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    Two female athletes at Idaho State University want a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new state law banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports, the first such law in the nation. Madison Kenyon, 19, of Johnston, Colorado, and Mary Marshall, 20, of Twin Falls, Idaho, run track and cross-country on scholarships at the university. Each said they’ve lost to a transgender athlete from the University of Montana and contend that transgender athletes are unfair competition. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the two athletes. They filed the request to side with the state of Idaho in fighting the lawsuit and are asking that the lawsuit be dismissed. “Female defeat by a male athlete is uniquely demoralizing due to the elemental inequity involved in being subjected to the match-up in the first place,” court documents state. “Male intrusion represents the elimination from female sport of the relationship of effort to success that makes the draw of sport and competitive striving what it is.” Republican Gov. Brad Little in May signed into law the measure that received overwhelming support in the Republican-dominated House and Senate, but was universally opposed by Democrats. It takes effect July 1. The ban applies to all teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. A girls’ or women’s team will not be open to transgender students who identify as female. The American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice in mid-April filed the lawsuit contending the law violates the U.S. Constitution because it is discriminatory and an invasion of privacy. The groups also said the law is a violation of Title IX, the 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in education. The groups are asking the court to permanently prevent Idaho from enforcing the law. Backers said the law, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, is needed because transgender female athletes have physical advantages. They also cite Title IX, contending that allowing transgender athletes on girls’ and women’s teams would negate nearly 50 years of progress women have made since that law took effect and that is credited with opening up sports to female athletes, and along with it scholarships and other opportunities. Specifically, the lawsuit contends the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it is discriminatory and the 4th Amendment’s protections against invasion of privacy because of tests required should an athlete’s gender be challenged. Two plaintiffs are bringing the lawsuit. One is an unnamed Boise area high school student who is cisgender. Cisgender refers to someone whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person was identified as having at birth. The other is Lindsay Hecox, 19, who will be a sophomore this fall at Boise State University and hopes to qualify for the women’s cross-country team. She competed on the boys’ team at a Moorpark, California, high school before transitioning after graduating. The NCAA has a policy allowing transgender athletes to compete. But the sponsor of the Idaho law, Republican Barbara Ehardt, has called the NCAA policy “permissive.” In February, the families of three Connecticut female high school runners filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block transgender athletes from participating in girls sports. The families contend that allowing athletes with male anatomy to compete has deprived their daughters of track titles and scholarship opportunities.
  • Kyle Busch says he supports wearing a mask in public so “we all can take care of our neighbor' amid the coronavirus pandemic, a rare instance of the two-time NASCAR champion wading into a social issue. The reigning Cup champion rarely speaks on non-racing issues, but Busch entered the debate after images from short tracks over the weekend showed packed grandstands with little social distancing and few people wearing masks. Busch retweeted a photo from South Alabama Speedway in Ozark, Alabama, and added his own message Sunday before the Coca-Cola 600. He applauded fans for supporting their local short tracks but suggested mandatory masks for admission for “healthier practices.” The responses were mixed, not unexpected when it comes to the most polarizing driver in NASCAR. Busch is beloved by his “Rowdy Nation” base but loathed by others for his overwhelming success and confident, sometimes confrontational manner. After winning the Xfinity Series race Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway — his 97th career victory in that series — Busch was asked why he stepped into the debate on mask usage. “With where we’re at today, people are saying that masks don’t mean anything,” Busch said. “I still think there’s a sense of human hygiene and taking care of your neighbor. You go to a racetrack and you cough because you get water down the wrong pipe or whatever it might be, or if you sneeze or whatever, at least you are keeping some of that to yourself rather than just spraying, right?” Busch added he doesn't think masks can fully stop the spread of the coronavirus but believes they are useful when social distancing can't be practiced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. “I saw the grandstands packed and just figured, ‘Hey, you know, we all can take care of our neighbor,'” he said. 'That’s just kind of my idea. It’s arguable whether or not they really work. I just think it’s common courtesy.” Under the health plan NASCAR is using since resuming its season on May 17, masks are required for all personnel on track property. Spectators are currently not permitted and NASCAR does not expect that to change through Talladega on June 21, which is as far as the schedule has been revised to date. Everyone permitted to attend a race is on a pre-approved list and must pass through a health screening area before they can enter the venue. Masks must be worn starting at the health screening area, and NASCAR has said anyone not following guidelines is subject to a $50,000 fine and removal from the property. There have been no flagrant violations, but fans did note that Busch and Chase Elliott were not wearing masks or socially distancing when Busch briefly consoled Elliott on pit road moments after Elliott had lost the 600. In that instance, both had just removed their helmets and climbed from their cars and neither had yet retrieved his mask. Since NASCAR's return, Busch has worn a variety of colorful masks that often pair with his firesuit or showcase primary sponsor M&M's. On the track, Busch finally scored a win Tuesday night in his grueling return from the 10-week shutdown. He entered all seven of the races NASCAR announced in its first revised schedule, a span that concludes Wednesday night with the fourth Cup race in 11 days.
  • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he's confident the NFL will play in 2020, with or without spectators. “I think there definitely will be a football season this year,” Ross said Tuesday during an interview on CNBC. “The real question is will there be fans in the stadiums?' The NFL has said it expects to play a full schedule beginning Sept. 10, but is preparing contingency plans in case the coronavirus pandemic makes venue changes or games without fans necessary. “Right now, today, we’re planning on having some fans in the stadiums,” Ross said. “But I think the NFL is very flexible so that we will be able to start on time and bring that entertainment that is really so needed to all of us in this country.” The league has kept to its offseason schedule of conducting free agency, the draft and the release of the schedule. Some teams reopened training complexes on a limited basis last week. The NBA, NHL and MLB have been idled by the pandemic. 'One thing we miss is our sports,” Ross said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize it until they no longer have it. Certainly the NFL, I think, will be ready to go. I know we’re all looking forward to it. I know I am.” Earlier this month, the Dolphins said their stadium committed to becoming the first to receive accreditation from a cleaning industry association for infectious disease prevention efforts. CEO Tom Garfinkel said the team is considering social distancing proposals for games, and perhaps limiting crowds to 15,000. “We’ve done a lot of things down in Miami,' Ross said. “We’re prepared either way, and hopefully there will be fans in the stadiums.' Ross, a New York real estate developer and chairman of Related Companies, said the hotel and retail industries are being hit hardest by the pandemic. “You are going to have such a flood of cases going to the bankruptcy court,” Ross said. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine
  • It’s a way different kind of year, and so The ESPYs will be, too. For the first time, the show will feature three hosts in remote settings and a changed focus. Instead of honoring the past year's top athletes and moments in sports, the show is celebrating heroism and humanitarian aid. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, soccer star Megan Rapinoe and three-time WNBA champion Sue Bird will preside over the two-hour broadcast airing June 21 on ESPN. All three live in the Seattle area. Rapinoe and Bird are partners who share a household, which conveniently eases some logistics. Wilson’s singer-wife, Ciara, is likely to make an appearance, too. “We liked the idea of having athletes from diverse sports that represent something for every fan,” show producer Jeff Smith said by phone. “We’re finding ways to make this feel really connected to the audience. They’re so ready to reach out to this community.” It's quite a departure from the red carpet strutting and 5,000 audience members at the show's longtime home in Los Angeles. Instead of its usual July date during baseball's All-Star break, the show has been rescheduled and re-imagined as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Smith said there's been a lot to learn in assembling a pre-produced show with everyone in different locations. “Typically, we are all shoulder to shoulder and looking through cuts and arguing through story ideas,” he said. “We found a different way to connect with each other.” Shortly before the U.S. shut down because of the coronavirus, the show suffered a blow when longtime executive producer Maura Mandt died unexpectedly at age 53 on Feb. 28. “I wish we could have done this show together because she would have a really interesting perspective on how we’re doing this,” said Smith, who worked with Mandt at her production company. “This is the first one of its kind. Maura’s signature will always be on this show.” The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Pat Tillman Award for Service and Jimmy V Award for Perseverance are among the honors to be presented. But there won't be the usual long acceptance speeches read off the teleprompter. The producers hope to show the winners getting a call informing them of the honor at the same time the audience finds out. That involves colluding with family and team members to lure them to a video screen at the appropriate moment. “We really love this sort of pure reaction,” Smith said. “We found ways to really be able to capture it.” The ESPYs are typically defined by viral moments rather than viewers remembering who won what. Without a live show, Smith said he still aims to mine those nuggets. “We're finding access to athletes and celebrities that in some way will surprise the audience,” he said. Comedy and music are always part of the show, and Wilson, Rapinoe and Bird will get a chance to show off a sense of humor. However, the host's usual opening monologue poking fun at athletes and controversy doesn't quite fit with this year's theme. In a different time, the Houston Astros cheating scandal would have been ripe for the picking. “On this side of the pandemic, it's hard to really care about that,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president and editor at large. The show is taking a forward-looking approach rather than lament what the world has endured during the COVID-19 crisis. “In the not-too-distant future after the show airs, we’ll see a return to live sports that will drive a sense of hope,' King said. 'We hope to have this show be really reflective of that.” ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The lull in the recruiting cycle for Georgia's 2021 recruiting class is no more. The board for Georgia in the 2021 class is now up to eight after the commitment of in-state OLB Chaz Chambliss to the class on Tuesday morning. Chambliss, who ranks as the nation's No. 18 OLB and No. 255 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite, shared his decision to commit to Georgia in a commitment video release from his Twitter account. @KirbySmartUGA @CoachDanLanning @Dawgs247 @ChadSimmons_ @Mansell247 @CoachSimmonsFB @CoachHoon @RecruitGeorgia @jeffsentell @Carrollton_High pic.twitter.com/SuD7ifAGmo Chaz Chambliss (@ChazChambliss) May 26, 2020 Chambliss is now the second OLB prospect to join the 2021 Georgia class. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound thumper is now the program's seventh in-state recruit in the 2021 class. Pennsylvania OLB Elijah Jeudy is the lone exception. The post BREAKING: 4-star OLB Chaz Chambliss has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.
