At 310 pounds, Lamont Gaillard is Georgia's biggest commitment in the 2014 recruiting class, literally. As a 4-star defensive tackle, who's considered to be the 10th-best prospect at his position according to 247Sports, he may also be the Bulldogs' most important recruit.
An upcoming visit to the University of Miami and mentions of Louisville, however, have Georgia fans wondering if the Dawgs could lose this huge talent.
Ink Not Yet Dry
Based on appearances, Lamont Gaillard is a Georgia Bulldog through and through. Gaillard even has "Georgia Bulldogs" tattooed across his forearms.
Bill Sochovka, his high school coach in Fayetteville, N.C., told Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "He got it done during the season, and I guess you could say he really likes the Georgia Bulldogs."
That could be said, but not everything tattooed on a young man's body proves to be a permanent indication of future plans. Just last year, Reuben Foster, a 5-star linebacker, committed to Alabama despite famously sporting an Auburn tattoo.
And as evidenced by the annual horse and pony show (or "Hat Ceremony" as it may be), many young athletic stars have a flair for the dramatic when national signing day rolls around.
What Makes Gaillard a Flight Risk?
Thirteen of Georgia's 16 commitments have been verbally pledged to the Bulldogs for over six months. Such a luxury is one typically enjoyed by well-established programs in recruiting hotbeds. That advantage, however, does not always guarantee signed letters of intent.
Gaillard, who committed to Georgia in April of last year, is one of those long-standing commitments. And yet, there is a contradiction in what Gaillard's forearms say and what he's done this week.
On Thursday, the star defensive tackle scheduled an official visit with Miami for the weekend of January 25 according to Matt Shodell of Rivals.com.
Now, Mike Hughes of 247Sports (subscription required) reports that Louisville may be another option for Gaillard. According to Hughes, Gaillard's high school coach offered the following explanation:
He's still committed to Georgia but he is making an official visit next week to Miami and possibly the weekend after that to Louisville depending on how the meeting goes with Coach Richt and Coach Pruitt tomorrow night, which was a scheduled visit before Coach Wilson left.
How Does Georgia Keep Him?
Understandably, Gaillard has a lot of change to process. This time last week, Georgia's entire defensive staff was slated to return for the 2014 season. Now, Jeremy Pruitt, who was hired on Tuesday of this week, is the Bulldogs' most-tenured defensive coach.
The leader of the defense that Gaillard committed to initially, Todd Grantham, is at Louisville, and more importantly Gaillard's position coach, Chris Wilson, has departed for Southern Cal. Wilson, as Sochovka told Mike Hughes, was an integral part of Gaillard's recruitment and Sochovka believes the odds of Gaillard staying with Georgia have "really diminished."
The onus of keeping Gaillard in the fold now falls squarely on Mark Richt and Jeremy Pruitt.
As Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, they'll give their pitch on Friday afternoon.
The newly minted recruiting duo must reassure Gaillard that although the names on the staff have changed, Georgia's plan for him remains the same. The Bulldogs are still a defense in need of help, and Gaillard is still capable of contributing to that cause.
Perhaps most importantly, Pruitt must get Gaillard on board with the notion that a defensive turnaround is not merely a pipe dream, but rather his area of expertise. Fortunately for Georgia, Pruitt (fresh off a BCS National Championship) has the credentials to build that degree of credibility quickly.
Lamont Gaillard has been committed to Georgia for quite some time, but if Friday's meeting goes well, he will be the first recruit Jeremy Pruitt brings to Athens.