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College

    Georgia football has landed its fifth commitment of the 2021 cycle in the form of offensive tackle Micah Morris. He is a 4-star prospect who hails from Kingsland, Ga. He plays for Camden County High School. Morris is also the fifth in-state commitment to join the Georgia program. He becomes the second offensive commitment in the class, joining 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. I would like to thank all of the schools who have recruited me up to this point, it has all been a true blessing, with that said, will be commiting to pic.twitter.com/1t73QV3Rin Micah Morris (@MicahMorris56cc) April 8, 2020 More details will be added to this story as it develops. The post Georgia football lands commitment from 4-star OL Micah Morris appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,170 (April 8, 2020) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about a mistake that some well-known coaches have recently made that UGA coach Kirby Smart will probably always find a way to avoid. Georgia football podcast: One mistake Kirby Smart won't ever make Beginning of the show: Some college football coaches have recently spoken out and shared their opinions on the coronavirus including how and when the shutdowns will eventually end. The coaches such as Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy certainly have a right to express themselves, but their rights arguably conflict with their best interests when it comes to creating unnecessary distractions around their programs. I'll explain on today's show why Georgia coach Kirby Smart doesn't seem to have a problem avoiding the temptation to wade into controversy. 10-minute mark: I'll discuss the UGA players Smart singled out as having impressed during the offseason workouts prior to the coronavirus shutdown. 15-minute mark: DawgNation's Mike Griffith joins the show. Some of the topics covered include The ways in which UGA's athletic department can make use of its substantial reserve fund Why UGA defensive lineman Malik Herring fits the profile of one of the Bulldogs' most underrated players And a discussion about former UGA quarterback Jake Fromm 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including the continued fallout from Mississippi State coach Mike Leach's controversial tweet which referenced a noose, a strong NFL draft take regarding former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and an odd comment from Tagovailoa regarding his relationship with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: One mistake Kirby Smart won't ever make appeared first on DawgNation.
  • To some, it was a surprise when Isaiah Wilson announced along with Andrew Thomas that he would be skipping Georgia's bowl game against Baylor and preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft. Thomas had been seen as a first-round pick for well over a year and had manned the left tackle spot for Georgia for the past two seasons. Wilson though had been playing on the right side of the line and did not have the same national reputation as Thomas. Wilson has repeatedly stated that the reason he decided to skip out on the bowl game was that he wanted to spend time with his family in New York before going off to train for the 2020 NFL Draft. Related: Former Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson reveals years of family sacrifice At the 2020 NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, Wilson admitted that it wasn't an easy decision for him to leave Athens. But he added that his matchups against elite talent let him know he was good enough to succeed at the next level. 'I was fairing well against first-round talent, and touted draft picks. Guys I know that have years on me,' Wilson said. That's when I decided that I think that I'm good enough.' At the beginning of the process, most mock draft experts saw Wilson as third-round pick. He obviously had a lot of tools to intrigue teams, but he was still less polished than the likes of Thomas, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Alabama's Jedrick Willis. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. even went as far to say that Wilson outright should've gone back to Georgia for another season. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected guard Michael Deiter with the No. 78 overall pick. He signed a four-year contract worth $3.9 million, with $985,000 of that guaranteed. That dollar amount alone would've validated Wilson's decision to leave Georgia early. 'It was for sure hard. I created a family there,' Wilson said on leaving Georgia. 'My teammates there are brothers, not just teammates and it was tough to decide I was going to leave my last year. 