A Tale of Two Summers

ATHENS – Mark Richt correctly called the 2006 blowout loss to Tennessee: "A Tale of Two Halves."

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What we have now is a tale of two summers.

Jarvis Jones, who had previously been released from suddenly sinking Southern Cal a few weeks ago, decided that Georgia is the place for him. Scout.com Southeastern Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons broke the story to the recruiting world on Dawg Post Tuesday afternoon.

Jones' decision is huge news on multiple fronts. But more than anything else it underlines the difference Georgia's recruiting efforts this summer compared to last summer.

I wrote earlier this year about the disaster that was Georgia's recruiting efforts last year – specifically as it related to Columbus' Carver High.

"That day Devin Burns, a skilled player, who lined up at quarterback for the Tigers was coming to commit to the Bulldogs. He was going to commit to Georgia, and Corey Crawford was right behind him.

But when Burns went to commit, the Dawgs were flat footed. They didn't take the commitment – because they had pulled the offer off the table – but Burns didn't know that before he drove up from Columbus with a bus full of his friends and his parents tagging along.

Madness ensued. It was a public relations disaster for Georgia."

That move was a preview of things to come in the fall. Georgia was unorganized and not ready for the unexpected.

But after being told Georgia was no longer welcomed at Carver, Mark Richt smoothed things over after talking with Dell McGee, the high school head coach, and the Dawgs were back recruiting Carver by September.


Georgia didn't have a scholarship player from Columbus on the roster from 2003-2006

A year later the Dawgs are hitting on all cylinders. If last summer's debacle was an indication of things to come… this can only mean good things for this fall and beyond. It means Georgia is paying attention to details like they once did, which is critical in recruiting.

The move is cataclysmic – in a good way. In fact, casual observers have no clue how important Jarvis Jones is to Georgia… even recruiting freaks (you know who you are) don't know just how important this win is for the Dawgs.

Jarvis Jones enrolling at Georgia opens the door to one of the most important, yet most difficult recruiting high schools in the state. If Jones never plays a snap at Georgia it will still go a long way to mending any fences still wrecked by the Burns situation from last summer.

In fact, Georgia hasn't had a top talent from Carver since Jasper Sanks committed to the Dawgs in early 1997. From Sanks forward Georgia has struggled at Carver, and in the Columbus area in general. Maybe the recruiting struggles of the Dawgs at Carver are a bit overblown, but players from that school have signed with Maryland, Ole Miss, Illinois, Alabama and both Clemson and Auburn twice since Sanks left… yet no silver britches for anyone other than Bruce Figgins. In fact, Georgia didn't have a scholarship player from Columbus on their team from 2003 until Figgins joined the team in 2007.

The third-most populous area of the state… no players for four years – Wow.

But that seems to have now all changed. Jones plans to enroll "as soon as possible" according to his former high school head coach.

All of this begs the question: Just what will this do for Georgia's chances with current Carver players?

It won't hurt – obviously.

As I said in February: Isaiah Crowell is probably the most important sign for the Dawgs in the 2011 – he can do things other players can't do in Athens. That's not changed. Maybe Georgia can do without Gabe Wright, a talented defensive tackle from Carver, but if they want to win the SEC and national title in the future they need to sign Crowell. He's not the end-all-be-all, but he brings an element Georgia has not had since Robert Edwards was on campus – a running back who can take it the distance at any moment. He is a playmaker. He is a difference maker.

Add to that Artimas Samuel and Deion Bonner, who will probably be the top cornerback in the state in 2011, and you see why locking down Carver is very, very important to the future of Georgia football. Both Bonner and Samuel have indicated in the recent past that Georgia is their top school. Jones' decision makes it ok, cool even, to pull the trigger for the Dawgs. I also understand that Carver's upcoming freshman class (2014) might be the most talented at Carver in recent memory.

My what a difference a year makes.

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