I intended to blog about Makiri Pugh, Georgia's newest commitment for the class of 2008 over the weekend. But I just couldn't help taking a dig at Nick Saban instead. I mean really, giving an SEC weblogger the choice between serious recruiting coverage and cheap shots at Slick Nick is like giving your 7 year old a choice between steamed carrots and chocolate ice cream. There's really no choice at all. Now, back to recruiting.
Makiri Pugh is a 6'0, 190 pound corner. While his coach says he may play safety next season at Independence High, I imagine our coaches are looking at him as a boundary corner, the position recently vacated by Paul Oliver. Pugh is a big, physical defensive back. On tape he clearly plays the run well, and he's not afraid to go after the ball carrier. On one of the highlight videos put together by the folks at Rivals, he very nearly decapitates a runner (it's at the 1:03 mark of highlight film #1, fyi) and absolutely stuffs several others. I'd have to see more of him in pass coverage to know what his coverage skills are like, but he seems to have the toughness you want in an SEC-caliber corner.
Unfortunately for Makiri, it's not just Nick "the Armani Bear" Saban stealing the limelight. Georgia also got a pleasant and wholly unexpected commitment this weekend from Griffin (Ga.) defensive end Toby Jackson. Rated a four star prospect by Scout and the 5th best prospect in the state by Rivals, Jackson had in fact been thought by some to be a lean to Alabama, and also seriously interested in Tennessee, Florida and everybody else who doesn't wear red, black and silver on fall Saturdays. In fact he very recently said that he didn't think he would be committing until the last moment because he wanted to "keep everybody guessing".
But Jackson told Scout.com that after visitng Athens over the weekend for a Junior Day "My dad felt really good about it and I really felt like this was the best choice for me. I was expecting to wait until the middle of the season to commit, but I decided to do it...I felt really good about Georgia and my parents really felt good about it. It was a no-brainer to me."
Of course, Jackson says he's still going to some summer camps and will still likely take some official visits, so this thing is far from done. However, the fact that the Griffin defensive end felt moved after talking things over with his parents (I love it when recruits actually do that . . .) to give a pledge to Mark Richt is a promising sign.
In other news, a large part of Georgia's 2007 recruiting class moved into the Classic City over the weekend as well. It looks like the only academic casualty will be Statesboro safety John Knox, who appears headed to Hargrave Military to prepare for eventual enrollment at the University of Georgia. Quite frankly, only losing 1 out of 23 recruits strikes me as evidence of the coaching staff's excellent work in keeping track of recruits' academic affairs, and shows that this staff was disciplined about offering the guys who they really think can crack it in Athens. And by "it", of course, I mean a textbook.
Tifton wide receiver Israel Troupe surprised many by moving in with the other freshmen, principally because he's waiting to find out where he's taken later this week in the Major League Baseball draft. While Troupe may still end up playing baseball, I think it was a great show of solidarity that he moved up from south Georgia with the other signees. Good for him.