Where We Standing Heading Towards Signing Day

I’ve been working the phones plus checking out the subscription UGA sites.  Based on this information, this is where I believe UGA stands heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday.

2016 UGA Football Recruiting Prospects

QB Jacob Eason 5 star Lake Stevens (HS), WA-Already signed his letter of intent as his on campus at UGA.

DT Derrick Brown 5 star Lanier HS Buford, GA-The last couple of weeks it appeared Auburn was in the drivers seat to land Georgia’s top high school prospect.  However, UGA has a made a serious move the last few days.  Auburn and UGA are both confident Brown will sign with them on Wednesday.  Brown is a talent UGA has not had at defensive tackle since Jonathan Sullivan.  He is a NFL first rounder in the making.  The Dawgs need this one badly.

Ben Davis LB 5 star Gordo (HS), AL-Davis loves Kirby Smart there is no doubt about it. Yet, expecting the son of the Crimson Tide’s all time leading tackler to spurn Nick Saban is asking a little much.

Mecole Hardman Jr.5 star  ATH Elbert County HS Elberton, GA-Dawg fans were really nervous when Hardman’s favorite recruiter Jeremy Pruitt ended up at Alabama as defensive coordinator.  Plus, two weeks ago Hardman named Alabama his leader.  Don’t believe any of it.  New Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart has made Mecole feel right at home in Athens, and the nation’s #1 athlete is super close with elite QB signee Jacob Eason.  I will be shocked if Hardman inks anywhere else other than UGA.

Brian Burns 5 star DE American Heritage HS Plantation, FL-There is no doubt UGA has given Burns something to think about in his recruitment and it doesn’t hurt that two American Heritage alumni star for the Bulldogs on offense and special teams.  However, I expect Burns to sign with FSU.

Demetris Robertson 5 star ATH Savannah Christian Prep Savannah, GA-Recruiting insiders suggest this has been one of the strangest recruitment they have seen.  Robertson’s guardian has a lot of say here.  Early in his recruitment it appeared Demetris would head to Stanford, then the last month Notre Dame looked to be where the 5 star ATH would head.  Now it looks as if Robertson will take his recruitment past signing day and visit UGA next weekend.  The longer this goes on, the better it looks for UGA.    Robertson is a major need.  He could step at WR from Day 1 and star on a corps that is depleted in the depth department due to past signing day misses.  It could also free up Mecole Hardman to play CB which many believe is best for the Elberton star long term.

Issac Nauta 5 star TE IMG Academy Bradenton, FL-Signed letter of intent to UGA back on January 11.

Javon Wims 4 star WR JUCO-Today Wims let it be known that he would sign with UGA.  Wims is a very physical receiver that is expected to contribute immediately in 2016.  Good get for Kirby Smart.

Charlie Woerner 4 star ATH Rabun County HS Tiger, GA-Woerner committed to UGA back in July and will sign with the Dawgs Wednesday.  He is the nephew of UGA legend Scott Woerner and is expected to play wide receiver in Athens.

Lyndell Wilson 4 star ILB Carver HS Montgomery, AL-All weekend Wilson sent out tweets of himself covered head to toe in UGA gear.  But, UGA fans should not fooled.  Expect Wilson to sign with the Crimson Tide Wednesday.

Julian Rochester 4 star DT McEachern HS Powder Springs, GA-At 6’5 312 lbs. Rochester is just the type of defensive tackle Kirby Smart is looking for on his defensive line.  Rochester is already on campus signing his letter of intent back in January.

EJ Price 4 star OT Archer HS Lawrenceville, GA-Price was an early commit while later backing off.  I think UGA is in good spot here.  Southern Cal is making a strong push, but I don’t expect it to be enough.  Look for Price to be a Dawg on Wednesday.

Ben Cleveland 4 star OG Stephens County HS Toccoa, GA-Cleveland has been a Dawg since his sophomore of high school, and he made it official during the early signing period.

Chauncey Manac 4 star DE Clinch County HS Homerville, GA-Committed to UGA back on September 27, 2014.  He will sign with Georgia Wednesday.

Tyler Clark 4 star DT Sumter County HS Americus, GA-A current UGA commit, Clark opened up his recruitment slightly when Mark Richt was fired before reaffirming when visiting with Kirby Smart.

Cavin Ridley 4 star WR Deerfield Beach (HS), FL-A major coup for Smart to be able get Ridley to ink with UGA in the early signing period.

Machail Carter 4 star DT Jackson (HS), GA-Carter may be the most underrated player in the entire class.  He has tremendous potential and is a kid UGA needs come Wednesday.  It’s a two way battle between Bama and Georgia, and make no mistake the Tide is coming on STRONG. I still think Carter stays in-state and wears the silver britches.

Elijah Holyfield 4 star RB Woodward Academy College Park, GA-The son of boxing great Evander Holyfield.  The longtime UGA commit will sign Wednesday.

Jeawon Taylor 4 star S Park Crossing HS Montgomery, AL-Coming into the weekend it looked like UGA had a great shot to flip the Florida commit.  However, a great visit to Gainesville over the weekend has most recruiting analysts expecting Taylor to stay put.

Jaleel Laguins 4 star OLB Oconee County (HS) Watkinsville, GA-The current UGA committ has taken his visits since Mark Richt was fired back in December.  However, the 4 star OLB was in Athens this weekend, and I believe he will stay put and sign with Georgia Wednesday.

Jauan Williams 4 star OT Archbishop Carrol HS Washington, DC-New offensive line coach Sam Pittman has done an excellent job of giving Williams something to think about.  Yet, I would look for Williams to sign with FSU Wednesday.