'I decided that I was ready to go to work and attack the next level of my life.' Related: Isaiah Wilson on Georgia's 2020 offensive line: If you're sleeping on them, then they're going to wake you up' But as the draft process has progressed, Wilson appears to be moving out of that draft slot and potentially into a much more lucrative one. Both Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network and Dane Brugler of The Athletic stated that teams they've spoken with see Wilson as a first-round talent. The reason for this is that the NFL draft and really any draft is because it's not so much about what you've done in college but rather what you could be doing in a few years for a team. And Wilson's biggest asset is that he still has gobs of potential. Wilson is a rare athlete for someone of his size. He's listed at 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds. That seems massive but Wilson carries and moves with the weight very well. You can't coach size and Wilson certainly has that. If you were going to pick a Georgia offensive lineman to be the first one off the bus as a way to impress onlookers there's a real case to be made that Wilson would've been that one. While he didn't have the resume of Thomas, it's not like he accomplished nothing in his time at Georgia. He started 24 games over the past two seasons for Georgia and was named Second-Team All-SEC in 2019. Had he returned in 2020, most would've viewed him as one of the best offensive tackles in the country as he would've slid over to Thomas' spot on the left side of Georgia's offensive line. Wilson and Thomas both entered Georgia as members of the 2017 signing class. Thomas entered as the more polished player, which is why he started at right tackle in his freshman season while Wilson had to redshirt while he adjusted to the rigors of the college game. But it's worth mentioning that Wilson came to Georgia as a higher-rated prospect. Wilson was the No. 16 overall prospect in the signing class while Thomas came in at No. 45. The recruiting experts saw the same thing NFL teams are seeing now. Wilson still has room to grow and develop as a football player, which is what is pushing his draft stock up. In all likelihood Thomas is still going to be selected before Wilson will be in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it's becoming more evident that Wilson might not have to wait much longer to hear his name called on draft night. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia football could have record 2020 NFL Draft class on tap Former Georgia QB Jake Fromm identifies deep ball issue it's not his arm Georgia football's most underrated defensive player: Malik Herring Georgia football podcast: UGA might get unexpected NFL draft success story Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE shares why Georgia made his top eight The post Why Isaiah Wilson was always going to move up in 2020 NFL Draft process appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS A record Georgia NFL draft class was predicted more than a year ago, and it appears the Bulldogs could be on the verge of making that vision a reality. RELATED: Why Georgia 2020 NFL class could produce record numbers Eight Georgia players are expected to be selected according to the most recent 7-round mock draft from CBSsports.com, a number that would match the program-high picked in 2013. Seven Georgia players were drafted last year. The 2020 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place April 23-25 in Las Vegas, but it will be closed to the public on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The mock draft, authored by Ryan Wilson, appears as follows: First Round No. 10 Andrew Thomas, Cleveland No. 26 D'Andre Swift, Miami Second Round No. 39 Isaiah Wilson, Miami Fourth Round No. 112 Jake Fromm, San Diego Sixth Round No. 193 J.R. Reed, Indianapolis No. 204 Solomon Kindley, New England No. 212 Rodrigo Blankenship, New England Seventh round No. 248 Charle Woerner, Houston Georgia receiver Lawrence Cager might be another candidate to slip into the draft, even though he was unable to workout at the NFL combine on account of his post-ankle surgery rehabilitation. Defensive lineman Tyler Clark is another UGA player who has appeared in some mock drafts, and tailback Brian Herrien was among the 10 Bulldogs at the NFL combine. Graduate transfer Eli Wolf posted an individual workout that included some impressive results. But Wolf, along with others like defensive tackle Michael Barnett and linebacker Tae Crowder saw their NFL draft hopes diminished when Georgia Pro Day was postponed, and then canceled, on account of the coronavirus. The only true first-round lock in this year's Georgia draft class is Thomas, though it seems very likely Swift will also be a first-round pick. The players' stock is a matter of position, with offensive tackles in great demand, and tailbacks seemingly undervalued. Indeed, there has been recent speculation that Wilson, as raw as some scouts believe him to be, could end up a first-round pick because of his massive size and potential. Swift, meanwhile, is viewed by most as the top tailback in the NFL draft and will be the first at his position off the board. Fromm's draft stock is a little bit more difficult to determine, as he's sure to have interviewed well. Coaches love the possibilities a fast processor and accurate thrower like Fromm could bring to the table, particularly if adjusting his footwork can add velocity and distant to certain throws. RELATED: Jake Fromm identifies deep ball passing issue Reed's drop to a third-day projection has been somewhat puzzling, with analysts citing a lack of athleticism. Reed has been one of the most reliable open-field tacklers in the SEC, and he was rarely caught out of position or beaten deep. Blankenship is another wild card of sorts, as most kickers don't find their way into the NFL draft. It would seem Smart's relationship with Bill Belichick could provide Blankenship a great boost if this projection is accurate. Flashback to 2013 NFL Draft *-still active First Round No. 17. Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh No. 30 Alec Ogletree, St. Louis* Third Round No. 82 John Jenkins, New Orleans* No. 84 Shawn Williams, Cincinnati* Fifth Round No. 134 Sanders Commings, Kansas City No. 161 Tavarres King, Denver Sixth Round No. 188 Cornelius Washington, Chicago No. 191 Bacarri Rambo, Washington DawgNation Georgia NFL draft stories Mel Kiper Jr. Top 10 position rankings feature several UGA players Isaiah Wilson's NFL draft stock rising, per 7-round CBS mock Georgia football Mauler' Solomon Kindley on Atlanta Falcons radar Andrew Thomas in first-class form at NFL combine Isaiah Wilson sheds light on 2020 Georgia O-Line Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Lawence Cager message at NFL combine high ceiling' D'Andre Swift draft stock makes Georgia football RBU' again Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout Brian Herrien shares Nick Chubb story at NFL combine The post Georgia football could have record 2020 NFL Draft class on tap appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NFL draft analysts have repeatedly questioned Jake Fromm's arm strength, but the former Georgia quarterback doesn't see that as the root of his problem throwing the deep ball. 'I think it's been my feet,' Fromm told The Herald Bulletin. 'My feet have not been as clean as they needed to be this past football season. That's something that we've really been hammering throughout this process. 'So, for me, I'm trying to get my feet better and as good as they can be because wherever my feet are, and how they are doing, it's going to take care of the rest of whatever is going on. It starts from the bottom up. I'm really trying to take care of those.' RELATED: NFL Hall of Fame questions Jake Fromm combine session Jim Chaney was Fromm's quarterback coach his freshman season at Georgia, while James Coley worked with him the past two seasons. Chaney has moved on to Tennessee, and Coley is now the tight ends coach at Texas A&M. Fromm remains one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL draft, with some experts impressed by his ability to process at the line of scrimmage and manage the game. Fromm led Georgia to three straight SEC Championship Game appearances and dominated the Bulldogs' rivals. RELATED: Jake Fromm on point, slams Gators again Others, such as Mel Kiper Jr., have droned on about Fromm's lack of arm strength. Fromm also lacks the mobility of some of the top quarterback prospects in this year's NFL draft. RELATED: Kiper calls Fromm NFL draft status, Fromm calls turkeys Fromm has been back working with former Ole Miss quarterback David Morris of QB Country in Mobile since his freshman year of high school. Former Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, now a backup quarterback with the 49ers, is also working with Morris. Mullens holds the distinction of being a former pupil of new Georgia offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Monkey. Fromm, however, is more zeroed in on improving his draft stock that picking up any tips on how the UGA offense will look without him next season. Many thought Fromm would return with hopes of leading Georgia to a national championship, but his prayers led him to choose a path to the 2020 NFL Draft. Fromm is projected as being anywhere from a second-round pick to a fourth-round pick. Kiper has compared him to Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, while Senior Bowl executive director and former NFL scout Jim Nagy sees similarities to Drew Brees. Fromm, himself, likes to model his game after the New Orleans Saints future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. 'I would love to emulate my game the best way possible after Drew Brees,,' Fromm said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February. 'The way he approaches the game, the way he works and the way he throws, hopefully I can be as close to him as possible.' Certainly Georgia coach Kirby Smart gave the green light for Fromm to have the same sort of on-field control last season that Brees enjoys piloting the Saints' pass game. 'The coaches really trusted me a lot,' Fromm said. 'I could change a run to a pass, and a pass to a run, this play for that, and I really was grateful for the power they gave me with the offense. 'It was a great learning curve, for me and it will prepare me for this next level.' DawgNation Jake Fromm stories Georgia QB Jake Fromm shares light moment with Laura Rutledge Kurt Warner on Jake Fromm: Is there enough there?' Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout The post Former Georgia QB Jake Fromm identifies deep ball issue it's not his arm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,169 (April 7, 2020) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how former UGA offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson has emerged as a possible first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Georgia football podcast: UGA might get unexpected NFL draft success story Beginning of the show: Former Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson has gone from a player ESPN's Mel Kiper once suggested should've stayed in school to now being someone the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes is a likely first-round pick. I'll discuss more about Wilson's journey on today's show. I'll also discuss why Wilson's story should be celebrated as a personal win for him, and not just a recruiting pitch for UGA or Sam Pittman Wilson's former position coach who recently became Arkansas head coach. 15-minute mark: DawgNation's recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show to address the latest on the Bulldogs' 2021 class and to discuss how its progress is impacted by the coronavirus shutdown for both the football program and the players who hope to be part of it. 35-minute mark: I discuss how some recent sports news including the announcement of a new date for the Masters and a Major League Baseball proposal that could see games return in May could lay the foundation for college football's eventual return this fall. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA might get unexpected NFL draft success story appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Malik Herring isn't the first name that comes to mind when Georgia football fans start talking about returning star players. Herring may not even be the second, third, fourth or fifth player mentioned in conversation about the Bulldogs' top-rated defense. RELATED: Georgia has $100 million reserve fund, prepared for what-if' And yet, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound rising senior from Forsyth might possibly be the first Georgia player taken in the 2021 NFL draft should he reach his immense potential. Herring certainly has been pushing hard during the break, making sure he's ready to hold his starting spot at defensive end whenever football resumes. Another good session https://t.co/RASqv9MtYy Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) April 7, 2020 Herring played in 12 of 14 games last season and started in nine, including the Sugar Bowl when he made a career-high five tackles including 1.5 TFLs. ESPN recently identified Herring as the SEC's top returning edge rusher, ranking him No. 5 in that category. ' Herring is set to take on a bigger role in his senior season, and his past play proved he deserves that opportunity,' author Anthony Treash penned in the ESPN-plus pay article. 'He hasn't played many snaps over the past two seasons just 488, to be exact but he produced solid PFF grades of 86.2 and 86.6 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.' Per the PFF metrics applied, Herring had a pass-rush win rate of 15.8 percent, which it ranked 29th among Power 5 defenders with at least 300 pass rushes since 2018. When one considers the caliber of competition Herring has faced, it's an impressive number Of course, Herring hasn't event secured a starting spot on the 2020 Georgia football team. RELATED: Malik Herring makes time for kids fun day It's an indication of just how deep the talent runs, and a nod to the vast potential of rising sophomore Travon Walker. Smart's message last spring was that Herring needed to get more dialed in. ' Malik can be a good player, (but) he's gotta hone in and do the little things right,' Smart said. 'He's gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be. 'He's talented, though, and he's played well. He's just gotta mature some.' As last season progressed, Herring did just that, and now he finds himself on the national radar. Smart will surely remind Herring and his teammates that just means there will be a bigger target on his back. Herring in famous DawgNation video DawgNation Kirby Smart offseason stories DawgNation Draft: Should No. 2 have gone No. 1? Kirby Smart shares how coronavirus break has led to innovations College football stipulations in progress, per Kirby Smart Kirby Smart reveals 5 players who impressed in workouts 3 takeaways from Kirby Smart beat writer teleconference Kirby Smart predicts recruits will make decisions sooner than later Why Kirby Smart gave Scott Cochran opportunity Nick Saban wouldn't Smart boosts Dan Lanning over $1 million, new staff salary numbers Quarterbacks affected more than any position during stoppage, per Kirby Kirby Smart's sports stoppage message: Control what you can control The post Georgia football's most underrated defensive player: Malik Herring appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry details how elite TE prospect Brock Bowers feels about his recruiting afterincluding the Bulldogs in the recent release of his top eight schools. Brock Bowers was planning on taking at least two more visits to Georgia.That was just back in February. Those were simpler times. The days we might all take for granted now. It was when everyone's plans were planned. Before the COVID-19 pandemic unplanned everything. The 4-star TE now ranks on the 247Sports Composite ratings as the No. 3 TE and the No. 102 overall prospect nationally. His ratings have spiked up three positional rankings and an approximate 50 slots since February. The Napa High (Napa, Calif.) standout was a newsmaker this week with the release of his top eight schools. The Georgia Bulldogs, as expected, were in that mix. Top 8 Edit: @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/E4sZhCZprX Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) April 5, 2020 Georgia clinched one of those top school spots on the strength of just one unofficial visit. 'I just liked Athens,' he said. 'I have a really good relationship with coach [Todd] Hartley. I really like what coach [Kirby] Smart is doing out there with the coaches he is bringing in and kind of the culture they have built out there.' What was the common thread with all of those eight teams? 'I think the main thing is like the relationships with all the coaches,' he said. 'Also just how the program the program uses the tight end and how the coaches like to use the tight end there.' Brock Bowers: Where his recruiting stands today He took a visit to Georgia in January. It allowed him a 'Junior Day' that stood out among a three-pack of trips to see Clemson, Georgia and LSU. LSU was at the White House that day. He basically got a tour of the campus and layout without any key essential recruiters as a guide. Clemson told him it planned to only take one tight end this cycle and then took a commitment from another 2021 TE essentially right after his visit. What has changed since then? He took another back-to-back-to-back junket to see Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State. The Irish and the Nittany Lions were able to build off those visits by landing in his top eight. That was the weekend before everything shut down. 