Bulldogs battle Tide for recruits

Associated Press
Mark Richt: Georgia's coach isn't willing to concede any recruiting battles to Alabama and its new coach, Nick Saban.

ATHENS, Ga. - Back home in Luverne, Ala., this summer, Georgia offensive lineman Chester Adams got a chance to take the temperature of a state in a fever pitch about the possibilities of what $4 million-a-year coach Nick Saban could bring to Alabama.


From his celebrated arrival in January to the record attendance at the Crimson Tide spring game, Saban has been received as some sort of savior.

"I heard a lot of people talking about it," Adams said. "How big that A-Game was and about how everybody was excited when his plane landed and they greeted him and everything. It was kind of crazy."

Adams grew up a "die-hard Alabama fan," played in high school for a former Crimson Tide head coach (Mike DuBose) and will play his first game at Bryant-Denny Stadium when No. 22 Georgia visits No. 16 Alabama Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

Adams is the only Alabama native on the Georgia roster, but two 3-star offensive linemen from the state have committed for Georgia's 2008 class: Ben Jones from Centreville, and Jonathan Owens from Blountsville.

"It just runs in cycles," said Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, a native of Leeds, Ala., who played and coached at Auburn. "Alabama traditionally is a hard state to get kids out of. In the end, you always end up finishing second. You just have to see how it goes."

Garner now is responsible for the state in which Georgia targets a select number of players each year.

"A lot of people think going to (recruit) Alabama is just a waste because everybody wants to go to Alabama or Auburn," Adams said. "We're going in there and getting some good talent. I've watched their videos and they look pretty good."

Georgia coach Mark Richt isn't sure yet what Saban's impact might be on Georgia's recruiting.

Georgia last week picked up a commitment from Bainbridge safety/quarterback Nick Williams, who picked the Bulldogs over the Crimson Tide. Alabama has a commitment from Norcross athlete Devonta Bolton and Mountain Brook (Ala.) offensive lineman Tyler Love. Georgia recruited both.

"It's hard to say," Richt said. "Not everybody can get them all. I really think everybody's going to get their share of good players and have enough good players to win and that's going to be a matter of how you coach them and how fortunate you are when it comes to injuries and if one kid decides to stay instead of go pro - all those little things decide winning and losing."



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