Odum sums up recruiting at this point


Posted Feb 1, 2003


Though Georgia has 22 verbal commitments, not including Coutu, it may sign more 25, the maximum allowed by the NCAA to actually be awarded scholarships each year. Schools sometimes sign more than 25 because some signees do not meet academic entrance requirements.

The strength of Georgia's recruiting class may be its linebackers, but with only a few scholarships still available to offer, coaches are still working to build on that strength.

 Two east Alabama prospects are among the linebackers still considering offers from Georgia.

Tez Doolittle (6-3, 245) is expected to announce Monday. Doolittle is thought to be considering Auburn and Georgia.

 Meanwhile, Smith Station High's Mitchell Thomas apparently still is considering Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame and Georgia. He visited Georgia last weekend.

 Thomas (6-3, 215) told TheInsiders.com this week "I really don't have any idea who my favorite is.''

 Thomas originally planned to sign with Alabama but withdrew his verbal commitment when Coach Dennis Franchione left the Crimson Tide.

 Also still undecided is linebacker Dana Graydon of Albany. Graydon has been swayed by Georgia coach Mark Richt's ability to win a Southeastern Conference championship in only two years, but Graydon grew up as a Florida State fan.

 Like Thomas, Graydon's decision was affected by the move of a coach. During his official visit to Florida State, it was announced that Joe Kines had stepped down as the Seminoles' linebackers coach to become Alabama's defensive coordinator. Kines had recruited Graydon for Florida State.

 Graydon does not plan an announcement before signing day Wednesday.

 Georgia also is on the list of finalists for two linebackers from Florida - John Beason of Holywood, Fla., and Ernie Sims of Tallahassee.

 The decision from Sims, also highly recruited as a running back, will be closely watched by several major colleges.

 Considered by some recruiting services to be the nation's top recruit, Sims has been thought to be favoring his hometown school, Florida State, but Auburn and Georgia also have made strong pushes for the versatile talent.

 Georgia fans hope Sims will give Richt another  signing-day surprise from a major recruit with hometown ties to a major Florida university.

 Last year, Richt snagged offensive tackle Max Jean-Gilles, who had been rated by some as the nation's top offensive line prospect and had been expected to sign with his hometown University of Miami.

 Jean-Gilles played as a true freshman and by the end of the season probably was as effective as any of the team's three senior tackles - including probable NFL first-round pick George Foster and All-SEC first-team selected Jon Stinchcomb.

 According to sources, Richt visited Sims' home Saturday.

 Georgia, which must replace each of its three starting linebackers from 2002, already has commitments from linebackers Marcus Howard, Jarvis Jackson, Danny Verdun, Danny Ware (who also plays fullback) and Desmond Williams.

 Georgia also is awaiting decisions from defensive end Quentin Groves of Greenville, Miss., and  receiver Decody Fagg of Quincy, Fla., among others.

 Groves, also considering Mississippi  State, Auburn and Ole Miss, pulled back on original plans to make an announcement on Thursday. Groves also had a visit from Richt this week.

 This week, punter/kicker Brandon Coutu of Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga., said he will join the Georgia program this summer as a preferred walk-ons. Coutu will be a candidate to replace punter Jonathan Kilgo, a 2002 senior.

 Coutu told Dawgpost.com that he plans to enter school this summer. He also could be a candidate for kickoff duty. Brett Kirouac, who handled that job the last two years, also was a senior in 2002.

 Kicker Billy Bennett, who also began his Georgia career as a walk-on before earning the starting job and a scholarship as a freshman, will be a senior next season and again will handle field goals and extra points.

 Though Georgia has 22 verbal commitments, not including Coutu, it may sign more 25, the maximum allowed by the NCAA to actually be awarded scholarships each year. Schools sometimes sign more than 25 because some signees do not meet academic entrance requirements.



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