As noted yesterday it's been a big couple of days for Bulldog recruiting. It started with the pledge of Deandre Baker, a fast, physical corner out of south Florida powerhouse Miami Northwestern. It ended (for the moment) with a verbal from Tennessee blue chip tight end Jackson Harris.
In between was perhaps the most intriguing pickup of all. Randolph-Clay outside linebacker Gary McCrae attended camp at Georgia on Tuesday, got an offer, and gave a commitment to Mark Richt soon after he got home to Cuthbert. The lifelong Bulldog fan from a family of Bulldog fans chose the Bulldogs over the other offers he received just this week: Louisville, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Those will not be the last offers he receives, I assure you.
McCrae's film is impressive. It's even more impressive when you consider that McCrae missed most of his junior season with a knee injury. Take a look:
Here's the thing about McCrae. He's not what you'd call a polished prospect. His footwork, well, needs work. He leaves his feet when tackling too much. His pad level is not great. And to be honest, you always have to be just a little cynical about film at the Class A level, because the competition is very uneven.
But if you see the kickoff returns at the 1:37 and 3:21 marks of this video, or the run at 2:54, and tell me that you wouldn't offer this kid a football scholarship, you're nuts. This video lists McCrae at 6'5, 220 pounds. I've also seen him listed at 6'4, 218 pounds. Either way he's entirely too big to be moving around the field with that kind of speed and fluidity.
College coaches can teach hand positioning. They can teach knee bend. You can't teach athleticism. Sure, you can develop it, but only to a certain point. That's why guys like McCrae who are obviously superior athletes are at a premium in college recruiting. Assuming he continues to develop physically I envision McCrae as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. I'd be curious to see what he can do with his hand in the dirt, and I think given his current build and assuming a continued emphasis in Athens on getting faster at defensive end that's where he'll make his mark in the Classic City.
Selfishly, I have to admit that I also like the fact that McCrae is a southwest Georgian, and I like it when Georgia gets great, unheralded athletes out of southwest Georgia. It tends to turn out well. Remember Thomas Davis? He was a product of Randolph-Clay. I wonder what he thinks of McCrae?
I wouldn't go that far just yet. McCrae still has a long way to go to get there. But he has the raw physical tools for success in the SEC, and I'm excited to see if this staff can help him effectively develop them. Until later . . .