Georgia coaches back on the road recruiting

ATHENS – Mark Richt isn't really complaining, but there is one disadvantage to playing in this week's SEC Championship Game.

"There are 10 SEC schools on the recruiting trail this week, and a lot of them are in this state," Georgia's coach said Thursday before the No. 13 Bulldogs took the field for an evening practice at Sanford Stadium.

One of the NCAA's contact periods, which allow coaches to make visits to prospects' schools and homes, began Sunday. However, no Georgia coaches got on the road recruiting until Thursday evening. Several were scheduled to make recruiting visits tonight as well. Georgia (9-2) plays No. 3 LSU (10-1) Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Georgia Dome for the conference title.

The last time the Bulldogs made the title game, in 2003, Richt sent his assistants out recruiting the Sunday before the championship game, but he didn't do that this year in part because Georgia played a late game Saturday night and the coaches needed rest.

"I said, ‘We ought to stay in and get as much rest as we can,'" he said. "We felt like it was more important to prepare for the game."

It would seem that playing for the conference title would be enough of a recruiting benefit to counteract an opponent's week-long head start, but Richt pointed out that some players his team is recruiting have made verbal commitments this week. College coaches are not allowed to talk about prospects before they sign, but wide receiver Jarred Fayson (Florida) and defensive end Micah Johnson (Kentucky) have reportedly made commitments to other schools in the past week.

"You may try to undo some things if you can, if you have to," Richt said.

The Bulldogs will have some time to catch up. This contact period doesn't end until Jan. 28. Georgia already has known verbal commitments from over 20 players. It is expected to bring in as many as 32 new players, including those who enroll in school in January.

The team's recent history of making the SEC Championship game may help in the long run, Richt said. Saturday's appearance will be Georgia's third in four years.

"If you have some history of getting to the game, I think it impressive to the players you are recruiting," Richt said. "They want to feel like they have a real chance to compete for the championship."

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