  • With sports around the world shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Anti-Doping Agency is looking to artificial intelligence as a new way to detect athletes who cheat. WADA is funding four projects in Canada and Germany, looking at whether AI could spot signs of drug use which might elude even experienced human investigators. It's also grappling with the ethical issues around the technology. Athletes won't be suspended solely on the word of a machine. Instead, AI is a tool to flag up suspect athletes and make sure they get tested. “When you are working for an anti-doping organization and you want to target some athletes, you look at their competition calendar and you look at their whereabouts, you look at the previous results and so forth,' WADA senior executive director Olivier Rabin told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “But there is (only) so much a brain can process in terms of information.' The pandemic has shut down anti-doping testing in many countries, but it's pushed AI work to the fore, since much research can be done remotely. Analyzing an athlete's blood or urine sample is about more than just finding a performance-enhancing substance. Tests also track numerous biomarkers like an athlete's red blood cell count or testosterone levels. That kind of information is already used by anti-doping bodies in the “biological passport” program to detect the effects of using something like the blood-booster EPO, the substance used by Lance Armstrong. WADA hopes AI can help improve that system by tracking patterns between those markers and cross-referencing them with other information. One of WADA's projects aims to make EPO detection more precise and another hopes to do the same for steroids. Machine learning systems can be taught by showing them confirmed “dirty” and “clean” profiles to detect similarities which may not be visible on the surface. There's also what Rabin calls a “global' project in Montreal which could predict the risk of doping by evaluating data from a wider range of sources, possibly including the information athletes are required to file about their whereabouts. Athletes' personal data and even the names of the cities where they live and train will be anonymized because of privacy concerns. “It's been fairly complex discussions ... to try to find a balance between, you know, again, protecting data, protecting individuals and making sure that you can still reveal the potential of AI, if there is any,” Rabin said. Athletes' results in competition aren't yet part of the mix. “Maybe in the future but not for now,” Rabin said. AI can be an expensive area of science, with specialists in high demand. Three projects in Canada cost WADA about $425,000 over two years, with matching funding from the province of Quebec's research funds, and there's another $60,000 for the EPO project in Germany, WADA said. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATHENS Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock says he has yet to decide if he'll make himself eligible for the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft. Hancock, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound right-hander from Cairo, Ga., has been projected as a top-five pick. Baseball America projected him as the No. 4 pick. 'At the end of the day you take it one day at a time, I want to take things slow,' Hancock said on a Zoom conference call with reporters on Tuesday. The Major League Baseball Draft has been widely reported as taking place on June 10-11. The first round is expected to start at 7 p.m. on June 10 and be televised by the MLB Network. 'The great thing about the Major League Baseball Draft is you can see how things play out, you don't have to declare,' Hancock said. 'There's a lot of uncertainty about where people might go and how the draft might play out. 'I don't really know what's going to happen. But whatever does happen, I'll make the best of it, and I'll make the best decision for me and my family.' Hancock, who was 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA when the season was suspended in March, said even if the season was still underway he wouldn't necessarily have a decision to announce at this point. 'At this point in our season, the only thing I'd be focusing on is pitching in Hoover (at the SEC Baseball Tournament) and getting focused on the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We had a really good group of guys. I knew in my heart this was going to be the year to break through the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We were primed to play our best baseball in May and June. We certainly had fun in the 18 games we played.' The Bulldogs were off to a 14-4 start this when the season was postponed on March 12 before ultimately being canceled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia was ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today at the time. It was the program's highest ranking since the 2008 team was No. 2 after advancing to the College World Series Finals. Hancock, one of the three team captains, was a Baseball America preseason All-America and on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list. It didn't take long for Hancock to show his form, as he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 9-0 win over Santa Clara on Feb. 21. In his final start before the season was suspended, Hancock matched his career high with 12 strikeouts and no walks in 7.1 innings in a combined shutout win over UMass. 'A lot of people have their opinions on me,' Hancock said. 'I love to compete, I love to win, and I love to work hard.' Hancock was just as impressive off the field while attending Georgia. Hanckock was named to the 2020 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team on Monday, an honor highlighting is community work. A member of the UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Hancock also took part in the annual Grady County HELP Agency, doing volunteer work to assist in providing necessities and toys to more than 500 families. The post Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock undecided on 2020 MLB Draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • If World TeamTennis gets its way, Grand Slam champions Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens could be among the first tennis players to compete in front of fans after the coronavirus pandemic prompted lockdowns around the globe. WTT said Tuesday it is planning to allow up to 500 spectators at each of its outdoor matches during a three-week season from July 12 to Aug. 2 at a resort in West Virginia. The league also announced an increase in total prize money to $5 million this year, $1.5 million more than for its 2019 season. All tennis events sanctioned by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation are on hold until at least late July because of the COVID-19 outbreak. That includes the French Open, which was supposed to have started its 15-day main draw Sunday but was postponed until September, and Wimbledon, which was canceled outright for the first time in 75 years. But WTT is not affiliated with those tours — no ATP or WTA ranking points are available for its matches — and does not need to abide by their decisions about when it is OK to compete. Because of the pandemic, World TeamTennis is bringing all nine of its teams to one site — The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia — instead of having matches played around the United States. And unlike smaller exhibition tennis events around the world that have been staged without any fans present, WTT intends to sell tickets for one-fifth of a 2,500-seat outdoor