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    Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. A deeper dive into Georgia football recruiting efforts in the metro Atlanta area Since Kirby Smart took over as Georgia's head coach in December of 2015 and including the 2021 class, the state of Georgia has produced 202 blue-chip recruits, which are defined as 4 or 5-star prospects using the 247Sports Composite database. Of those recruits, 118 58 percent of them have come from nine counties that make up the metro Atlanta area, defined as the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette and Henry per the Georgia State of Tourism website. On average the metro Atlanta area produces more blue-chip recruits than the likes of Alabama, Louisiana and Ohio. Alvin Kamara, Derrick Brown and the Atlanta Falcons' 2020 first-round pick AJ Terrell all came from the area. It is one of the best recruiting areas in the country from both a high-end and volume standpoint. But in recent seasons Georgia is relying less and less on the Atlanta area to add to its recruiting haul, even as it continues to sign elite recruiting classes. In the 2019 and 2020 cycles, Georgia signed just five prospects from the area and just one of the 10 5-star prospects. Over that same time span, Clemson and Tennessee have also signed five prospects with Alabama landing six. So should Georgia be doing a better job recruiting the metro Atlanta area, or is it just too unrealistic to expect one school to dominate the area? Does Georgia need to re-prioritize how it recruits the area? The numbers show that Georgia, over Smart's tenure, has actually done the best job of any college program in terms of recruiting the area. But a handful of schools are making not insignificant strides. And there's one county in particular that Georgia has repeatedly come up short in. And it happens to be the one that produces more blue-chip recruits than any other in the Atlanta area. It's more metro Atlanta than the whole state When comparing the blue-chip recruits that come from the metro Atlanta area to that of the rest of the state, the data shows that Georgia has done a much better job recruiting the elite prospects from outside the Atlanta area as opposed to those hugging Interstate-285. Georgia has landed 21 blue-chip signees from the metro Atlanta area since Smart's first signing class in 2016. That makes up just over 20 percent of all blue-chip recruits from the area. The rest of the state of Georgia has had 84 prospects ranked as blue-chip recruits. The Bulldogs and Smart have signed or received commitments from 29 of those prospects, good for 34.5 percent of all non-Atlanta area prospects. In this cycle, the metro Atlanta recruits have also made commitments sooner than some of their counterparts. For this cycle, there are 28 total blue-chip prospects in the state. Of the 15 blue-chip prospects from the metro Atlanta area, 12 have already committed. For the rest of the state, only six of those prospects have committed. The 2021 class perhaps best illustrates how Georgia has gone about recruiting the state of Georgia in recent seasons. The Bulldogs have only one commitment from a metro Atlanta prospect, 4-star defensive lineman Jonathan Jefferson. But Georgia has commitments from three blue-chip prospects who all come from outside the metro Atlanta area, including 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. That means that while Georgia has missed out on some of those elite Atlanta prospects, such as linebacker Barrett Carter and cornerback Jordan Hancock, a number of the best players in the state, such as 5-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims and 4-star wide receiver Deion Colzie, are still available for the Bulldogs to land. A closer look at Gwinett County Of the 202 blue-chip prospects Georgia has produced over the past five years, 42 have come from Gwinett County. The county produces the most blue-chips in the entire state and is one of the top talent producers in the entire country. And in Smart's time as the head coach at Georgia, he's landed just three blue-chip recruits from the area, with the last being Warren Ericson in the 2018 signing class. So when people complain about Georgia's recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area, they're most likely wondering why the Bulldogs haven't done a better job recruiting Georgia's top county. The 2021 class once again illustrates Georgia's struggles in this part of the state. The top three players in Gwinett County also double as the top three players in the metro Atlanta area. And all of them have already committed to playing outside of the state. Carter and Hancock, teammates at Suwanee, Ga.'s North Gwinnett High School committed to Clemson. Those two both play at positions of need for Georgia in this cycle. Speaking before his decision, Carter said that Georgia was a finalist in part because it was the hometown team. But Carter still ended up picking the Tigers, who are only about 30 minutes farther away. While being the local team does often gives Georgia a foot in the door, it's usually not enough on its own to convince one of the country's best prospects that it is the best place for his future. Related: What Barrett Carter's decision means for Georgia and where the Bulldogs go next in 2021 recruiting Then there's running back Cody Brown. He stars for Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga as he rushed for 1,676 yards in his junior season. While Georgia wants to take two running backs in this class, Brown committed to Tennessee earlier in May. Georgia already has one commitment in the cycle from running back Lovasea Carroll, originally from Warrenton, Ga., before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. The Bulldogs are also well-positioned with Donovan Edwards, a running back from West Bloomfield, Mich., who is a higher rated prospect than Brown. In recent cycles Georgia has shown it has no problem looking outside of the Peach State to land top talent. The last cycle saw Georgia bring in Kendall Milton from Clovis, Calif. In the 2018 cycle, Georgia went to North Carolina for Zamir White and Miami for James Cook. The 2017 cycle saw them land D'Andre Swift from Philadelphia. Given that Georgia is RBU' and can use that brand nationally, it's probably not a coincidence that Elijah Holyfield is the only metro Atlanta running back Georgia has signed since Smart has taken over. Of the six blue-chip prospects from Gwinett in the 2021 cycle, all of them are already committed to schools other than Georgia. And each of them will play for team's Georgia will see on its 2021 schedule in Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. The 5-star level Gwinett currently doesn't have any 5-star prospects for this recruiting class, but the 2019 class saw the country produce five 5-star prospects. And all five of them elected to play their college football outside of the state. Across the rest of the metro Atlanta area though, the Bulldogs have done much better at attracting the 5-star prospects. The Bulldogs have gone into Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb and Henry counties to land a 5-star prospect. Gwinett is the only county that has produced a 5-star prospect that Smart hasn't landed at least one from dating back to the 2016 cycle. But while the Bulldogs may not have landed the likes of an Arik Gilbert or an Owen Pappoe, they've more often than not shown they can recover and land an elite prospect from outside this footprint. Pappoe, who played for Grayson High School in Gwinett County and ultimately signed with Auburn, was a key linebacker target in the 2019 cycle. After Georgia missed out on him, it pivoted and landed Nakobe Dean out of Lake Horn, Miss. Dean was actually a higher-rated prospect in the cycle and had a promising freshman season for the Bulldogs. Related: Georgia LB Nakobe Dean on path to greatness by all measures Georgia did something similar at the wide receiver spot in 2019. After seeing Jadon Haselwood de-commit and sign with Oklahoma, the Bulldogs flipped George Pickens, who went on to have a better freshman season than Haselwood. County UGA commit/signee Fulton 6 Cobb 5 Dekalb 4 Gwinett 3 Henry 2 Douglas 1 This is where Georgia's national recruiting success, especially in the past two seasons, has really helped make up for some of those misses in the metro Atlanta area. 'We might have been second or third on a national kid that was a really good player. Say a Kendall (Milton), Say a Kelee (Ringo), but we won a lot of those,' Smart said while discussing Georgia's 2020 signing class in February. 'The other part is we lost some instate battles that were really, really good players.' 