Dawg Post subscribers have been interested in the change that’s come to UGA since Kirby Smart took over. Now a few months into the new regime, Dawg Post will take a multi-week look at what’s new and different in Athens. Today’s article is about the recruiting game since Smart and company came on board. This is the second step in a series of articles we are calling “Changes.”
Kirby Smart has been the head coach at UGA for nearly half a year now. Not a stranger to recruiting in Georgia, Smart’s program has been aggressively focusing on the future. Smart and company have several new dynamics to deal with in today’s recruiting world they didn't have to deal with
But this summer, with the addition of satellite camps, recruiting has changed and become more scattered. Kirby has been quoted a lot on the subject, but the reality is that this new variable has changed the spring/summer recruiting season.
Keep in mind that UGA and all institutions still only have the NCAA-mandated 15 days per evaluation period to travel to see prospects. That makes for complicated situations when there are so many satellite camps. For instance, Cedar Grove High School in DeKalb County is hosting a camp that will have coaches from Michigan, UGA, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Pitt and Miami (among others) on June 2nd.
That means UGA commits Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer will have coaches from around the country at their campus recruiting them while the Bulldogs are there.
Not really a huge deal, but consider what else is going on that day as well. Lee County, which boasts major prospects - Aubrey Solomon and Otis Reese - is hosting a camp that’s becoming a major draw for South Georgia prospects.
All of that’s going on - two camps separated by 150 miles - while UGA is hosting its own “Varsity Overnight Camp”, which insiders say very well could host major prospects as well.
Three football camps separated by at least an hour plane ride in between leaves very little margin of error for Kirby and company. June 2nd is just a snapshot of the new world of recruiting that Kirby and his staff fine themselves in. The NCAA recently also reneged on regulation of electronic communication between coaches and players.
Direct message on Twitter or Facebook has always been allowable. But now texting, which had been regulated for a long time, is fully allowable in this new world. Recruiting always changes. There are always new things that pop up. But this last few months has been a seismic change in the landscape. Two long-standing things prohibited by the NCAA were allowed… what’s that mean for around the corner?
UGA, too, under Kirby is modifying many things. The Bulldogs are trying their best to recruit larger players - particularly on the offensive line. Dining during recruiting events has changed (more on that in the future) as well - more man food… less UGA catering. Changes to Sanford Stadium are likely on the way as well. Needless to say, the locker room situation at Georgia is not ideal for recruiting. There is no on-field recruiting area… at least not one that’s practical in order to “wow” players.”
UGA is also in transition this summer and fall because of construction surrounding the new Indoor Practice Facility. All recruiting camps will take place at the Intramural Fields - away from UGA’s offices and actually quite far away from campus in the grand scheme of things.
Have you seen any blacked out Chevy Tahoes driving around Downtown Athens in the last few months? Those are likely driving recruits around the Classic City. Someone has to drive those vehicles, and UGA has hired a small army to handle “recruiting” tasks. That’s something AD Greg McGarity seemed slow to embrace not that long ago.
UGA has evolved, but recruiting is an ever-changing amoeba. Once something is figured out it seems to change the next day. That will continue to be Kirby’s challenge - adapt or die.