Richt has defined the 2011 class as having the chance to become the ‘Dream Team’ of recruiting hauls, and he let kids know early and often at his camp he was serious.
With top-of-the-line recruits in Athens last weekend, including 2012 kids, I stood back and watched Richt and his coaching staff do work.
In my opinion the best moment of the two-day camp occurred during an exchange between Richt, and freshly committed receiver Zach Witchett.
The Booker T. Washington High School standout broke the news to Richt about his commitment going public, and the usually reserved Richt showed plenty of emotion. He thrust both arms in the air, and let out a giant yell. He, along with Mike Bobo, laughed and joked and carried on with Witchett for at least ten minutes.
Mark Richt reacts to Zach Witchett committing
One detail made this moment important:
The entire Carver-Columbus football team was sitting less than 50-yards away. Isaiah Crowell, Gabe Wright, Deion Bonner and Artimas Samuel got to see Richt interact with Witchett, and when Richt’s arms were raised, they were in the direction of Carver.
The moment was perfect timing for Richt, having some of the state’s, and nation’s, top recruits sitting so close.
While I’m on a Carver kick, I overheard offensive line coach Stacey Searels give an incredible quote to Crowell. 7-on-7 camps aren’t the best showcase for running backs, and Searels let the 5-star running back know he’d get plenty more action if he came to Georgia.
“We’re going to hand you the ball when you get here,” Searels said. “Then we’re going to toss you the ball. And then, we’re going to hand the ball to you again.”
Searels knows how to talk it up.
Finishing off the “Isaiah Crowell Show,” running backs coach Bryan McClendon couldn’t contain himself during one touchdown catch and run.
Crowell caught a swing pass out of the backfield, and entered what looked to be an escapable cloud of defenders. Somehow, amid practically one-hand touch rules, Crowell made at least three people whiff right alongside the sideline. As he finished the touchdown off McClendon threw his hands in the air, signaling touchdown as the crowd gathered went wild.
Carver 2012 athlete Artimas Samuel looked good Friday, making a few excellent catches. I overheard coach John Lilly giving Samuel some love, and then later heard him say many good things about him.
There may have been a time Gabe Wright didn’t have a Georgia coach in his direct vicinity, but I didn’t see it. Rodney Garner spent all of the morning defensive drills working the tackle, and he was close to Richt in the afternoon. During Carver’s last-game loss to Collins Hill, Wright sat in a golf cart with Warren Belin.
Deion Bonner, 2012 Carver defensive standout, played physically. He looked good in press coverage at corner, and he also played quite a bit at safety.
In other, “Non-Carver” news, Georgia’s defensive coaches were all about showing Griffin attention. Commit Corey Moore, and defensive end prospect Xzavier Dickson were monitored closely.
In an interesting twist, Dickson played wide receiver often in the afternoon, and made some tough touchdown catches. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said, “Every time they throw him the ball down here it’s a touchdown.”
Dickson looks to be a kid Georgia really wants. Could a “Jumbo Goal Line” package be in the mix?
Another Griffin prospect, receiver Nile Daniels, and coach Tony Ball talked for some time as they exited the playing field. Daniels has been offered by Maryland and South Florida, and I know he’s hoping for one from Georgia soon. Not sure if he got it, and the numbers are beginning to crunch at the spot, but Ball was right there.
All I can say after watching North Gwinnett’s C.J. Uzomah play Thursday is I hope he finds his position in college. He makes plays, and the fact that he doesn’t have a defined position at the next level shouldn’t take away from how impressive he is.
I know he plays quarterback and looks like a tight end and works out at wide receiver. But, on Thursday, in every game I watched him play, he was the kid on the field that my eyes were instantly glued to.
I’ll give a shout out to Buford. Not that they need it. They’re great, and all their kids look the part. Carry on.
Martin Luther King probably took the Swagger Award from the camp. They played together, and were loud. Every “What’s-going-on-why-is-everyone-yelling-and-screaming” moment seemed to come from their games.
I think Damian Swann played the best of any player I witnessed over the two days. He looks quite skinny, but he plays huge, and more than holds his own.
He made plays all over the place, on both offense and defense. He was quicker, faster, and jumped higher than anybody I saw.
All we’ve heard is the new “Scott Lakatos” 6-foot or taller prototypical cornerback. Now, while I think Lakatos likes taller corners, I think he’ll take any kid who can play. In Swann, he could have both. Swann stands right at 6 feet tall and is a legit playmaker.
I know Swann has played a lot of safety, and his fundamentals at corner are lacking at this point. But, if he comes to Georgia, and plays corner, I think Lakatos can do great things with this young man.
Swann doesn’t have a real time-table for his final decision yet, and Georgia fans better hope the Bulldogs’ pull this one.
Watching Zach Witchett, I saw a receiver who attacked the football. He made more than a few leaping grabs, and did so with ease. He looked quick off the ball, and made plays in traffic.
This was the first time I’d seen Witchett, and I like his game. I’ve yet to see Justin Scott-Wesley play football, but did see him run track. And, I watched Chris Conley at the MVP Combine in Rome. I like this trio of receivers. They are all different, and with the increased number of players coming in at the same position, I think that’s important.
Now, I’m not saying Richt and his assistants working recruits like this at a camp in Athens is anything new. I’d say this approach was very similar to what Richt has done his entire tenure while at Georgia.
Saying that, it was fun to see Richt interact with players, coaches, and even parents. He walked, and rode in his golf cart, with a purpose. He spoke, mingled, and laughed all day. These were hot, long days, and he was right there the entire time offering the same enjoyable look, and personality both days.
With games taking place on four separate fields, I witnessed a flurry of movement by the Georgia coaches. Mike Bobo ran up the miles on his golf cart.
Grantham, Belin and Lakatos, from my perspective, have already developed great chemistry. They watched, convened, and compared all day, both days.
Like I said, this is nothing new or special, but it’s what I saw.
From my point-of-view, these were the actions of men attempting to assemble the ‘Dream Team.’
As corny, and awesome as that may sound.