stadium. There also will be an indoor court set up in case it is needed; spectators will not be allowed to watch there. WTT CEO Carlos Silva said in a recent interview he has been monitoring other sports events taking place to see how they handled health protocols, including UFC fights and NASCAR racing. Neither of those sports allowed spectators at their returns to action this month. Among the players the WTT said will participate in its matches are Kenin, who won the Australian Open in January, before sanctioned tennis was suspended because of the virus in March; Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up; and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who have won 16 Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles as a team. ___ Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich ___ More AP Tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to announce the league’s return to play format this afternoon. Bettman is set to make a televised address at 4:30 p.m. EDT about what hockey will look like if the NHL can resume the season this summer. That means a 24-team straight-to-playoffs format with the league’s other seven teams having their seasons ended. The Players’ Association voted last week to approve the 24-team format proposed by the Return to Play committee. It involves the top four teams in each conference playing a mini-tournament for seeding, while the other 16 face off in best-of-five series to set the field. There is still no timetable for the resumption of game action or when players can return to team facilities for voluntary workouts. This announcement does come on the heels of the league and NHLPA unveiling protocols for those workouts, including a limit of six players on the ice at a time. ___ Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Tuesday that as long as the NFL’s Giants and Jets and the NHL’s Devils follow health and medical protocols, they could open training camps or even hold competition. The NFL’s preseason and training camps wouldn’t begin until midsummer — teams are doing virtual workouts in place of the usual on-field activities because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the NHL is planning ways to complete the 2019-20 season. Should those plans include the Devils, they now can reopen their training facilities. “Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition — if their leagues choose to move in that direction,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, and personnel.” A Jets spokesman said: “We are working closely with Gov. Murphy’s office, the league and our medical staff to establish prudent, health and safety measures for our staff and players. Based on those guidelines, we will begin to open our facility using a phased approach at a time that is the most practical for our operations.” The Giants echoed those sentiments and said: “With today’s announcement by the governor, we are finalizing our plans to reopen the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. We will continue to have as many employees as possible working remotely. For employees who need to return to work at our facility, we expect to begin that process next week, and we will do so in a systematic and safe way that adheres to the state’s guidelines and NFL protocols.” ___ Formula One carmaker McLaren says 1,200 jobs will be lost across its entire group’s operations because of the coronavirus outbreak. It was not immediately clear how the cuts would affect the group’s F1 operation. The sport has yet to start its 2020 season amid the pandemic. The McLaren Group says “the cancellation of motorsport events, the suspension of manufacturing and retail activities around the world and reduced demand for technology solutions have all led to a sudden impact” on its revenue-generating activities. McLaren says the reduced budget-cap level for F1 teams also led to the job losses. The cuts represent about a quarter of the group’s workforce. McLaren executive chairman Paul Walsh says “we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth.” ___ World TeamTennis says it is planning to allow up to 500 spectators at outdoor matches during its three-week season from July 12 to Aug. 2 at a resort in West Virginia. All tennis events sanctioned by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation are on hold at least until late July because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the WTT is not affiliated with those tours and does not need to abide by their decisions about when it is OK to compete. No ATP or WTA ranking points are available for its matches. The WTT says it is increasing its prize money to $5 million. That is $1.5 million more than for its 2019 season. The league is bringing all nine of its teams to one site at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, because of the pandemic instead of having matches around the United States. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. A deeper dive into Georgia football recruiting efforts in the metro Atlanta area Since Kirby Smart took over as Georgia's head coach in December of 2015 and including the 2021 class, the state of Georgia has produced 202 blue-chip recruits, which are defined as 4 or 5-star prospects using the 247Sports Composite database. Of those recruits, 118 58 percent of them have come from nine counties that make up the metro Atlanta area, defined as the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette and Henry per the Georgia State of Tourism website. On average the metro Atlanta area produces more blue-chip recruits than the likes of Alabama, Louisiana and Ohio. Alvin Kamara, Derrick Brown and the Atlanta Falcons' 2020 first-round pick AJ Terrell all came from the area. It is one of the best recruiting areas in the country from both a high-end and volume standpoint. But in recent seasons Georgia is relying less and less on the Atlanta area to add to its recruiting haul, even as it continues to sign elite recruiting classes. In the 2019 and 2020 cycles, Georgia signed just five prospects from the area and just one of the 10 5-star prospects. Over that same time span, Clemson and Tennessee have also signed five prospects with Alabama landing six. So should Georgia be doing a better job recruiting the metro Atlanta area, or is it just too unrealistic to expect one school to dominate the area? Does Georgia need to re-prioritize how it recruits the area? The numbers show that Georgia, over Smart's tenure, has actually done the best job of any college program in terms of recruiting the area. But a handful of schools are making not insignificant strides. And there's one county in particular that Georgia has repeatedly come up short in. And it happens to be the one that produces more blue-chip recruits than any other in the Atlanta area. It's more metro Atlanta than the whole state When comparing the blue-chip recruits that come from the metro Atlanta area to that of the rest of the state, the data shows that Georgia has done a much better job recruiting the elite prospects from outside the Atlanta area as opposed to those hugging Interstate-285. Georgia has landed 21 blue-chip signees from the metro Atlanta area since Smart's first signing class in 2016. That makes up just over 20 percent of all blue-chip recruits from the area. The rest of the state of Georgia has had 84 prospects ranked as blue-chip recruits. The Bulldogs and Smart have signed or received commitments from 29 of those prospects, good for 34.5 percent of all non-Atlanta area prospects. In this cycle, the metro Atlanta recruits have also made commitments sooner than some of their counterparts. For this cycle, there are 28 total blue-chip prospects