If you needed another reminder of how talent-rich the state of Georgia is, just look at the number of defensive starters in Saturday’s game in Neyland Stadium.
The Bulldogs are likely to start 10 players on defense from the Peach State.
Tennessee has six starters listed on its depth chart from Georgia: linebackers Dontavis Sapp (Valdosta), A.J. Johnson (Gainesville) and
Brent Brewer (Sandy Creek), safety Brian Randolph (Kell), cornerback Justin Coleman (Brunswick) and cornerback Cameron Sutton (Jonesboro).
The Volunteers have 20 players from Georgia on their roster, second only to 44 from Tennessee.
“A lot of guys that we recruited and you see play and had at camps,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “Like really any other SEC team that we play, they’ve got talent. … Everybody’s in here really. Tennessee, Florida, Alabama. They’re all in here. There’s a lot of players in this state. Sometimes you run across them and sometimes you don’t. That’s just how it goes kind of.”
Naturally, players on Georgia are tight with some guys on Tennessee.
“It’s definitely fun,” Georgia tight end Jay Rome said. “There’s going to be trash talk in any football game, but it’s kind of more fun with the guys you kind of know.”
Georgia cornerback Brendan Langley says he keeps in touch with Kell teammate Randolph “all the time.”
Langley gave Tennessee a hard look, going on a summer camp there with Kell teammate Quincy Mauger. Langley said he was going to commit to the Volunteers with Mauger if they offered him, but they never did.
“Especially having Brian already there, I liked everything about it, just like I like here,” Langley said. “However I wasn’t too certain on their coaching stability (under Derek Dooley).”
Bulldogs tight end Jay Rome says he’s “pretty much brothers” with Tennessee’s Sapp.
They’ve known each other since middle school.
“Been my best friend for quite a long time,” Rome said.
Rome said he wore Sapp’s No. 25 at a Valdosta basketball game after Sapp’s mother died to honor him and her.
Rome said he expects Sapp will come at him hard if he has a chance Saturday and Rome said he would block Sapp harder than anybody else.
Even with the change from Dooley to Butch Jones, Tennessee is continuing to cross the border for talent.
Tennessee currently has a top-five recruiting class, according to Scout, 247sports and ESPN. Tennessee’s list includes four commitments from players at Georgia high schools. The highest ranked is Locust Grove safety Cortez McDowell, who had a Georgia offer.
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