As Director of Minimally Creepy Recruiting Coverage at Dawg Sports it's my responsibility to keep you up to date on what the Georgia Bulldog coaches are doing to secure the chicken from which they will one day make championship chicken salad. While the Georgia coaches have been hitting the recruiting trail hard building the class of 2013, that doesn't mean they aren't also looking farther out into the future. Tangible proof of the staff's long term focus came last night with the commitment of St. Pius X defensive back Nick Glass.
Glass is a 6'2, 200 pound sophomore safety who tallied 75 tackles, 4 interceptions and 5 sacks in 2011. Since then he's tallied scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Clemson, UNC, NC State, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Illinois, Cincinnati, and Ohio State in addition to Georgia (which actually only offered a couple of weeks ago).
You can see him in action in this video from 247Sports:
The first thing I noticed in this short clip is that Glass has an exceptional backpedal for a young DB. He gets back in coverage smoothly, and he has excellent hips as well. That is, he turns his lower body to get into position without losing speed or balance. That is perhaps the most important physical attribute for a defensive back, more important than the straight line speed measured by the 40 yard dash.
I could easily see Glass playing exclusively at cornerback for Coach Lakatos if I didn't know that he'll be 6'2 and 220 pounds by the time he hits Athens. Glass compares favorably to Sanders Commings coming out of high school. Except, of course, that he won't actually be coming out of high school for another two seasons. One reason so many colleges have seen fit to offer the St. Pius standout so early is that his athleticism gives them options. Much like Commings when he starred at Augusta's Westside High, Glass could play safety, corner or linebacker at the collegiate level. Coaches don't know where they'll play him, but they know they will.
That kind of versatility is prized. If Nick continues to grow he could even wind up in the same size range as Jarvis Jones, and be used in a similar manner. Specifically, he could be an outside linebacker who can be left on the field in nickel situations without being a coverage liability.
Glass was discovered by scouts so early partially because he played in the same defensive backfield as recent Alabama signee Geno Smith. Alabama has been a player for Glass's commitment, and to be honest, I don't expect the Crimson Tide or any other major college program to back off just because of this verbal commitment. As Rodney Garner once said, a verbal commitment doesn't do much other than tell every other school who they have to beat. In a lot of ways, this is when the real recruitment begins. That being said, Glass will likely end up as a consensus national top 50 recruit, and you just don't turn down a pledge from that kind of athlete. It's a great pickup for the Bulldog staff.
Glass's commitment is emblematic of two positive trends: 1) recruits are excited about the possibility of coming to play in Todd Grantham's defense. Glass specifically mentioned comfort with the coaching staff as a major criteria for him; and 2) as the second commitment for 2014, along with George Walton Academy tailback Stanley Williams, Glass is proof that the coaches are in fact recruiting harder, earlier. If there's been one source of frustration for Bulldog fans with Mark Richt's recruiting, it's been the sense that we play catchup sometimes with instate recruits vis-a-vis out of state schools that come in and offer at the first available opportunity. While Georgia wasn't Glass's first offer, we offered soon enough that it was clear he was a priority. Welcome to the Bulldog family, Nick! And . . .
P.S. I know, I know. I usually list a player's negatives in these pieces. I guess if you pressed me I'd say it's the fact that he's named Nick. We haven't had great luck with Nicks lately. But that's all I got.