The Georgia Bulldogs are on a roll in the recruiting game thus far. They have already landed their sixth commitment towards the 2011 class—another homegrown talent in Devin Bowman . The young speedster from Rossville, GA will play cornerback for the Bulldogs next season.
His decision to commit early to the Dawgs further demonstrates that Mark Richt has heard the criticism, that he is letting too much talent leave the state, loud and clear. The staff is honing in on the top talent and have been major players in securing it early as opposed to hopping in late.
So far, of the six prospects that the Dawgs have landed, five of them are admitted Georgia Bulldog fans who state their commitment is solid. Of course this early in the game anything is possible. However, just read some of the statements made by the newest 2011 commits:
“Georgia has always been my dream school, so I look at the offer and the chance to go there as a blessing from God. He has opened doors for me and this one is a dream of mine coming true.” -- David Andrews, OL
“I’m a big Georgia fan, I am from Georgia, and there is no other school in Georgia that is better than UGA, so that is why the choice was obvious,”. --Amarlo Herrera, LB
“In keeping with my beliefs, I want my yes to be yes and my no to be no. Therefore, as of today, I will discontinue my contact with all schools other than UGA.” --Christian Conley, WR
It’s a trend that has to bring a smile to the faces of the Georgia Bulldog faithful who endured some tough ribbing after the 2010 class’ top prospects abandoned their commitments just days before they were poised to sign.
Now that the dust has begun to settle on spring practices, what is left is a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy heading into the 2010 season despite lingering questions about the 3-4 defense and the quarterback race. The overall tone of the team points to a new attitude—a better one.
The addition of positive, aggressive, and energetic coaches (Todd Grantham, Scott Lakatos, and Warren Belin) has infused the players with a new sense of purpose where their play is concerned. They appear willing to put in the work and lose the complacency that plagued the 2009 team.
There is no more entitlement where starting positions are involved and that makes every guy, from first to last on the depth chart, more focused on playing his best football because he knows he’s not promised any time on the field.
That is something that isn’t lost on the fans who, believe it or not, play an important role in the recruitment of these young Georgia players who are familiar with the program. It’s an attitude that was wasn’t nearly as favorable towards the end of 2009 and that spelled trouble for Georgia as they headed into signing day.
The 2010 signing class was preceded by grumbling and uncertainty—based largely on the performance of the 2009 class. Here were just a few of the comments heard, regarding the team, during the year:
“The defense is awful, we’ll never be anything as long as we keep playing this way.”
“Will that quarterback (Joe Cox) ever get his act together? He needs to be benched.”
“The players aren’t even trying anymore, I can’t believe they let some of these guys start.”
The fans and the media were negative about the team and, if you don’t think that matters, then you aren’t paying attention to how important a role social media has begun to play in the lives of potential prospects. Few players want to sign with a program that, on its face, has a bad defense, a fan base that appears to be growing more apathetic and restless by the day, and a coach that is supposedly “on the hot seat.”
Georgia seemed unstable and prospects had second thoughts—wouldn’t you? After all, this is a four-year commitment. You want to walk into as good a situation as you possibly can. Any bit of turmoil, perceived or real, can make a school look unattractive to a potential signee. That's just fact.
That said, the wave of change that has come through Athens has proven to be more good than bad and the early commitments speak to the solid message that the new regime is sending and if they can follow it up with a good season "Tween' The Hedges,” who knows what 2012 will bring?
This article can also be found at "The Lady Sportswriter" . A site dedicated to talking Georgia Bulldogs and Football 24/7.