to hunt – he’s a big duck hunter, just a big outdoors guy. And ever since he was little, he wanted to play football. He tried all the other sports and was very successful at baseball but his heart wasn’t there. The first time he saw a football game, watching a friend a year older in the youth leagues, Austin said that was what he wanted to do. He said, “Daddy, that’s what I want to do – I want to hit people.” What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? We would go to parks a lot when he was growing up, and he would see a pretty flower, pick it and bring it to me. And there would always be a big smile on his face. I kept all the flowers in a vase, and it was such a sweet little boy thing to do for his mom. And then Hunter started doing it, too. He follows whatever Austin does. What makes him a leader on and off the field? Obviously, his size. Austin’s always been one of the biggest in his class. And he wants to do the right thing. He’s just a good, Godly boy. I’m not saying he’s perfect but he wants to do what’s right. He’s also funny and all his buddies just like him. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? During Monday Night Football on TV, the boys would take all of the pillows off the bed and put them in the den. Then, during the commercials, Tim would take a football and throw it in the air and the boys would scramble to catch it. They would tackle each other when the ball was caught and they would also keep points, so it was a competitive thing. Austin did that from the age of two and a half until he was about 12.
What is his favorite school subject and why? Probably math because he’s really good in math and he’s built confidence through it. And least favorite and why? Probably English. He has a good teacher but a tough teacher who’s preparing him for college. Austin never liked English and that makes it even tougher to like. What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? Just to be humble and to do his best at everything and always give God the glory. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Austin loved Thomas the Train and Batman. He dressed up as Batman four different Halloweens and made me dress up as Cat Woman one time. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? The Florida Gators were his favorite college team, and he loved the Tampa Bay Bucs when Tony Dungee was coaching. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? My greatest high school memory was when Austin was a freshman and we were playing our biggest rival, Evangel Christian School. On one of the last plays of the game, Austin intercepted one of their passes and scored a touchdown. Because he’s a lineman, it was the only touchdown he’s ever made. I’ve never seen him smile so big. Who were his heroes growing up? His dad because Tim played at the University of Memphis and with the Vikings and 49ers in the NFL. They had a great relationship when Austin was growing up. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? Coach Richt is very easy to talk to and just honest and down to earth. I think he runs a good program and is just a good coach. - Interview by Murray Poole
2009 Georgia Signees - Jordan Love Glen Allen, Va. defensive back Jordan Love could be the most unsung player in Georgia’s 2009 signing class. A SuperPrep All-Middle Atlantic team selection and a Scout.com four-star prospect, Love was rated the No. 1 cornerback in Virginia by Rivals.com and while a senior at Deep Run High this past season, the 6-0, 185-pound Love had 45 tackles and three pass deflections, returned three punts and one kickoff for touchdowns and, offensively, rushed 49 times for 281 yards and two touchdowns. And with his 4.41 speed in the 40 and his hitting ability, look for Love to make his presence felt in the Bulldogs’ secondary sooner than later. In this question-andanswer session with Bulldawg Illustrated Jennifer Love, Jordan’s mother, provides Georgia fans with an inside look at her son. Parents/Guardians names: Jennifer Love and Arnold Adkins, Lawrence Love. Siblings names and ages: Erica, 27; August, 26; Alex, 24, Gabriella, 13. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Jordan’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Both Coach Tony Ball and Coach Willie Martinez. One of the reasons Jordan picked Georgia is because of the great body of coaches involved with that program. In the end, why do you think Jordan chose Georgia? I think Jordan had an immediate connection with the coaches and that has really grown over time. He also liked the school and the academic situation there with Rhonda Kilpatrick. Jordan knows he will get the academic support he needs to graduate from Georgia. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Jordan’s third grade teacher told him he was charismatic enough to grow up to be president of the United States. She said he had that “it” factor. Also about Jordan, he thinks he can dance but he really can’t. And he’s been playing football since he weighed 50 pounds in New Jersey.
