THE TEN AT 10:
1. Everett Golson is going to visit the University of Georgia, probably not today but likely this week. This much I’ve been able to confirm.
Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess what that means.
Golson is, of course, the Notre Dame quarterback who set a bunch of school records last year but was suspended in 2013 for an alleged violation of academic policy. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., resident decided recently that he intends to take advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule rather than play his final season with the Fighting Irish, and he’d like to play a little closer to home. So he’s visiting schools in this general area of the country in hopes of hooking up some place where there might be a desperate need for a quarterback.
Georgia — in my estimation at least — is not such a place. More on that later.
2. This is not to say UGA is not of interest to Golson. Clearly, it is.
Though I’ve tried, I have been unable to speak to Golson or to members of his family or to his high school coach, Mickey Wilson. And nobody from Georgia will talk about it, period. However, I have talked to George Whitfield Jr., and the well-known “quarterback guru” is intimately familiar with the situation. In fact, Golson lived and trained in San Diego under Whitfield’s direction for four months during his suspension.
“I’m helping him, not so much organizing it,” Whitfield said Monday of Golson’s search for a new school. “We talk about different things, but he’s got family making the drive with him. He’s got support.”
Whitfield is extremely guarded in what he will reveal about Golson’s plans. But while he dismisses a lot of places Golson is rumored to be considering, Whitfield does not dismiss UGA.
“Coach (Mark) Richt definitely recruited Everett coming out of high school,” said Whitfield, who worked with Aaron Murray one summer while Murray was at Georgia. “Guys don’t forget that. If you strike up a relationship and it doesn’t go that way officially, that’s why it’s always important for kids and families to remain respectful to the other coaches.”
Indeed, Georgia offered a scholarship to Golson, then a 3-star-rated dual-threat quarterback from Myrtle Beach High. But Everett chose Notre Dame over Clemson, Florida South Carolina and about 10 other schools.
3. The latest rumor in the Golson Sweepstakes – and there are a lot of rumors – is that he now favors Florida State, where he reportedly visited on Monday. Alabama, we’re seeing this morning, is also under strong consideration. South Carolina, by all accounts, is apparently out of the running.
All these schools, we should point out, already have quarterbacks on their respective rosters.
“I can’t say much,” Whitfield said early Monday. “… Every school he’s going to visit or has a chance to see has other quarterbacks in that quarterback room. And, as much as (Golson) wants to go around and try to find a situation that could work for him, I know he’s real considerate about not making a whole bunch of waves.
“He’s preparing to go see a few places with his mom and dad. He’s not going to be real public about where that’s going to be, but he’s trying to find that next best spot.”
4. Which brings us back to Georgia. The Bulldogs do have some quarterbacks, at last check. Three on scholarship, in fact. And Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park were having a rather high-profile and spirited competition for the starting job this past spring.
Now no one really separated himself from the pack during spring drills. But I didn’t take that to mean the Georgia coaches didn’t think any of them could play winning football. I thought it was more of a product of tight competition (between Bauta and Ramsey in particular).
There’s no question that Golson is a special player. Running Brian Kelly’s spread offense, the 6-foot, 200-pound athlete passed for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns and rushed for eight more last season. He’ll leave South Bend owning five school records, including consecutive completions (25) and single-game rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (3, twice).
But he also had 22 turnovers last season and has zero experience in a pro-style system. Again, he played in a spread.
Never mind the potential damage Golson’s transfer might cause to Georgia’s existing QB hierarchy. Remember when quarterback Quincy Carter came to Georgia? Remember all those quarterbacks that left?
5. None of which gets into the waiver Golson would have to clear. As you’ve probably heard, the SEC has a rule that states a player can transfer in only if “the student-athlete has not been subject to official university or athletics department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any previous collegiate institution.” Obviously, Golson has.
I reached out to SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent for clarification about this. Said Vincent, “We don’t comment on such matters other than provide that rule that applies, which you have probably seen.”
I have. So, again, Golson may indeed visit UGA this week. I don’t expect him to stay, however.
6. Thanks to the Spring Classic for Kids — which resumes tonight at Turner Field — Georgia and Georgia Tech play each other in baseball three times every year. But they’ll play only twice this season.
The Yellow Jackets beat UGA 13-6 on March 31 in Athens. But the game that was scheduled to be played on April 14 in Atlanta was rained out. And despite the schools’ best efforts, they’ve been unable to figure out a suitable make-up date.
“We looked at a couple of different dates and it just didn’t match up,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “Our finals weeks came into play. Last Wednesday they were already scheduled to play Mercer and the Tuesday before that was our last day of finals and we had several guys taking tests. When you get late in the year you run into that issue.”
All that has done has put even more emphasis on this last meeting this season. The Bulldogs (24-26, 9-17 SEC) have lost three in row in the series and could desperately use the RPI boost, not to mention the good vibes.
That said, Georgia also has to be mindful of its SEC standing. The Bulldogs are currently 12th in the 14-team league, which conducts a 12-team conference tournament at season’s end. No. 20 Arkansas is coming in for three-game, season-ending series on Thursday.
“We’re going to do everything we can to win on Tuesday,” Stricklin assured. “The thing you have to be careful about on this final week is you’re playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday, which makes it a little bit different. If guys throw on Tuesday, if you throw them too much, two or more innings, they’re probably going to be out for Thursday. So you have to be careful not to burn too many guys.
7. It hasn’t been the greatest of years for the Georgia golf team. But it has been the greatest year for Georgia golfer Lee McCoy. Literally.
The junior from Clarkesville made school history last month when he shot 16-under to claim medalist honors in the 3M Augusta Invitational tournament at Forest Hills Golf Club. It was McCoy’s third consecutive tournament victory, making him the first Bulldog to accomplish that feat in UGA history. McCoy has won four times overall this year, matching the single-season school record set by Chris Kirk in 2006-07.
“I didn’t really expect anything,” McCoy told me last week. “I try to go in (to seasons) with no expectations and just kind of take what the game gives me. I just kind of look at it that I was kind of fortunate this year.”
Conversely, it hasn’t been a typically dominant year for the Georgia golf team. The Bulldogs, who have won an SEC-best 28 conference championships, limped in at seventh in this year’s tournament on Sea Island, where they’ve won five of their titles.
“It’s bittersweet, it really is,” McCoy said. “It’s hard to not get frustrated sometimes, but I’m doing what I can to help my team. I know my teammates have my back. A couple of times we’ve been able to step it up together and make a big splash. … It’s a team effort. It’s a matter of everybody coming together at a right time.”
Georgia was able to do that with three team wins this season. They’ll try to put it all together again this week in California. The Bulldogs are seeded sixth among 13 teams in the San Deigo Regional and will compete for five spots in the upcoming NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Fla. (May 29-June 3).
8. Talk about a tough draw. The No. 8-ranked Georgia tennis team probably got the toughest path there is when it advanced to the NCAA Championships this week in Waco. The Bulldogs open up against ninth-seeded Texas on Thursday. If they’re fortunate enough to get past the Longhorns playing in front of a lot of bunch of their fans, No. 1-ranked Oklahoma (26-2) – coached by former Bulldog John Roddick — awaits in the quarterfinals.
“It’s definitely a tough draw; a lot of people are mentioning that,” senior Nathan Pasha said. “But the upside to all of that is, if we do get through all that I’m confident we’ll be really tough to beat the rest of the way. So there’s a lot of upside to that. We feel like we match up well against Texas and Oklahoma. So we’ll see. We’re super confident.”
If you haven’t noticed, Georgia has a rather stout NCAA tournament history. The Bulldogs have won six national championships and have reached at least the semifinals 21 times. Heck, it has been considered a down year since they had to share their 2015 SEC championship – their 28th – with Texas A&M, which is also in the championship rounds.
And now everybody is counting them out because of a tough draw.
“Our guys are listening,” coach Manuel Diaz said. “We don’t see it as a disadvantage. It’s going to take every bit of our best because they’re very good teams. But we can beat anybody in this tournament on any given day. I’m confident about that.”
9. Georgia sixth-seeded women’s tennis team has a similar challenge awaiting it at Baylor University. The Lady Bulldogs (22-6) will face No. 11 seed Michigan (22-3) on Friday at Baylor. Should UGA advance, No. 3 California likely awaits.
Regardless of the outcome, however, the Bulldogs ought to be in business for a while. Five freshmen are competing – and competing well – this season.
“Our younger players have just grown so much this year and when they’re out there they really don’t play like freshmen and sophomores,” coach Jeff Wallace said. “They fight, are energized and excited, and just do things the Bulldog way. I’m really proud of them.”
Still, senior Lauren Herring and junior Caroline Brinson will lead the way.
10. This & that: Georgia was able to work it out that its annual G-Day spring game won’t conflict with the Masters golf tournament next year. The Bulldogs intrasquad game will be played on April 16, the Saturday after the annual invitational in Augusta. … Georgia players continue to pop up everywhere in NFL minicamps. Among those to land try-out gigs since the draft are defensive lineman Mike Thornton (Steelers), safety Corey Moore (Texans), offensive lineman Watts Dantzler (Jaguars) and receiver Jonathan Rumph (Jets). … The UGA softball team (40-14) enters the NCAA tournament as the No. 14 seed and will play host to North Carolina (36-14), Western Kentucky (33-12) and Central Connecticut State (31-12) in the Athens Regional starting on Friday. The Bulldogs open with Central Connecticut State at 5 p.m.