'So I think the two of those merged just sort of happened at unique positions where we would've taken the in-state guy or the out of state guy. It just so happened we got the out of state guy.' The growing orange concern As Smart mentioned, Georgia has been missing out more on in-state players. So with Georgia getting more and more of its elite players from outside the Peach State, which schools are hurting the Bulldogs the most, especially inside the metro Atlanta area? The biggest one to know is the Clemson Tigers. Under Dabo Swinney the Tigers have always done well in the state, while landing the likes of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. But in recent cycles, they've put in even more focus on the Atlanta area and it has paid off. The Tigers signed multiple Atlanta area prospects in each of the last five signing classes, including 5-star defensive end Myles Murphy and 5-star cornerback Andrew Booth in the last two cycles. And they've gotten off to a strong start in the 2021 cycle, as Clemson already has commitments from four Atlanta-area blue-chippers, including the top two overall talents in Hancock and Carter. The other team that has most recently made significant progress in Atlanta is Tennessee. The Volunteers have also landed multiple signees in each of the past two recruiting cycles, and have two commitments in the 2021 class in Brown and 4-star wide receiver Julian Nixon. As Jeremy Pruitt continues to become more established at Tennessee, it's clear it Atlanta is going to become an even bigger and more crucial part of his program. And that likely will come at the expense of Georgia, even though the Bulldogs continue to do a better job of recruiting the area than any other program. And after Alabama got shut out in the 2018 cycle, it signed six blue-chip prospects over the past two cycles. Unlike Tennessee and Clemson though it holds no 2021 commitments from one of the prospects in the area. The fact that just about every major SEC power is or needs to recruit Atlanta at a high level only makes things more difficult for Georgia. It won't be like it was for USC with the Los Angeles or Miami recruiting south Florida for those super teams of the late 1980's and early 90's. There's simply too much regional competition in metro Atlanta for Georgia to dominate it, as opposed to how LSU handles New Orleans. What you'll notice about the list above is that all but one of these teams is an SEC program, and Clemson essentially operates as one from the comfort of the ACC. Atlanta isn't just responsible for supplying the home-state Bulldogs with top recruits, it's a key part of several of the best programs in the nation's top conference. From a pure numbers standpoint, sure Georgia could do a better job of recruiting the metro Atlanta. If Smart and his staff had ignored positional need and signed just the 22 blue-chip recruits from the metro Atlanta area in the 2020 class, Georgia would've finished with the No. 4 overall recruiting class. But in doing so, the Bulldogs then probably don't get a Milton, a Ringo, a Mekhail Sherman or a Marcus Rosemy. All players who figure to be huge pieces of what Georgia continues to build in the coming seasons. Missing out on a Carter or a Gilbert at the moment should be seen a miss, given in the last two cycles those two players have played at a position of need for the Georgia program. But when the Bulldogs are able to go out land a Darnell Washington and a possibly a Smael Mondon instead, the misses in the metro Atlanta aren't a reason to question Smart's recruiting results. Georgia is still the only program in the country to sign a top-three recruiting class in each of the previous four recruiting cycles. Those first two cycles saw Georgia lean heavily on the metro Atlanta area. These last two have seen Georgia skew more nationally for those elite recruits. And while Clemson and Tennessee have picked up a few more wins in the area, they're not exactly storming the gates and raiding the area for all of the top recruits. The Bulldogs are still getting their fair share and more so than any other program. It's just that no program, not even a Georgia program that is among the national elite in the country, can be expected to dominate the metro Atlanta area from a recruiting standpoint. The area is just too deep and too vital to so many other programs for that to happen. Full list of all metro Atlanta recruits since 2016 More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his 'family' feeling at UGA Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return Georgia football podcast: An example of Jamie Newman hype that Kirby Smart probably likes Jamaree Salyer has been one of the big winners of Georgia's offseason Kirby Smart reveals thoughts on return, Georgia outlines voluntary workout transition plan Why aggressiveness, not athleticism, could mark the most important difference between Jamie Newman and Jake Fromm Dawgs on Twitter My Big dogs working! pic.twitter.com/0T5632Q8J1 Outlaw The Strength Coach (@outlaw_coach) May 25, 2020 Tuff https://t.co/1XJeVmuSfY Justin Shaffer (@ShafferJustin54) May 23, 2020 Sounds Before the Snap with @CoachSchuUGA #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/WQhdVvmWOu Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 24, 2020 Ernie Johnson gave us the best thing you'll see all year long #TheMatch pic.twitter.com/FKTgsmIfC4 Kevin Gray Jr. (@CTSportsRadio) May 24, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day This is Kosi. If he really concentrates, he can shoot rainbows out of his head. 13/10 magical as h*ck pic.twitter.com/Pemo8kaaml WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) May 22, 2020 The post A deep dive into Georgia football recruiting facts, figures and fallacies in metro Atlanta appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry zooms in on the final six release today by Nevada TE Moliki Matavao. Nevada tight end Moliki Matavao released his final six schools today. The Georgia Bulldogs made the cut. It was expected despite not having been on campus at UGA since the summer of 2019. The 6-foot-6.5 prospect still has Georgia on his mind, but he had an interesting answer to a recent question that stands out, too. Matavao's day-to-day life, like most Americans, has been impacted greatly over the last six weeks.What's the one thing he would do if our world didn't have the restrictions and caution tape around it? 'Shoot, that would be playing some football with my teammate's man,' he said. 'Spring football! Playing football right now. That's what I miss the most.' That answer says as much about Matavao as any top schools list. He released those moments ago via social media on his Twitter account. Georgia Oregon Penn State Tennessee UCLA Washington 'Those are the ones I will be visiting whenever this opens up and if it doesn't open up I plan on pretty much committing either in May or June,' he said. At the moment, he plans to take five officials and one unofficial from among those options. Could the January 2021 early enrollee make that choice now? 'I have a good feel for a few of the schools,' he said. 'I would like to visit them and take my officials and visit them again. But if that's not until let's say September when I can visit, well I kind of want to relieve some stress off of me. If I feel confident enough to make the right decision, then I will.' The nation's No. 4 TE (247Sports Composite) has plotted an admirable path after that. 'If it is the school that I am committed to, then I will definitely take the official visit but that will be it,' Matavao said. 'Once I am committed, my word will be out there. I really don't want to go against my word.' His commitment will mean exactly that. 'That's just kind of how I was raised,' Matavao said. 'That's my word and I'm giving my all to that school if I do commit.' He's planning for contingencies, including continued restrictions on college visits in June or July. 'If it extends into my senior year, then I just kind of want to play football,' he said. 'I want to have fun and soak up the game I love playing. If that's committing in June or July without making my visits, then that is it. Whatever I feel I am comfortable with it having everything that I have learned and my own research and all and I'm confident in making the decision I am 100 percent committed to, then I will make it. I will make that commitment even without those visits.' The range here seems like anywhere from May to June to July. He just wants to make his decision in advance of his senior year. It will allow him to relax and disconnect from the pressures and constant recruiting that he's been carrying with his college decision. The phonetics of his name go like this: MO-LI-KEE MA-TA-VOW Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. How college football recruits Moliki Matavao these days Matavao and his family have some roots in Georgia, too. Location is not going to be a factor. Not even in the age of COVID-19. His grandfather was stationed at Fort Stewart near Hinesville. It meant his father grew up playing varsity sports at Liberty County High School.It means that his grandmother, along with two of his uncles, still lives in Hinesville. 'Distance has never really been a factor for me,' Matavao said. 'I would love to have my parents at every game but I know what's best for them and they know what's best for me. If they think my school choice is the right fit for me, then they will make their sacrifices the same way I will make my sacrifices in not being able to see them as much.' Geography does not fall in with his core criteria. 'If I fit in that right program and that program will develop me the way I want to be developed and gives me the education I want, then I will go wherever,' he said. 'It is more here than just the football aspect.' Count Matavao among the many who are being recruited harder and with more intensity than any recruiting class will lever see. The top 150 players like Matavao now get recruited like 5-stars during the quarantine. 'I for sure feel it,' he said. 'A lot of coaches hitting you up every day. Probably around a hundred texts every day. Four to seven phone calls or Zoom calls or FaceTimes. Every day. I'm for sure feeling it.' Coaches call. And call some more. Most of his interaction is via voice calls for Zoom video chats. The recruiters that think they are slick will challenge him in the new 'Call of Duty' or 'Madden' video games.But a lot of coaches call that play, too. 