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College
Georgia athletics prepared for ‘what if,’ more than $100 million in reserve fund
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Georgia athletics prepared for ‘what if,’ more than $100 million in reserve fund

Georgia athletics prepared for ‘what if,’ more than $100 million in reserve fund

Georgia athletics prepared for ‘what if,’ more than $100 million in reserve fund

ATHENS The University of Georgia athletics department could withstand the financial blow should the college football season be canceled on account of the coronavirus pandemic with more than $100 million available in reserve funds.

UGA athletics director Greg McGarity never dreamed the Bulldogs' reserve fund could be tested to this extent and it still might not, with the world's finest scientists working to save lives and restore order.

RELATED: Georgia football and The Masters doubleheader possible on Nov. 14

There are 330,891 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 7,558 in Georgia and 72 in UGA's home of Clarke County per the latest update on AJC.com at the time of this publication (April 7).

The financial impact associated with medical costs, lost wages and social distancing provisions continues to skyrocket. Football season represents a deadline of sorts for a collegiate sports revenue model the relies heavily upon the sport.

Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer famously said that, "Football is the engine that drives the revenue train."

At Georgia, the annual football revenue is approximately $70 million between ticket sales, seat donations and other peripheral income, not including Magill Society donations.

And yet, should this season be derailed, UGA's "Rainy Day Fund" has the means to withstand the equivalent of a financial hurricane.

"We are in a position to whether the storm for a period of time due to the conservative approach that's been a part of Georgia athletics dating back to the days of Joel Eaves," said McGarity, who assumed his role in September of 2010.

The same can't be said for the majority of other programs in the FBS ranks. Just 41 percent of Power 5 schools and 26 percent of Group of 5 schools have a reserve fund, according to data obtained from a recent Learfield/IMG Sport release.

"We're really in healthy shape, and we're one of the few that are," McGarity said. "You can only imagine the angst with institutions that don't have the financial reserves that we have."

What is the reserve fund?

"We see it as our rainy day fund," McGarity told DawgNation. "It's there to meet certain expectations and obligations that we have."

The fund is made up of money accrued from donations, unused revenue from previous years and investment income.

Per the winter UGA board meeting, Georgia has a projected $17,879,325 remaining from the (fiscal year) 2020 reserves, along with $48,561,020 from long-term investments of reserves a total of $66,440,345.

UGA deputy athletic director of finance Stephanie Ransom a former Bulldogs' All-American soccer player and marketing major said there's an additional $36,500,000 in general endowment money. That makes the total money available in reserve fund $102,940,345.

McGarity explained that "our best business practices recommends we have at least three months of operating expenses on hand" and in the reserve fund at all times.

For example, Georgia has a $153 million annual athletic budget. Three months of that budget equals $38.25 million. So even setting aside that prescribed (not mandated) $38.25 million, along with the debt services of approximately $13 million UGA would still have $64,690,345 at its disposal.

UGA legend Vince Dooley, the Bulldogs' head football coach (1964-1988) and athletic director (1979-2004), served in a more conservative era, athletic budgets nowhere near today's skyrocketing numbers.

Dooley indicated last Sunday that Georgia, even then, factored worst-case scenarios into its financial planning.

". I n case the worst possible thing could happen," Dooley told AJC.com columnist Mark Bradley on Sunday. "I'm sure that (current UGA administrators) are doing the same thing. You've got to have that kind of reserve in case you get into a catastrophe, and this could be a catastrophe

Magill Society Magic

Georgia had approximately $97.7 million in the reserve fund in June of 2011, the fiscal year McGarity took office. And yet, athletics has invested more than $200 million in facilities in the past decade while still increasing the reserves.

"The difference maker has been the Magill Society," McGarity said. "If we didn't have those resources coming in from those 1,200 (1m198) donors things would be drastically different."

The Magill Society was founded in Sept. of 2015. At the end of that fiscal year, the reserve fund number had dipped to $74.5 million, because UGA had more than $20 million of work occurring at various facilities, including the indoor football building.