in the state. Of the 15 blue-chip prospects from the metro Atlanta area, 12 have already committed. For the rest of the state, only six of those prospects have committed. The 2021 class perhaps best illustrates how Georgia has gone about recruiting the state of Georgia in recent seasons. The Bulldogs have only one commitment from a metro Atlanta prospect, 4-star defensive lineman Jonathan Jefferson. But Georgia has commitments from three blue-chip prospects who all come from outside the metro Atlanta area, including 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. That means that while Georgia has missed out on some of those elite Atlanta prospects, such as linebacker Barrett Carter and cornerback Jordan Hancock, a number of the best players in the state, such as 5-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims and 4-star wide receiver Deion Colzie, are still available for the Bulldogs to land. A closer look at Gwinett County Of the 202 blue-chip prospects Georgia has produced over the past five years, 42 have come from Gwinett County. The county produces the most blue-chips in the entire state and is one of the top talent producers in the entire country. And in Smart's time as the head coach at Georgia, he's landed just three blue-chip recruits from the area, with the last being Warren Ericson in the 2018 signing class. So when people complain about Georgia's recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area, they're most likely wondering why the Bulldogs haven't done a better job recruiting Georgia's top county. The 2021 class once again illustrates Georgia's struggles in this part of the state. The top three players in Gwinett County also double as the top three players in the metro Atlanta area. And all of them have already committed to playing outside of the state. Carter and Hancock, teammates at Suwanee, Ga.'s North Gwinnett High School committed to Clemson. Those two both play at positions of need for Georgia in this cycle. Speaking before his decision, Carter said that Georgia was a finalist in part because it was the hometown team. But Carter still ended up picking the Tigers, who are only about 30 minutes farther away. While being the local team does often gives Georgia a foot in the door, it's usually not enough on its own to convince one of the country's best prospects that it is the best place for his future. Related: What Barrett Carter's decision means for Georgia and where the Bulldogs go next in 2021 recruiting Then there's running back Cody Brown. He stars for Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga as he rushed for 1,676 yards in his junior season. While Georgia wants to take two running backs in this class, Brown committed to Tennessee earlier in May. Georgia already has one commitment in the cycle from running back Lovasea Carroll, originally from Warrenton, Ga., before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. The Bulldogs are also well-positioned with Donovan Edwards, a running back from West Bloomfield, Mich., who is a higher rated prospect than Brown. In recent cycles Georgia has shown it has no problem looking outside of the Peach State to land top talent. The last cycle saw Georgia bring in Kendall Milton from Clovis, Calif. In the 2018 cycle, Georgia went to North Carolina for Zamir White and Miami for James Cook. The 2017 cycle saw them land D'Andre Swift from Philadelphia. Given that Georgia is RBU' and can use that brand nationally, it's probably not a coincidence that Elijah Holyfield is the only metro Atlanta running back Georgia has signed since Smart has taken over. Of the six blue-chip prospects from Gwinett in the 2021 cycle, all of them are already committed to schools other than Georgia. And each of them will play for team's Georgia will see on its 2021 schedule in Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. The 5-star level Gwinett currently doesn't have any 5-star prospects for this recruiting class, but the 2019 class saw the country produce five 5-star prospects. And all five of them elected to play their college football outside of the state. Across the rest of the metro Atlanta area though, the Bulldogs have done much better at attracting the 5-star prospects. The Bulldogs have gone into Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb and Henry counties to land a 5-star prospect. Gwinett is the only county that has produced a 5-star prospect that Smart hasn't landed at least one from dating back to the 2016 cycle. But while the Bulldogs may not have landed the likes of an Arik Gilbert or an Owen Pappoe, they've more often than not shown they can recover and land an elite prospect from outside this footprint. Pappoe, who played for Grayson High School in Gwinett County and ultimately signed with Auburn, was a key linebacker target in the 2019 cycle. After Georgia missed out on him, it pivoted and landed Nakobe Dean out of Lake Horn, Miss. Dean was actually a higher-rated prospect in the cycle and had a promising freshman season for the Bulldogs. Related: Georgia LB Nakobe Dean on path to greatness by all measures Georgia did something similar at the wide receiver spot in 2019. After seeing Jadon Haselwood de-commit and sign with Oklahoma, the Bulldogs flipped George Pickens, who went on to have a better freshman season than Haselwood. County UGA commit/signee Fulton 6 Cobb 5 Dekalb 4 Gwinett 3 Henry 2 Douglas 1 This is where Georgia's national recruiting success, especially in the past two seasons, has really helped make up for some of those misses in the metro Atlanta area. 'We might have been second or third on a national kid that was a really good player. Say a Kendall (Milton), Say a Kelee (Ringo), but we won a lot of those,' Smart said while discussing Georgia's 2020 signing class in February. 'The other part is we lost some instate battles that were really, really good players.' 'So I think the two of those merged just sort of happened at unique positions where we would've taken the in-state guy or the out of state guy. It just so happened we got the out of state guy.' The growing orange concern As Smart mentioned, Georgia has been missing out more on in-state players. So with Georgia getting more and more of its elite players from outside the Peach State, which schools are hurting the Bulldogs the most, especially inside the metro Atlanta area? The biggest one to know is the Clemson Tigers. Under Dabo Swinney the Tigers have always done well in the state, while landing the likes of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. But in recent cycles, they've put in even more focus on the Atlanta area and it has paid off. The Tigers signed multiple Atlanta area prospects in each of the last five signing classes, including 5-star defensive end Myles Murphy and 5-star cornerback Andrew Booth in the last two cycles. And they've gotten off to a strong start in the 2021 cycle, as Clemson already has commitments from four Atlanta-area blue-chippers, including the top two overall talents in Hancock and Carter. The other team that has most recently made significant progress in Atlanta is Tennessee. The Volunteers have also landed multiple signees in each of the past two recruiting cycles, and have two commitments in the 2021 class in Brown and 4-star wide receiver Julian Nixon. As Jeremy Pruitt continues to become more established at Tennessee, it's clear it Atlanta is going to become an even bigger and more crucial part of his program. And that likely will come at the expense of Georgia, even though the Bulldogs continue to do a better job of recruiting the area than any other program. And after Alabama got shut out in the 2018 cycle, it signed six blue-chip prospects over the