What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? I think it was for senior night this past season when Coach Greg Kendall had each player write a letter to their parents and in it, Jordan said one of the important things I always instilled in him was to be a person of good character. That meant a lot because that’s the way he tries to live his life. It’s all about doing the right thing when nobody is looking. What makes him a leader on and off the field? Even though football is a very physical game, Jordan really has compassion and empathy for other people, and those are two very important leadership traits. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? There was a boy who used to tease Jordan’s older sister, Erica, every day. Well, for three weeks Jordan listened to her complain about the boy, who was a bagger at a grocery store. Well, we went to the store one day, the three of us, and Jordan – who’s about five at the time – disappears. So we’re looking for Jordan and when we find him, he’s just giving it to that boy, who was about 14. Jordan tells the boy, “I’m sick and tired of you messing with my sister and if you keep doing it, you’ll have me to deal with.” And the boy looks at him and says, “OK, I’m really scared.” Well, you would have thought Jordan was six-foot tall because he was really giving it to that boy. What is his favorite school subject and why? History. He loves a good debate and he’s always watching the History and Science channels. And least favorite and why? Either math or science. He probably likes science the worst of the two because it requires no talking. What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? That your good name and your reputation is all that you really have in life so you need to re-
ally take care of it and make good choices. I tell Jordan there’s a consequence for all your actions, either good or bad, and you get to choose. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? When he was little, he really liked Barney the dinosaur and when he became older, it was Ninja Turtles. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? We’ve lived in nine different cities and growing up, he liked the SEC. He liked to tease me and say he was going to the U (Miami). But I told him he wasn’t going to any U. Because a lot of my family went to Jackson State, he grew up with an affinity for Walter Payton. His pro team growing up was the Philadelphia Eagles. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? It was this past year against Hanover High School. Hanover and our school, Deep Run, are two big rivals. Well, the clock was ticking down to the final seconds and Hanover had the ball, fourth and goal, at about the 6 or 7-yard line. Hanover handed the ball to their best running back and Jordan stopped him on the 1-yard line to preserve the win. Jordan had played the entire game both ways and still had enough left in him to make the play, which kept Deep Run undefeated at the time. Who were his heroes growing up? I really tried to instill in my children that they needed to emulate people that they could touch every day. Jordan would tell you he really liked Walter Payton but I’d like to think that he looks up to me, too. And he actually wrote that in a paper he did at school. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? He’s a man of faith. Coach Richt wants to win games but he also wants to see young men do well in life beyond football. I think he’s truly building men through football to serve other people.
DB, 6-0, 185 Glen Allen, Va., Deep Run HS Born: December 31, 1990…High School: Deep Run…SuperPrep AllMiddle Atlantic team….PrepStar AllAtlantic Region….Virginia Preps Class of 2009 #18 …2008 Rivals.com #1 Cornerback in Virginia, #20 Overall in Virginia Postseason Top 30 and , and #42 Cornerback nationally…2008 Scout.com four-star prospect, #1 Cornerback in Virginia and #31 Cornerback nationally… ESPNU #29 Athlete nationally…as a senior in 2008 had 45 tackles and three pass deflections… also had 49 carries for 281 yards and two touchdowns, three punts returned for a touchdown and one kickoff return for a touchdown…as a junior in 2007 had three interceptions on defense and 238 yards rushing on offense…as a sophomore in 2006 had 53 tackles and three interceptions on defense…had 33 carries for 238 yards and three TDs on offense…High School Coach: Greg Kendall.
- Interview by Murray Poole
2009 Georgia Signees - Arthur Lynch
TE, 6-5, 240 Dartmouth, Mass., Dartmouth HS Born June 17, 1990… High School: Dartmouth…PrepStar All-America team…SuperPrep All-American and All-New England teams…2008 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game participant…named to Massachusetts AllState Team as a senior….rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and ranked as No. 2 TE prospect in the country and #1 overall prospect in Massachusetts.…Scout.com fourstar prospect ranked as #5 TE prospect and #108 overall prospect in the country…as a senior, had 16 catches for 249 yards and three touchdowns…as a junior, caught 10 balls for 160 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 63 tackles and four sacks… Senior class president and freshman counselor… High School Coach: Richard White.
The Georgia Bulldogs have a tradition of producing outstanding tight ends and with the signing of Arthur Lynch this recruiting season, it appears that tradition will continue. From Darmouth, Mass., the 6-5, 240-pound Lynch is rated as one of the best in the country at his position … not only as a pass receiver but as a blocker as well. In this questionand-answer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Arthur’s mom, Carline Lynch, gives Georgia fans a special insight into her son.
Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Arthur loves music and he’s a barber – he will give a haircut to his friends and teammates … anyone who needs one. He taught himself how to do it and our neighbors gave him the clippers.
Parents/Guardians names: Carline Lynch.
What makes him a leader on and off the field? Because Arthur wants to win and cares about people.
Siblings names and ages: Elizabeth, 26; Frances, 23; Ellie, 20. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Arthur’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach John Lilly. He was very straightforward and honest with us. He answered any questions that I had. In the end, why do you think Arthur chose Georgia? Because of the coaches. Arthur loved the university and liked Athens but most of all because the coaches connected with him.
What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? All I can say is that Arthur’s been a very good son every step of the way.
Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? Because of Arthur’s size, he was too big for youth football but played everything else … basketball, baseball and so forth. He was very happy playing those but he always wanted to play football. It was his dream to play so when he got to high school, he was finally able to play football in the ninth grade. What is his favorite school subject and why? Arthur likes English, he likes to write. And least favorite and why? It’s science. He just doesn’t like it.
What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? To work hard and be kind to other people. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? When growing up, it was Saved by the Bell. And he watches Friday Night Lights. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? His favorite college team was Boston College, where I went to school. And the New England Patriots is his favorite professional team. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? When he was a junior, he made a leaping catch during the playoffs, on the way to the high school Super Bowl up here in Massachusetts. Who were his heroes growing up? Arthur really looked up to Ricky Brown, a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? I think Coach Richt likes to get to know his players as people, and he treats them with respect. - Interview by Murray Poole
2009 Georgia Signees - Zach Mettenberger Despite the fact Georgia recruited Zach Mettenberger right out of its back yard, the Bulldogs got one of the top quarterbacks in the country in the 6-5, 229-pound Mettenberger. With his prototype size for a quarterback and boasting one of the very top passing arms in the nation’s prep ranks, Mettenberger figures to have a promising career in college football. At Oconee County High in Watkinsville, Mettenberger passed for 2,106 yards and 19 touchdowns – with only six interceptions – during his senior year. A member of the SuperPrep All-Dixie Team and PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team, Mettenberger was ranked as the No. 11 QB in the nation by Rivals.com, with the No. 3 overall strongest arm. Following this past season, he competed in the Offense-Defense All-American game and the Hawaii-Polynesian vs. Mainland All-American Bowl. In this question-and-answer session with Bulldawg Illustrated Tammy Mettenberger, who is a secretary in the UGA football office, gives a special insight into her son. Parents/Guardians names: Bernie and Tammy Mettenberger. Siblings names and ages: Brandy, 22. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Zach’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach Mike Bobo. We’ve known him a long time and worked with him a long time. He’s just always been up front and straight with us. In the end, why do you think
Zach chose Georgia? Zach grew up a Bulldog fan and has been around the athletic office since he was 6. And living in Watkinsville, he’s just always been a fan. We went to the Georgia games before I started working with the athletic department. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Zach has a great sense of humor. He’s also a very good basketball player. He’s very driven and whatever he sets his mind to do, he usually meets that goal. What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? Zach took me to lunch after church on Mother’s Day one year. And he’s always considerate and remembers me on special occasions. What makes him a leader on and off the field? Zach usually leads by example and is very mature for his age. He’s also very coachable. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? When Zach was in the fourth grade, he bleached his hair whiteblonde for football that season and took a lot of heat for it from the other kids. So when he changed his hair back to its natural brown-blondish color, some of the other kids then came in with their hair bleached white-blonde. What is his favorite school subject and why? History. Zach always liked history ... always liked to read about it. One of his favorite persons to study
is Abraham Lincoln. And least favorite and why? Math – he doesn’t care for math too much. He gets a B in it but it’s not one of his favorites. What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? Honesty. And do unto others what you would have them do unto you. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? Power Rangers. That was Zach’s favorite – he loved that show. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? His favorites have always been Georgia and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? It was the play when Zach bought time against Franklin County and threw the winning touchdown pass to Burnie Pritchard, which enabled Oconee County to win, 28-27. And that was the game Coach Bobo and Coach (John) Jancek were standing under the goalposts watching it. It was very, very sweet. Who were his heroes growing up? His dad was his hero. And Zach always looked up to Georgia players Musa Smith, Will Witherspoon and Ben Watson. Those were three guys he really looked up to. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? Coach Richt’s straightforwardness and his honesty. - Interview by Murray Poole
QB, 6-5, 229 Watkinsville, Ga., Oconee County HS Born: July 16, 1991…High School: Oconee County…Offense-Defense All-American and participated in Hawai’i-Polynesian vs. Mainland All-American Bowl…invited to 2008 EA Sports Elite 11 Camp… PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team…SuperPrep All-Dixie Team….ESPN.com No. 122 ESPNU 150 list…Scout.com four-star prospect, #130 in the nation, #6 in Georgia, #33 in the South and #14 QB in the nation….Rivals.com No. 3 strongest arm and #11 QB in the nation, #13 overall prospect in Georgia… 2008 AtlantaJournal Constitution Georgia 150, Super Southern 100, and Class AAA All-State Honorable Mention …MVP of Elite 11 Alabama Nike Camp…UGASports No. 4 GA Top 75…2008 Offensive Player of the Year and Coaches Award recipient at Oconee…2008 All-County and All-Region (First Team)…finished with 2,106 yards passing with 19 touchdowns and only six interceptions during his senior year…as a junior, completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,333 yards and 10 TDs…lettered all four years at Oconee…graduated early and enrolled at UGA in January, 2009….High School Coach: Mitch Olson.
