Posted: 12:08 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Richt: ‘I’m as excited and energized as I’ve been in a long time’ 

By Chip Towers

Mark Richt, Georgia Bulldogs, college football, signing day, 2014, Athens

Georgia head coach Mark Richt spoke to crowd gathered at Butts-Mehre Complex on the Athens campus as he introduced Georgia’s 2014 recruiting class.

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt and his entire coaching staff just got through addressing a crowd of a couple hundred Bulldogs’ fans at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. Richt introduced his new assistants and answered some questions about the signees who had already been announced. But mainly he was asked about current members of the team.

Photos: Fans track recruiting class at Butts-Mehre

On the new coaches — defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker . . .

“I’m as excited and energized as I’ve been in a long time. Things have really worked out well. We’re thrilled about them and we have one more coach and that will happen relatively soon. We’ll let you know who it is when it’s time to announce that.”

Photos: Signing Day across Georgia.

Photos: Signing Day across Georgia.

On the recruiting class thus far. …

“The class is not finished, we’re very, very pleased. We feel like we do a very good job of evaluating and of getting after the ones we want. Obviously we won’t get them all, but nobody does. In this state, it’s a tremendous state. So when we go out of state we’re looking at some tremendous cats.”

On whether new coach will be a special teams coordinator …

“I’ll say this, when the dust settles, I think everybody will be excited about special teams at Georgia.”

New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was asked if he planned to return UGA to the glory days of the “Junkyard Dawgs defense.” …

“The product that will be put on the field, you guys will be proud to say this is Georgia’s defense. The first thing we have to do is teach them to play every down for four quarters. We started that in mat drills on Monday. We’ve got a ways to go but we’re heading in the right direction.”

Earlier Pruitt and offensive Mike Bobo addressed specific signees in interviews on georgiadogs.com, the school’s official website. We’ll get a chance to talk to all the coaches later.

Pruitt on Shaq Jones …

“Shaq’s a guy that’s kind of under the radar. He’s played two years of high school football. He’s 6-1, 175, 180 pounds. Got great ball skills. Can play man to man. He’s a really good tackler in space. I think his best football is way out in front of him.”

Pruitt on Dominick Sanders …

“Dominick is a guy that has got tremendous athletic ability when you watch his tape. He played a lot on offense. He’s a very skilled guy. I think he had eight interceptions this past year. He was one of the first guys I watched and I’m sitting here wondering how come nobody else is offering him. You know in the Southeastern Conference, I think the guy has a chance to be a tremendous player. He’s physical, he’s really good with the ball in his hands. He’s another guy that can play the ball in the deep part of the field and makes tackle in space. I think he’s a really good get for us.”

Pruitt on Keyon Brown ...

“Keyon is a guy who I think is a four for four guy. When you look at a 3-4 defense, he’s a guy that could play any of the four linebacker positions. When you watch his high school tape, he’s more of an end of the line guy who rushes the quarterback. He’s 6-2 ½, 6-3, 245 pounds. He’s a guy that his motor is always running. He’s an effort guy. I think he’s got tremendous upside.”

Pruitt on Detric Bing-Dukes …

“A really good player, he’s a thumper guy. A guy that could be your mike linebacker, a guy that really loves football. The thing that I like about Detric is when you watch his tape, he had three or four interceptions.”

Bobo on tailback Sony Michel …

“Definitely a priority for us, running back. Everybody knows how important it is in this league to have running backs. That was evident this year when we lost our two guys. Coach (Bryan) McClendon has done an outstanding job with Sony for the last almost three years we’ve been recruiting the guy. He’s a guy that we believe can come in and make an immediate impact on our football team. He’s got a big skill set. I don’t think he’s just a running back. I think he’s got great hands and will be able to do stuff out of the backfield.”

On WR Isaiah McKenzie …

Isaiah is a guy that is dynamic in the return game. Really anytime he has the ball in his hands. He’s a playmaker. When you’re looking for offensive skill players, you’re looking for guys that make plays. He’s a guy that can make plays. In the return game, it’s evident we need to address that need. Isaiah will be given every opportunity to be one of our return guys if not the return guy. We think he’s that special and that dynamic.”

On wide receiver Shakenneth Williams …

“He’s a big strong receiver. ….He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and he has speed and he has soft hands. You turn on his tape and you see he made play after play after play at a number of positions.”

On wide receiver Gilbert Johnson …

“Length, a lot of what coach (Tony) Ball likes. Those tall receiver who make a lot of plays.”

On Michel and Nick Chubb …

“I think they’re difference-makers. I think they’re elite backs that are going to be the difference in winning one or two ballgames. As early as next year possibly.”