'I have a few coaches I have played Call of Duty: Warzone' with but I've also played I think coaches three times now in Madden,' he said. 'I beat one of them and now he wants a rematch. It is pretty fun playing that with the coaches.' He caught 47 passes for 730 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. The athletic tight end ripped off an 80-yard touchdown catch among those grabs. He believes in tight ends. That's why he dials up a heavy play call sheet of '12' and '13' personnel and attack with the tight ends all day on those 'Madden' video games. He never expected to be playing video games as part of his daily recruiting chats. 'Some of it is kind of long,' he said. 'After school and workouts and super long days, then I am tired after the third or fourth call. But I just stick through it because I can't visit anywhere so I need to see everything that I want to and really take it all in. A lot of it is good. Everyone means well and I enjoy being able to talk and take in everything that I really need to take in.' RELATED: Matavao and his 'drip' highlights his first get-to-know DawgNation profile How Moliki Matavao really feels about UGA He has not played Georgia's Todd Hartley in those games. That relationship isn't set up like that. When Hartley was in Las Vegas to check on 5-star signee Darnell Washington in the 2020 class, he was able to keep tabs on Matavao. He said he saw Hartley at almost all of his home basketball games last November and December. Matavao had planned to visit Georgia back in April. That got shelved with everything else for Americans. It means his last visit to Athens was in the summer of 2019. Why did UGA still make the cut? 'Just the relationship I have built with coach Hartley,' he said. 'I really enjoy it. I've sat in a lot of meetings now with [new offensive coordinator] coach [Todd] Monken. Watching coach Monken's offense work and I can totally see myself fitting in that offense. That's pretty much really why I love Georgia.' The state champion from Nevada feels Hartley has an uncommon approach. 'It is definitely different how he recruits me,' Matavao said. 'It is good to have him recruit me how he is. He's so much a very personal guy. So are other recruiters, but he opens up a lot. He's a family-oriented guy. He shows me how he grills out with his family. He shows me clips of his son playing baseball. Just trying to show me he is a family guy.' 'If I do go to Georgia moving 2,000 miles away, it shows me I will have a family place there and a family guy I can be around.He's basically showing me a home away from home type feel.' He keyed in on the clips of how Monken used Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard in 2018 with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Brate and Howard combined for 64 catches, 854 yards and 11 touchdowns. Howard is the well-known pro, but Brate actually caught six of those touchdowns. 'I see myself as both an O.J. Howard and a Cameron Brate,' he said. 'Getting it gritty down on the line. Win in the trenches and also separation and getting it deep and stretching the field kind of like what O.J. is about at that level. I can see myself in that offense fitting perfectly. Being in an '11' or '12' or '13' personnel set is something that I can see in that offense.' Those three sets apply to formations with one running back and one, two and three tight ends in the package, respectively.The 235-pound Matavao still feels Georgia will only take one tight end for this class. It seems like 4-star Brock Bowers and Matavao are Hartley's top choices at tight end for the 2021 cycle. Bowers is the nation's no. 3 TE and the No. 101 overall prospect nationally on the 247Sports Composite, too. Matavao said he will not let a 'first one to choose' situation alter where he's at with his decision. He will follow his personal timetable. 'My view of all of this is where I am going to be developed and where I am going to perform,' Matavao said. 'It is more about what's within that college and that program rather than any outside factors to me if that makes sense. That's how I look at it.' Moliki Matavao: How COVID-19 has affected his training If you hadn't gotten the hint yet, this Matavao fella is a focused dude. He continues to get in his full weight sets days. Backs and shoulders. Legs. Followed by conditioning and sprints. 'Still getting after it,' Matavao said. He'll wake up at 8 a.m. and then lift. His day moves on from there to returning home for schoolwork and chores around the house. It is field work and conditioning after that.There is a consistency to each day, including the same bedtime. The routine matters to him. His COVID-19 snapshot still allows for some throw and catch time. Matavao will get on the field with friends he feels have been behaving responsibly during the quarantine. 'Nevada is still pretty lenient,' Matavao said. 'Our governor has us still pretty much social distancing but I know the people I am with. I trust them all. We are making sure we are in small groups and not big groups or anything. But we also want to get after it and win every day.' That sort of mentality allowed Matavao and his Liberty High (Henderson, Nev.) teammates to pull off their version of amazing last fall.His Patriots started off on a five-game losing streak but went on to knock off national power Bishop Gorman in the playoffs. Gorman had won the last 10 state titles out of their playing classification in Nevada. Matavao and his team advanced past that juggernaut en route to the first state championship in program history. He feels he's pretty close to the player he would have been through training if not for the global pandemic. 'I'd say the only thing I'm lacking is some teammates chemistry,' he said. 'I'm right at where I want to be. Feeling stronger and faster right now. I'm not taking this as a negative. I'm taking everything as a positive. Just doing what I can.' He plans to go into real estate upon completion of his college business degree. Check out his junior tape below. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Georgia extends an impactful offer to future 5-star RB Richard Young The 5 things you haven't read yet about recent OLB commit Elijah Jeudy What the O-line recruiting looks like for the 2021 class Georgia OL commit Micah Morris made a silent pledge to UGA quite a long time ago 4-star OLB Elijah Jeudy makes his college decision Hard to believe that #93KDay was already four years ago Jermaine Burton: Why coming home meant everything to Georgia's next great WR Where the Bulldog commits and targets stand in the most recent recruiting update Why Lovasea' Carroll sped up his recruiting timeline to choose UGA Jahvaree Ritzie: The elite DE with track speed, great grades and a love for his Legos Georgia adds 2021 RB target in homegrown speedster Lovasea Carroll The post Moliki Matavao: Nation's No. 4 TE prospect includes Georgia among his final six appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry details a preferred walk-on toGeorgia in the 2020 class. Braxton Hicks will have a name that mothers and fathers might know about, but maybe not recruiting fans. The mothers of DawgNation might have the best grasp of this story right from the start. Maybe those recent doting Dads will, too. Or the fathers who paid close attention during their pregnancies. Let's begin by stating Braxton Hicks is a preferred walk-on for the 2020 class for Georgia. He hails from Rabun County. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver was an All-State player this past season. This is about the time where those DawgNation moms should say: Did I really just read Braxton Hicks? Hicks caught 183 passes for 3,490 yards and 46 touchdowns in his Rabun County career. Those big plays went for 19.1 yards per catch. He was also a standout defensive back for his Wildcats. And his name really is Braxton Hicks. That's no typo. No play on words. His mother, DeAnna Hicks, politely assures DawgNation it was no ploy meant 'to get everybody tickled' as she eloquently put it. Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw 'gets tickled' when that subject of his name too. Most do. 'I didn't know about it,' Shaw said. 'I didn't know about it until he was probably like a junior and I think the Fox 5 crew said something and I was like what' with that?' Shaw's reaction to that on-air quip was the common one. 'My wife had to tell me,' Shaw said. Hicks first started raising eyebrows when he began to show up making big plays on local Atlanta sportscasts. DeAnna Hicks thinks Ken Rodriguez of Fox5 Atlanta was the first. It was after a big touchdown against White County. 'At that point Braxton thought his name was cool,' Wayne Hicks said. 'Up to that point, he was like Dad why did Mom name me this?' with all of that. He thinks it is a fun name now because he has gotten a little popularity off of it.' He gets it. 'I love it now,' Braxton Hicks said. 'Whenever I get on their highlights they always have something fun or funny to say about my name.' Pause button: What is all this Braxton Hicks stuff? Let's take a step back by sharing a few quick definitions. Miriam Webster dictionary: 'Relatively painless nonrhythmic contractions of the uterus that occur during pregnancy with increasing frequency over time but are not associated with labor.' Google search top result: ' Braxton Hicks are when the womb contracts and relaxes. Sometimes they are known as false labour pains. Not all women will have Braxton Hicks contractions. If you do, you'll usually feel them during the second or third trimester. Braxton Hicksare completely normal and many women experience them during pregnancy.' DawgNation recruiting dictionary: 'The name given to a preferred walk-on receiver from Rabun County who averaged 11 touchdowns catches per season of his varsity career. Hicks also snagged five interceptions as a senior for a 12-1 state title contender. The name, although synonymous with expectant mothers, fits Hicks snug like his receiver gloves. That's because he's a fighter.' The real reason why Braxton Hicks fits a future Bulldog His parents are not obstetricians. His mother is not a labor and delivery nurse. Or a comedian. 