past two cycles. Unlike Tennessee and Clemson though it holds no 2021 commitments from one of the prospects in the area. The fact that just about every major SEC power is or needs to recruit Atlanta at a high level only makes things more difficult for Georgia. It won't be like it was for USC with the Los Angeles or Miami recruiting south Florida for those super teams of the late 1980's and early 90's. There's simply too much regional competition in metro Atlanta for Georgia to dominate it, as opposed to how LSU handles New Orleans. What you'll notice about the list above is that all but one of these teams is an SEC program, and Clemson essentially operates as one from the comfort of the ACC. Atlanta isn't just responsible for supplying the home-state Bulldogs with top recruits, it's a key part of several of the best programs in the nation's top conference. From a pure numbers standpoint, sure Georgia could do a better job of recruiting the metro Atlanta. If Smart and his staff had ignored positional need and signed just the 22 blue-chip recruits from the metro Atlanta area in the 2020 class, Georgia would've finished with the No. 4 overall recruiting class. But in doing so, the Bulldogs then probably don't get a Milton, a Ringo, a Mekhail Sherman or a Marcus Rosemy. All players who figure to be huge pieces of what Georgia continues to build in the coming seasons. Missing out on a Carter or a Gilbert at the moment should be seen a miss, given in the last two cycles those two players have played at a position of need for the Georgia program. But when the Bulldogs are able to go out land a Darnell Washington and a possibly a Smael Mondon instead, the misses in the metro Atlanta aren't a reason to question Smart's recruiting results. Georgia is still the only program in the country to sign a top-three recruiting class in each of the previous four recruiting cycles. Those first two cycles saw Georgia lean heavily on the metro Atlanta area. These last two have seen Georgia skew more nationally for those elite recruits. And while Clemson and Tennessee have picked up a few more wins in the area, they're not exactly storming the gates and raiding the area for all of the top recruits. The Bulldogs are still getting their fair share and more so than any other program. It's just that no program, not even a Georgia program that is among the national elite in the country, can be expected to dominate the metro Atlanta area from a recruiting standpoint. The area is just too deep and too vital to so many other programs for that to happen. Full list of all metro Atlanta recruits since 2016 More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his 'family' feeling at UGA Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return Georgia football podcast: An example of Jamie Newman hype that Kirby Smart probably likes Jamaree Salyer has been one of the big winners of Georgia's offseason Kirby Smart reveals thoughts on return, Georgia outlines voluntary workout transition plan Why aggressiveness, not athleticism, could mark the most important difference between Jamie Newman and Jake Fromm Dawgs on Twitter My Big dogs working! pic.twitter.com/0T5632Q8J1 Outlaw The Strength Coach (@outlaw_coach) May 25, 2020 Tuff https://t.co/1XJeVmuSfY Justin Shaffer (@ShafferJustin54) May 23, 2020 Sounds Before the Snap with @CoachSchuUGA #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/WQhdVvmWOu Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 24, 2020 Ernie Johnson gave us the best thing you'll see all year long #TheMatch pic.twitter.com/FKTgsmIfC4 Kevin Gray Jr. (@CTSportsRadio) May 24, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day This is Kosi. If he really concentrates, he can shoot rainbows out of his head. 13/10 magical as h*ck pic.twitter.com/Pemo8kaaml WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) May 22, 2020 The post A deep dive into Georgia football recruiting facts, figures and fallacies in metro Atlanta appeared first on DawgNation.

Georgia Sports News

  • The lull in the recruiting cycle for Georgia's 2021 recruiting class is no more. The board for Georgia in the 2021 class is now up to eight after the commitment of in-state OLB Chaz Chambliss to the class on Tuesday morning. Chambliss, who ranks as the nation's No. 18 OLB and No. 255 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite, shared his decision to commit to Georgia in a commitment video release from his Twitter account. @KirbySmartUGA @CoachDanLanning @Dawgs247 @ChadSimmons_ @Mansell247 @CoachSimmonsFB @CoachHoon @RecruitGeorgia @jeffsentell @Carrollton_High pic.twitter.com/SuD7ifAGmo Chaz Chambliss (@ChazChambliss) May 26, 2020 Chambliss is now the second OLB prospect to join the 2021 Georgia class. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound thumper is now the program's seventh in-state recruit in the 2021 class. Pennsylvania OLB Elijah Jeudy is the lone exception. The post BREAKING: 4-star OLB Chaz Chambliss has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock says he has yet to decide if he'll make himself eligible for the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft. Hancock, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound right-hander from Cairo, Ga., has been projected as a top-five pick. Baseball America projected him as the No. 4 pick. 'At the end of the day you take it one day at a time, I want to take things slow,' Hancock said on a Zoom conference call with reporters on Tuesday. The Major League Baseball Draft has been widely reported as taking place on June 10-11. The first round is expected to start at 7 p.m. on June 10 and be televised by the MLB Network. 'The great thing about the Major League Baseball Draft is you can see how things play out, you don't have to declare,' Hancock said. 'There's a lot of uncertainty about where people might go and how the draft might play out. 'I don't really know what's going to happen. But whatever does happen, I'll make the best of it, and I'll make the best decision for me and my family.' Hancock, who was 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA when the season was suspended in March, said even if the season was still underway he wouldn't necessarily have a decision to announce at this point. 'At this point in our season, the only thing I'd be focusing on is pitching in Hoover (at the SEC Baseball Tournament) and getting focused on the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We had a really good group of guys. I knew in my heart this was going to be the year to break through the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We were primed to play our best baseball in May and June. We certainly had fun in the 18 games we played.' The Bulldogs were off to a 14-4 start this when the season was postponed on March 12 before ultimately being canceled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia was ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today at the time. It was the program's highest ranking since the 2008 team was No. 2 after advancing to the College World Series Finals. Hancock, one of the three team captains, was a Baseball America preseason All-America and on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list. It didn't take long for Hancock to show his form, as he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 9-0 win over Santa Clara on Feb. 21. In his final start before the season was suspended, Hancock matched his career high with 12 strikeouts and no walks in 7.1 innings in a combined shutout win over UMass. 'A lot of people have their opinions on me,' Hancock said. 