Dawgpost Magazine - November Sneak Peek

The <i>Dawgpost Magazine</i> supplements Dawgpost.com's daily action with an in depth look at the Georgia Bulldogs' coaches, players, and more. In our next issue, <b>Odell Thurman</b> is our cover subject, and we follow Odell's journey to Sanford Stadium. Here is a quick preview of the feature article in the <i>Dawgpost Magazine</i>

Odell Thurman made a verbal commitment to Jim Donnan and his staff in the fall of the 2000 season without much fanfare. After all, it was only schools like Georgia Southern and MTSU that were Georgia's main competition for the linebacker from Monticello High School in Montecello, GA. Sometimes though, it's the guys that arrive with the least amount of publicity that can make the biggest impact on the next level.

"I was mainly being recruited by smaller schools like Middle Tennessee and Georgia Southern," said Thurman. "I wasn't really getting recruited by a lot of other schools because of my grades."

Coach Mark Richt and his staff thought enough of Thurman to bring him in as a partial qualifier. A partial qualifier can practice with the team, but he cannot play with them until his second season. It's similar to a redshirt season, but a player must graduate in four years to earn back his fifth year of eligibility. Former Bulldog Jermaine Phillips, now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a partial qualifier that earned back his fifth year.

Only two partial qualifiers are allowed to be on an SEC team at any one given time, so they are used sparingly. They are used on players that can be difference makers on the next level. It was an indication of the potential that Thurman had.

"I gave a verbal commitment to Coach Donnan, but I signed with Coach Richt in February. I mainly chose Georgia because it was close to home, and they've been my favorite team since I was small. When I came in on my visit, they told me that they would guarantee that I would graduate, and they meant a lot to me knowing I would get the support I needed."

Thurman did not embrace the opportunity that was given to him though in his first season. A series of disciplinary problems led to Thurman's dismissal from the team in the spring of 2002.

"Me and Coach (Brian) Van Gorder had a meeting when I left. He said that he was disappointed in me, and I felt like it was something put on me (a challenge) to make it back."

Thurman went to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, GA for some tough love and some discipline that had been lacking.

"When it happened, I thought my punishment was way too much. I didn't think it was fair. It was pretty rough at GMC. When I first got there, I thought 'Man, I ain't gonna make it.'"

Read the whole article in next month's issue of The Dawgpost.

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