Northside-Columbus standout John Drew is a man who knows what he wants. And that is not to be mugged, stuck in rush hour traffic or beaten senseless by Virginia Tech in a half-empty stadium. Drew, ranked as the 34th best player in Georgia by UGASports.com and the 19th best defensive tackle in the country by Rivals, committed to the Jackets back in February, but has now decommitted because he thinks he decided too soon and "really didn’t like the location of Atlanta. It’s real big and a lot of stuff can happen there. I just don’t want to be in a place that’s huge." (hat tip, Jeff Hood of the AJC).
Foghat? Fools for the city. John Drew? Not so much.
I'm not sure when it occurred to young John that the North Avenue Trade School is located right in the middle of the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern United States. Perhaps, as sometimes happens to me, he knew it all along but had never really considered the implications of this fact until recently.
Whatever the circumstances, this one is definitely grist for the comedy mill. On this blog we try to be as reasonable as possible at every turn. We may jest about our rivals, but it's all in good fun. However, there's a part of me that wants so, so badly to reply to the quote above with:
a) if you think "a lot of stuff" can happen on the Flats, you obviously haven't spent much time in Bobby Dodd Stadium. Nothing ever really happens there.
b) If by "a lot of stuff" you mean "a campus-wide four day Halo tournament", then you are correct, sir.
c) if you're looking for "a lot of stuff", Reuben Houston can probably hook you up.
d) Yeah, Chan Gailey tried "a lot of stuff" offensively in his six straight losses to Georgia. None of it worked for some reason.
e) Also, "a lot of stuff" was said about how the UGA secondary couldn't stop Calvin Johnson. Paul Oliver, Tim Jennings, Bryan Evans, Asher Allen, Kelin Johnson and Tra Battle think that stuff was, as they say on the USA Network when they're cleaning up R-rated movies, "Bullstuff".
f) Paul Johnson is going to have to change "a lot of stuff" if he wants to get Tech back to their annual date in Boise.
g) Reggie Ball. I couldn't think of a clever usage of the phrase "a lot of stuff" that applies to "Too Tall" Ball, but every time I hear his name I chuckle just a little. Oh, screw it: I bet when Reggie Ball and Joe Hamilton hang out, they have "a lot of stuff" to gripe about. Like why it's so hard to find platform shoes for men in the ATL's finer boutiques.
Having purged my system, I should note that Tech has picked up a few instate commitments who appear to know something about playing football. None were pursued very hard by Georgia, but Washington County linebacker Brandon Watts was being recruited by Clemson and Florida, and ECI defensive tackle J.C. Lanier picked the Jackets over LSU. So there's that. Jefferson County linebacker Chris Crenshaw has the potential to grow into a solid player as well.
Lost in the frenzy over Johnson's triple-option offense is the fact that, while at Georgia Southern, he recruited all over Georgia and Florida, often with great success. I'm not necessarily saying that the state's top high school talent is going to flock to North Avenue. Because for now that's not going to happen. Chan Gailey and crew won precious few major recruiting battles in the Peach State, and Johnson's staff has a long way to go to dig out of the hole.
But I am saying that Tech's new head man knows how to recruit guys who fit his system, and he can find scads of them in places where he's had success recruiting before. Observers of high school football in south Georgia specifically know that the "Ham-bone" offense Johnson worked with in Statesboro is alive in the high school ranks, if largely in the single wing and wing-T variations, which share some of the same concepts. And many of the coaches teaching those offenses attended camps at Georgia Southern when Johnson was there. Johnson will also be able to entice some guys with early playing time, and his success at Georgia Southern and Navy is proof positive that he can get 4-star results from 2-star football talent. I'm not saying Johnson is the next Rich Rodriguez, I'm just saying that I'm not convinced that he's the next Bill Lewis, either.