'The name Braxton itself means strong,' Braxton Hicks said. He has fun with it. 'I love when I go meet folks and meet some moms,' he said. 'They hear that and go oh my gosh did you' and then I tell them the story. I love it. I just think now that it is fun.' Well, he doesn't tell them the whole story. His father, Wayne, is in sales. DeAnna Hicks is a dental hygienist for her vocation. They were just flipping through a calendar which had a roll call of names early on in DeAnna's term. 'Braxton always seemed to me like a powerful name,' Wayne Hicks said. 'It seemed like a strong name to me. I loved the name. But of course, I am a dude. I didn't look into it detailed with all of that and what it all meant.' Then they began to share the name with their family, friends and peers. 'They were always like Hey you know what that means right?' and we certainly did,' Wayne Hicks said. The name 'Braxton' was the runaway leader. It was certainly the choice by the time DeAnna started having severe Braxton Hicks contractions of her own. 'We ended up having a bunch of those Braxton Hicks contractions,' his mother said. They certainly did. 'A bunch,' his father affirmed. She estimated that she started her false Braxton Hicks contractions at 30 weeks. It was still 10 long weeks before Braxton would be full term. DeAnna Hicks began to lapse into labor at 32 weeks. She had to be given meds to halt that on a number of occasions. Young Braxton still needed to grow. It was too soon to deliver. 'They stropped me three times from having him and they finally said we couldn't stop you anymore,' DeAnna Hicks said. 'They said if you go into labor again you will just have to him him because it was too dangerous to the baby.' It meant Braxton Hicks was born on Jan. 2, 2001. That was six weeks in advance of an expected due date of February 11, 2001. That meant the first few fragile weeks of his precious life were spent in a Neo-natal intensive care unit. DeAnna was there every morning to hope and pray for Braxton to grow big and strong, but then she had to go home every trying night. 'Of course we knew the name Braxton Hicks at that time meant early contractions,' his father Wayne Hicks said. 'But as we looked into it, the battle he did and everything we went through we decided that Braxton was obviously the name we wanted to go with.' Hicks was born tiny. Maybe 18 inches. He was four pounds and 11 ounces. He was so slight his father remembers being able to palm him in his hand. He was expected to spend six weeks in that Neo-natal unit. But he was heathy and strong enough to go home after approximately two weeks. He added almost 11 ounces of body weight in that time. 'We had this thought process of I wonder if he is going to be picked at later on in life' but we figured with everything he had battled through in coming into this world so early that the name just had to fit,' his father said. He developed quickly. That's why they knew they were bringing home a fighter. Braxton didn't stop. He kept growing like a stubborn path of Georgia kudzu. He wound up bigger than his peers in kindergarten and elementary school. They now feel blessed to have been able to give him that name. 'When he played football early on, he was almost a full helmet taller than everybody,' DeAnna Hicks said. 'Even after coming into this world so early.' When Hicks was in the seventh grade, he was already able to slam home a basketball. 'Braxton just meant strong to us,' DeAnna Hicks said. 'Now it seems like anything everything that Braxton has kind of done growing up has been early. It just seemed like it. It really did suit him.' What Braxton Hicks will bring to Georgia Hicks will bring something to Georgia. Those who know him well can testify to that. 'He's pretty fast but I know he doesn't look like it,' Rabun County senior OL Will Hightower said. 'His leadership is also out the roof and he can jump. Braxton can jump out of the gym.' Sam Pitman actually offered Hicks the preferred walk-on slot last season before the South Carolina game. Pittman and receivers coach Cortez Hankton made a beeline to Hicks and his family when they showed up for that game. It says a lot about Pittman. We might even jest that it was a strong early contraction on the recruiting trail which would lead him to Georgia. 'When he offered me to come play at Georgia he said I am about to offer you this' and you're going to shake my head right now and you're going to come to Georgia' and he said Now, you can shake my hand' and I was like stunned,' Hicks said. 'I didn't even have time to think about it yet.' But then he shook Pittman's hand. 'Yes sir,' Hicks recalls saying. 'I'm coming.' He has two younger sisters. The Hicks children all came early, but he was the only one who had to stay in a Neo-natal unit for his lungs to develop. 'He's always been the one who could not sit still growing up,' his mother said. 'He's always had to be moving and doing something. Constantly.' Braxton Hicks: Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw weighs in Hicks has been teammates for the last two years with 5-star QB Gunner Stockton in the 2022 class. Stockton was also the subject of a recent DawgNation feature piece. But Shaw states plainly that this wasn't long-range chess by the Georgia staff to have a edge in recruiting Stockton one day. 'Braxton stands on his own here,' Shaw said. 'I think that. I really do. Braxton is not going to be the most explosive player and I'm sure there are people outside of myself or our football program that probably think that this is a chess move for Gunner down the road. But I think that being with Braxton for four years he's earned that preferred walk-on spot. I think if it wasn't Georgia, he'd have another preferred walk-on spot at a school at that level.' Hicks earned one of the 10 preferred walk-on slots that Georgia extends every recruiting class through his own merit. Maybe it was because of those 120 catches, 2,258 yards and 26 touchdowns he stacked up in 2018 and 2019. 'I think one of the greatest compliments you can give Braxton is he's going to be a great teammate and whatever coach [Kirby] Smart tells him his role is going to be he is going to take that and do it,' Jaybo Shaw said. 'He'll do it to the best of his ability and he'll be a great locker room guy. When he walks on campus he is not going to be worrying about how many touches he gets.' Look for Hicks to start out as a scout team piece at receiver and on special teams. 'But he's looking to show up there and be ready,' his father Wayne Hicks said. 'Not report to Georgia and get ready.' He had some scholarship opportunities, but wound up wanting to be a Bulldog. Arkansas State, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State were all interested. They all had Hicks on their board for a long time. He had offers from the services academies but Athens just felt like home. The networking opportunities for a former member of the UGA football team with a degree in hand are just that strong. 'When he called me about that preferred walk-on there was pure happiness on the other line,' Shaw said. 'There was no at least I've got this if something else doesn't show up and I'll see what happens later' and all that. This was more I'm ecstatic to have this opportunity and I just can't wait for it to happen here for this with Braxton.' Congrats to @BraxtonLeeHick1 (UGA), @SamboAdams15 (Univ of the Cumberlands), and @gbragg_22 (Coast Guard Academy) on signing their letters of intent this afternoon! Can't wait to see them do great things on and off the field! #goCats! #longlivethebrotherhood pic.twitter.com/CtF5Nk7gTW Rabun Co. Football (@RabunFootball) February 5, 2020 ITS OFFICIAL #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/La7EnFYz68 Braxton Lee Hicks (@BraxtonLeeHick1) February 5, 2020 Check out Rabun County ATH Braxton Hicks at the @Atl_TD_Club annual awards banquet. He was named to the TCA All-Star team for the 2019 season. Mr. Hicks came in strong on the red carpet tonight. He will be a preferred walk-on this fall at UGA. pic.twitter.com/JNmhhnndde Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) January 17, 2020 After talking to Coach Smart It's a done deal! I'M 100% COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA #COMMITTED #GODAWGS pic.twitter.com/sc1E91admA Braxton Lee Hicks (@BraxtonLeeHick1) November 10, 2019 The post Braxton Hicks: The uncommon yet fitting name of a future Georgia Bulldog appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Here's one thing you can count on every offseason: The Florida Gators talking smack about UGA, despite the fact that the Bulldogs have won three SEC East championships in a row. This offseason, the war of words between the bitter rivals kicked off with someone else other than Florida coach Dan Mullen. This time, the honors belong to Tim Brewster, the Gators' new tight ends coach who has been described as 'an elite recruiter.' Brewster is laser-focused on the recruiting domination by UGA coach Kirby Smart, who recently signed the nation's No. 1-ranked recruiting class for the second time in three years. Brewster had this to say to the Stadium and Gale podcast via Swamp247's Thomas Goldkamp: 'Georgia is Georgia. Kirby's done a good job. But what we've got to do is we've got to put stakes in the ground. That fence has got to go up (at the Florida-Georgia border). And Kirby's got to understand that the state of Georgia is the state of Georgia, OK? 