Georgia is trying to move into the running for 5-star offensive tackle David Sharpe, and in an effort to stand out amongst some of the best programs in the nation, the Bulldogs are offering the offensive tackle the chance to play basketball as well as football.
At 6'6'', 288 pounds, one can only imagine what Sharpe would be capable of in the post, but that image is eclipsed by the potential he possesses as an offensive lineman.
Kipp Adams of ESPN.com reports that Sharpe recently took a few visits, visiting Clemson and Georgia this past weekend. According to Adams' report, Mark Richt and the Bulldogs are pitching Sharpe on the possibility of early playing time:
“Mark Richt said he loved what I can do on the field and that I could come in and play as a true freshman if I worked hard,” Sharpe said. “The staff is very down to earth; they do not hold back the truth and they genuinely seemed excited about me. They think I would be a great fit at Georgia.”
Adams also reports that Georgia is trying to win over Sharpe by pitching hoops as well:
Last year Georgia piqued the interest of 2013 ESPN 300 athlete Brendan Langley when it approached him with the possibility of helping out the Bulldogs’ basketball team as well. Sharpe is an impressive player on the hard court as well, leading his team to the Florida Class 3A state championship earlier this year. He got some big news during his visit to Georgia.
"Not only was it great to know I could possibly play early at Georgia, but it is also great to know they said I could play basketball there as well, which is a big interest for me,” Sharpe said. “What Georgia did during my visit was not put all their eggs in one basket. They knew my desire to play basketball existed, too, and they showed me that aspect of their program, which really caught my attention.”
According to Sharpe's 247Sports interest list, Florida and Florida State are currently the top teams, with Alabama and Ohio State falling in behind them. He's a big in-state recruit for both the Seminoles and Gators, so it makes sense that they would have the early edge, and Ohio State and Alabama's respective draws don't need much explaining at the moment.
Those are four great choices for the offensive tackle recruit and it would be hard for any program to break into that group, even a program as good as Georgia.
Success on the recruiting trail often requires being able to stand out in a recruit's mind, and that entails providing him with an opportunity or scenario that other programs will not or cannot. In this case, it looks like Georgia really caught Sharpe's attention by letting him know that he could play basketball as well as football, and that could be just what the Bulldogs need to move up into that group of leaders.
Will Georgia become one of Sharpe's top interests?
At the very least, it could help Richt and his staff position themselves to make a run at the offensive tackle recruit during the summer, and that can be built on during the fall—especially if Georgia has another great year.
In fact, here's what Sharpe had to say about Georgia after the visit, per Adams:
“My favorite part about Georgia was seeing the facilities, meeting the coaching staff, learning about how they have a great history of players being successful in life after they leave Georgia,” Sharpe said. “My opinion on Georgia definitely improved because I know what I am going into now and where I would be down the road in that atmosphere.”
Despite what his 247Sports interest list says, Sharpe did admit, per Adams, that he does not have any top schools yet, but he will start that process during his senior year.
Next up for Georgia will be trying to secure an official visit once Sharpe is able to do so. Whether or not that will actually happen is anyone's guess right now, but Georgia has to feel good about the progress it made with Sharpe and how it went about doing it.
Kudos to Richt and his staff for going out of the box and using basketball to really make an impact during Sharpe's visit.