'I love to compete, I love to win, and I love to work hard.' Hancock was just as impressive off the field while attending Georgia. Hanckock was named to the 2020 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team on Monday, an honor highlighting is community work. A member of the UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Hancock also took part in the annual Grady County HELP Agency, doing volunteer work to assist in providing necessities and toys to more than 500 families. The post Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock undecided on 2020 MLB Draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. A deeper dive into Georgia football recruiting efforts in the metro Atlanta area Since Kirby Smart took over as Georgia's head coach in December of 2015 and including the 2021 class, the state of Georgia has produced 202 blue-chip recruits, which are defined as 4 or 5-star prospects using the 247Sports Composite database. Of those recruits, 118 58 percent of them have come from nine counties that make up the metro Atlanta area, defined as the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette and Henry per the Georgia State of Tourism website. On average the metro Atlanta area produces more blue-chip recruits than the likes of Alabama, Louisiana and Ohio. Alvin Kamara, Derrick Brown and the Atlanta Falcons' 2020 first-round pick AJ Terrell all came from the area. It is one of the best recruiting areas in the country from both a high-end and volume standpoint. But in recent seasons Georgia is relying less and less on the Atlanta area to add to its recruiting haul, even as it continues to sign elite recruiting classes. In the 2019 and 2020 cycles, Georgia signed just five prospects from the area and just one of the 10 5-star prospects. Over that same time span, Clemson and Tennessee have also signed five prospects with Alabama landing six. So should Georgia be doing a better job recruiting the metro Atlanta area, or is it just too unrealistic to expect one school to dominate the area? Does Georgia need to re-prioritize how it recruits the area? The numbers show that Georgia, over Smart's tenure, has actually done the best job of any college program in terms of recruiting the area. But a handful of schools are making not insignificant strides. And there's one county in particular that Georgia has repeatedly come up short in. And it happens to be the one that produces more blue-chip recruits than any other in the Atlanta area. It's more metro Atlanta than the whole state When comparing the blue-chip recruits that come from the metro Atlanta area to that of the rest of the state, the data shows that Georgia has done a much better job recruiting the elite prospects from outside the Atlanta area as opposed to those hugging Interstate-285. Georgia has landed 21 blue-chip signees from the metro Atlanta area since Smart's first signing class in 2016. That makes up just over 20 percent of all blue-chip recruits from the area. The rest of the state of Georgia has had 84 prospects ranked as blue-chip recruits. The Bulldogs and Smart have signed or received commitments from 29 of those prospects, good for 34.5 percent of all non-Atlanta area prospects. In this cycle, the metro Atlanta recruits have also made commitments sooner than some of their counterparts. For this cycle, there are 28 total blue-chip prospects in the state. Of the 15 blue-chip prospects from the metro Atlanta area, 12 have already committed. For the rest of the state, only six of those prospects have committed. The 2021 class perhaps best illustrates how Georgia has gone about recruiting the state of Georgia in recent seasons. The Bulldogs have only one commitment from a metro Atlanta prospect, 4-star defensive lineman Jonathan Jefferson. But Georgia has commitments from three blue-chip prospects who all come from outside the metro Atlanta area, including 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. That means that while Georgia has missed out on some of those elite Atlanta prospects, such as linebacker Barrett Carter and cornerback Jordan Hancock, a number of the best players in the state, such as 5-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims and 4-star wide receiver Deion Colzie, are still available for the Bulldogs to land. A closer look at Gwinett County Of the 202 blue-chip prospects Georgia has produced over the past five years, 42 have come from Gwinett County. The county produces the most blue-chips in the entire state and is one of the top talent producers in the entire country. And in Smart's time as the head coach at Georgia, he's landed just three blue-chip recruits from the area, with the last being Warren Ericson in the 2018 signing class. So when people complain about Georgia's recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area, they're most likely wondering why the Bulldogs haven't done a better job recruiting Georgia's top county. The 2021 class once again illustrates Georgia's struggles in this part of the state. The top three players in Gwinett County also double as the top three players in the metro Atlanta area. And all of them have already committed to playing outside of the state. Carter and Hancock, teammates at Suwanee, Ga.'s North Gwinnett High School committed to Clemson. Those two both play at positions of need for Georgia in this cycle. Speaking before his decision, Carter said that Georgia was a finalist in part because it was the hometown team. But Carter still ended up picking the Tigers, who are only about 30 minutes farther away. While being the local team does often gives Georgia a foot in the door, it's usually not enough on its own to convince one of the country's best prospects that it is the best place for his future. Related: What Barrett Carter's decision means for Georgia and where the Bulldogs go next in 2021 recruiting Then there's running back Cody Brown. He stars for Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga as he rushed for 1,676 yards in his junior season. While Georgia wants to take two running backs in this class, Brown committed to Tennessee earlier in May. Georgia already has one commitment in the cycle from running back Lovasea Carroll, originally from Warrenton, Ga., before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. The Bulldogs are also well-positioned with Donovan Edwards, a running back from West Bloomfield, Mich., who is a higher rated prospect than Brown. In recent cycles Georgia has shown it has no problem looking outside of the Peach State to land top talent. The last cycle saw Georgia bring in Kendall Milton from Clovis, Calif. In the 2018 cycle, Georgia went to North Carolina for Zamir White and Miami for James Cook. The 2017 cycle saw them land D'Andre Swift from Philadelphia. Given that Georgia is RBU' and can use that brand nationally, it's probably not a coincidence that Elijah Holyfield is the only metro Atlanta running back Georgia has signed since Smart has taken over. Of the six blue-chip prospects from Gwinett in the 2021 cycle, all of them are already committed to schools other than Georgia. And each of them will play for team's Georgia will see on its 2021 schedule in Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. The 5-star level Gwinett currently doesn't have any 5-star prospects for this recruiting class, but the 2019 class saw the country produce five 5-star prospects. And all five of them elected to play their college football outside of the state. Across the rest of the metro Atlanta area though, the Bulldogs have done much better at attracting the 5-star prospects. The Bulldogs have gone into Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb and Henry counties to land a 5-star prospect. Gwinett is the only county that has produced a 5-star prospect that Smart hasn't landed at least one from dating back to the 2016 cycle. But while the Bulldogs may not have landed the likes of an Arik Gilbert or an Owen Pappoe, they've more often than not shown they can recover and land an elite prospect from outside this footprint. Pappoe, who played for Grayson High School in Gwinett County and ultimately signed with Auburn, was a key linebacker target in the 2019 cycle. After Georgia missed out on him, it pivoted and landed Nakobe Dean out of Lake Horn, Miss. Dean was actually a higher-rated prospect in the cycle and had a promising freshman season for the Bulldogs. Related: Georgia LB Nakobe Dean on path to greatness by all measures Georgia did something similar at the wide receiver spot in 2019. After seeing Jadon Haselwood de-commit and sign with Oklahoma, the Bulldogs flipped George Pickens, who went on to have a better freshman season than Haselwood. County UGA commit/signee Fulton 6 Cobb 5 Dekalb 4 Gwinett 3 Henry 2 Douglas 1 This is where Georgia's national recruiting success, especially in the past two seasons, has really helped make up for some of those misses in the metro Atlanta area. 