When you’re the No. 1 overall prospect in high school football, fan bases and schools will pull out all the stops, literally, to get you to sign on the dotted line with their beloved university.
The most highly sought after recruit of the 2013 class is Georgia in-state prospect DE Robert Nkemdiche. And Georgia just hired his former coach Daryl Jones as their Director of On-Campus Recruiting.
But it’s a conspiracy theory for the ages if you are a recruitnik.
Nkemdiche is said to be all but a lock for Alabama when he signs next February, but he did push his announcement back until after his high school season to explore all his options.
That includes the option of Georgia.
Georgia was battling with Bama and Clemson, among others, to lure Nkemdiche even before they hired Jones.
But does the hiring of Jones give the Dawgs any type of edge in helping to sway him at any cost?
We don’t necessarily think so.
The hiring of Jones by Georgia, though, is a very good move both now and for future implications, as he has 17 years of high school coaching experience and has a ton of connections around the fertile state of Georgia with both coaches and prospects. After he finished his high school coaching career, Jones took over the reigns of Under Armour’s Georgia Prep operations. So, he’s been around the block and is very well connected.
Jones did, though, coach Nkemdiche in 2009 during his freshman season at Grayson High School and maintains a very good relationship with him to this day.
Nkemdiche confirmed the relationship to ESPN recently:
“I just heard the news that he went to Georgia from a college coach today,” said Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson). “He and I were so close, and now he is at Georgia doing his thing.”
While there is a relationship in place, this isn’t a shady case of hiring the coach after signing day – but the timing certainly is interesting and very positive for Georgia.
All is fair in the recruiting game, and this is a great move that could add another factor in the battle for Nkemdiche.
He had this to say about his former coach getting the Georgia gig and if it will impact his decisioning:
“It depends on when I go down there and talk to him how much it helps Georgia,” Nkemdiche said. “It will help them, but I cannot put my faith all in one man, because they can leave in one quick second.”
But as the AJC explains, there are several other connections for the top prospect with other schools around the country that are not named Georgia:
Alabama: Nkemdiche’s current high school coach (Conn) played on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.
Ole Miss: Nkemdiche’s brother currently plays for Ole Miss.
Clemson: Nkemdiche’s current high school coach played football and roomed together with Dabo Swinney.
Mississippi State: Nkemdiche has lived with the family of Grayson QB Nick Schuessler, who signed with Mississippi State last February.
There is no shady stuff going on with the hire of Jones. It is just a very calculated hiring that could absolutely turn out to be a brilliant hire for Mark Richt and the Bulldogs. A great connection to a top prospect is always a plus, but Jones has too much more to offer than just adding Nkemdiche to Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class.
Let’s just sit back, relax and see how this all turns out, shall we? I think Robert Nkemdiche is all but a lock for Alabama, but others have about seven months to get their persuasions on.