'And we recruit the state of Georgia, we're going to get some really good players from Georgia, but we need to make sure that he understands we're going to fight him tooth and nail for the greatest resource in the state of Florida, and that's the high school kids here. 'And just make sure that he understands and send that message on a daily basis, that we're here and we're going to protect our own.' Good luck to the Brewster and the Gators on building that fence. Something has to change, though. Florida has been embarrassed by the outsiders from Georgia on their home turf during the last three recruiting cycles. Since Mullen was hired at Florida in 2018, the Gators have signed only three of the state of Florida's top 10 overall prospects, while UGA has inked six, per the 247sports composite rankings. With regards to blue-chip talent grown in the state of Georgia over the same time period, the Bulldogs have landed 10 top-10 recruits, while the Gators have imported none. Perhaps most telling, as far as signing 5-stars out of high school (regardless of state), Smart has welcomed 16 over the last three cycles, while Florida got its first in the Mullen era earlier this month. Surely, Smart is shaking in his boots over Brewster's tough talk, the impending messages on a 'daily basis' from the Florida, and above all the looming showdown vs. the Gators, particularly in the Sunshine State. One final note: It will be interesting to see what Florida announces as its spring-game attendance in just over a month, after last year's epic troll of UGA. Florida's reported spring game attendance: 39,476 39 years since Georgia's last national title 476 games Georgia has played since its last national title Gotta love rivalries. (h/t @RedditCFB) pic.twitter.com/2v5m7YEvtP SEC Network (@SECNetwork) April 16, 2019 The post Gators warn Kirby Smart about recruiting in state of Florida appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The announcement this past week that UGA bought out its scheduled 2021 game against San Jose State in Athens in order to play Clemson in a neutral-site game in Charlotte has a lot of fans excited (which couldn't be said about the now-dropped matchup with the Aztecs of the Mountain West conference). The addition of national powerhouse Clemson to next year's schedule justifiably has drawn praise across the college football landscape. The bold move is part of the aggressive upgrading of the Dawgs' nonconference schedule that head coach Kirby Smart and his football operations director, Josh Lee, have spearheaded over the past couple of years. The results so far have been impressive. Georgia has previously announced home-and-home series scheduled withTexas (2028 at Austin and 2029 in Athens), UCLA (2025 in Pasadena and 2026 in Athens), Florida State (2027 in Tallahassee and 2028 in Athens), Oklahoma (2023 in Norman and 2031 in Athens) and Ohio State (2030 in Athens and 2031 in Columbus). Plus a pair of home-and-home series with Clemson (2029 at Clemson and 2030 in Athens, and 2032 in Athens and 2033 at Clemson), and three other neutral-site Power 5 games at Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium: this year againstVirginia, 2022 vs. Oregon, and 2024 vs. Clemson. (It was amusing to read one national site's estimation that Georgia-Clemson 'is about to become a bit of a rivalry.' Obviously, they don't know the tremendous history of the Georgia-Clemson series, which dates back to 1897 and included a long stretch of meeting every year. In fact, I feel safe in saying that, Jacksonville included, Georgia-Clemson was the Dawgs' hottest rivalry in the early '80s, with the peak being the 1982 game, which was nationally televised and played on Labor Day. It was the first night game to take place in Sanford Stadium in three decades, and it featured not only two Top 10 teams, but also the two most recent national champions.) As a longtime proponent of more games against the Tigers, I'm especially pleased that this gives Georgia and Clemson six games scheduled over the next 14 years, a vast improvement over the two-games-a-decade pattern they'd fallen into after the expansion of the SEC ended the annual meetings of the two programs located about 80 miles apart. The Dawgs and the Cats have met only eight times since 1987, with the most recent being 2014, when a Georgia win Between the Hedges avenged a loss at Clemson a year earlier. The addition of this game serves Clemson's interests as well, as the ACC powerhouse is looking to upgrade its nonconference schedules, since its weak conference opposition has been the subject of much griping nationally as the Tigers have become a regular participant in the College Football Playoff. UGA has turned heads across the country with its aggressive Power 5 scheduling over the coming decade and a half, and I'm all for it. As Athletic Director Greg McCarity told me this time last year, 'the scheduling model we're moving to in the future will be built around eight conference games, and Tech, and two more Power 5's and one non-Power 5 opponent.' So, in other words, only one 'cupcake' per season (as opposed to 2018, when Georgia had three such games in Athens). As I said then, it's an ambitious and somewhat daunting schedule model. But, McGarity said, 'That's our goal. Kirby is all about playing a tough schedule and playing quality opponents.' As McGarity said in a statement announcing the 2021 Clemson game, ' We will now have at least two Power 5 opponents on our schedule through 2033.' That will give the Dawgs at least 10 regular-season games each year against Power 5 conference teams (including the eight SEC games). This also means that Georgia will open away from Athens in a high-profile neutral-site game three years running: this season against Virginia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, 2021 in Charlotte, and back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2022 to meet Oregon in another Chick-fil-A game. Still, despite all that, there's definitely room for improvement in Georgia's home scheduling. Just look at the 2021 season, which had a pretty weak lineup for fans in Athens even before they dropped the San Jose State game. Now, the six remaining games in Athens will consist of South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, UAB and Charleston Southern, the latter another FCS opponent from the level of Division 1 NCAA football below the bowl division. That's not as dire as the 2018 season, which saw a nonconference lineup of Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee and UMass in addition to Tech, but it's definitely nothing to get excited about. I recognize that the filling out of the nonconference schedule with so-called 'cupcakes' is something of a necessary evil in college football, since Power 5 opponents usually demand a return game in a home-and-home deal. And, with the Dawgs filling one spot each year with Georgia Tech and looking to add a second Power 5 opponent each year, you expect the two remaining nonconference games to be a bit less challenging. Also, not all cupcakes are equal. Opponents taken from the Group of 5 conferences that rank just below the Power 5 range from true cupcakes to something more akin to college basketball's 'mid-majors.' (Maybe, if we're going to continue the food-related terminology for opponents you pay handsomely to come be a sacrificial lamb, we should call these teams something other than a cupcake. Let's borrow from the QuickTrip chain and call them 'snackles.') The true cupcakes tend to be programs along the lines of Louisiana-Monroe (on this year's schedule), UMass and Western Kentucky. Unfortunately, Georgia seems to be relying a bit too much on the allowance that schools at its level can count one game a season against FCS opponents, who really aren't even up to cupcake level. Let's call them 'bon-bons.' Looking at upcoming schedules, we see these bon-bons coming to Athens: East Tennessee State in 2020, Charleston Southern in 2021, Samford in 2022, Tennessee Tech in 2024, and the return of Austin Peay in 2025. Asking UGA fans shell out for tickets and travel to Athens, dealing with the attendant traffic and parking headaches, to see such games is a bit much. That's especially true for those of us who contribute to the Hartman Fund for the chance to buy season tickets. I thought it was noteworthy that, as part of the Georgia-Clemson scheduling musical chairs, Southern Cal was able to dump UC Davis and pick up San Jose State, meaning it will maintain its status of never having played an FCS opponent. (Only three Football Bowl Subdivision programs have never played a team from the FCS in football Notre Dame, UCLA and USC.) Really, it would suit me if Georgia never again added another FCS opponent to its schedule with the exception of Yale, which I still would love to see come back to Athens in 2029 to mark the centennial of the Georgia-Yale clash that dedicated Sanford Stadium. Unfortunately, as UGA told me last year, they tried to schedule Yale for 2029, but the Ivy League school wasn't interested. But, the Yalies aside, I'd like to see Smart and Lee focusing more on the Group of 5 than the FCS. And, maybe, they could give some thought to opponents at that level that have some regional interest. (Besides Georgia Southern, which has shown up occasionally on UGA schedules in recent decades, a game against Georgia State would be of much greater interest to fans. And, as Tennessee found out last year, the Panthers aren't to be taken too lightly.) There's another reason UGA ought to be thinking about an upgrading of its non-Power 5 opponents: attendance. Figures showing actual attendance at Sanford Stadium released by UGA show that lower-tier opponents tend to put fewer folks in the stands, sinking as low as 56,065 for Louisiana-Lafayette in 2016. In the 2018 season, the most recent for which real attendance (as opposed to paid attendance) figures have been released, Austin Peay brought only 78,050 to Sanford for the season-opener, and only 67,764 attended the UMass game. So, yeah, the seats may have been sold, but in an era when every game is televised, the fact that quite a few fans aren't bothering to show up for such games should send a message that such cupcakes aren't really what the UGA fan base wants to see. Like I said, overall, I'm very pleased with the aggressive scheduling Georgia has undertaken at the Power 5 level, but I'd like to see the rest of the nonconference schedule be less of a snoozefest. The post UGA's nonconference football schedule needs even more bold moves appeared first on DawgNation.
