Mark Richt stuns 2014 DB Cortez McDowell

As Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove) was escorted into the defensive coaches’ meeting room, he thought he was just on the next part of a regular recruiting tour. The 2014 prospect plunked down in a chair and began perusing a playbook on the table, marveling at the different packages the Bulldogs used. While he had his nose buried in formations, someone called his name out.

He was surprised not only to see that no other prospects were left in the room but that University of Georgia coach Mark Richt was standing right in front of him.

McDowell stood up to shake Richt’s hand. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior admitted that what happened next caught him completely off guard.

“He said he liked how aggressive I am on film and that I was a great kid with a nice personality, but once I put on pads I am like a different person,” McDowell said. “Then he said he wanted to offer me a scholarship to Georgia. I was stunned.

This year, McDowell has 700 receiving yards and eight touchdowns and more than 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns on offense. On defense, he has 60 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and two fumbles caused, with one fumble recovery. Offers from North Carolina, NC State and Syracuse already had come for McDowell, but he said Saturday’s news stood out from the rest.

“Georgia stands pretty high because of how Coach Richt came into the room and offered me in person,” McDowell said. “It was a big offer for me and my family, because if I end up at Georgia, they can easily come up to Athens to watch me play. That means a lot, because I know I could come home and see them easily if I wanted to.”

A lot of McDowell’s friends are big Georgia fans, and he remembers watching several games with them on TV, but the live experience was a bit different for the in-state athlete.

“Seeing Georgia play just blew my mind,” McDowell said. “The Georgia safeties are two very mean guys on the football field.”