Signing Day is approaching with 4.4 speed. And we here at Dawg Sports are filling you in on the details of every single signee who will don a red and black cap tomorrow. We don't know them as well as Mama, but we know them pretty well, and we're letting you in on what to expect for each future 'Dawg. This afternoon we take a look at highly ranked defensive line prospect Lamont Gaillard.
Lamont Gaillard is a little bit of a recruiting enigma. This time last year he was ranked as high as a top 20 national recruit. Rivals now lists him as only a 3 star prospect and the #26 player in the state of North Carolina. 247Sports has him as a 4 star, the #5 player in state, and a national top 150 recruit. What gives?
It's a little complicated, as we'll discuss shortly, but first things first. For starters, the 6'3, 310 pound Fayetteville native got the attention of a lot of colleges. Big time football colleges.He earned offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, among others. Most recently, Gaillard was offered by the Miami Hurricanes and took an official visit down to Coral Gables. While it seemed that he was a little wishy-washy, it now appears that Gaillard has reaffirmed his commitment to the 'Dawgs.
So how did Gaillard go from a guy who everybody wanted to a guy who recruiting services have as a middle-of-the-pack player? The answer is "one cheeseburger at a time." Gaillard is being recruited as a nose tackle by the 'Dawgs and he put on some bad weight before his senior season trying to get up to the size of an SEC nose tackle. Analysts noticed.
But his high school coach counters that Gaillard improved as the season went on, learning to play with the weight and gaining back the quick first step that made him a prime target to begin with.
Is that accurate? Take a look at Gaillard's senior highlights and judge for yourself. My sense is that he does look really out of shape in the first couple of games' worth of highlights. His pad level isn't good. His footwork is spotty, which is often a sign of fatigue. Also, it's worth noting that there just aren't as many highlights from those first few games. Either Gaillard wasn't staying on the field (again, a conditioning issue) or he wasn't making as many plays.
In Gaillard Georgia is getting a 3-4 nose tackle. A gap-controlling, run stuffing fire plug in the middle. That's what he is. I don't know if this was ever a dream of his, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a future as a Calvin Klein underwear model. His 6 pack is more of a keg. The big question mark for me is whether Gaillard can take care of himself and put on the 10 to 15 pounds of good weight to play at 325 pounds in college without losing quickness. If he can do that he could be a solid player on the Bulldog defense. If he spends more time at Raising Cane's than he does in the weight room, he may not be heard from again. It's as simple as that. Linemen are tough to recruit because you just never know exactly how they're going to develop physically.
To me Lamont Gaillard could go either way. But there's clearly potential there. Georgia doesn't need a nose tackle tomorrow. With the guys already in Athens (Toby and De'Andre Johnson, Chris Mayes, Jon Taylor, and John Atkins) there's plenty of depth for the next two seasons. That means Gaillard has time to develop, but will hopefully do so against the backdrop of significant competition for playing time. We'll just have to see how this one turns out. Until later . . .