  • By all accounts, Georgia baseball enters the season as one of the top teams in the sport. Just about every major poll has them ranked inside the top-10 and the Bulldogs will be led by a potentially dominant starting rotation. Yet because of the strength of the SEC, the Bulldogs are not even the favorites to win their division. Or even finish in second place. The SEC coaches had Georgia finishing third in the SEC East behind defending national champion Vanderbilt. Florida was picked to finish second. Arkansas was picked to win the SEC West, and Vanderbilt was the preseason choice to win the conference. Georgia did receive one vote to win the conference and two votes to win the SEC East. The SEC is the top conference in college baseball, as 10 teams made the NCAA tournament last year with four advancing to the College World Series. The coaches also voted on the preseason All-SEC teams and two Bulldogs were represented. Pitcher Emerson Hancock made the first team and second baseman Riley King landed on the second team. The Bulldogs open the season this Friday as they host Richmond at Foley Field for the first game of a three-game set against the Spiders. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 5 p.m. Georgia softball starts season with sweep The Georgia softball team got its season started this past weekend and it was a successful one for the Bulldogs. Georgia won all five games, with wins against Howard, Kent State and UNC-Wilmington. Georgia won the five games by a combined score of 48-4. Jordan Doggett, Jaiden Fields and Mackenzie Puckett all hit over .600 in the series while Ciara Bryan hit two home runs and drove in nine runs. The Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday when they take on in-state foe Georgia State. The game will be played in Atlanta. This weekend, the Bulldogs head to Clearwater, Fla., to take part in theSt. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational. Georgia will play Kansas, Northwestern, UCLA, Texas Tech and USF over the course of the three-day tournament. Georgia women's basketball beats Florida Both Georgia basketball teams paid visits to Florida last week to take on the rival Gators. The men's team coughed up a 20-point lead in a loss last Wednesday, but the women's team was able to come away with a win in Gainesville. The Lady Bulldogs pulled out a 49-43 win over the Gators on Sunday. Redshirt junior Jenna Staiti had a huge game as she posted 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in the win. Credit our team for coming out in the third quarter and really locking in offensively,'Georgia women's basketball coach Joni Taylor said. 'Jenna just carried us most of the night and Que played her heart out. It's not easy to win on the road, so I am just proud of our team today.' With the win, Georgia moves to 13-11 on the season and 4-7 in the SEC. The Bulldogs have the week off before returning to action against Alabama on this Sunday. The game tips at 1 p.m. ET and can be seen on the SEC Network. Georgia football stories from around DawgNation 3 things about Georgia QB Carson Beck: Confidence, leadership, talent Georgia football outside linebacker Adam Anderson having eye-opening offseason workouts The Georgia football 2020 signees best positioned to make an early impact Georgia football podcast: Why experience will matter in UGA's QB competition Micah Morris: The future criminal justice major is still a Georgia priority ESPN identifies which 2020 signee is most likely to become Georgia football's impact freshman Georgia football freshman early enrollee Kendall Milton finding quick fit Recent history shows it's more likely Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge redshirt than start Class superlatives for Georgia football 2020 recruiting class The post Georgia Sports Round-up: Baseball picked the finish third in SEC East, women's basketball beats Florida appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. Georgia offense set to undergo radical changes after latest coaching hires It would've been easy for Kirby Smart to run it back on offense for the 2020 season. He could've written 2019 off as an anomaly. The Bulldogs faced unexpected turnover at the wide receiver position coming into the year and Georgia would be breaking in a first-year play-caller in James Coley. Maybe Jake Fromm could've been convinced to stay and enter an offense with more talent at the wide receiver position, along with a greater sense of familiarity with Coley. One only has to look at what Matt Ryan did in year two of Kyle Shanahan's offense to understand that sometimes it takes time for things to gel on offense. Unfortunately, Smart and the Georgia football program do not have the luxury of time. This upcoming season will mark the 40th anniversary of Georgia's last national championship. That's far too long to go without a title at a place like Georgia. Smart also has to worry about getting farther and farther away from Georgia's most recent College Football Playoff berth. The elite programs like Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama have all made multiple trips to the playoff. And the longer the Bulldogs go without a return trip, the more that 2017 feels like an aberration, instead of the norm. That's part of the reason why the Georgia offense figures to look so incredibly different in 2020. Because the 2019 season made it clear that you can't just out-talent teams and rely on your defense to carry you to titles and accolades. The first sign of change came when the Bulldogs landed graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman. With what we know about him and his skillet, Newman might as well be the antithesis of what Fromm was the for the Bulldogs. Newman thrives in the deep passing game, while Fromm was always better at methodically picking a team apart piece by piece. Newman is also an outright weapon as a runner, as he ran for 574 yards and six touchdowns last season. Fromm rarely was ever used in such a way. Fromm was also a Georgia product through and through, while Newman will have just one year one shot at leading the Bulldogs. Given what we saw at times with Coley's offense last year, Newman's running ability likely would've helped open things up for the rest of the unit. But seeing what new offensive coordinator Todd Monken has done at the NFL and college levels, Newman's vertical passing strengths could mesh very well with his concepts. That's part of why it made so much sense for Georgia to name Monken as the offensive coordinator. Many will wonder if this is similar to Nick Saban bringing in Lane Kiffin or Ed Orgeron adding Joe Brady to LSU's coaching staff. And from the surface level, it certainly looks like Smart is attempting to do the same thing in turning the offense over to an outsider in Monken. But there's an opportunity cost that comes with bringing in Monken. And it looks as if that is Coley. Georgia did state that Coley would remain on staff as an assistant head coach, but did not specify any further role. On Monday, the Bulldogs hired Southern Miss offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner. He's well-versed in coaching quarterbacks from his time as both a player at Valdosta State and as an offensive coordinator at schools like Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee State and Southern Miss last season. To go from a job like that to an off-field role at Georgia might seem a bit odd. Georgia has had over-qualified support staffers before, as Jay Johnson went from Minnesota offensive coordinator to Georgia analyst to Colorado offensive coordinator. Georgia also brought in former Pitt offensive coordinator Shawn Watson to a support staff role last offseason. But both of those men were not actively employed prior to joining Georgia like Faulkner was. As for what Faulkner could possibly bring, former Georgia offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb explained why Faulkner and Monken could work very well together for the Bulldogs. 'You just brought in someone with experience with the NFL ranks who knows what it looks like when you have some of the elite athletes on the planet playing for you,' Stinchcomb said of Monken. 