While it remains to be seen whether or not Chris Sanders will be able to return to the University of Georgia, another talented junior college safety was in Athens recently -- and got big news before he left.
Shaquille Fluker (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi Community College) says he arrived on campus at Georgia on June 15 to see how the program was run, how the campus looked and how the offseason workouts were run. As the 6-foot-2, 200-pound safety prepared to head back, defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos had something he needed to tell him.
“When I was about to leave, Coach Lakatos said Mark Richt needed to talk to me,” Fluker said. "Coach Richt told me I had an offer to play at Georgia. I did not expect them to offer me so soon. I thought they would wait until seeing me during next season, so that was pretty great."
With All-American Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams both set to play their final season for the Bulldogs, the coaching staff let Fluker know they could use him in uniform next year.
“They told me they needed a physical safety like me that can tackle tight ends and big running backs,” Fluker said. “They said both of their safeties are seniors so if I come in next spring that I could have a good chance of starting if I worked hard.”
Even with offers from Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky, the thought of ending his recruitment crossed his mind after receiving the offer from Georgia.
“It was kind of hard not to commit to Georgia when they offered,” Fluker admitted. “But because they are the first school I have visited, I have to see how other things are. I do not want to make a quick decision right off the bat.”
No commitment was made by the juco safety, but Fluker says the Bulldogs have set the bar high for other programs.
“They stand pretty far up there for me right now,” Fluker said. “They made a good impression on me because of how they said they wanted me. The campus was pretty nice and I liked the facilities a lot. My favorite part of the trip was checking out the Butts-Mehre building.”
Last season Fluker made 72 tackles, two pass break-ups, two sacks, two interceptions, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on a star-studded, undefeated, NJCAA National Champion East Mississippi C.C. team. He played some free safety, but says he was in the box at strong safety most of the time and expects to stay there at whatever program he plays for next.
Before the summer, Fluker wants to check out Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas Tech, and possibly make a decision early in the season. When he does, he will be one step closer to achieving a lifelong dream.
“I will probably be the first in my family to make it through college, and have an opportunity to not only play major college football, but also possibly in the NFL, so it will mean a lot to me and my family,” Fluker said.