Georgia coach Mark Richt spoke to about 200 fans at the Butts-Mehre building late this morning and was very upbeat about the Bulldogs’ class.
We now know why. Carver High School running back Isaiah Crowell announced on ESPNU this afternoon that he has picked Georgia over Alabama.
“I’m going to be a Dawg,” said Crowell, who was handed a bulldog puppy after revealing his choice on national TV.
Crowell is the top-rated running back and a top-five overall prospect by Scout.com and ESPN.com.
‚ÄúHeavily,” Richt said on ESPNU when asked how Crowell would be use next fall. “I expect him to come right in and compete right away. I wouldn‚Äôt be shocked to see him running that rock in the dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he‚Äôs supposed to do.‚Äù
“He could be to Georgia what (Marcus) Lattimore was to South Carolina,” recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg of ESPN.com said.
The Bulldogs are now up to 25 signees in this signing class‚Äîincluding linebacker Kent Turene from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
Turene, according to a report on Twitter from the Miami Herald‚Äôs Adam Beasley, wore a Texas Tech hat into his ceremony and took it off and announced he was signing with Georgia.
The Bulldogs now have 24 letters of intent in the house including receiver Justin Scott-Wesley who was not expected to send his letter of intent in until Thursday. Turene became official about noon, leaving only Tucker defensive back Chris Sanders.
‚ÄúI can promise you this staff has been working their tail off,‚Äù Richt told the fans. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been quite a grind in recruiting. We all know our season wasn‚Äôt the best and there have been a lot of things that we‚Äôve had to battle maybe a little bit more than other years when it comes to recruiting. I really believe that this class will end up being the largest and most talented and the best bunch in the 11 years now.‚Äù
The 6-2, 235-pound Turene is a former Southern California commitment.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a protypical inside linebacker,‚Äù Boyd Anderson coach James Clybyrn told me. ‚ÄúOnce he gets to college, he‚Äôll probably be around 240 or 245. He can stop the dive. He can drop when he needs to cover. Those are all the things that you want your inside linebacker to do. He‚Äôs the quarterback of the defense.‚Äù
And another thing. ‚Äú‚ÄúHe‚Äôs not a young man that gets in any trouble off the field.‚Äù
A few other items that I tweeted earlier:
–Richt said he will have Stacy Searels‚Äô replacement as offensive line coach in place by next week.
–Valdosta‚Äôs Malcom Mitchell ‚Äúis a true playmaker on either side of the ball,‚Äù Richt said.
–Secondary coach Scott Lakatos calls Nick Marshall from Wilcox County High an ‚Äúamazing athlete.‚Äù Richt mentioned using him in a ‚ÄúWild Dawg.‚Äù
–Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said what Ray Drew said last week‚Äîthat the high school defensive end will play the same outside linebacker spot that Justin Houston played.
Georgia did not get Asheville defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Alabama) or Nashville offensive lineman Antonio Richardson (Tennessee).
–Richt explained how the talent in-state in Georgia this year spawned the name for this class.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs kind of what generated that whole `Dream Team‚Äô idea,” he said. “That it was one of those years in the state where we thought there was some elite players. One of the hardest things for us to do is to evaluate and nail down who you‚Äôre going to go after, especially in our own state. A lot of the out of state teams will just come in and just offer like mad. They‚Äôll come in and just offer like candy. Quite frankly I‚Äôm not going to name names of schools, but a lot of them will do that just to get in the fight and if the kid commits too soon and they‚Äôre not sure they want, they‚Äôll just tell them that‚Äôs not a committable offer. Whatever the heck that means? If we offer a kid in our state and he says he‚Äôs coming, we want to take him, OK? Sometimes we‚Äôre a little bit slower to offer maybe than some out of state schools. Sometimes that might hurt a kid‚Äôs feelings. Sometimes that might hurt a coach‚Äôs feelings. That‚Äôs not our intention. Our intention is to have integrity when we offer a kid and be able to follow through.‚Äù
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer