Early start to jr. days gives UGA edge

Two weeks ago, the Georgia Bulldogs had more than 70 prospects on campus for their first junior day of 2012. The campus tour gives the prospects a chance to find out more about the Bulldogs’ program and what life is like as a student-athlete in Athens while giving the coaching staff a chance to take a closer look at many of the top underclassmen for the future.

While many coaching staffs around the country spent the final weekend before national signing day trying to secure commitments from undecided targets, the coaches at Georgia were focused on signing day 2013. That is not to say they ignored the 2012 targets on the board; rather the staff in Athens held a junior day to get an early jump on the competition.

Defensive lineman D’Von Isaac (McDonough, Ga./Henry County) camped at Georgia last summer, and he was invited to come back and get a better feel for the program.

“The experience at Georgia was really nice,” Isaac said of the Jan. 28 junior day. “It was like a brotherhood there and they try to focus on becoming a better man in life. Some colleges just want you to play football instead of trying to focus on the academics.”

Isaac, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound lineman, was selected to play in last month’s Rising Seniors Georgia Junior Bowl and had a solid week of practice as well. Clemson, Tennessee, Oregon, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Duke are showing interest, with Clemson and Georgia showing the most interest at the moment. Isaac is hoping one of them pulls the trigger on an offer soon.

“I got to talk to our recruiter Rodney Garner, and he said they were very interested in me,” Isaac said. “He talked to me about campus life and what they try to do at Georgia. When that first offer comes, it will mean all of my hard work in the weight room has paid off.”

The state of Georgia is again loaded with talent this year and the Bulldogs, having signed only 19 recruits in this year's class, need to get more than their fair share of it. Five days before signing day, intentional or not, the message was: “We are looking ahead to next year and are willing to spend our last Saturday focusing on 2013 over the 2012 class.”

Prospects who attended who have a verbal offer from Georgia include running back Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton), offensive linemen Brandon Kublanow (Marietta, Ga./Walton), DeVondre Seymour (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), Delando Crooks (Atlanta/Carver), Shamire Devine (East Point, Ga./Tri-Cities) and linebacker Johnny O’Neal (Dublin, Ga./West Laurens).

Georgia handed out two additional offers that day, one to defensive back Shaq Wiggins (Atlanta/Westlake) and one to 2014 wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek). The Bulldogs are very thin in the secondary and will need to sign at least four defensive backs in the next class. Wiggins will be in Athens today on a visit.

Other juniors in attendance included Suwanne (Ga.) North Gwinnett OL Alex Stoehr and DB Donnie Miles; WR Rashad Mathis (Valdosta, Ga./Valwood), TE Adam Ledford (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood), and Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside DL Anfirnee Chatfield and WR Keshun Hill.

One junior day isn’t enough, though, and Georgia’s next one should be interesting. On March 3 the Bulldogs' junior day will be invitation only, with around 50 of their top targets in attendance. Considering that the state of Georgia produces anywhere from 115 to 180 FBS-level players annually, attendees to that junior day will be considered VIPs in the Bulldog’s recruiting efforts.

As fans might wonder what exactly goes into a junior day at Georgia, DawgNation has spoken to several prospects over the years, and will walk you through what a typical junior day is like:

  • Prospects typically check in at the Butts-Mehre building around 10 a.m.