Weekend Recruiting update + NFL Draft Notes

Two linebackers making recruiting visits to Georgia this weekend were given more reason this week to think there could be an immediate opportunity for playing time in 2003.

 With Thursday's surprise news that junior Chris Clemons is entering the NFL draft, Georgia will be looking for new starters at each of its three linebacker spots.

 Eight high school recruits, including four who already have made verbal commitments to Georgia, are in Athens this weekend. The group includes linebackers Dana Graydon of Albany's Dougherty High and John Beason of Hollywood, Fla.

 Graydon (6-0, 205) has listed Florida State, Georgia Tech and Auburn with Georgia as schools he is considering. Tech may have an advantage because of Graydon's ties with Tech linebacker Daryl Smith of Albany.

 Beason (6-1, 210) was a strong safety in high school who is projected as a college linebacker. Ranked by TheInsiders.com as the No. 23 linebacker prospect in the nation, Beason is thought to be leaning toward Miami.

 Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said the coaching staff was "sort of bracing for''  junior running back Musa Smith and junior defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan to enter the draft. Coaches were caught off-guard by Clemons' exit.

 Also visiting are receiver DeCody Fagg of Quincy, Fla., and defensive end Richard Cook of Washington-Wilkes High. Fagg, a speed receiver with good size (6-2, 185), also is considering Florida, Florida State and Auburn.

 Cook (6-5, 265), also considering Auburn and Florida State, is a noteworthy recruit because Georgia does not have a commitment from a defensive lineman.  

The four recruits making visits who already have made verbal commitments to Georgia are offensive lineman Trey Chandler and cornerback Mikey Henderson of Buford, offensive lineman Zeb McKinzey of Parkview and linebacker Danny Ware of Rockmart.

 The recruiting dead period ends Sunday, so college coaches can return to the road beginning Sunday night.  With 20 verbal commitments, Garner and his staff only have a few scholarships left to offer. Schools at times sign more than 25 in anticipation that some recruits will not meet academic entrance requirements.

 "Obviously, the last few slots we have will be critical,'' Garner said. "We're trying to find the best player available.''

For A complete list of Visitors for the weekend, please click here:

For a complete list of Verbal Commitments, please click here:

 NOTES: Georgia defensive coaches completed their film review of the Sugar Bowl, so final individual defensive statistics for the season were finally official  Friday.

 Of most interest was the result that linebackers Boss Bailey and Tony Gilbert finished in tie for the team lead with 114 tackles. Bailey led Gilbert 109-106 entering the bowl game.

 The final tally gives Gilbert the distinction of becoming the first Georgia player since Ben Zambiasi (1975-77) to lead the team in tackles three straight seasons.

 Also, David Pollack finished with 14 quarterback sacks, a new school record. Pollack had one sack in the bowl game, breaking the tie for the single-season record with Mitch Davis, who had 13 sacks in 1993.  

This is the first year bowl stats have been included in NCAA regular-season totals.

 NFL draft expert Todd McShea of The War Room and The Sporting News has been watching Gilbert and offensive guard Kevin Breedlove practice with other top seniors this week for today's 2 p.m. ET East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco.  

McShea says Gilbert "gets low and takes on blocks as well as any middle linebacker I saw this year'' but has some problems in pass defense. He predicts Gilbert will be a second- to fourth-round pick.  

McShea said Breedlove is "a very average guard'' who works hard. "He's certainly draftable, maybe in the fifth or sixth round,'' McShea said.  

McShea said offensive tackle George Foster of Macon "could be a 10-year starter at left tackle; he's that good.'' Foster, Jon Stinchcomb and Terrence Edwards will play in the Jan. 18 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

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