That happened Wednesday morning as Kirby Smart’s recruiting frenzy added of Sandalwood's Ameer Speed. The 4-star cornerback opted to sign with the Dawgs over Virginia Tech, Oregon and several others.
With offers from more than 40 programs and a house full of Gator fans, it’s surprising that Speed would elect to go against his family’s UF devotion, but he believes UGA is the best fit for him.
“It wasn’t one thing in particular,” Speed said. “Everything [at Georgia] caught my eye, and it just seemed perfect for me.”
Even though he isn’t going to be playing in The Swamp, his family still has his back, at least a little.
“We are a hardcore Gator family,” Ameer’s mom said. “But I’m his number one fan, so I’m crossing over to the Dawg side, slightly.”
Throughout the entire recruiting process, Speed’s family was there to help him make an informed decision. His mom helped him research everything about the schools and the coaches in each program, and even had all of the research diagramed.
It wasn’t only his family who helped out, but his high school coaches also gave their two cents to Speed.
“I’ve been his position coach for four years, and I was heavily involved in his recruitment,” said Pat Clark, the defensive coordinator at Sandalwood. “Any time you’re at that level, you can’t lose on picking a school. So it comes down to the best fit for him, and [all the coaches] and his family sat down, and we came to the decision that this [Georgia] was the best place for him.
Even with all of that input, ultimately the decision was left to Speed himself.
“It was a family support, but I told him he had to follow his own star,” Mrs. Speed said. And she has already come to terms with his choice of Athens over nearby Gainesville. “Whether his star was over here or on the west coast, wherever he went, I’d find a way to him no matter what.”
While his last name reflects one of his strong suits, Speed’s size for the corner position is an even more appealing trait. Standing at 6’3.5” with a vast wingspan, Speed has the ability to effectively jam receivers at the line. Clark knows that better than most, and believes it will help Speed make an impact Between the Hedges quickly.
“His presence is going to be felt immediately,” Clark said. “You don’t see too many 6’3” corners that can run like him. So initially his size will help him, but once he learns the system and gets settled in, he’ll really be able to contribute.”
Clark doesn’t believe that is all that Speed brings to the table, as his attitude and ability to grow will help him contribute soon enough.
“[Georgia] is getting a great kid, a tremendous competitor, a guy who comes to work everyday looking to get better and be a great teammate,” Clark said. “I think he’s going to blend in very well with that competitive atmosphere they have going there with Coach Smart, Coach Tucker and the rest of that coaching staff.”