2009 Georgia Signees MARLON BROWN WR, 6-5, 200 Memphis, Tenn., Harding Academy Born: April 22, 1991…High School: Harding Academy…Totaled 1,785 all-purpose yards with 19 touchdowns in 2008 including 338 yards and four touchdowns in the state championship game...Became first Memphis private schooler to be named a PARADE All-American in 2009…2009 USA Today All-USA Second Team…Named Tennessee’s Mr. Football for 2008…2008 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Division 2-A All-State…2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100…Caught 41 passes for 861 yards and six touchdowns in 2007 while rushing for 629 yards and 10 touchdowns…2007 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Division 2-A All-State…Caught 41 passes for 780 yards and eight touchdowns in 2006…Ranked as country’s No.5 wide receiver by Rivals.com…Ranked No. 53 on Rivals.com 100…Ranked No. 1 on Rivals.com Tennessee Postseason Top 35Ranked No. 3 wide receiver by ESPN.com…Ranked No. 24 on ESPNU 150…Ranked No. 2 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com…Under Armour All-American…Also played basketball at Harding and was named to the 2008 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Division 2-A All-State Team…High School Coach: Ryan Derrick.
WASHAUN EALEY RB, 5-11, 205 Stillmore, Ga., Emanuel County Institute Born: June 1, 1989…High School: Emanuel County Institute… Parade Magazine All-America….SuperPrep All-America and AllDixie teams… PrepStar All-America Team….2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11, All-Class Player of the Year, Georgia 150, Super Southern 100, Class A Offensive Player of the Year, Class A All-State First Team…2008 Georgia High School All-Star Game participant…2007 Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-Class Player of the Year…2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class A Offensive Player of the Year…2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State First Team…2007 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class A All-State First Team… No. 78 on Athlon Consensus 100…2008 WTOC (Savannah, Ga.) Offensive Player of the Year…Under Armour All-American… No. 35 on ESPN 150…Ranked fourth best tailback in the country by ESPN.com…Rivals.com #11 RB in the country, #7 prospect in Georgia…Scout.com four star prospect ranked #37 in the South, #10 in Georgia, and #15 RB in the country….set Georgia high school single season record with 58 touchdowns in 2007…finished career with 8,108 rushing yards and a state record 133 touchdowns, 22 more than the previous record…rushed for 2,285 yards and 41 touchdowns on 305 carries and caught 13 passes for 166 yards and five touchdowns in 2008 while leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 290 points…helped guide Emanuel County to a 14-1 record and an appearance in the 2008 class A state finals…helped lead the Bulldogs to their first state title in 2007…rushed for 2,982 yards on 272 carries in 2007 with 58 touchdowns, breaking the state record previously held by Darius Walker…High School Coach: Milan Turner.
MIKE GILLIARD LB, 6-2, 200 Valdosta, Ga., Valdosta HS Born: March 6, 1991…High School: Valdosta… PrepStar AllAmerica Team…. SuperPrep All-Dixie team….2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AAAAA first team defense, Super Southern 100, and Georgia 150 … Region 1-AAAAA All-Region…played in the Offense-Defense All American Game…WCTV Super Six…2008 Rivals.com #14 LB in the country and #14 overall in Georgia…2008 Scout.com #18 WLB in nation and Dawg Post #16 prospect in Georgia…ESPNU #17 Outside Linebacker nationally…as a senior in 2008 recorded 106 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and 3 sacks…as a junior in 2007 recorded 112 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries…High School Coach: Rick Tomberlin. DALLAS LEE OL, 6-4, 305 Buford, Ga., Buford HS Born: October 18, 1989… High School: Buford… Named to the 2008 Under Armour All-America team… SuperPrep All-Dixie team…PrepStar All-Southeast Region…2009 Atlanta-Journal Constitution Georgia 150, Class AA All-State First-Team Defense… 2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AA All-State First-Team Defense… 2008 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South High School All-Star Game as an offensive lineman… 2009 Rivals.com four-star prospect, OL Rankings: strongest (3), offensive guard (16), Georgia Top 75 (20)… UGAsports.com Georgia Top 100… 2009 Scout.com three-star prospect, #20 ranked OG…Dawg Post #20 prospect in Georgia… ESPN.com #15 rated OG… helped lead Buford to consecutive GHSA Class AA state championships in 2007 and 2008… graduated early and enrolled at UGA in January 2009… High School Coach: Jess Simpson.
