November 23, 2010

Big recruiting weekend

When it comes to recruiting, Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said the television gurus did the Bulldogs a favor by having Saturday's game against Georgia Tech kick off at 7:45 p.m.

With 90 high school recruits already having sent Bulldog coaches their RSVPs for the game, Garner said the extra time to interact with the players coming will be most welcomed.

"Sometimes when it kicks off at 7:45 it might deter some kids because they've got to travel back home that night, so ideally you want a 3:30 kickoff," Garner said after practice Tuesday. "But obviously it does give you the opportunity to get them here and spend a little bit of time with them. I know we'll have a good crowd."

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from speaking about specific recruits, but Garner made it clear this weekend is big from a recruiting perspective heading into the next contact period that begins on Sunday.

Among the talent expected to be in Athens include running back Isaiah Crowell. But he won't be the only one.

Tight end Jay Rome, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, athlete Malcolm Mitchell, cornerback Damian Swann and defensive end Xzavier Dickson, along with 2012 offensive lineman John Theus, running back Matt Jones and running back Keith Marshall are also expected to be in town.

Garner said he's not worried about Georgia's top targets not getting the proper amount of love.

"It's difficult but you try to prioritize and do the best job that you can. If you can get some of them to come in early, that's great," Garner said. "I know there are several guys that we've targeted that we're trying to get here a little bit early so we can spend some time with them. Hopefully, that will work out, if not, Sunday starts the contact period so Sunday we're going to be in their homes, hitting the road running."

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will also be busy on the recruiting front.

"We've really got to work hard in recruiting. I think that's important and we've got to work hard to develop the players that we've got, in all areas. Some have to get stronger, some have to learn the system better, some have to mature," Grantham said. "There's going to be a few guys who we recruit that are going to play for us - truthfully. So all of those areas are going to allow us to be better next year and move in a direction we want to move in."

Garner said recruits he's spoken with seem to be excited about Georgia's 2011 opener in the Georgia Dome against Boise State.

"I'm sure that will help us," Garner said. "There's already been a lot of excitement generated off of that, playing in the Dome on opening week, playing a Boise State team that I'm sure will be a preseason Top 5 or Top 10."

Last game for Houston, Green

As expected, neither A.J. Green nor Justin Houston offered much insight as to whether or not Saturday's game against Georgia Tech will be their last appearance in Sanford Stadium.

But inquisitive reporters weren't the only ones giving Green a hard time.

Apparently, teammates have as well.

"Always," Green laughed. "Today we had a speech about Georgia Tech and all the seniors were asked to stand up and everybody was like 'A.J., why aren't you standing up? You know it's going to be your last game, things like that.'"

If Green's leaning either way, he's still not saying.

"Not really. There's always a chance, but I'm not really thinking about that yet," he said. "There's still a couple of more weeks before I have to make that big decision."

Houston said he's in even less of a hurry to make up his mind.

"I'll make that decision at the last minute. We've got Georgia Tech this week, and after that hopefully I'll be worrying about the bowl game," he said. "I won't be worrying about anything else until after that."

Murray declares himself good to go

Quarterback Aaron Murray declared himself fit and ready to start Saturday's game.

"I'm fine, I'm ready," Murray told reporters Tuesday.

The redshirt freshman was also asked about last weekend's trip to Atlanta where he went with some teammates to watch Georgia Tech's 30-20 victory over Duke.

Obviously, Murray played close attention to what the Yellow Jackets were doing defensively.

"It's definitely nice to see it live because when you see film it's cut up like right before the snap of the ball and you can't see guys moving around and shifting," he said. "So you get to see the whole process, so that was nice."

This and that

Punter Drew Butler was named an ESPN Academic All-American. Butler becomes just the seventh Bulldog in school history to be named both an All-American and an Academic All-American during their Georgia career. He is the first one to accomplish this feat since offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb in 2002. Butler carries a 3.58 grade point average (GPA) in Telecommunication Arts. … Governor-elect Nathan Deal will handle the pre-game coin flip. … Former Bulldog tennis player John Isner will be recognized during the game for his marathon match against Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

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