On surprise signee Hunter Atkinson (6-6, 254) of West Hall …

“Hunter’s a guy that obviously we got on late so a lot of you guys may or may not have known about him, but he is a big, athletic kid. Daniel Inman, one of our giant GAs, is like 6-7, 315. Those guys were standing beside each other and they looked like clones. Obviously he doesn’t weigh as much as Dan, but he’s 6-6 around 250, 255 pounds. He’s a guy we started watching tape on in the middle of the season that did a little bit of everything. He lined up at receiver, he lined up at tight end, he lined up as a wildcat quarterback. He’s a big athlete. I really don’t know how big this guy’s going to become and what he’s going to become, Like I told him last night, we’re expecting you to come in and get ready to play. I believe he’s got a chance to do that, I believe he’s an SEC football player. With the way recruiting’s going now and early offers and early commitments, sometimes these late bloomers you sometimes miss out on him. Fortunate enough we were able to offer that guy and he’s part of the Bulldog family.”

45 comments
Ball_Coach
Ball_Coach

I guess he is energized for 14th or 15th time in a row. I know F_UGA fans wish he could be engerized at the end of the seasn some times. There go CMR again proclaiming a Natl Championship in the off-season. F_UGA is in the 3rd tier of the SEC. Vandy is even F_UGA DADDY.

LizByrd
LizByrd

It sounds like we need some loyalty fans..... look at wat richt has done for this program, i mean after Dooley we sucked for almost 10 to 15 yrs. I'm always gonna be there for my team for better or worse... GOOO DAWGS!!!!!

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

OK humps, you are the NC's all the way to August. That is the  Ga way !  

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Chip,  cut the crap. Nobody has ever described Brother as a Mr. Excitement. He could bore his own mother to sleep. Hey humps, who the hell is going to block for these recruits?

For some strange reason , Ga has never had much use for O'lineman. That' the GA way.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

The best part of the season for a UGA fan is the period between the end of the season and the start of  the next season.   This is the period of dreaming for which UGA is so renowned and CMR does such a great job of orchestrating this.  

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

I am very optimistic about 2014 after the entire Defense got changed out. Georgia just hired the last coach, I guess they were  waiting on the BACK GROUND CHECK. Ekeler will be joining the staff. 

It is time for the Offensive Coaches to step  up their game. Congratulations goes out to McClendon for Recruiter of the year by 247 sports. He is the only one that deserves a raise from the Offense. Maybe Bobo? My biggest concern is Bobo and Richt has already made up their mind that Mason will start. That is fine if Ramsey , Park or Bauta aren't better after Spring practice. Mason will only be there one year so if one of the other three are just as good after the Spring it makes more sense to start the QB who will have at least three years left.

SlawDawg
SlawDawg

Mark Rick had such a glow during the press conference.....or perhaps he just stepped out of the tanning bed. UGA will be preseason ranked in the Top 10 and then do a face plant when the season starts. Helloooooooooooooooooooo Shreveport.

RandyHall
RandyHall

What conference is Will Friend recruiting for...is he still @ UAB....only 3 OL this year and 3 OL last year!!! None of these guys are bigger than the smallest OL that AL recruited this year (6 OL...just in this year's class)...already missing out on 2015...Dallas Womack to AL; Mitch Hyatt to Clemson....apparently he is a bad fit @ UGA....missing out on Brandon Shell, Brandon Greene, Antonio Richardson; Avery Young; Laremy Tunsil, etc....cannot secure the definite Pro Lineman....NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE...HE WILL BE THE DEMISE OF UGA'S OFFENSE!!!    

Andy123
Andy123

As much as they are jerking off Pruitt, I hope he lives up to the hype because the rest of the UGA coaching staff is mediocre by SEC standards. 

NDTaylor77
NDTaylor77

He says this every year as he finishes 7th in the SEC.

RealProblem
RealProblem

I really do think it is great that we finished 9th or 10th in the country in recruiting. One big problem....we have finished 7th in the SEC for two straight years. Sad, but we do not play the country......we play in the SEC. Not to mention that two of our best 6 recruits are RB's......can anyone say recruit your needs. Oh well, pass the Kool-Aid.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

Auburn and FL State which played in the nat champ game are ranked 14th and 16 by Scout.com.

South Carolina is ranked 24th yet drills UGA regularly.

So what do these team rankings mean ? 

The_Real_KJ
The_Real_KJ

UGA gets a great signing class, and another Techie terrorist burns himself extra crispy with his own weapons.


Not a bad day, overall.

LADawg
LADawg

If Pruitt is serious about teaching the D to play every down for four quarters, I hope he let's his buddy Will Friend and the OL sit in on the lessons

DiehardDawg
DiehardDawg

They can make their mouths say anything right now. Until I see our guys have learned to tackle and pursue properly, I'm not buying all the hype.


Don't get me wrong, I like the changes that have been made, but I want to see it on the field. We have been a poorly coached team on defense for years. There is just no excuse for it...none!