DERRICK LOTT DT, 6-4, 270 Kennesaw, Ga., North Cobb HS Born: June 18, 1990…High School: North Cobb...2008 SuperPrep All-Dixie Team… PrepStar All-Southeast Region Team….2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Georgia 150 and Class AAAAA All-State first team...2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAAA All-State selection...2009 Rivals.com four-star prospect, #27 defensive tackle and Georgia Postseason Top 75 (21)...2009 Scout.com three-star prospect, #48 defensive tackle in the national and #14 prospect in Georgia...UGASports 2009 Georgia Top 75 (19)...Ranked as ESPNU’s #42 defensive tackle...Georgia Football Magazine/Georgiafb.com All-State Phenoms first team...2008 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South AllStar Football Classic participant...As a senior, recorded 111 tackles including 19 for loss and 15 sacks...As a junior, tallied 63 tackles including 10 sacks helping North Cobb to an undefeated regular season...High School Coach: Shane Queen.
DEXTER MOODY LB, 6-2, 205 Twin City, Ga., Emanuel County Institute Born: August 14, 1991…High School: Emanuel County Institute…SuperPrep All-America and All-Dixie teams…. PrepStar AllAmerica Team…2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100, The Georgia 150, and Class A All-State First Team…2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class A First Team…2008 Georgia High School All-Star Game participant…Under Armour All-American…Ranked No. 101 on ESPNU 150… No. 8 outside linebacker in the country by ESPN.com… No. 24 on the Georgia Preseason Top 100 for 2009…ranked as the 17th best outside linebacker in the country and #23 overall in Georgia by Rivals.com…Dawgpost #22 prospect in Georgia, Scout.com #87 in the South, #133 in the nation, and #8 WLB… ranked No. 18 on UGASports.com Georgia Top 75…Played on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs, rushing for 281 yards and three touchdowns with 16 receptions for 261 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008…helped guide Emanuel County to a 14-1 record and an appearance in the 2008 class A state finals…recorded 79 tackles, 10 sacks, three interceptions, six pass break-ups and recovered four fumbles in helping lead Emanuel County to the 2007 Class A state title…also caught six touchdown passes in 2007 and returned two punts for scores… …High School Coach: Milan Turner.
MONTEZ ROBINSON DE, 6-5, 235 Avon, Ind., Avon HS Born: December 15, 1989…High School: Avon… PrepStar AllAmerican…SuperPrep All-America and All-Midwest teams…2008 Class AAAAA First-Team All-State…2008 Top 50 All-State All Class Coaches Association…Hendricks County Flyer All County Football Team…Indianapolis Star All Star Football Team…2007 Class AAAAA All-State Honorable Mention…played in the Offensive-Defensive All American Bowl and the Hawai’i/ Polynesia-Mainland Bowl… Rivals.com four-star prospect, Rivals250 2009, #2 Indiana Postseason Top 20 2009, and #8 strongside defensive end nationally…2008 Scout.com four-star prospect, #1 defensive end in Indiana, #2 prospect in Indiana and #10 defensive end nationally…as a senior in 2008 recorded 82 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, and one fumble recovery…as a junior in 2007 recorded 68 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, and 14 sacks…also runs the 400m dash, shot put and discuss for track team…High School Coach: Dave Shelbourne.
CHASE VASSER LB, 6-3, 208 Gainesville, Ga., Chestatee HS Born: April 29, 1991… High School: Chestatee… SuperPrep AllAmerica and All-Dixie teams…PrepStar All-Southeast Region team….2009 Atlanta Journal Constitution Class AAA All-State Team and Georgia 150… 2009 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAA All-State Team…2008 Georgia High School North AllStar… named North squad MVP… Three-star prospect by Rivals.com rated as #20 outside linebacker and #26 overall prospect in Georgia…Scout.com four-star prospect rated #9 SLB nationally, #51 overall prospect in the South and Dawg Post #19 prospect in Georgia… ESPN.com ranks him as #30 OLB recruit…as a senior, totaled 141 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and four sacks… as a junior, made 138 tackles, including 36 tackles for loss and 13 sacks… High School Coach: Stan Lutrtell.
