Dawgs Get Surprise Official Visitor

ATHENS – Georgia had the biggest recruiting weekend of the year, and a surprise visitor showed up.

Mark Richt said he would go to Eastern Europe if he needs to find a kicker to boot the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. He may only have to go to South Florida.

Patrick O'Donnell, a kicker from Palm Beach Central, is on the Dawgs' radar screen for the above reason.

"Georgia started recruiting me about three weeks to a month ago," O'Donnell said. "It has not been that long, but they have been sending letters and they visited me at school recently. Right now Georgia is recruiting me as a walk-on, but they are waiting on the numbers to see if they have room to offer me or not. If one becomes available, then they could still offer me, they are just waiting to see how it works out."

Walk-on kickers have a history of making good for the Dawgs. Brandon Coutu and Billy Bennett are the two most recent examples of Georgia's propensity to make the walk-on kicker a prominent part of their special teams plan.

"I am looking for a scholarship, but no schools have offered me yet," O'Donnell admitted. "I just took my first official visit to Georgia, and I have visits in January set up to West Virginia and Southern Miss. I am hearing from a lot of schools, but those are the only ones that I have visits set up to right now."

Allowing a kicker to take an official visit should be reason enough to think Georiga is interested in O'Donnell. Georgia's attrition over the fall is another. The Dawgs seemed poised to sign under 20 prospects before the season kicked off – the number has likely shifted above 20 now.

"A lot of schools are talking to me and a lot of schools are in pursuit of me, so I feel like I will have options to look at."

"At Georgia Brian Mimbs was my host and everything went well," O'Donnell said. "Georgia football is good and many know that, but I didn't know about their academic program. I didn't know how strong their science field is. Also, they have a very good biology program which I am interested in. The visit was good, and I am interested in Georgia."

"The coach I talked with the most was Coach Lilly," O'Donnell added. "He is a nice guy, and he just told me they have to wait and see how the numbers work out. He told me that they would love to have me there, so I will just have to see what other schools do and see if scholarships are available at Georgia."

That does not mean O'Donnell will necessarily wait on the Dawgs. He maintains that he will explore all of his options.

"I am looking at Georgia now, but I am going to look at everyone to see who offers me," he said. "If a school offers me, then I can go to school for free, but I will look at Georgia even if they do not get to offer me. Georgia does seem to have a lot of kickers, too. West Virginia is telling me that I can come in and probably do all three (kick-off, punt, and field goals) as a freshman, so I have to look at that. I just hope to get some scholarship offers and then go from there."

O'Donnell admits that being responsible for all aspects of the kicking game would be quite a challenge. He understands that Georgia is interested in him kicking the ball over Sanford Drive each kick off… if possible.

"I can do all three pretty well, but Georgia likes me as a kick-off guy because they like my leg strength. I kicked balls through the end zone and through the uprights on kick-offs a lot this year, so that is one of my strengths. My punting average was 46 yards and I was 10-12 in field goals. I had field goals of 42, 46, 48, and 52 yards this season."

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