'Michigan was really a hard school to leave out,' Bowers said. 'But just talking to my family I didn't think it was going to be the best spot just because of the location. It was super hard to leave out.' His top eight includes five schools from the Pacific Time Zone and then another three programs that are on Eastern Standard Time. Bowers felt he wasn't sure whether or not he was leaning toward either coast at this time. 'I'm not sure yet,' he said. 'It is all up in the air right now.' Whether he's talking about life or his recruiting choice, that answer is right on the money. Either way. Brock Bowers: The refresh button on his rare versatility Bowers has settled into a routine. Especially with his impressive GPA that's way north of the 4.0 mark. 'I'm usually getting up and just doing school work,' he said. 'All the stuff that is assigned and then going to go work out. I'm done with all my workouts and my school usually by 3 p.m. or so and then it is chill at home or chill with my friends after that.' He's been keeping his circle small. A lot of that 'chill' time is spent playing Xbox on the latest 'Call of Duty' video game. 'I don't think I'm losing a lot based on my speed and strength stuff,' Bowers said. 'I'm still able to work out a lot. Probably more now even than I would have prior to all of this. Or I would have been able to. 'But also this kind of messed up our [high school] season. Because we're not going to be able to have spring practice Shoot, the California Governor even said we might not even have a football season out here.' 'That's crazy. Just wow there.' His Napa High coach, Richie Wessman, played at USC and coached in the NFL. He told the Napa Valley Register about an early evalution period when he started to see what Bowers can do. 'He broke three tackles in a very impressive fashion,' Wessman said. 'It was like if you're playing a video game and you're pressing all the buttons. He hit the stiff arm, he hit the spin move, hit a juke and then ended with a speed burst. It was really impressive.' Lots of coaches will often say that their player might have that 'X' or 'speed burst' button.When you flip on this film, his conjecture is validated. Bowers does indeed have all the buttons. That goes for a lot of things. Consider the following: Has a grade-point average that is approximately 4.33 in the classroom. His mother is a schoolteacher. Bowers hails from a family of athletes. His father was an offensive lineman at Utah State. His mother played softball in college. His older sister still does. The 6-foot-3 rising senior is now up to 225 pounds. Had a season-opening game last fall in which reeled in eight catches for 91 yards and two scores AND also paired that performance up with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Bowers scored touchdowns on 14 of his 39 catches as a junior in 2019. That's a ratio of reaching pay dirt on 36 percent of his catches. Those 39 catches also produced 1,098 yards. That meant a gaudy 28.2 yards per catch. He ran a 4.55 laser in the 40 and tested with a 40-inch vertical leap at an Opening regional in 2019. Bowers played tight end, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and punt returner for his high school team. He also wrapped up 25 stops, eight tackles for losses and a sack on defense as an OLB as a junior. In his last two varsity seasons, he has recorded 21 combined touchdown catches and over 1,700 receiving yards. The 4-star recruit also finished third on his team in rushing with 355 yards, including a pair of 100-yard games. Bowers didn't play football until he was in the fifth grade, but then he skipped his sixth grade year. There's a pattern there. He played his seventh, but then skipped his eighth grade season. His team didn't win a game his sophomore year. That was an 0-10 team in 2018. He grew up an Oregon fan. Naturally. The greatest player to ever come out of his community went on to star at Oregon and become a sixth-round pick in the NFL. Check out his Opening testing below. The crazy part of that is he didn't train for that at all. Had a great time at @TheOpening today. Thanks for the good experience @BrandonHuffman @KTPrepElite pic.twitter.com/RNFTZ7ko4w Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 12, 2019 Check out his junior highlight reel below. Brock Bowers: What he'slooking for in a college fit What does he need to see to make his college decision? Does it affect the timing on his choice? 'If I can make it and I know for sure before my senior year then I will,' Bowers said. 'But it might be after. I'm kind of easy with whatever.' It appears the COVID-19 pandemic pause won't allow him to proceed to graduate early and enroll in January of 2021 as he had planned. He said that he was 'still up in the air' right now with his school district, too. 'Shoot I'm not sure anymore,' he said. 'Our school has been doing a weird thing this semester so we will see. I don't think so, though.' He had planned on taking an unofficial to Georgia this spring and then an official visit to come. 'Based on the timing right now I feel it is an official left for me with Georgia,' he said. 