Tyler Simmons 4 star WR Mceachern HS Powder Springs, GA-It is truly 50/50 at this time on whether the Dawgs flip the Alabama commit.  However, the momentum appears with UGA.  Right now, I like UGA to sign Tyler Simmons.








Smart to speak in Macon

For any fellow mid-staters, in case you missed it, Coach Smart will be speaking to the Macon TD Club on February 22 at the Methodist Children’s Home. For more information, visit their website. Should be good times. 


Rooting Interests

Tonight is the big night. One day we will experience what Clempson and Bama fans are experiencing in the desert right now. Until then, we’ve got to choose sides. 

I’ve long contended that Clemson was our sister school and that they are more SEC than SC, Vandy and Kentucky. They’re the land grant institution in the Palmetto State, have a similar alumni base, and are generally comparable to UGA. I normally don’t admit it, but today is as good a time as any. I’m a closet Clemson fan. They’re my “2nd” team. I pull for them every time they don’t play us. I long for the day when we renew the annual rivalry with our sisters to the east. It’s the perfect way to open a season. 

That said, I’m all in on Clemson today. IPTAY. Beat Bama. Go Tigers. You can find detailed analysis elsewhere. I’m just a fan today.  


  We’ve got some dear friends who are Clemson alumni. They’re in the desert and having a ball. We promised to share pictures, so here are a few. Happy watching. 


Hey there, Charlie

There are two blogs in Georgia that set the bar. Thanks to the Senator for hosting one of these. The other is not focused on all things UGA, but if you like southern culture and southern politics, then you’re familiar with Peach Pundit. 

Icarus, now known as Charlie Harper, has been my blogging role model for eight years. Charlie took a fork in the road and has taken his talents to a new home, GeorgiaPol.com. I’ll miss what he and his gang did at Peach Pundit, but I’m certain this new venture will be even more fun for all of us. 

This post was to say “Thank You, Charlie” for the great times at PP, but also to encourage you to check out his new site. This is the time of year to talk Georgia politics, and Charlie is the best. 

Stay warm my friends. 


New Blood

Amidst these exciting times in the state of Georgia, our humble spilling place is proud to welcome a couple of new contributors to The Grit Tree. Join us in welcoming CornDawg and PappyDawg to the blogosphere. Both are recent graduates of our esteemed University, and we’re excited about the fresh takes these guys will bring on UGA athletics, Georgia bbq and southern culture in general. Happy reading folks, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Richt to Continue His Mission

We should not be surprised…we should not be sad…we should only be happy for a coach who is fulfilling his calling.

During Richt’s Monday farewell press conference, fans witnessed a man who was weary from the coaching grind and was looking forward to taking some time away to spend more time with his wife Kathryn.  “I’ve been coaching for 33 years straight, and that’s a long grind.  It can wear a man out a little bit, especially sitting in the head coach’s chair.  We are very excited about our future.”

Then the calls came from current and former players, even ones he had dismissed.  They thanked Richt for making them a better husband, making them a good father, making them into a man of integrity.  And at that moment, Richt knew his mission was not yet complete.

Since 1986, when Richt gave his life to Jesus Christ, Richt has served someone greater than himself.  And when he saw the responses from Charlie Ward, DJ Shockley, Brandon Boykin, Mohamed Massaquoi, Aaron Murray, and even players he dismissed such as Sheldon Dawson. Richt knew relaxing by the pool or spending a month on a long deserved hiatus was not the Lord’s intention.

Heading back to his alma mater, The University of Miami (“The U)” is a nice conclusion to a fantastic coaching career mostly spent as an offensive assistant at Florida State and head coach at Georgia.  But don’t let the trees get in the way of the forest.  This is not about closing out a  great coaching tenure where you played your college football.  This is about Richt completing his spiritual journey, and it is far from complete.

Godspeed Coach!


Lies, Lies, Lies

Greg McGarity has lied to you.  He lied to me.  And he lied to the man who he fired that was sitting next to him in the press conference Monday.

It is being universally reported now that Kirby Smart will be the next head coach at the University of Georgia.  This is not at all surprising.

Greg McGarity said in his comments at the press conference he would retain the services of a search firm.  He said that on Monday morning.  Some 36 hours later, it was reported that Kirby would take the job.  For an athletic department that took 20 years to decide on building an indoor practice facility, and takes time to make other routine decisions, I have doubts about this.

In 36 hours, a search firm was hired, all the candidates were vetted, made an offer, and said offer was accepted?  In 36 hours?   For the arguably the most important job at the University of Georgia?  For arguably one of, if not the most, high profile jobs in the entire state?

McGarity also said that the decision to make a move on Coach Richt was made driving home from the Tech game.  That is a lie.  You don’t make major, multi-million dollar decisions on an hour and half drive home.  You just don’t.

This decision was made after the Florida game, if not earlier.

I understand not being bombastic.  I understand not saying a whole lot.  I don’t agree with that approach; McGarity could have been a little more open and forthcoming.  Instead, he came off like a weasel.  But I understand why he wouldn’t say a whole lot.

But to sit there, and flat out lie to us all?  Even worse, to insult our intelligence?  It is one thing to lie and be deceitful.  It is another thing to lie, but have everyone know you are doing it.

I’ve said it before a million times but I’ll say it again:  the success of the football coach will hinge on if changes are implemented in Butts-Mehre.

I wish Coach Kirby Smart the best of luck for a long, successful career at the University of Georgia.

I can’t say the same for his boss.






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