Richt Discusses Son's Commitment to Clemson

On February 2, 2007, Tommy Bowden and the Clemson football program received a verbal commitment from the unlikeliest of sources- the son of University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt, Jon Richt.

In fact, it was last summer that reports first surfaced in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Clemson was interested in Jon, and vice-versa.

At the time, it seemed to be nothing more than a footnote. After all, who would expect the son of he head coach one of the traditional football powers of the south to jump ship and play at a school just 90 miles up the road?

As it turns out, that's exactly what happened.

Jon, a 6-2, 205 pound quarterback, and rising senior at Prince Avenue Christian School, verbally committed to Clemson in early February after discussing the decision extensively with his father.

"We talked about it obviously," Jon said of his father's role in the decision. "It was just different because we had already said a long time ago that I wasn't going to play for him just because of what kind of position it would him and me in with the media and everything else that would go with that.

"He was happy for me just like any other dad would be. He knows it was a big step in my life."

That was in February. Two months later, now that the dust has settled from the announcement, Mark Richt has now discussed the publicly.

Speaking on 104.9 FM The Drive's morning show Rush Hour Monday morning, Richt said there were a number of reasons it made sense to consider Jon playing football for a school other than Georgia.

"Jon grew up in a Florida State family and wanted to go to Florida State and then we moved to Georgia and he wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog," he said. "But as he grew older I began to have him understand that may not be in the best interest for him and the family.

"The two highest profile positions on a team are probably your head and your quarterback. Let's say Jon was Matt Stafford and Jon is going through a period where he's turning it over three and four times a game. And I say, 'you know what? I believe in him. He's going to be fine.' I say that about Stafford and people will be like 'okay, I buy that coach because you've coached QBs a while, you know what you doing.'

"But if that was my son, I don't think people would buy it. It would put so much stress and pressure on him that doesn't need to really be there."

Richt also said he'd like to see his son make a name for himself on his own.

"I think it's healthy to go off and be your own man," he said. "If I was just a local person that lived in Athens but I think it's tough for him to have the head coach to be his dad. And I just want to be dad, I don't really want to be his coach.

"If you look at this past year, I really had a four-man quarterback race. If one of those guys was my son it would be hard to be unbiased as to know what to do."

Jon, who was also drawing interest from Maryland, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma before making his announcement, said a number of other factors played in his decision to commit to Clemson.

"Throughout the last couple of weeks and months that I've been offered (by Clemson) I realized that Clemson was one of the best places for me to go and it's not too far away," he said. "And the coaches have good morals too."

So while the decision was far from easy, both Jon and his father Mark appear to be on the same page. With Jon going to Clemson and Mark coaching at Georgia the two will be just 90 miles away.

Perhaps just enough distance to know one is close by ... but not too close.

And despite the fact he's the head coach at Georgia, Jon said his dad couldn't be happier he'll be wearing orange and purple in the coming seasons as opposed to red and black.

"He was happy for me just like any other dad would be," Jon said. "He knows it was a big step in my life." Top Stories