SHAWN WILLIAMS DB, 6-1, 195 Blakely, Ga., Early County HS Born: May 13, 1991.…High School: Early County…SuperPrep All-Dixie team…2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA first team defense and Georgia 150…2008 Georgia High School AllStar Game…2008 Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State Class AA Honorable Mention…Georgia Football Magazine All-State Honorable Mention…2008 All-State Phenoms Team Honorable Mention…2008 Rivals.com #2 Safety in Georgia and #24 Overall……UGASports 2009 GA Top 75 (11)…2008 Scout.com #34 safety overall nationally and Dawg Post #18 prospect in Georgia….ESPNU #28 safety nationally…as a senior in 2008 recorded 59 tackles…also recorded 24 receptions for 381 yards and five touchdowns, and recorded 20 punts for 649 yards…as a junior in 2007 recorded 66 tackles and 3 interceptions…also had 21 receptions for 362 yards and 5 TD’s on offense…High School Coach: Trey Woolf.
RANTAVIOUS WOOTEN WR, 5-10, 158 Belle Glades, Fla., Glades Central HS Born: September 26, 1989…High School: Glades Central… PrepStar All-America Team….SuperPrep All-Dixie team….Orlando Sentinel Class AAA First Team… Palm Beach Post All-Area First Team…2008 Rivals.com #7 Wide Receiver in Florida and #34 overall, #29 WR nationally…2008 Scout.com four-star prospect, #31 overall prospect in Florida, #75 in the South, and #20 WR nationally…as a senior recorded 33 catches for 927 yards and 14 touchdowns…as a junior in 2007 had 25 receptions for 456 yards and three touchdowns…also had 55 carries for 446 yards and seven more scores…High School Coach: Jessie Hester .
2009 Georgia Signees - Aaron Murray In quarterback Aaron Murray, the Georgia Bulldogs have landed one of the top three prep field generals in the country. Not only did Murray, a Parade All-American, set numerous passing records at Plant High in Tampa, Fla. but he also recovered from what looked to be a season-ending broken leg and dislocated ankle to lead his team to a state championship. Here, in this question-andanswer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Aaron’s mom, Lauren Murray, talks proudly about her son, who is already enrolled in classes at UGA.
QB, 6-1, 205 Tampa, Fla., Plant HS Born: Nov. 10, 1990…High School: Plant…Parade Magazine All-America…U.S. Army All-American…SuperPrep All-America and All-Dixie teams… PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team…MVP at EA Sports Elite 11 Camp…ESPN.com No. 13 ESPNU 150 list…Scout.com No. 3 quarterback in the nation, #4 prospect in Florida, #8 in the South, #21 in the nation… Rivals #3 QB in the nation, #7 overall prospect in Florida, #46 overall nationally, #6 Florida Preseason Top 100…Atlanta JournalConstitution Super Southern 100…suffered a broken fibula early in the 2008 season, but finished wih 1,927 yards passing with 33 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns…returned to record 344 yards passing and three touchdowns while leading his team to the 2008 Class AAAA state championship (Plant’s second state title in three years)…passed for 4,013 yards and 51 touchdowns with seven interceptions as a junior while also rushing for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns…Mr. Football Award winner as a junior and First Team All-State…set a Hillsborough County record for most passing touchdowns in a career (84)…graduated early and enrolled at UGA in January, 2009…High School Coach: Robert Weiner.
Parents/Guardians names: Dennis and Lauren Murray. Siblings names and ages: Josh, 24 (former 2nd round draft pick of Milwaukee Brewers); Stephanie, 16. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Aaron’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that coach? Coach Mike Bobo. He’s just very down to earth and just a straight shooter and straight talker. Coach Bobo and the other Georgia coaches didn’t try to overwhelm us – they just said here is where we are and this is what we have to offer. They didn’t roll out the red carpet or anything for us. Coach Bobo is just a great, honest and decent man with character and that appeals to us. The Georgia coaches are the kind of people we want to have an influence on Aaron’s life the next four or five years. In the end, why do you think Aaron chose Georgia? I just think Aaron’s personality meshed with the feel of the Georgia Bulldogs and what Coach Richt has created there. With the Georgia coaches, there’s a sense of family and a sense of faith and all that really appealed to Aaron. He just really
felt at home and comfortable at Georgia. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Aaron really loves working with disabled kids. He seems to get a real high from that. He gets as much joy as they get from his volunteering to do that and he’s very natural with it. Also, Aaron’s read all the Harry Potter books. And he’s never beat his older brother at anything. Aaron’s the biggest fan of his brother and sister, no matter what they do. What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? Since the day Aaron got to Georgia, I’ve gotten a text from him every morning that says, “I love you, have a great day,” or “it’s really cold up here.” It’s about 7 o’clock each morning, and I then text him back. How can my day start any better than that? What makes him a leader on and off the field? I think Aaron has a passion for what he does. He really exemplifies the saying, “If you’re gonna do it, do it well.” Aaron is definitely one who prepares for what he does, and he’s always ready for what he does. He doesn’t demand to be a leader – people just seem to follow him. He’s actually kind of quiet but works hard and I think people just respect that. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? There were so many childhood stories, I couldn’t pinpoint just one. What is his favorite school subject and why? Aaron graduated early with a 5.2 GPA. I think he pretty much liked all of them. He just enjoyed school and learning. And least favorite and why? He never really said there was one he didn’t care for.
