"He's beautiful coach… just beautiful," Carroll said.
The former Southern Cal head coach had just touched down at the Atlanta airport minutes before on a recruiting trip in early 2007, and he wanted to stop by and see much-talked-about junior Cordy Glenn for himself. Carroll had seen Glenn on film, but had never seen him in person.
Glenn's long arms and NFL body in person put the energetic USC coach in a frenzy.
Too bad for Carroll he couldn't snag him away from playing for Georgia.
And as much as Carroll wanted Glenn, Georgia desperately had to have him. In 38 career games, Glenn has started 35, including 10 his freshman year. After three years as the familiar face at left guard, Glenn now sits poised to take over the left tackle position, further proof of his athleticism and the need Georgia has for him.
"It's a great move," Glenn said. "I'm enjoying the move."
Georgia's need for Glenn was dire back in 2007-08, whether the Bulldogs coaching staff fully understood it or not.
Glenn was told he was needed – that was Georgia's main recruiting pitch. But most linemen redshirt. The process of playing early along the offensive line usually starts in year two.
Glenn didn't get the chance to come to full understanding while watching upperclassmen play from the sideline.
In the first game of his college career, Glenn started at right tackle.
After two more starts, he was switched to left tackle and later to guard. From then on, Glenn has been a mainstay in the starting 11.
"When Cordy first got here, he was kind of green in my opinion," said tight end Aron White. "He was probably one of the biggest human beings I've ever seen when he was a freshman. I thought (fellow offensive linemen) Justin Anderson used to take the cake, but when Cordy got here I was like ‘Dear Lord.' Guys get bigger every year."
Despite the obvious physical gifts, the credit for his early contributions, Glenn admits, is due to his father's constant ego-checks when Cordy was growing up.
"My dad would always push me," Glenn said. "He'd never let me get satisfied with anything. If I would have a good game or if I did good, he would always keep me level-headed. He never let me get a big head about football. That kind of helped me with the next level and having early success. Just knowing that I can still get better every day."
For his early involvement in a very successful Georgia offense in 2008, Glenn was named Freshman All-SEC by the coaches. And numerous media outlets pegged him as a national All-Freshman winner.
"I feel like as soon as he got comfortable and knew what to do, it wasn't a guessing game, and he could unleash," White said.
On a day when Georgia players posted so many low 40-times, perhaps a 4.82 was the most impressive dash of the day.
Cornerbacks and receivers were blazing sub-4.4s in the summer of 2010. Linebacker Cornelius Washington even broke 4.4, but he had a track background in high school.
No, when Glenn crossed the line and 4.82 was called as his time, most people couldn't believe it.
But he's run times like that before. And teammates say he can probably do even better.
"Cordy is a great athlete," said teammate Trinton Sturdivant. "He's like 340, 6-6 and he possibly runs a 4.7 time in the 40. Who else can do that?"
"That 4.82 was without any training (to run the 40)," Glenn said. "But a 4.7? That's pretty fast. I don't know about that."
Glenn's athleticism was developed growing up on the basketball court. He flourished at the sport his father played at the college level at Louisiana-Lafayette. As is so often the case, all the time spent playing basketball translated to adept footwork and super speed for a lineman in football. The scariest thought to ponder in all of this: Glenn didn't seriously play football until the ninth grade.
"I used to play basketball before then," Glenn said. "My dad was a basketball player, so he always pushed me with basketball. When I started playing football, he started pushing me with that, too."
He pushed Glenn to the highest ranks of the SEC.
To be 6-foot-6 and 340-pounds, somehow Glenn can become the least noticeable person in a room.
That's because he doesn't say much. He probably wouldn't say anything if he didn't have to. And when he does talk, he doesn't waste too many words.
"He's always quiet," Sturdivant said. "He's more laid back."
"Cordy is a very quiet guy," White said. "He's kind of like the gentle giant. Walking around campus you would never guess it, because he's so quiet. All these girls think he's like a big sweet teddy bear."
But don't take his passive nature as a weakness. Most of Georgia's defenders refer to Glenn's quiet behavior as a rage building just beneath the surface. To be on the receiving end of that rage is an undesirable position at best, White said.
"I've seen Cordy get a little ticked off at practice and been scared for my life, you know," White said. "I'm glad I'm on his side of the ball. People just don't know. He's got such a cool personality. He's such a nice guy, but when he cuts it loose – when he switches that on – I'll be scared for my life because he really turns it on and goes after it sometimes."
Glenn and his family spent a great deal of time amid contemplation during the winter of 2011.
The NFL was a viable option. To make that leap, however, would mean a college degree and one final season at Georgia left floating above the table.
"I gave it a lot of serious thought," Glenn said. "I sat down with my parents and we thought about it every day. I decided I still had a lot to work on in college. I could still get better and improve my technique. It's just another year. It's not that big of a deal."
Not that big of a deal? Surely, Glenn's quiet nature is taking over there. Glenn has now shifted from guard to tackle, and there is a solid chance he'll be the starter at the coveted left tackle spot, a position most agree is the most important on the line.
"I can play any position in the NFL just like I can play any position in college," Glenn said. "I don't think I have any set position."
Upon his arrival in February, new offensive line coach Will Friend immediately recognized Glenn's importance to the line's success.
"Yeah, he's going out for tackle and he's rusty there," Friend said. "The biggest thing he's got to do—he's got a lot of potential. He's got to keep working if he wants to reach that potential. He can be a dominant player and we need him to be one. He's got to do that for us, and he's got a lot of potential."
That potential is said to have a ceiling near the first round of the NFL draft.
"That dude is unstoppable to me," White said. "He has the caliber to go first round in the NFL draft athletically. It depends on what team sees it in him. He's just so physically gifted. There's nothing but an upside for Cordy Glenn. I'm glad he decided to come back this year and forgo the draft because I think he's really going to help our team a lot."
White is correct – Glenn will be a monumental help to the offense in 2011. But he also had a lot to gain by coming back for his last season.
He's on track to graduate with a degree in Sociology next May. And there's just something about playing on the line at Georgia that kept calling him back. Something greater than self kept pulling him back.
"It's the other four guys I play with because I don't want to let those four guys down," Glenn said. "If everybody else is doing their job on the offensive line and I'm not doing my job – I don't want to be that guy who messes up for everybody. I would say just playing with four other guys and building relationships and being a unit is important to me. You've got to be friends on the line. It's kind of hard to work with somebody on every play when you don't like them. Just building a foundation and a comfort zone with the other four guys on the offensive line means a lot."
When you're a returning three-year starter and 340 pounds with NFL-caliber ability, it means a whole lot.