'Buster comes from a background where you have to create a little more opportunities because you don't have that same level of talent.' Related: Why new offensive hire Buster Faulkner is the perfect complement to Todd Monken' With Faulkner joining Georgia, many wondered what could come next for Coley. His current title of assistant head coach means that he could still serve as an onfield coach for the Bulldogs and allow him to go out and recruit. Though at the moment Georgia does not have a quarterbacks coach. Coley heled that position for the past two seasons. Then later on Monday, Coley scrubbed his Twitter, changing his avatar, Twitter background as well as his bio, which now just reads The University of Georgia. @jeffsentell @DawgNationDaily if you follow the Twitter bio tea leaves this one is telling. Coley is very active on twitter and had removed QB coach and OC from his bio and also made his header a black picture pic.twitter.com/hD0pu4DQS5 Kelly Sr (@ChopnWoodUGA) January 20, 2020 Coley has been on Smart's staff since the latter first arrived prior to 2016. He's worked as a wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator. He's been one of Georgia's best recruiters, with his work in south Florida being a big reason Georgia has landed the likes of Tyson Campbell, Tyrique Stevenson and Marcus Rosemy. But Georgia's offense wasn't good enough last season. Coley admitted that when speaking at the Sugar Bowl and took responsibility for the struggles. They weren't all on him, but as the offensive coordinator, heavy is the head that wears the crown. Maybe with more time, Coley could've been able to turnaround the Georgia offense. Add in one of the standout freshmen, get a little more out of George Pickens, sprinkle in some deep shots and quarterback runs with Newman at the helm, and Georgia's offense likely would've improved from the nation's 49th best scoring offense. But time is no longer a luxury Smart has. He's entering year five, and he's still yet to win a title. Unfair as that might be, it is the main reason he replaced Mark Richt. So that's why he's had to make such radical changes this offseason, even if it comes at the expense of one his top lieutenants at Georgia in Coley. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia football adds offseason excitement, QB stars endorse Todd Monken Georgia football coach Kirby Smart hires Buster Faulkner to offensive staff Georgia football winners and losers following addition of offensive coordinator Todd Monken Georgia football podcast: 3 reasons Jamie Newman might be perfect for Todd Monken's offense Jared Wilson: Recent visit adds strength to his commitment in 2021 class B en Cleveland: He's following through on a plan to return to UGA in 2020 Dawgs on Twitter they don't know i came up from the bottom. #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/Vd7nqmbWMD (@KamarWilcoxson4) January 21, 2020 stay home and commit to the G? #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/HdL9whvgji barrett carter (@bcsznn) January 21, 2020 3051 ALL PURPOSE YARDSOffense: 124-209/ 1771 yards/ 20 TD's/ 924 rushing yards/ 10 TD's Defense: 4 INT's (3 pick six) Returns: 3 KR/ 160 yards/ 1 TD/ 4 PR/ 196 yards/ 2 TD's @RecruitGeorgia @NwGaFootball @NMHSRecruiting @Mansell247 https://t.co/JncCEyj4Gh Ladd McConkey (@laddmcconkey02) December 13, 2019 Win #1 Now, ready for more #GoDawgs | #KeepBuilding pic.twitter.com/GkEFZPsmCL Georgia Tennis (@UGAtennis) January 20, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day This is Apollo and his stepdaughter Juno. They went shopping for something to keep Juno warm in the snow and this is all they could find. 13/10 for both pic.twitter.com/ZGTosiphqu WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) January 20, 2020 The post Kirby Smart recognizes his offense needs to change after latest Georgia football coaching moves show appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football has hired Buster Faulkner to work with its quarterbacks on its offensive staff, DawgNation has learned. Faulkner is the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Southern Miss. Prior to that, Faulkner spent three seasons as the Arkansas State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. Faulkner is from Lilburn, Ga., and led Parkview High School to the 1997 Georgia state championship before going on to play quarterback at Valdosta State from 2000-2003. UGA coach Kirby Smart was on the Valdosta State staff in 2000 and 2001, as the secondary coach (2000) and then defensive coordinator (2001). Jeff Sentell contributed to this report. More details as they emerge. The post Georgia football hires Buster Faulkner to offensive staff appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NEW ORLEANS The conga line of Georgia football talent just keeps on flowing. From the recruiting ranks, into offseason training camp and then with game day performances, the Bulldogs' collection of rising stars continues to shine. Azeez Ojulari, a redshirt freshman from Marietta, became the latest Georgia football player to make the FWAA Freshman All-American Team. Ojulari had a mind-bending 36 QB pressures from his outside linebacker position, also recording 36 tackles and 5.5 sacks including a fumble-inducing hit in the Bulldogs' 26-14 Sugar Bowl win on Jan. 1. Georgia led the SEC In total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense while ranking No. 8 in the nation in pass efficiency defense with Ojulari starting 13 of 14 games. Earlier this season, Ojulari became the first freshman player under Kirby Smart to be named a team captain. Ojulari was also named one of seven semifinalists for the FWAA Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award last week. Memphis running back Kenny Gainwell won the Freshman of the Year Award on Monday. Gainwell totaled more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage as the Tigers won the AAC and player in their first-ever New Year's Six Bowl. The Freshman Player of the Year Award began last season, with Clemson's Trevor Lawrence claiming the honor. The Freshman All-American team started in 2001. Ojulari is the 13th Bulldog to be honored on the team, ironically enough, matching his jersey number. Eight of those 13 players were signed under Smart, who took over before the 2016 season. Georgia Freshmen All-Americans RB Knowshon Moreno, 2007 WR AJ Green, 2008 TE Orson Charles, 2009 RB Todd Gurley, 2012 RB Nick Chubb, 2014 TE Isaac Nautta, 2016 PK Rodrigo Blankenship, 2016 QB Jake Fromm, 2017 OL Andrew Thomas, 2017 OL Isaiah Wilson, 2018 OL Cade Mays, 2018 DL Jordan Davis, 2018 OLB Azeez Ojuari, 2019 2019 FWAA Freshman All-American Team Quarterbacks Sam Howell North Carolina, 6-2225Indian Trail, N.C. Kedon Slovis USC, 6-2200Scottsdale, Ariz. Running backs (RS) Javian Hawkins Louisville, 5-9182Titusville, Fla. Sincere McCormick UTSA, 5-9200Converse, Texas Receivers David Bell Purdue, 6-2210Indianapolis, Ind. C.J. Johnson ECU, 6-2229Greenville, N.C. Dante Wright Colorado State, 5-10165Navarre, Fla. Offensive Linemen Evan Neal Alabama, 6-7360Okeechobee, Fla. O'Cyrus Torrence Louisiana, 6-5342Greensburg, La. Ikem Ekwonu NC State, 6-4308Charlotte, N.C. Sean Rhyan UCLA, 6-4323Ladera Ranch, Calif. (RS) Nick Rosi Toledo, 6-4290Powell, Ohio (RS) Travis Glover Georgia State, 6-6330Vienna, Ga. Defensive Linemen (RS) Gregory Rousseau Miami, 6-6251Coconut Creek, Fla. George Karlaftis Purdue, 6-4265West Lafayette, Ind. (RS) Solomon Byrd Wyoming, 6-4243Palmdale, Calif. Kayvon Thibodeaux Oregon, 6-5242South Central Los Angeles, Calif. Linebackers (RS) Devin Richardson New Mexico State, 6-3233Klein, Texas Omar Speights Oregon State, 6-1233Philadelphia, Pa. (RS) Azeez Ojulari Georgia, 6-3, 240 Marietta, Ga. Shane Lee Alabama, 6-0246Burtonsville, Md. Defensive Backs (RS) Ar'Darius Washington TCU, 5-8175Shreveport, La. Derek Stingley Jr. LSU, 6-1190Baton Rouge, La. Kyle Hamilton Notre Dame, 6-4210Atlanta, Ga. (RS) Verone McKinley III Oregon, 5-10192Carrollton, Texas Ahmad Gardner Cincinnati, 6-2185Detroit, Mich. Tykee Smith West Virginia, 5-10184Philadelphia, Pa. Punter Austin McNamara Texas Tech, 6-4175Gilbert, Ariz. Kicker (RS) Gabe Brkic Oklahoma, 6-2175Chardon, Ohio Kick returner Joshua Youngblood Kansas State, 5-10180Tampa, Fla. Punt returner (RS) Kyle Philips UCLA, 5-11181San Marcos, Calif. All-Purpose (RS) Kenneth Gainwell Memphis, 5-11183Yazoo City, Miss. Player of the Year Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis Breakout Performance Jayden Daniels, Arizona State Most Inspirational Kedon Slovis Coach of the Year Ryan Day, Ohio State The post Georgia's Azeez Ojulari one of four SEC players named FWAA Freshman All-American appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Justin Robinson started counting on the state championship victory podium early Friday afternoon at Georgia State Stadium. When he did, he had one of his big mitts held high. Everyone could see. One finger. Two fingers. Three fingers. He could have stopped there. The Georgia early enrollee WR sat out his first year at Eagles Landing Christian Academy after a transfer. The Chargers won the championship that year. And the year before that. ELCA also won state championships at the end of his junior and senior seasons. ELCA responded with all 33 of those points in the second half to take Wesleyan down by a 33-13 margin. That's why Robinson kept counting. He put up a fourth finger. Then the fifth. He had to. His Charges became the first football team in Georgia High School Association history to win five straight state titles. That broke a tie with West Rome (1982-1985) and Buford (2007-2010) for that honor. It meant something to the Georgia early enrollee. That moment came after the end of regulation and a lot of moments for Robinson. When the game ended, he was out in front of a Charger charge onto Pete Petit Field for a victory slide at the end of their last ride. Rick Dempsey, the old catcher who made those famous during baseball rain delays in the 1980s, would have approved. For Robinson, his life now really shifts into another gear. He will sign with Georgia on Wednesday and is planning to join 4-star QB signee Carson Beck in Athens this month for bowl practices. Robinson is set to enroll early at Georgia after doubling up on his coursework at ELCA in order to be able to graduate early. Nebraska made a late push, but he's going to be a Bulldog. Justin Robinson: The reason why he will sign with UGA The formula here for why he stuck with Georgia was simple. Family. Location. Relationships. The 6-foot-4, 206-pound senior has connected to receivers coach Cortez Hankton. He calls him 'Coach Hank.' 