'I don't think I would take another unofficial out there. Just with that. I don't really know. But I think by the time we can go and visit again, I think the timing would be too quick.' As of now, NCAA member schools are not allowed to host prospective recruits on campus for unofficial or official visits until June 1. That is very much up in the air with this pandemic, too. What are the essential ingredients for his decision? 'The relationships with the coaches and then the location of the school,' he said. 'I have to find a place where I would want to live outside of football. Then also how much of an impact I can make on the field and also the education part and the connections I can make for my life outside of football.' Distance will not be a major factor. 'When I think about I know I am going to be doing school and football and be super busy,' he said earlier this year. 'I won't be able to go home even if I am on the west coast.' Brock Bowers and Georgia: The connection that remains That was his first trip to check out UGA. 'I really liked Georgia,' he said earlier this year. 'Athens really reminded me a lot of Napa. Like the vibe and the town and everything. That was cool.' He said it was hard to explain why he liked the visit so much. But he continued to bring up a 'vibe' at UGA from both the players and coaches. 'Everyone seemed like they wanted to be there,' he said. 'That was the main thing I took away from all of that. It was just a good visit.' There was one part of that trip that left a distinct impression. It is what is still on his mind now. 'The first thing that comes to mind, shoot, is just the stadium like being in the middle of the campus,' Bowers said on Monday. 'That was pretty cool to me. That stadium is awesome out there.' He said that he talks to Hartley every day or at least every other day. 'He always just tells me how much of a priority I can be and how much value I could have in their offense and everything,' Bowers said. He couldn't come up with what he needs to see from Georgia on his next visit. He didn't have any questions in mind for his next visit. The timeline here will be very much a wait-and-see thing. 'My preference would be to get it done before my senior year,' Bowers said. 'I would very much like to make that work. But if I can't, I guess it is whatever. I will just do it later and get it all figured out. At some point.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING High school teammate shares what UGA is getting in OLB signee Mekhail Sherman What does the 2021 wide receiver board look like for Georgia? Kirby Smart says COVID-19 slowdown might lead to quicker recruiting decisions How elite OLB target Quintin Somerville tackles the COVID-19 quarantine COVID-19: How Kirby Smart sees that affecting Georgia recruiting The elite 2022 recruit who brings to mind Nick Chubb, Nolan Smith and Fred Sanford 5 things to know about recent 2021 commitment Jonathan Jefferson Nation's No. 1 CB Tony Grimes had three UGA visits set prior to COVID-19 outbreak Dylan Fairchild: The UGA offer for the elite OL was like 'drinking from a fire hydrant Elijah Jeudy: Has Georgia found another future Bulldog in Philadelphia? Pulling Bulldogs from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Jersey? HS coach raves about UGA Devin Willock: The 2020 signee and the surgical scooter which rolled him to UGA Georgia adds a key 2021 commit in Peach State product Jonathan Jefferson Amarius Mims: 5-star priority OT sets his commitment date Donovan Edwards: Priority 4-star RB feels UGA probably' gets an official visit The post Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE shares why Georgia made his top eight appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The University of Georgia athletics department could withstand the financial blow should the college football season be canceled on account of the coronavirus pandemic with more than $100 million available in reserve funds. UGA athletics director Greg McGarity never dreamed the Bulldogs' reserve fund could be tested to this extent and it still might not, with the world's finest scientists working to save lives and restore order. RELATED: Georgia football and The Masters doubleheader possible on Nov. 14 There are 330,891 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 7,558 in Georgia and 72 in UGA's home of Clarke County per the latest update on AJC.com at the time of this publication (April 7). The financial impact associated with medical costs, lost wages and social distancing provisions continues to skyrocket. Football season represents a deadline of sorts for a collegiate sports revenue model the relies heavily upon the sport. Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer famously said that, 'Football is the engine that drives the revenue train.' At Georgia, the annual football revenue is approximately $70 million between ticket sales, seat donations and other peripheral income, not including Magill Society donations. And yet, should this season be derailed, UGA's 'Rainy Day Fund' has the means to withstand the equivalent of a financial hurricane. 'We are in a position to whether the storm for a period of time due to the conservative approach that's been a part of Georgia athletics dating back to the days of Joel Eaves,' said McGarity, who assumed his role in September of 2010. The same can't be said for the majority of other programs in the FBS ranks. Just 41 percent of Power 5 schools and 26 percent of Group of 5 schools have a reserve fund, according to data obtained from a recent Learfield/IMG Sport release. 'We're really in healthy shape, and we're one of the few that are,' McGarity said. 