Richt torn over "evaluation period"

ATHENS – Mark Richt has been on the recruiting trail this spring, and he's not sure how good that is.

Richt, who started coaching at Georgia in 2001, has stayed off the road in the spring until this year. He says it's something he's never been in favor of a head coach doing this time of year.

"My opinion is that head coaches should be off the road in the spring – I have always felt that way," Richt said. "I would love for the rule to change."

The Georgia head coach does not agree with the way some programs are using the "evaluation period" to recruit players. He said those programs, which he did not specifically name, were making their presence known at schools where they have decided to offer a player instead of truly evaluating that player. In other words using the evaluation period for full-blown recruiting.

"I think it's an evaluation period," Richt said of the matter. "It is not a contact period; we can't even talk to the players. If it is truly an evaluation period, then let's get our assistant coaches out there to evaluate and start making decisions. I believe if there was a rule that the head coaches were not allowed out on the road in the spring, then that's exactly what would happen. I do not believe that every head coach is going out there and evaluating talent. He is going out there to the schools where they have earmarked guys. I doubt they are going to many schools where they have not already made a decision to offer a kid. I'm not saying that other guys are recruiting or making illegal contact, but their mission is to say ‘I am here.'"

That, Richt says, makes matters complicated for him – particularly as it relates to the talent in state. The Bulldogs are in a fight with Clemson for Tavarres King and A.J. Harmon right now. They are also trying to hold off out-of-state programs for Bacarri Rambo and B.J. Brand. Atlanta-area targets like Jamoris Slaughter and Joshua Jarboe are being recruited heavily by out-of-state schools. Because Richt is so against recruiting in the spring as a principle he's been hesitant to leave Athens in the spring – until now.

"It got to the point where I thought: ‘I need to get out there,'" Richt admitted. "When you have all these other coaches in your state recruiting your players, and the head coach from Georgia is not there, it can become a problem. Since I have been so vocal about coaches being on the road, that's probably the reason I have not been on the road (in the past)."

Even though Georgia has a slew of players already committed to them this early in the recruiting process, Richt said he "could not tell" if his being on the road this spring has made a difference in Georgia's recruiting efforts so far.

"The only thing I would say is: whatever the rule is, just tell us what the rule is and everyone abide by it," the head coach said. "That would make me feel ok. Even with head coaches being out during the spring, I am ok with it as long as everyone is playing by the rules. I think it needs to be evaluation period, and I think if you take head coaches off the road, it will be even more pure in that intent."

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