You've probably heard by now that reserve redshirt sophomore tailback Dontavious Jackson will be transferring following his arrest on charges of DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to move over, eating a low-fiber breakfast cereal, and a host of other charges.
This story is recruiting-related for a couple of reasons. One, it's yet another reminder that even the most star-studded recruits can flame out due to bad grades, bad injuries, bad decisions, or bad timing. DJax came to Athens as the top tailback in the state out of Heard County, but quickly fell in a depth chart hole due to a broken leg suffered during his senior season. Nagging injuries and the presence of a series of other talented tailbacks then kept him off the field for most of 2009. But while he was not going to start ahead of either Caleb King or Washaun Ealey, it would not have been improbable to see him get some carries this season. We wish him the best.
The other way that this affects recruiting is that it eases some scholaraship pressure. Jackson's exit means that we currently have (as best I can tell using my admittedly limited math skills) 83 scholarship football players headed into 2010. 15 of those are seniors. Therefore, it is a safe bet that Georgia can sign 17 incoming players for the class of 2011. Of course, there are usually a few guys who leave early to turn pro, some more who give up the game because of injuries or lack of playing time, and some who get kicked off the squad because of the old severely sprained cerebellum. We already have 13 players committed for the incoming class, with many of the top players in the state of Georgia keenly interested in the Bulldogs but still uncommitted (at least publicly). In other words, while we hate to lose any young man, we can certainly use his seat at the proverbial training table.
While it might be tempting to think that this helps make our tailback depth chart more attractive, I doubt that's the case case. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King should both be back in 2011 (unless King has an unbelievable season and leaves as a redshirt junior). Carlton Thomas is still in the mix as well. Dontavious Jackson was probably not scaring away the guys we're recruiting at his position, chief among them Carver-Columbus's Isaiah Crowell.
Speaking of Crowell, he's among a boatload of talented players scheduled to be in Athens tomorrow night for the annual Dawg Night elite prospect camp. The list includes almost all of the already committed players for the class of 2011, plus a lot of rising juniors who will much sought after for 2012. Usually this event gives us a good shot of momentum in recruiting, and often results in a commitment or two.
Some guys to keep an eye on include Dallas (St. Mark's) wide receiver Ty Montgomery, Grady wide receiver/cornerback Damian Swann, Jacksonville (Bolles) offensive lineman Nathan Theus (whose brother John also has an offer from Georgia and should be one of the top linemen in the country for 2012), and Tarpon Springs, FL offensive tackle Zach Debell. Swann's attendance is a maybe due to baseball obligations. But I'd put him on the list of guys who could commit at Dawg Night or soon thereafter depending on how things go. Other bigtime prospects scheduled to attend include linebackers Stephone Anthony and Lateek Townsend and defensive tackles Gabe Wright and Chris Mayes, and Tampa (Plant) running back/linebacker James Wilder, Jr.
The Christian LeMay saga is still in process, as LeMay was initially suspended by his school district for 30 days, which sounds like a really long suspension to me unless his particular offense involved firearms, physical violence, academic dishonesty, farm animals or a vuvuzela. If it involved farm animals and a vuvuzela then they should definitely lock him up in Starkville and throw away the key.
LeMay's father says that they are appealing the suspension, but that there is a chance that his son will simply transfer to a private school to play his senior season. Maybe I'm the only one, but I have a bit of a problem with that. To be fair, 30 school days equates to roughly 6-7 weeks of football, which means that LeMay could only come back during the second half of the Butler High Bulldogs' season. And you only get one senior season. But if I were one of his teammates, and that's all it took to get him to hitch up his wagon and walk out on me, I'd think less of him. And while his punishment may or may not be excessive, I don't think LeMay has ever said he didn't break a school rule of some sort. Dumb rules are, nevertheless, rules. It looks like Mr. LeMay is saying that when adversity strikes it is perfectly acceptable to pick up your ball and go to another school. I don't like that precedent.
Feel free to let us all in on your recruiting thoughts and questions in the comments. Until later . . .