'You can only imagine the angst with institutions that don't have the financial reserves that we have.' What is the reserve fund? 'We see it as our rainy day fund,' McGarity told DawgNation. 'It's there to meet certain expectations and obligations that we have.' The fund is made up of money accrued from donations, unused revenue from previous years and investment income. Per the winter UGA board meeting, Georgia has a projected $17,879,325 remaining from the (fiscal year) 2020 reserves, along with $48,561,020 from long-term investments of reserves a total of $66,440,345. UGA deputy athletic director of finance Stephanie Ransom a former Bulldogs' All-American soccer player and marketing major said there's an additional $36,500,000 in general endowment money. That makes the total money available in reserve fund $102,940,345. McGarity explained that 'our best business practices recommends we have at least three months of operating expenses on hand' and in the reserve fund at all times. For example, Georgia has a $153 million annual athletic budget. Three months of that budget equals $38.25 million. So even setting aside that prescribed (not mandated) $38.25 million, along with the debt services of approximately $13 million UGA would still have $64,690,345 at its disposal. UGA legend Vince Dooley, the Bulldogs' head football coach (1964-1988) and athletic director (1979-2004), served in a more conservative era, athletic budgets nowhere near today's skyrocketing numbers. Dooley indicated last Sunday that Georgia, even then, factored worst-case scenarios into its financial planning. '. I n case the worst possible thing could happen,' Dooley told AJC.com columnist Mark Bradley on Sunday. 'I'm sure that (current UGA administrators) are doing the same thing. You've got to have that kind of reserve in case you get into a catastrophe, and this could be a catastrophe Magill Society Magic Georgia had approximately $97.7 million in the reserve fund in June of 2011, the fiscal year McGarity took office. And yet, athletics has invested more than $200 million in facilities in the past decade while still increasing the reserves. 'The difference maker has been the Magill Society,' McGarity said. 'If we didn't have those resources coming in from those 1,200 (1m198) donors things would be drastically different.' The Magill Society was founded in Sept. of 2015. At the end of that fiscal year, the reserve fund number had dipped to $74.5 million, because UGA had more than $20 million of work occurring at various facilities, including the indoor football building. McGarity makes no qualms about it, the Magill Society has been a game-charger and is at the heart of the Bulldogs' ability to maintain a strong and now pivotal reserve fund. 'They have donated or pledged more than $145 million toward our facilities (dating back to Sept. 2015,' McGarity said. 'Just think of our world if we didn't have the Magill Society step up. How would we pay for all of these new facilities.' Non-football projects, such as the soccer grandstand renovation (2018), the equestrian facility (2019) and the tennis facility renovation (Feb., 2020), continue to utilize reserve funds. Georgia football, meanwhile, has become competitive in the football facilities arms race with Magill Society funds, which have coincided with the immediate success football coach Kirby Smart. Kirby's impact Smart, much like the Magill Society, has been a game-changer in his own right. The athletics' budget game is the same, but with Smart leading the Bulldogs' program to elite status on an annual basis, the stakes are higher. RELATED: Kirby Smart more everywhere than ever before Staff and recruiting costs have increased since Smart was hired. Some $173 million has been spent on football facilities since the 2016 season, including $81 million going toward a new football building right now. It's a game of catch-up. According to one recent comparison, Georgia football facilities ranked just 8th in the SEC. McGarity, who has worked alongside Smart during the Bulldogs' current football boom, said if not for Magill donations, UGA would need to take more drastic measures to stay competitive in the football facilities arms race. 'We'd have had to do one of three things,' McGarity explained. 'One, we wouldn't have been able to build these sort of facilities, or two, we would have had to increase our ticket prices substantially. 'Or three, we would have had to drain the majority of our reserves.' But with Smart leading Georgia to three consecutive SEC Championship Games along with a Rose Bowl victory, a Sugar Bowl victory and a College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance in the past three years the funds have continued to roll in. Checks and balances Collegiate athletics financial portfolios are a complex web of funds chiefly generated from designated league money, donations, seat licenses and ticket revenue and endowments. There are checks and balances at each institutions, but they are often applied differently, unique to the respective schools' priorities and financial strategy. Georgia, over the years, has been criticized by many for not spending as aggressively as rival programs during the facilities arms race. Former UGA assistant and current Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt most notably called out the school for its lack of an indoor football facility at the end of Mark Richt's head coaching tenure. But Georgia, pre-Magill Society, simply didn't have the same revenue model in place to spend liberally while maintaining what many are now realizing is an integral reserve fund. McGarity, himself, took much of the blame for the school's conservative approach even though it pre-dated him back to Eaves and Dooley in the 1960s. 