McGarity makes no qualms about it, the Magill Society has been a game-charger and is at the heart of the Bulldogs' ability to maintain a strong and now pivotal reserve fund.

"They have donated or pledged more than $145 million toward our facilities (dating back to Sept. 2015," McGarity said. "Just think of our world if we didn't have the Magill Society step up. How would we pay for all of these new facilities."

Non-football projects, such as the soccer grandstand renovation (2018), the equestrian facility (2019) and the tennis facility renovation (Feb., 2020), continue to utilize reserve funds.

Georgia football, meanwhile, has become competitive in the football facilities arms race with Magill Society funds, which have coincided with the immediate success football coach Kirby Smart.

Kirby's impact

Smart, much like the Magill Society, has been a game-changer in his own right. The athletics' budget game is the same, but with Smart leading the Bulldogs' program to elite status on an annual basis, the stakes are higher.

RELATED: Kirby Smart more everywhere than ever before

Staff and recruiting costs have increased since Smart was hired. Some $173 million has been spent on football facilities since the 2016 season, including $81 million going toward a new football building right now.

It's a game of catch-up. According to one recent comparison, Georgia football facilities ranked just 8th in the SEC.

McGarity, who has worked alongside Smart during the Bulldogs' current football boom, said if not for Magill donations, UGA would need to take more drastic measures to stay competitive in the football facilities arms race.

"We'd have had to do one of three things," McGarity explained. "One, we wouldn't have been able to build these sort of facilities, or two, we would have had to increase our ticket prices substantially.

"Or three, we would have had to drain the majority of our reserves."

But with Smart leading Georgia to three consecutive SEC Championship Games along with a Rose Bowl victory, a Sugar Bowl victory and a College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance in the past three years the funds have continued to roll in.

Checks and balances

Collegiate athletics financial portfolios are a complex web of funds chiefly generated from designated league money, donations, seat licenses and ticket revenue and endowments.

There are checks and balances at each institutions, but they are often applied differently, unique to the respective schools' priorities and financial strategy.

Georgia, over the years, has been criticized by many for not spending as aggressively as rival programs during the facilities arms race.

Former UGA assistant and current Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt most notably called out the school for its lack of an indoor football facility at the end of Mark Richt's head coaching tenure.

But Georgia, pre-Magill Society, simply didn't have the same revenue model in place to spend liberally while maintaining what many are now realizing is an integral reserve fund.

McGarity, himself, took much of the blame for the school's conservative approach even though it pre-dated him back to Eaves and Dooley in the 1960s.

"What we do know is we've been fortunate to sleep at night throughout many years knowing we have the finical stability to whether a storm," McGarity said. "We just didn't know it could be a Category 5 Hurricane.

"We're cautiously optimistic that we won't have to utilize reserve funds or go down that path without football in the fall."

But should that day come, Georgia athletics is well-prepared to hunker down like few others.