What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? To just always know that God and his family are there for him, no matter what. With God and family, Aaron always has that safety net. So he can go and take chances and take risks and not worry about failure. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? He just always liked to watch ESPN Sports Center. His favorite movie was “Remember the Titans.” His favorite college and pro football team growing up? Somebody wrote that Aaron grew up a Florida fan – that just isn’t true. We really didn’t follow college football a lot as a family but I guess his favorite college team was the Syracuse Orangemen because his dad came from there. We supported all the Florida teams but Aaron never singled any out. Of course, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was his favorite pro team. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? The first playoff game (in state semifinals) after he came back from his broken leg, Aaron’s first throw was for a touchdown. There were a lot of them but to know how much hard work he put in and to be able to come back and pick up where he left off, that was pretty incredible. Who were his heroes growing up? His first hero was his dad and, rightly so, because he’s a good man. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? His sense of faith and family. Coach Richt is just really genuine and that was what really impressed us. - Interview by Murray Poole
2009 Georgia Signees - Branden Smith Along with Parade All-American quarterback Aaron Murray, Washington High of Atlanta cornerback Branden Smith is arguably the top signee in Georgia’s 2009 recruiting class. Also selected to the Parade All-American team as well as the SuperPrep Elite 50 All-America and All-Dixie teams, the 5-11, 171-pound Smith was named the Georgia ESPN Rise Gatorade Player of the Year and was a participant in the 2009 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. Smith, who has 4.4 speed in the 40 and has a 35-inch vertical jump, is rated a five-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com and is ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation by Scout. As a senior, Smith caught 32 passes for 1,085 yards (33.9 avg.), returned 12 kickoffs for 481 yards and three touchdowns and 20 punts for 456 yards and two touchdowns. Smith recorded 50 tackles, one sack, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. In this question-and-answer session with Bulldawg Illustrated, Teresa Wynn talks about her talented son … who could well see action on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. Parents/Guardians names: Teresa Wynn and Brent Smith. Siblings names and ages: Anthony Wynn, 31; Darrell Hackney, 24 (Denver Broncos QB); Jarrod Wynn, 21. What Georgia coach did you have the most contact with during Branden’s recruiting process and what did you like most about that
coach? Both Coach Rodney Garner and Coach Willie Martinez. They were real open and honest, stayed in contact and made us feel at home. In the end, why do you think Branden chose Georgia? Branden always wanted to go to Georgia. The academics are good there and school comes first. He also gets the No. 1 jersey he wore in high school and has a good chance of playing. Can you tell the Bulldawg Nation a few unique things about him outside of football? Branden likes to run track. He enjoys movies and hanging out with his brother, Darrell, because he only gets to see him in the NFL off-season. What is the nicest thing he ever did for you? Branden once gave me a card on Mother’s Day that he made himself in school. What makes him a leader on and off the field? It’s his personality. Branden just likes winning and the other players look up to him. Does he have any classic childhood stories worth noting? When Branden was a baby, he liked wearing cowboy boots. But he cut that out when he turned five or six. What is his favorite school subject and why? He likes math the best because he likes money … figuring it and all.
And least favorite and why? English – he just doesn’t like it that well. What is the number one thing you have tried to instill in him? That education comes first and nobody can take that away from you. And to work hard for what you want in life. What was his favorite TV show or TV character? It was Barney the Dinosaur. His favorite college and pro football team growing up? Branden always liked Georgia, and he didn’t really have a favorite pro team. In your mind, what is the best play he made during his high school playing days? In Washington’s game against Miller Grove, Branden returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Who were his heroes growing up? Branden looked up to all his brothers and in sports, it was Deion Sanders. Coach Richt is a great man of character. What else impresses you about him? I like Coach Richt because he’s down home and cares a lot about God and church. He’s open and honest and makes you feel welcome. On Branden’s official visit, he opened up his home and Coach Richt and his wife and kids really made us feel at home.
