The Biggest Recruiting Weekend... Ever?

ATHENS – It's certainly a big weekend in Athens, but this could be the biggest recruiting weekend of the Mark Richt Era.

And the performance on the field probably has more to do with the success of the weekend than the hospitality off the field.

The "pressure" surrounding Richt and the Bulldogs is palpable – make no mistake about it. Recruits still view Georgia as a premiere destination to play college football, but they need a vote of confidence of sorts for Georgia's head man this weekend.

For so long Richt's appearance on the sidelines signified one thing – stability. He's been on the sideline at Georgia longer than any other coach at any other school in the SEC. Other schools have seen multiple coaches come and go. Auburn is on their second coach since Richt arrived in 2001; Alabama their third (4th if you count Mike Price); and Florida begins 2011 with their fourth coach in 11 years.

Expected Visitors:


*John Theus
Keith Marshall
Todd Gurley
Josh Harvey-Clemons
Kenderious Whitehead
*Brice Ramsey
*Derrick Henry
Johnathon McCrary
Chaz Elder
Blake Tibbs
Isaac Rochell
Keyante Green
Justin Thomason
*Tray Mattthews
*Stanley Williams

* committed player

But what has happened in the past is in the past. We live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society. Prospects and their parents aren't concerned with what happened last week or last year – they want to know what will happen in the future.

Reading the future is something I am going to leave to Nostradamus and palm readers. One thing is certain: the performance on the field Saturday will almost certainly give or take away confidence from those committed to Georgia and those interested in committing to the Bulldogs.

A win? Not much will change – commitments will almost certainly be kept and some commitments are sure to follow. After all, in that scenario the Dawgs and Richt will have positioned themselves at the top of the SEC East to start the season.

A loss? Chaos in the recruiting world.

Humans aren't great dealing with uncertainty. 17-year olds seem to be even worse at it than most people. And there's nothing good about a parent of a recruit not knowing what in the world is going to happen next. Confusion and uncertainty in recruiting is a very bad thing.

Still, the fact is that we live in a world of uncertainty in college football all of the time – this is really the first time its hit Georgia since Richt arrived.

Remember when Nick Saban famously said: "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach. "I don't know how many times I've got to respond to rumor and innuendo."

He's been there since 2007.

Les Miles has been "leaving" LSU ever since he got there, but he's still there. What about the time when Tommy Tuberville was nearly run off from Auburn in 2003? Steve Spurrier never seemed like he was going to leave Florida before he did so abruptly. Phil Fulmer seemed like he would always be the coach at Tennesee before he was run out of town to be replaced by a master recruiter – Lane Kiffen – who wound up running to California two weeks before signing his second recruiting class. Urban Meyer? I don't think that one needs to be rehashed.

All the while Richt was steady on the sideline at Georgia. But now he needs (and perhaps those he is recruiting need it more) some assurance himself. He needs a win – not just for this season, but for the future of the program with regards to recruiting.

Everyone knows how Richt's teams have caught fire at times when they've looked dead – witness the ends of 2006 and 2007. So losing their first two games and winning at least nine of their remaining games isn't so crazy to suggest.

Make no mistake, however, a loss this weekend would have major recruiting ramifications for Georgia and Richt one way or another.


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