2006 Georgia Camp: Grant's Top Five

ATHENS - I've gathered my thoughts over Georgia's Summer Camp and tried to decide on the five non-committed athletes which impressed me the most. This wasn't an easy task when you are watching 250 athletes participate and compete against each other over a 24 hour period. Although by the time we left Georgia's practice fields Saturday afternoon several athletes had left quite the impression.

5. Aaron Thomas of Stephenson was definitely one of the top defensive backs at the camp. Thomas was impressive in everything he did. He ran the 40 well, looked great in agility drills and was excellent in the one-on-one competition against some of the top receivers at the camp. He has great cover skills, changes direction well and has excellent closing speed. The most surprising thing I heard at the camp was the fact that he has no offers. I'm not sure why he doesn't have any offers, there may be something coaches know that we don't, but Thomas seems to definitely have the skills to compete on a high collegiate level. I wouldn't be surprised if he is one of those kids that comes on late in the recruiting process and gets some quality scholarship offers. Whoever gets this kid is getting a solid defensive back.

4. Tye Wright, from Richland Northeast High School in South Carolina, was one of the top three receivers at the Georgia camp. Wright, like Aaron Thomas, has no current scholarship offers, which again was a surprise. He has soft hands, and seems to have excellent speed although I didn't get to see him run the 40. I would characterize him as having deceptive speed. He didn't look as if he was running very hard but he was able to constantly create separation from the cornerbacks covering him. He made some of the more impressive catches at the camp, including a couple of one-handed catches. He also caught on very quickly in the route-running drills. He has an excellent build, but I think the knock on him will be his height. I still feel he will make someone a quality wide receiver, and look to hear more from this Columbia native.

3. D.J. Donley, from Charlton County High, was probably the most multi-talented athlete there. Friday night I would have ranked him in the top three receivers, and on Saturday morning he was covering running backs and wide receivers while at outside linebacker in the seven-on-seven competition. Donley instantly stood out on Friday with his tall, lanky frame. I think the knock on him will be the lack of weight, but with his frame he shouldn't have a problem putting weight on. Though he has quality receiver skills, if Donley is to be a Bulldog he will more than likely end up at outside linebacker. The fact that the coaches worked him mostly at linebacker during the seven-on-seven (the last competition of camp) was probably the biggest hint. He seemed to realize his future as I spoke to him at the conclusion of camp. I think deep down he wants to be a Bulldog, and knows linebacker is his ticket. In the past months he seemed to consider himself a receiver, but as the days have gone on he may be realizing linebacker is a more natural position for him.

2. Cornelius Washington of Burke County was the second most impressive athlete at the camp, and definitely the top underclassmen present. Washington, a defensive end, stands out with his body and size. He looks ready to play right now, and is only a rising junior. He was shown a lot of attention by the Georgia coaches throughout camp. He was also placed against some of the top offensive lineman (Sturdivant and Boling) in the one-on-one drills, and more than held his own. I wasn't sure who he was on Friday night, but there was little doubt by the time we left on Saturday afternoon. He's strong, quick, explosive and everything you want in a defensive end. Washington and Cliff Matthews would have to be a Bulldog fan's dream for the future of the program at defensive end. I would expect Washington to be one of Georgia's top recruits for the class of 2008.

1. Without a doubt, the most impressive athlete at Georgia's camp was Cliff Matthews, from Cheraw, South Carolina. Matthews has an incredible build and seemed to have the potential for an NFL-type body. He had enormous hands, good speed and was extremely explosive in the one-on-one drills. Matthews will need to add a little weight, but shouldn't have any problems doing so with his frame. He also seemed to be taking in Coach Fabris' every word. He simply has all the tools you would want in a defensive end. Matthews was definitely one of the most popular recruits for the Georgia coaches and got the last rep of the camp in the one-on-one competition per request from Coach Richt. I think there was little doubt that the Georgia coaches were hoping for a commitment from Matthews. They didn't get the commitment they were looking for, but Matthews insists Georgia is still his leader. I spoke with him at the conclusion of camp and got the feeling Georgia is definitely at the top of his list. I think his parents really want him to wait and weigh all of his options, but in the end Matthews will most likely be a Bulldog.

On a side note I wanted to mention how impressed I was with a couple of Georgia commitments who didn't participate at camp. Rennie Curran and Charles White were both present at Georgia's camp but didn't participate. I got to hang around a conversation Dean had with Curran and White. I had not previously met these guys but they made quite an impression on me. Right off they were instantly likeable guys. Both of them were intelligent and just a lot of fun to talk to. These guys are exactly what Coach Richt and the Georgia program are looking for; great players and great people. They will both be excellent representatives for the Georgia football program.

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