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The post Georgia athletics prepared for what if,' more than $100 million in reserve fund appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • Tony Grimes included four teams in the long-awaited cutdown of his top four schools on Sunday afternoon. At this time, it looks like his choice is down to four schools: Georgia. North Carolina. Ohio State. Texas A&M. Final 4 @dhglover @Bubblesdnf @Giavanni_Ruffin @RivalsFriedman @BrianDohn247 @DemetricDWarren pic.twitter.com/oiINaCKm3U Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) May 31, 2020 Grimes released that quartet of options via his Twitter account. He still has established a plan to make his college commitment on December 1, 2020. @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/o63R0RlvwG Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) May 31, 2020 The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior from Princess Anne School in Virginia Beach rates as the nation's No. 1 CB and the No. 7 overall prospect for 2021 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. If you're looking for a quick refresh on all things Grimes, this DawgNation deep-drive profile will define his worth as a young man first and his abilities as a lockdown cornerback second. Grimes has been rated as the top of the board for months now on the weekly DawgNation 'Before the Hedges' program which airs every Wednesday on our Facebook and YouTube social channels. The 5-star prospect had planned to visit Georgia several times over the last few months prior to the global pandemic which sidelined all on-campus recruiting travel. That NCAA ban for both unofficial and official visits has since been extended to July 31. That decision was made by the NCAA over the last week. Grimes had only recently decided to start conducting the weekly zoom and recruiting contact calls he had been making over the last month during the coronavirus epidemic. He had taken a break from that activity. He had visits planned to see UGA in March, April and an official visit was already on the books for June 12. His father, Deon Glover, described an ascending interest level for the family in Georgia at that time. 'We've been to enough schools to say Hey if push came to shove and we need to make a decision now we can make a decision now' and we've been to enough schools multiple times to be able to say that,' Glover said. 'At least with the schools we like. We've been multiple times. With the exception of Georgia.' There is a clear interest here in Kirby Smart's program. 'What's going on at Georgia is elite mimic energy that you see in Clemson and some of the other top programs,' Glover said earlier this month. 'With the program itself. We learned a lot when we were down there the first time and of course, we were going to go back this time in March and go back again in April.' 'We had an official visit set up for June 12. We had put the gas in there with Georgia. Trying to get as much as we can about Georgia in a short period of time. But with those other schools, we have already got enough information on them. For real.' Check out the junior highlight reel for the Under Armour All-American selection below. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post BREAKING: Nation's No. 1 CB Tony Grimes includes UGA in his final four appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Former five-star USC quarterback JT Daniels announced Thursday he is transferring to Georgia. It remains to be seen what Daniels' impact will be on the Bulldogs in 2020, but a clearer picture is emerging of what could happen the following season. I predict with Daniels on the roster UGA will be the preseason No. 1 team for 2021 regardless of what happens in the upcoming season. This isn't because Daniels is a can't-miss prospect. Truthfully, there probably isn't such a thing. Despite his status as a former five-star recruit, Daniels struggled in his first season at USC completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes and throwing almost as many interceptions (10) as touchdowns (14). To complicate matters further, he's also recovering from an ACL injury and meniscus tear sustained at the beginning of last season. Had Daniels stayed at USC it's quite possible he wouldn't have been the starting quarterback given the success rising sophomore Kedon Slovis enjoyed after replacing the injured Daniels last year. However, Daniels was still a sought-after transfer, and the fact that UGA landed him is a major victory. Daniels' first season at USC in 2018 was a messy one for the Trojans. There were rumors that head coach Clay Helton would be fired, and there were changes made with offensive assistants. Graham Harrell was brought in as offensive coordinator last season, and Harrell has seemingly stabilized the program, but Daniels didn't get to benefit much from his coaching due to his injury. Yet even if Daniels' experience at USC wasn't great, the experience he gained there could possibly turn out to be great for Georgia. Fast forward to 2021. The Bulldogs are expected to have two former four-star signees, Carson Beck and D'wan Mathis, and are