'I love the coaching staff up there,' he said. 'Especially coach Hank' you know. He's just like my receiver trainer Terrence Edwards you know. Our relationship and our bond I like it a lot.' Robinson sees opportunity in Athens at the wide receiver position He wants to help that unit get better. 'I just know I want to be there,' he said. 'I want to help out. I want to play for him.' DawgNation spoke to Robinson on Friday right after that state championship victory. That DawgNation conversation covered the following topics: What does it feel like to be a 3-time state champion? What about part of a 5-time state championship program? His team didn't complete a pass in just three attempts due to dreary conditions. How was he still able to make an impact? How does his time at Eagles Landing shape him as a player and as a person? Why he will be a Georgia Bulldog? What sort of benefit will showing up for bowl practices next week have for him? How much does he like his mother's macaroni and cheese? His view of two early big defensive plays he made for his Chargers Justin Robinson: Check out the state title photo gallery Robinson finished with three tackles in what he felt was likely the most miserable playing conditions of his high school career. It was a fun day for the nation's No. 48 WR and the No. 291 overall prospect. He wanted to get in all the championship photos. He made the meanest faces he could to try to get on the big screen at Georgia State Stadium. Check out the view of the day from the DawgNation.com lens. The post WATCH: Georgia early enrollee Justin Robinson revels in being a 3-time state champion appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • There are new rules in place for the holiday weekend if you plan to rent an Airbnb. The company says guests under 25 years old with fewer than three positive reviews will not be able to book an entire home close to where they live Airbnb didn’t reveal how it defines what is “close.” Airbnb said it wants to weed out any potential problems, specifically unauthorized house parties and feels this is the best way to do so. The company says it’s a nationwide policy, but it is most relevant for a handful of cities. The company says its technologies would block that guest from booking. “No one policy is going to stop all unauthorized parties. We’re also conscious that just because you’re 25 or older doesn’t mean that every single person in that group is booking for the right reasons too,” spokesperson Ben Breit told WSB-TV. Guests under 25 with at least three positive Airbnb reviews and no negative reviews won’t be subject to the restrictions. Airbnb began stepping up efforts to ban “party houses” last November after five people were shot and killed during an unauthorized party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California. At the time, Airbnb set up a rapid response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening “high risk” bookings, such as reservations at a large home for one night. In a message to hosts, the company said reducing unauthorized parties is even more of a priority right now as states try to avoid coronavirus outbreaks. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States,” the company said. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were charged Thursday with felonious assault after pulling a gun out on a Black mother and her children when a confrontation escalated outside a Chipotle in Michigan. Each of them had a loaded firearm and concealed pistol licenses. Deputies seized the two handguns, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. On Thursday, the couple was arraigned and were given a $50,000 personal bond.  “As part of the bond conditions, they must turn over all firearms, not engage in any assaultive behavior, and may not leave the state,” sheriff’s officials told The Detroit News. The Detroit News first reported on the three-minute video posted online that shows part of the interaction. Takelia Hill, who is Black, told the newspaper that it happened after the white woman bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the fast food restaurant. The video footage [WARNING: Contains graphic language] starts after that, in the parking lot. A woman since identified as Jillian Wuestenberg is heard arguing with Hill and her daughters. Wuestenberg climbs into the vehicle, rolls down the window and says, “White people aren’t racist,” and, “I care about you,” before the vehicle she was in starts to back away. Her husband, who had led his wife to the vehicle, turns to the camera and asks, “Who ... do you think you guys are?,” using an expletive. Then, as someone is standing behind the vehicle, Jillian Wuestenberg jumps out and points a handgun in the direction of a person who’s recording. She screams at people to get away from her and her vehicle. A woman shouts, “She’s got a gun on me!” and urges someone in the parking lot to call the police. Wuestenberg then lowers the gun, climbs into the passenger seat and the vehicle drives off. Cooper, the prosecutor, told The Associated Press that her office viewed the available video and looked at the facts before filing charges. “It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that tempers run high over, basically, not much of an incident,” she said of the initial alleged spark that caused the confrontation. Bouchard said people are “picking sides” and that threatening calls were made to the sheriff’s office dispatch center after the videos were posted online. “We don’t see sides. We see facts,” he said. “There’s a lot of tension in our society, a lot of tension among folks and people with each other. I would just say this, we are asking and expect our police — and rightfully so — to deescalate every situation they possibly can, and we should be doing that. But I would say that needs to happen with us individually in our own lives and situations, that we interact with each other and deescalate those moments.” The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • The United States Geological Survey reported that a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning near Puerto Rico around 9:55 a.m. EDT. The quake was felt across the U.S. territory and is the latest in a series of tremors that began in late December and have damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Ángel Vázquez, who oversees the emergency management agency in Ponce, said a house collapsed in the town of Lajas. The house was empty and slated for demolition, according to Kiara Hernández, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security. Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told The Associated Press that the tremor is an aftershock related to the 6.4-magnitude quake that struck in early January, killing at least one person and causing millions of dollars in damage. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • With The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race postponed this year, the Atlanta Police Department warned people against running or walking the course on the Fourth of July. APD noted in a tweet Friday that the course will not be closed to car traffic on Independence Day. With hashtags including #MyPersonalPeachtree and #APDCares, the police department said in the tweet that people should avoid running or walking the course on Saturday for safety reasons. >>Read MORE on AJC.com. [Summary]
  • The Washington Redskins issued a statement that they will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Majority owner Daniel Snyder said in the the statement. Snyder had previously shown no indication he would change the name since buying the team in 1999, but was quoted in the release. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he supports “this step.” The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium, FedEx asked the NFL team to change its name in a statement Thursday. The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action. Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store Thursday evening according to The Associated Press. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Two people are dead after a shooting Friday morning near North Carolina A&T State University. The shooting happened just before 6:30 a.m. near North Dudley and and Salem streets in Greensboro. The victims, 34-year-old Rodney Letroy Stout and 34-year-old Bakeea Abdulla Douglas both died of their injuries, according WGHP. Police said they are now investigating the case as a homicide. The university sent out an Aggie Alert at 7:15 a.m., encouraging students and staff to “stay behind closed and locked doors until further notice.” University officials said the shooting involves a “male suspect wearing a white t-shirt with black pants and a black mask traveling in an unknown direction.” No arrests have been made.