Georgia customarily receives verbal commitments during or following Dawg Night, the annual marquee recruiting event held on campus.
On Friday, however, Kell High (Marietta) safety Quincy Mauger told coach Mark Richt before the camp that he wanted to be a Bulldog.
A 6-foot, 199-pound three-star prospect as rated by Socut.com, Mauger chose Georgia over offers from Central Florida, Akron and others.
“I committed to the coaches because they have a great connection with their players,” Mauger said. “They also have an engineering program for me, and I feel good playing for the in-state school.”
Bookending the night, linebacker Tim Kimbrough, of Indianapolis, Ind., committed to Georgia.
A 6-1, 225-pound four-star player, Kimbrough informed the Georgia coaching staff of his commitment following the camp.
“I came down to Georgia this weekend with a plan to commit,” Kimbrough said. “I knew when I first visited Georgia earlier this year that that’s the school I wanted to go to. I loved everything about that first visit. They have great atmosphere, offer a great education and have a great football program.”
While Dawg Night began and ended with big news, the rest of the day was relatively quiet.
Mauger and Kimbrough were the only commitments, a stark contrast in numbers from last year, when Georgia received five verbal commitments at the camp to set a lofty precedent.
Still, there was some talent competing at the camp Friday, including quarterback Brice Ramsey, athlete J.J. Green and wideout Uriah LeMay — all current Georgia pledges for the 2013 class.
Fox Sports recruiting analyst Chad Simmons has witnessed four of the five Dawg Night events and said this year’s version was top-heavy in terms of talent.
“There were some talented players on hand, but they’ve had better groups overall in the past,” Simmons said.
Nearly 175 players competed on the field at Sanford Stadium in drills and fundamentals under the supervision of Georgia’s coaching and support staff. While the action was intense on the playing turf, much of the attention was focused on the sideline, where a host of Georgia commitments in the 2013 and 2014 classes were hanging out together and watching.
While some may wonder why a high school player would travel from home, for some great distances, just to watch peers, Simmons says the interaction between the commitments is important.
“They seemed like a tight group really getting along,” he said. “There was a lot of cutting up going on down there. The ringleader is (Sandy Creek High) cornerback Shaq Wiggins. He definitely holds that group together. For me, I saw what would be a good sign for Georgia coaches with those guys bonding more and getting along great.”
Derrick Henry was the headlining name on the sideline. A 6-3, 240-pound five-star tailback from Yulee, Fla., Henry de-committed from Georgia in June but is still considering the Bulldogs.
He spent a great deal of time with Wiggins, Newnan safety Tray Matthews and numerous coaches during the night.
“Just getting guys like Henry on campus and being around other commitments helps,” Simmons said. “The opportunity to bond with each other, whether it be with other players or coaches, is big.”
Henry decided to remain in Athens for the weekend, but said he has no plans to make a decision regarding his future plans anytime soon.
Meanwhile, a few players received a scholarship offer and can now add Georgia to their list of considerations. The most notable of the group was Shaun McGee, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive standout from Brookwood High in Gwinnett. He plays defensive end in high school but worked at linebacker during the camp.
“I’m going to keep working because that’s where I’m going to be playing at the next level,” McGee, who now has over 20 offers, said. “I know I still have some more work to do at linebacker.”
In the end there were two commitments — a bit of surprise in terms of numbers when compared to recent years.
But the night gave the Georgia coaches a chance to solidify the base of the 2013 class, the kids already committed, which is equally important as adding new faces.
“It was big for Georgia to have Wiggins and Matthews and others there,” Simmons said. “Those guys need to be on board because it helps draw in other players in the long run.”