expecting the arrival of Brock Vandagriff, a five-star recruit from the 2021 class. The problem is Beck and Mathis aren't expected to have much experience by then and Vandagriff will be fresh out of high school. Daniels' time served as a starter for a Power Five program would make him the favorite to earn the job for UGA and his experience would be invaluable to the Bulldogs especially in comparison to some of the other expected national favorites. It's basically a given that quarterback Trevor Lawrence will leave Clemson the team UGA opens against in Charlotte in 2021 after his junior season is done this year, and the same thing can be assumed for Ohio State's Justin Fields. Playoff mainstay Alabama could have an experienced starter in former five-star signee Bryce Young by then, but the Crimson Tide loses a lot off its roster at other positions after 2020 and has been out-recruited by the Bulldogs two of the last three years. Oklahoma should still have Spencer Rattler at quarterback, and he could possibly be the Heisman favorite in 2021, but we've all seen what the Sooners defense looks like in the Playoff, and we should probably stop pretending they're a real contender. UGA adding Daniels into the mix with what could be as much as nine former consensus five-star recruits in either their third or fourth year in the program would be plenty to justify a preseason No. 1 ranking. However, before Daniels gets to make an impact in 2021, there's still the matter of what happens this season. Will Daniels receive immediate eligibility like other recent quarterback transfers have, or will he have to sit out a year? Your guess is as good as mine on that topic. I'm more confident speaking about what would happen if he is allowed to play this season. I wouldn't predict him to beat out UGA's other recent transfer quarterback, Jamie Newman from Wake Forest, for the starting job. The contrast between Neman and Daniels is an odd one. Daniels was frequently shaky for a team where quarterbacks typically thrive, and Newman was often solid for a team where quarterbacks are usually anonymous. It's hard to know how they'd fare when pitted against each other in a competition, but the assumption here is that the praise that's circled around Newman this offseason isn't all unjustified hype. I'm not going to make the mistake of discounting him just because a newer and shinier toy arrived at the doorstep. Either way, whether he's eligible this year or next, Daniels is a welcome addition to a UGA quarterback situation with too much uncertainty for a team that fashions itself as one of the best in America. Daniels' arrival also demonstrates that UGA coach Kirby Smart understands the most important function of any coach to add enough talent to his roster to feel certain he's given his team the best chance to win. Regardless of what happens this season, with the Bulldogs on top of the polls to start next year, it will be obvious that is exactly what Smart will have done. The post Opinion: A bold prediction for JT Daniels and UGA in 2021 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • QB room is gonna be full.' That was one family member's response Thursday afternoon when a text from one of my brothers passed along the surprise word that the Dawgs are getting another quarterback. Actually, observations about Georgia having a 'crowded' quarterback room were a fairly widespread reaction nationally, even among sports media types, as former Trojans starting quarterback JT Daniels announced he was transferring to UGA from the University of Southern California. After all, Daniels, a redshirt sophomore, will be joining a position group that already included four scholarship QBs as well as several preferred walk-ons (including Will Muschamp's son, Jackson, who turned down a scholarship at Colorado State to walk on at UGA). Currently on the roster are presumed starter Jamie Newman, a recent graduate transfer from Wake Forest; junior Stetson Bennett, last year's backup; redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis, who finally has been cleared to play after recovering from brain surgery; and incoming freshman Carson Beck. The Dawgs also have a commitment from 5-star Brock Vandagriff of Bogart, who's set to join Kirby Smart's team for the 2021 season. So, yes, that's a jam-packed QB room for new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to oversee , but I remain convinced of one thing: It will thin out. Let's face it, in an age when each of the past three Heisman Trophy winners and three of last year's Heisman finalists all had transferred from another school, you're not going to see any program stockpile highly rated QBs like FSU did in its heyday. You can carry a bunch of tailbacks successfully, because at least three of them probably will see considerable playing time, but that doesn't happen with quarterbacks, as the Dawgs have seen in recent years with Jacob Eason and Justin Fields transferring elsewhere when they couldn't dislodge Jake Fromm from the starter's spot. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if to see Georgia lose at least one of the quarterbacks currently on its roster before the season begins. And, looking ahead to next season, when Newman's one-and-done time at UGA is over, the eventual winner of the battle for the starter's job will be lucky to have even one of the current scholarship QBs sticking around to back him up. To borrow a phrase we've heard all too often over the past couple of months, that is the 'new normal' in college football. Very few elite QBs are inclined to wait on the sideline a couple of years for their chance to be the starter. That's why the transfer portal is so busy these days. So, yes, it's good for Georgia to have all these QBs on the roster right now, but it probably won't last very long. If Daniels gets his NCAA waiver, he'll be the most experienced QB on the roster after Newman, and he'll have three seasons of eligibility left. That's sparked a lot of speculation that Bennett may see the writing on the wall and decide he'll need to transfer elsewhere in order to see playing time. And, unless Mathis wows the coaches in camp and moves into starting contention, you've got to wonder if he'll stick around past this season, too. After Newman is gone, if the 2021 starting QB competition ends up being between Daniels, Beck and Vandagriff (assuming he doesn't take a redshirt year), you're talking about two 5-star players and a 4-star player. Nobody gets the luxury of carrying a QB roster like that anymore, so chances are that at least one, if not both, of the players who don't win the starting spot will move elsewhere as well. Yes, any coach would love to have a pair of highly rated backups as an insurance policy, but, again, that's not the new normal in college football: If you have an established starter, you're probably going to have to keep recruiting highly rated talent to compete with him, knowing that those who lose out are unlikely to be content sitting on the bench or playing mop-up duty more than one season. And, while Smart has been aces at drawing top QB talent to UGA, he so far hasn't been successful in keeping a highly rated backup from going elsewhere. CBS Sports' Barton Simmons summed it up nicely when he tweeted about Daniels' move: ' This is the way you have to recruit (if you're able to). Load the room with the best guys you can and assume some attrition.' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly noted in 2018, 'When you're recruiting, you're going to have to have it in your mind that if your No. 2 doesn't feel like he's going to get a shot, you may lose him. I've come to grips with it a couple years ago. I don't see it changing.' As for what Daniels' arrival in Athens means for the 2020 quarterback situation, there's been a lot of speculation that he might challenge Newman for the starter's spot, if he's given a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately for UGA. Some even have floated the idea that Smart brought Daniels in because he has concluded he needs an option besides Newman. I'm skeptical about that idea, however. Yes, Daniels was the third highest rated QB in the 2018 class (behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields), and only the second true freshman quarterback to start an opener for the Trojans. And, he did that after graduating one year early from the vaunted Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California (which also produced Bama's Bryce Young ) . Still, his freshman numbers were solid, but not spectacular (the USC team wasn't very good that year). And, while he did win the initial battle to keep the starting job last season, he lost it due to injury. Rising sophomore Kedon Slovis, who stepped in for Daniels and proceeded to shatter USC's freshman records on his way to Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year honors, was widely expected to retain his starting job this year, leaving Daniels as the odd man out, according to Ryan Kartje, the USC beat writer at the Los Angeles Times. Thus, Daniels transferred. Meanwhile, Newman is a dual passing-running threat who put up some impressive numbers the past couple of seasons at Wake Forest, and already is drawing NFL interest. If Daniels is eligible and physically able to participate fully in preseason camp, I'm sure he'll be given a chance to compete for the starter's job, and competition usually makes the eventual starter better (certainly, Fromm played better the two seasons when he had to beat out highly rated competition). However, the biggest reason I'm skeptical about Daniels' chances of taking the starter's spot this season is simply the fact that he's coming back from a major injury. Assuming preseason practice begins sometime in July or August (based on the current prevailing wind favoring starting the season on time), it still will be less than a year since Daniels suffered a season-ending ACL injury in USC's first game of last season. Had USC been able to hold spring practice this year, Daniels wouldn't have been cleared to participate fully, because he still was recovering from a second clean-up surgery on his knee. He is expected to be good to go by August, but it's the rare athlete who gets back in top form that quickly after rehabbing a knee. Remember, as good as Nick Chubb was in 2016, returning from