Gilliard picks Georgia

VALDOSTA – If legendary coach Rick Tomberlin is right, and he usually is, Georgia just got a blue chipper.

Mike Gilliard Profile

Tomberlin, who has coached a slew of NFL players during his career in high school coaching in the state, said Georgia's most recent commit – Michael Gilliard – is a lot like a former Bulldog star.

"Michael reminds me of Randall Godfrey," the head coach said. Tomberlin coached Godfrey before he played for the Bulldogs. "I have no doubt that he's a blue chip player."

Gilliard committed to Georgia today. He notified Dawg Post with a telephone call.

"Coach Richt was there today, he told me after we talked about committing that we should go into the coaches' room and let all of the coaches know, and we did that and they were so happy. I just wanted to make sure, but I wanted to take my parents up to Athens and commit to Coach Richt in person."

The linebacker's recruitment has heated up of late. Michigan, Auburn and Tennessee were the latest in a rather long line of suitors for the South Georgia star. However, Gilliard has maintained that Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida were his three favorites before picking the Bulldogs. Georgia led the entire way.

"It's really always been Georgia for me but early playing time was a concern. When I looked at the depth at linebacker at Georgia I didn't think I could play early so I looked at some other places. Coach Jancek sat down with me and talked to me about the depth at linebacker. He made me feel a lot better about the situation. Georgia has been where I wanted to go from the beginning," he said.

Florida had dropped off its interest in Gilliard in the last few weeks, but that was likely because the Gators felt him going towards the Dawgs. Georgia Tech was an intriguing place for Gilliard as well, but he has felt for some time that Athens was the place for him.

"I liked Georgia's facilities, and I just loved the staff," said Gilliard. "Coach Richt is great. He asked me about my family when I was in Athens, and I really liked that."

The Bulldogs have been paying attention to Gilliard for some time, Tomberlin said.

"Georgia saw him work out in February and decided that they wanted to offer him right after that," recalled the head coach.

"Coach Richt took his time to come and see me early in the process, and they were the first to offer me," Gilliard said. "My coach and I thought that was a big deal, and you always know with Georgia you can't go wrong. I my heart I felt like Georgia was the best place for me."

"We think Coach Richt is the best coach in the country and that it's the best program in the country. You just couldn't go wrong with Georgia," Tomberlin said.

Gilliard had 112 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions in 12 games last season. He competes in one of the most difficult regions in the South – Region 1-AAAAA. Still, Gilliard is one of the top players in the region according to Tomberlin.

"Michael can really run, and has great size. He has super character and is very tough," Tomberlin said.

Gilliard is Georgia's 11th commitment of the 2009 class. He is considered a three-star prospect at linebacker by Scout.com. Gilliard's commitment to Georgia is the Dawgs' fourth since April 19th.


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