Georgia had better be good

For months now defensive tackle prospect Lorenzo Washington has never failed to speak extremely well of Alabama. The only problem (for Tide fans at least), he's also genuinely taken with the in-state Bulldogs.

"I'm still torn between Alabama and Georgia; that would be fair to say," Lorenzo Washington told in an interview this weekend.

Washington was in Tuscaloosa this weekend for his official visit, and no question he was impressed.

"If Georgia can't beat this, then it's over," he said of the recruiting process.

Of course Washington is scheduled to visit Athens next weekend.

Lorenzo's mother, Diane Washington, has been right there with him every step of the way, helping to keep his head on straight.

"I've got to hand it to Lorenzo; he's never wavered," Mrs. Washington said. "From the start it's always been either Alabama or Georgia. The Duke coaches are pushing him hard right now, but he's not really listening. He wants to play for a winning program."

Alabama fans pride themselves on being virtually fanatic in their support of their team, but the "barking dawgs" from Georgia aren't far behind.

"It's been absolutely crazy," related Mrs. Washington, who lives with her son in Loganville, Georgia, less than an hour's drive from the UGA campus.

"It's gotten to the point where Lorenzo just doesn't like to talk about recruiting. People will come up to him at his work, asking where he's going to go. One guy came in dressed from head to toe in Georgia red and black with a big Georgia sticker in the middle of his chest."

Washington strikes a pose for the camera.

Lorenzo Washington definitely seemed to enjoy his visit this past weekend to Alabama, but let's just say he was "less than thrilled" when anyone besides his fellow recruits tried to talk with him about his decision.

"The recruiting pressure has been really hard," Lorenzo Washington said. "When we go back to my house (Sunday afternoon), the Georgia folks will be there waiting for us."

Georgia folks at the house waiting for you? Really?

Yep, according to Mrs. Washington at least.

"Just a week or so ago, all our neighbors put out these ugly dog statues in their yards, like the Georgia mascot," she said laughing.

Either Alabama or Georgia, the highly-sought-after defensive lineman will end the recruiting battle soon.

"I expect to make my decision sometime in the next two weeks," Washington said. "I'll be announcing on FoxSportsNet, on January 28."

According to Mrs. Washington, the Georgia coaches have been coming at Lorenzo in waves, with first Rodney Garner then Mike Bobo then someone else calling and communicating with him. For Alabama, Paul Randolph has handled Washington's recruitment, essentially from start to finish. Without question, Randolph deserves tremendous credit for keeping the Tide in the game with this out-of-state blue-chipper.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 24 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

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