knee surgery, it wasn't really until the 2017 season that he was his old self. And it wasn't until late last season that Zamir White, also coming back from knee surgery, appeared to be regain his form fully. So, while Daniels might be available as a backup in 2020, if needed, I tend to think that, in bringing him in to the program, Smart really has his eye more on 2021, and the chance to have an experienced QB behind center when the Dawgs open with Clemson in Charlotte. Finally, there's one more reason for Bulldog Nation to celebrate Daniels' arrival in Athens: Tennessee, which has been drawing considerable hype with its own recruiting lately, was hoping he'd wind up in Knoxville after he entered the transfer portal in April. Instead, we get the latest example of the stratospheric level at which Smart is recruiting these days. The post UGA quarterback room likely won't stay crowded' very long appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week, a number of protests have occurred across the country with regard to racism and police brutality. Georgia coach Kirby Smart shared his thoughts on the matter on Saturday afternoon. 'I firmly stand against of all kinds,' Smart said in a note posted to his Twitter account. 'I realize that I feel this differently, but I am hurting for the young black men on my team, I am hurting for the black men on our staff. I cannot imagine the agony, grief and fear that our black communities feel today and every other day. 'I do not have the answers but I am committed to moving with purpose and being part of the solutions. We have to make a change. We have to be better.' Just my thoughts pic.twitter.com/PMUB6y9e7J Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) May 30, 2020 Smart was not the only Georgia coach to speak out on the matter of race on Saturday, as a number of Georgia position coaches posted on their Twitter accounts about the issue. The likes of Glenn Schumann, Dan Lanning, Charlton Warren and Cortez Hankton all posted picture of them with the players they coach, while running backs coach Dell McGee shared a message from Martin Luther King Jr. 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' DR. MLK This can't continue! Praying for a better future. To whom much is given, much will be required. (Luke12:48) #CoachesStandForJustice Dell McGee (@DellMcGee) May 30, 2020 This is my family and I love them. They deserve to be treated with love, respect, and equality. Period. pic.twitter.com/EJN9UMepfT Glenn Schumann (@CoachSchuUGA) May 30, 2020 Couldn't have said it better. #Family #BePartOfTheSolution https://t.co/rs91AqVR1y pic.twitter.com/9ipPke23o4 Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) May 30, 2020 'The time is always right to do what is right' MLK. My family deserves respect, love and justice! #Together #Family #BePartOfTheSolution https://t.co/CXxNABOjgk pic.twitter.com/SbTAyaWheE Charlton Warren (@CoachCwarren) May 30, 2020 Respect. Equality. Justice. Love. #Family #bepartofthesolution https://t.co/TY5TiZiUox pic.twitter.com/rDdgmMn5Al Cortez Hankton Jr. (@Coach_Hankton) May 30, 2020 Hankton, the Georgia wide receivers coach, also posted a lengthy message about why he got into coaching and the importance of being a role model to so many. 'To all my players, BOTH former and current, I love you,' Hankton wrote. 'My ears and heart will always be open for any conversation. Have awareness for the things that are occurring around you It's ok to feel a certain way.' We all got into this profession for a reason to lead, love, and develop. More importantly to be role models. What you STAND for means everything! Just my thoughts. Just my heart. pic.twitter.com/lqMx604hc1 Cortez Hankton Jr. (@Coach_Hankton) May 30, 2020 Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, the only African American head football coach in the SEC also posted a lengthy thread regarding the matters facing the country. Only to find that following the rules can sometimes not be enough to keep yourself alive. It's a confusing dilemma to black men, which breeds anger and mistrust because the rules to this game keep changing. Derek Mason (@CoachDerekMason) May 30, 2020 Georgia will have players returning to campus in the coming days, with players able to begin voluntary workouts starting on June 8. Smart spoke earlier this week and outlined the precautions the school will go through to make sure players are safe. Related: Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 'I've provided those guys information and each position coach provides his position group information, so we're anticipating everybody coming back on a voluntary basis,' Smart said. