Alabama and Ohio State are many people's favorites to make the BCS National Championship this year, but Georgia is lurking closely on the outside, hoping to play spoiler.
Alabama and Ohio State are also the favorites to land 5-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and in like manner, Georgia might have a chance of spoiling that too.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McMillan enjoyed the atmosphere at 'Dawg Night and has pledged to visit Athens on one of his five official visits this year:
Before McMillan attended last week’s UGA’s Dawg Night prospect camp, he was unsure if he would take an official visit with the Bulldogs later this fall. In other words, it could’ve been UGA’s last chance to make an impression on the 5-star recruit.
[But] McMillan got inspired about UGA after a “Dream Team” speech from Mark Richt, who is trying to encourage the state’s top players – most notably McMillan and Norcross High School defensive end Lorenzo Carter – to stay home and play for the Bulldogs. Richt and McMillan had a long conversation at camp.
McMillan is the top linebacker prospect in the country according 247Sports—both on their personal rankings and on their aggregated composite. B/R's Adam Kramer called him "a throwback of sorts" and a "classic middle linebacker" after lauding his violent ability to hit:
So this isn't much ado about nothing: McMillan is among the crown jewels of next year's class and will be a crucial boost to whoever lands his services. But does Georgia stand a realistic chance of landing him?
The short answer is yes, but Mark Richt and Co. still have their work cut out for them.
Ohio State has an 82 percent on 247Sports' Crystal Ball and Georgia doesn't even appear on the list. In the Journal-Constitution piece, even after declaring his intent to visit Athens, McMillan said "Ohio State and Alabama are fighting towards the top, and then there’s Clemson, Georgia and Florida."
That makes the Bulldogs sound slightly like also-rans, but unlike every other school on that list, Georgia can pitch the benefits of staying in-state. Though not his highest priority in the world—if it were, McMillan wouldn't consider Ohio State so strongly—staying home is an angle the linebacker is starting to respond to.
Per the Journal-Constitution piece:
Richt was telling me that everything I was looking for out of state, I can find in-state at the University of Georgia...
I don’t have a problem with staying in state. After having that conversation with Coach Richt, it just makes more sense to stay home. He gave me some things to think about.
Those comments might need to be taken with a grain of salt since (a) they were taken soon after Georgia's camp, and (b) they were spoken to Georgia's hometown writers. But they're definitely a step in the right direction and a sign that the Bulldogs might still be important players in this race.
Alabama and Ohio State seem to be on a collision course this year, both on the football field and on the recruiting trail. Georgia already plans on throwing a wrench in the former, and if it can continue to woo McMillan, it might be able to spoil the latter as well.