'What we do know is we've been fortunate to sleep at night throughout many years knowing we have the finical stability to whether a storm,' McGarity said. 'We just didn't know it could be a Category 5 Hurricane. 'We're cautiously optimistic that we won't have to utilize reserve funds or go down that path without football in the fall.' But should that day come, Georgia athletics is well-prepared to hunker down like few others. 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  • Georgia football last won the SEC in 2017. But the Bulldogs have represented the SEC East in each of the past three seasons. Under Kirby Smart, Georgia has ascended to being one of the top programs in the country, and oddsmakers continually view them as such. The problem for Georgia is that there's also usually a heavyweight waiting for them once they get to Atlanta. Alabama went to the national title game in 2018, while LSU won the whole thing this past season. So the Bulldogs might not always end up cashing in, despite being one of the better teams in the country. Georgia once again figures to be one of the nation's top teams, led by what should be another elite defense. But the Bulldogs have a number of questions on the offensive side of the ball, as Georgia will be breaking in a quarterback and offensive coordinator while also looking for a new top running back and replacing multiple starters on the offensive line. So while the Bulldogs still have better odds than most to win the SEC, along with national title odds, they're not seen as the overwhelming front runner that they have been in year's past. The Florida Gators have made up significant ground, and the SEC West is still as loaded as ever. And it's because of those other suitors, ESPN and College GameDay Gambling analyst Chris The Bear' Fallica actually think the Bulldogs are the 'best bet' in terms of value to win the SEC this year at +350 per Caesars Sportsbook. 'This could be the season for the Bulldogs if QBJamie Newmanand the new offensive staff come together,' Falica wrote. 'Sure, there are some holes to fill on the offensive line which UGA should be able to do and they need a wide receiver or two to complementGeorge Pickens, but the legs of Newman should be a big deal this season.' Newman ran for 574 yards last season and six touchdowns while quarterbacking Wake Forest. He also has some strong odds of his own when it comes to winning the top individual award in college football, as he is tied for the fifth-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy at 16-to-1 per Fan Duel Sportsbook. 'Soon as I stop having fun with it I'll be done with it.' #GODSPLAN #STAYHOME #GODAWGS pic.twitter.com/JVsOAhBnU2 Jamie Newman (@jlmn12_) April 4, 2020 That's all despite not yet taking even a single practice snap for the Bulldogs. Georgia's spring practice was completely wiped out due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Safe to say expectations are very high for Newman this fall, even if he hasn't proven himself in a Georgia uniform. Using the same Caesars odds, Georgia has the second-best odds at the moment to win the conference. Alabama has the top odds at +125, while Florida is just behind Georgia at +400. The team with the fourth-best odds to win the conference next year is Auburn at +600. What you'll notice about those three teams is that all of them are on Georgia's schedule next. The Bulldogs visit Alabama on Sept. 19. Georgia hosts Auburn on Oct. 10 before playing Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. on Oct. 31. Fallica took note of Georgia's tough schedule which also features a home game against Tennessee and figured that if the Bulldogs can split the Alabama-Florida games, Georgia has a favorable chance of getting to Atlanta for a fourth straight year. Georgia has beaten Florida in each of the past three seasons, while Alabama has won five straight games against Georgia. Like Georgia, Alabama will be breaking in a newish quarterback, as Mac Jones or Bryce Young will take over full-time for Tua Tagovailoa. Jones started four games for the Crimson Tide last year while Tagovailoa was injured. Florida meanwhile brings back Kyle Trask, and seems like a possible media darling. The Gators draw a reloading LSU team and an Ole Miss team that will be led by first-year head coach Lane Kiffin from the SEC West. But the Bulldogs figure to have perhaps the nation's top defense, as they bring back a number of contributors from the No. 1 scoring defense in the country in 2019. Georgia also signed the nation's No. 1 signing class to help fill some of those holes on the offensive side of the football. Georgia is set to open the 2020 season on Sept. 7, as it takes on Virginia. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation David Daniel: Elite DB trainer and former Bulldog Glenn Ford has an NFL parallel in mind Georgia football podcast: UGA and Alabama are seemingly taking different approaches to an NCAA rule Where Georgia football turns at the wide receiver position in the 2021 recruiting class Mekhail Sherman: Former teammate shares what UGA is getting in the elite 2020 signee Georgia football and The Masters set for weekend unlike any other Clay Webb can learn a lot from how Jamaree Salyer handled the 2019 season Who will be the breakout players on the 2020 Georgia football team? The post ESPN analyst explains why Georgia football is best bet' to win 2020 SEC title appeared first on DawgNation.