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation WATCH: Breaking down the many angles of new Georgia football transfer quarterback JT Daniels Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the addition of JT Daniels? Georgia football podcast: Separating fact from fiction with JT Daniels' UGA transfer Opinion: The 5 UGA players most likely to lead the SEC in a statistical category BREAKING: Elite OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision WATCH: QB transfer JT Daniels accurate, cerebral,' per USC beat writer Ryan Young Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Social media split on reaction to Georgia football landing JT Daniels The post Kirby Smart, Georgia assistant coaches speak out regarding death of George Floyd, protests appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Dylan Fairchild is a state heavyweight wrestling champion and an All-American football player out of West Forsyth High School. Needless to say, he is a priority target for the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2021 recruiting cycle. He was so well-regarded by Georgia line coach Matt Luke, that Luke wanted to make sure he offered him in person earlier this year. When he told DawgNation this week he was ready to make his college decision, he spoke with a conviction and a clear purpose that we rarely hear from a recruit. Especially not one rated as the nation's No. 2 OG and the No. 40 overall prospect (247Sports) for the class of 2021. Toss in the global pandemic denying all the college visits he thought needed to take. Sprinkle in the fact that he never thought he'd be committing this early regardless of the COVID-19 concerns. Fairchild just knows. He makes a very telling case. 'It was always Georgia and Auburn,' Fairchild said. 'I think it was those two. Those were the closest but I think that Georgia was there. I think I was sitting there and I don't think I had that two hour or three-hour conversation with other schools like I did with coach Matt Luke and coach [Kirby Smart] to get to know each other.' 'To get to really really know each other. The more I am around Coach Luke and I see his style and the way he coaches and takes care of his kids, the more I have grown closer with him. We've built a very good bond.' The 4-star prospect becomes the ninth public commitment of the 2021 recruiting class in Athens. That moves the Bulldogs up to the nation's No. 12 class for 2021 on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings. 'Georgia is going to be the best of both worlds for me,' he said. 'Even with football, I am picking a school that even without football I would want to go too. You never know what could happen. This football life could end in one moment. I think I am going to go to a place where I am going to be happy with football and I am going to be happy with school, too.' 'I think Georgia is really the best of both worlds. I think all the pieces of a national championship are falling right into Georgia's hands. I want to be a part of that and do something special over there. I think that me and a few other guys have that same mindset. I'm just ready to go.' 'I've been talking with Brock [Vandagriff] and Micah Morris and a few other guys and we are all with this. We are ready to be a part of something really special at Georgia.' Dylan Fairchild: This is one committed member of the class He actually knew he wanted to be a Bulldog before he got his first Georgia hat. The West Forsyth rising senior called the Georgia staff at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. That was a private chat and he made his commitment. He then joined DawgNation for a special recruiting announcement on its Facebook and YouTube social channels. When Fairchild sent out his tweet letting the world know he was a Bulldog, he was live on the air with DawgNation. 'If I were to do this without the whole coronavirus thing going around I would go see the Georgia coaches and do it in person,' Fairchild said. 'It just wanted to give them that respect and call them. Person to person. Just tell them I was 100 percent with this and ready to go. I'm ready to get to work already.' It was a bit unexpected here, but he said the fact he couldn't visit the Georgia coaches in person actually helped him come to that decision faster than he ever expected. 'The Zoom meetings really helped me more,' Fairchild said. 'It really made it feel like I was doing a one-on-one with the coaches on a recruiting visit. I don't think it would have been the same for me with that if I was on a recruiting visit on the campus at Georgia. You can really ask the questions you would really want to ask face-to-face and in some circumstances it helped even more than doing it when you are around a bunch of people and have a lot of activities going on.' 'I think in my case the Zooms actually helped me more.' Fairchild ranks as the nation's No. 7 OG and the No. 135 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He grew up a Georgia fan with his family barking at the TV every Saturday in the fall. His family is made up of mostly Bulldogs with a few Georgia Tech fans sprinkled in. 'I don't know it is just like it kind of all matches up,' Fairchild said. 'There's just no way that if I went to any other school. There's no way at any point that I would regret it if I went to Georgia. It was just meant to happen. All the recruiting put aside, I just think that degree from Georgia is just going to be the best fit for me. I've never been more excited about something.' Check out his junior highlight reel. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. The post BREAKING: Elite OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.