DB, 5-11, 171 Atlanta, Ga., Washington HS Born: December 19, 1989…High School: Booker T. Washington… 2008 Parade Magazine All-American….SuperPrep Elite 50, All-America and All-Dixie teams….PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team…2009 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game participant…Georgia ESPN Rise Gatorade Player of the Year….Atlanta Journal Constitution 2008 Georgia’s Super 11, Super Southern 100, and Class AAA All State first team… Scout.com five-star prospect, #20 prospect in the South, #2 CB in nation, #24 overall, and Dawg Post #1 prospect in Georgia….2009 Rivals.com Rivals100 (28)….Rivals CB Rankings: Fastest (1), Best Athlete (1), #2 player in Georgia, #5 CB, Georgia Preseason Top 100 (2), Cornerbacks (4), GA Top 75 (1)… ranked #31 in The ESPN 150…as a senior, caught 32 passes for 1,085 yards (33.9 average), returned 12 kickoffs for 481 yards (40.1 average) and three touchdowns, 20 punts for 456 yards (22.8 average) and two touchdowns, Recorded 50 tackles, one sack, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions…High School Coach: Rodney Cofield.
- Interview by Murray Poole
Beta Lambda, Kappa Sigma
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Friday, April 24th *ROI/XQFK([SORUH%LJ&Dnoe Escape to the mountains of Big Canoe for a complimentary tour of the community and show homes. For those who would like to golf, we are offering a special package rate of $50/ person that includes lunch in our beautiful, new clubhouse overlooking Lake Sconti. For those who would like to just have lunch, the rate is $15/person. Feel free to bring a guest. Visit our website for more information and directions. www.bigcanoe.com Tee times start at 8:30 AM and Lunch will be served at Noon. RSVP soon since spaces are limited. Ask about an opportunity to win a complimentary night stay.
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Robert Kushner of Atlanta, GA
Q: Other than Herschel, who is your favorite Bulldog and why? A: My brother, Jeff Kushner, a walk-on WR who wore # 81.
Q: Who is your favorite player on the current UGA roster and why? A: Ben Jones. A tough, gritty player. We need more guys like him. Q: What makes you a true Bulldog? A: My total disdain for the University of Florida. I REFUSE to pull for them under any circumstance. SEC member or not.
Last issueâ€™s TRIVIA question and answer:
Q: What is the most memorable play you have experienced in person? $.HYLQ%XWOHUÂˇV\DUGĂ€HOGJRDOWREHDW&OHPVRQLQ
Q: Which one of our rivals do you enjoy beating the most and why? A: Florida. Mullettâ€™s, orange tank tops, blue jean cut offâ€™s, brown teethâ€Śand those are just the women. Canâ€™t stand that school.
A. Bryan McClendon
Q: What makes your tailgating scene so special? A: Good food, GREAT beverages made only with Status Vodka, and being engulfed in a sea of RED better known as THE BULLDAWG NATION!!! Hunker Down!!!!!!!
Who was named the new RB coach of your Georgia Bulldogs?
AND THE WINNER IS... Jeff Bennett of St. Simons Isl. This issueâ€™s question:
Q. How many recruits did we sign from
FANS OF THE WEEK
Stephanie Shadden of Macon, GA
the state of Tennessee this year?
Q: Other than Herschel, who is your favorite Bulldog and why? A: Well, other than Herschel, I like David Pollack because of his passion and excitement. He was fun to watch!
Got the answer?
Q: Who is your favorite player on the current UGA roster and why? A: Joe Cox - he has been quite patient and I think itâ€™s his turn to shine a little.
Go to www.bulldawgillustrated.com in the FAN ZONE and post your answer for a chance to win a copy of Herschel Walkerâ€™s new book,
Q: What makes you a true Bulldog? A:I was born a dawg and will always be a dawg no matter what - Iâ€™m an unconditional fan. Q: What is the most memorable play you have experienced in person? $1RWQHFHVVDULO\DSOD\EXWDQHQWLUHJDPHWKHPDWFKXSEHWZHHQ/68 8*$EHWZHHQWKHKHGJHV Iâ€™ve never heard a crowd as loud as we were that day!
â€˜Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorderâ€™
Q: Which one of our rivals do you enjoy beating the most? A: I enjoy beating Florida - just because they deserve it.
from the University of Georgia Bookstore
Q: What makes your tailgating scene so special? A: Tailgating in Athens is so amazing because you are totally surrounded by years of tradition and thousands of your closest friends who all share the same devotion to the greatest football team in the history of the game. Experiencing that with family and friends is a pretty great thing.
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&OR 'EORGIA &ANS /NLY is a hardback book that tells the stories of Georgia fans and their love of Georgia Bulldog football. It includes childhood memories, college experiences and the travels and tailgating of fans from all over the Bulldog Nation. The interviews are those of former coaches, players, and extraordinary Georgia fans relating their stories.
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