LADawg
LADawg

I heard on ESPN that the Noles signed eight offensive linemen. It seems we don't get eight offensive linemen in five years. For some reason, the skilled players flock to the Dawgs in spite of the mediocre OL.

Man, I want to believe CMR! The schedule sets up perfectly for a great run this year. Richt needs a DC and defensive staff that will take control of that side of the ball so he can focus on his true love...offense.

The special teams will remain a mystery until the season kicks off. Then, we will see if "...everybody will be excited about special teams at Georgia.”

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

I'm sure CMR signed another leadfooted QB along the lines of Murray, Mettenberger.  Meanwhile, the real #1

recruit from the state, Deshawn Watson, the NATIONs #1  dual threat QB, goes to Clemson.  But CMR will always prefer 1950's drop back- in- the- pocket passers.

So the Russell Wilsons, Colin Kaepernicks, RG IIIs are just a fad I guess.

POAD2014
POAD2014

I don't BUY it. he is trying to act like he cares but with all the talent he has had in the past he couldn't get Energized or Excited? What a CROCK.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@C-Kirk


CMR promised Mason the job if he would stay and redshirt. I'm sure that if things don't go well

others will be given an opportunity. Mason is no Murray but he looked pretty good when thrown in under pressure.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@C-Kirk


Just how much do you want from a team's offense which averaged 40 points a game and was averaging near 50 before they lost at least half of it's firepower to injuries???


Gave it a rest!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DHJohnson
DHJohnson

4 ol.....the one guy listed as a dl and ol will be a ol, based on what i have read....still does not seem like enough....

TheBoredIdentity
TheBoredIdentity

@wreckmaniac  SC Drills UGA regularly?  Hahahaha.  You have to be kidding me....  Let me guess; you are a die hard Techie.  If that is the case, you of all people should know what getting DRILLED on a consistent basis looks like, son.  Sucks to be you, kid. 

DHJohnson
DHJohnson

tech is great at "recruiting" terrorists and murderers, at least the dawgs just smoke a little weed, wreck mopeds and steal from team mates.

LADawg
LADawg

@The_Real_KJ I shouldn't admit this but your comment mad me laugh. Shouldn't there be limits to loving to hate Tech? Never mind, I know the answer!

dfbxdl
dfbxdl

@LADawg I hope they are reading your posts. Just the kind of motivation the coaches and team need.

dfbxdl
dfbxdl

@LADawg Special Teams, Offensive Line, D-Backs, and QB are all a mystery. Can't wait to see what happens next fall.  I only wish Aaron had one more year.  


I love this recruiting class. It may be small in numbers but I believe this staff has recruited great kids and future leaders. I am so impressed listening to Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Lorenzo Carter. These kids are class acts, team players and winners!!

LADawg
LADawg

@wreckmaniac You've got a point but I don't consider Murray a leadfoot, though he certainly wasn't a dual threat.

With Richt's and Bobo's offensive philosophy of pocket passers with talented running backs, I don't understand why they don't place a higher premium on dominant offensive linemen and create some depth at those positions.

Tampa2
Tampa2

@hbtdpoad  

Energized enough to whoop that GT azz for 13 of 14, etc..................................

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@DHJohnson


And the excommunicated Dawgs  head for any location that has no rules against crime.

LSU, BARN and Bammy!!!!!!!!

LADawg
LADawg

@dfbxdl @LADawg I am a Dawg to the bone. If we ever do get that NC we will be like Florida after Spurrier got there. The sleeping giant will have awakened and life for Dawg fans will be great!

SlawDawg
SlawDawg

@LADawg @dfbxdl With a comment like "sleeping giant" regarding Georgia, I know the LA in your name must stand for Lower Alabama. UGA is not a sleeping giant....perhaps a snoozing mutt.

LADawg
LADawg

@dfbxdl @LADawg Murray was a warrior and as tough as anyone who has donned the Red and Black. He will be missed.

 There are enough elite weapons on offense to score plenty of points but the defensive staff will have to maximize the potential of every player if the Dawgs are going to make a run. We will be back to a second or third tier bowl if they continue to give up 30+ per game.

dfbxdl
dfbxdl

@LADawg @dfbxdl You are right about the "Sleeping Giant". I just hope these coaches let every player know every position will have to be earned everyday - including QB. 


Make no mistake, we will miss Aaron Murray. In my BIASED opinion, Aaron was the best QB in the nation and I think his records prove it. If he had played for Ohio State or Notre Dame I believe he would also have a Heisman Trophy.


It's time for NO MERCY at UGA. Its time for this team to dominate and not be denied. 


What will it take for UGA to be number one? Like Lombardi said, "any mans finest hour, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out for a good cause, and lies exhausted on the field of battle - Victorious!"