'We might have been second or third on a national kid that was a really good player. Say a Kendall (Milton), Say a Kelee (Ringo), but we won a lot of those,' Smart said while discussing Georgia's 2020 signing class in February. 'The other part is we lost some instate battles that were really, really good players.' 'So I think the two of those merged just sort of happened at unique positions where we would've taken the in-state guy or the out of state guy. It just so happened we got the out of state guy.' The growing orange concern As Smart mentioned, Georgia has been missing out more on in-state players. So with Georgia getting more and more of its elite players from outside the Peach State, which schools are hurting the Bulldogs the most, especially inside the metro Atlanta area? The biggest one to know is the Clemson Tigers. Under Dabo Swinney the Tigers have always done well in the state, while landing the likes of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. But in recent cycles, they've put in even more focus on the Atlanta area and it has paid off. The Tigers signed multiple Atlanta area prospects in each of the last five signing classes, including 5-star defensive end Myles Murphy and 5-star cornerback Andrew Booth in the last two cycles. And they've gotten off to a strong start in the 2021 cycle, as Clemson already has commitments from four Atlanta-area blue-chippers, including the top two overall talents in Hancock and Carter. The other team that has most recently made significant progress in Atlanta is Tennessee. The Volunteers have also landed multiple signees in each of the past two recruiting cycles, and have two commitments in the 2021 class in Brown and 4-star wide receiver Julian Nixon. As Jeremy Pruitt continues to become more established at Tennessee, it's clear it Atlanta is going to become an even bigger and more crucial part of his program. And that likely will come at the expense of Georgia, even though the Bulldogs continue to do a better job of recruiting the area than any other program. And after Alabama got shut out in the 2018 cycle, it signed six blue-chip prospects over the past two cycles. Unlike Tennessee and Clemson though it holds no 2021 commitments from one of the prospects in the area. The fact that just about every major SEC power is or needs to recruit Atlanta at a high level only makes things more difficult for Georgia. It won't be like it was for USC with the Los Angeles or Miami recruiting south Florida for those super teams of the late 1980's and early 90's. There's simply too much regional competition in metro Atlanta for Georgia to dominate it, as opposed to how LSU handles New Orleans. What you'll notice about the list above is that all but one of these teams is an SEC program, and Clemson essentially operates as one from the comfort of the ACC. Atlanta isn't just responsible for supplying the home-state Bulldogs with top recruits, it's a key part of several of the best programs in the nation's top conference. From a pure numbers standpoint, sure Georgia could do a better job of recruiting the metro Atlanta. If Smart and his staff had ignored positional need and signed just the 22 blue-chip recruits from the metro Atlanta area in the 2020 class, Georgia would've finished with the No. 4 overall recruiting class. But in doing so, the Bulldogs then probably don't get a Milton, a Ringo, a Mekhail Sherman or a Marcus Rosemy. All players who figure to be huge pieces of what Georgia continues to build in the coming seasons. Missing out on a Carter or a Gilbert at the moment should be seen a miss, given in the last two cycles those two players have played at a position of need for the Georgia program. But when the Bulldogs are able to go out land a Darnell Washington and a possibly a Smael Mondon instead, the misses in the metro Atlanta aren't a reason to question Smart's recruiting results. Georgia is still the only program in the country to sign a top-three recruiting class in each of the previous four recruiting cycles. Those first two cycles saw Georgia lean heavily on the metro Atlanta area. These last two have seen Georgia skew more nationally for those elite recruits. And while Clemson and Tennessee have picked up a few more wins in the area, they're not exactly storming the gates and raiding the area for all of the top recruits. The Bulldogs are still getting their fair share and more so than any other program. It's just that no program, not even a Georgia program that is among the national elite in the country, can be expected to dominate the metro Atlanta area from a recruiting standpoint. The area is just too deep and too vital to so many other programs for that to happen. Full list of all metro Atlanta recruits since 2016 More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his 'family' feeling at UGA Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return Georgia football podcast: An example of Jamie Newman hype that Kirby Smart probably likes Jamaree Salyer has been one of the big winners of Georgia's offseason Kirby Smart reveals thoughts on return, Georgia outlines voluntary workout transition plan Why aggressiveness, not athleticism, could mark the most important difference between Jamie Newman and Jake Fromm Dawgs on Twitter My Big dogs working! pic.twitter.com/0T5632Q8J1 Outlaw The Strength Coach (@outlaw_coach) May 25, 2020 Tuff https://t.co/1XJeVmuSfY Justin Shaffer (@ShafferJustin54) May 23, 2020 Sounds Before the Snap with @CoachSchuUGA #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/WQhdVvmWOu Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 24, 2020 Ernie Johnson gave us the best thing you'll see all year long #TheMatch pic.twitter.com/FKTgsmIfC4 Kevin Gray Jr. (@CTSportsRadio) May 24, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day This is Kosi. If he really concentrates, he can shoot rainbows out of his head. 13/10 magical as h*ck pic.twitter.com/Pemo8kaaml WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) May 22, 2020 The post A deep dive into Georgia football recruiting facts, figures and fallacies in metro Atlanta appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Social media has never played a bigger role in sports than it has the past 2 1/2 months with college sports sidelined on account of the coronavirus. For better and sometimes for worse, fanbases have relied heavily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for their sports takes of late. Certainly, social media had a field day on Sunday after watching 'The Match ll' on television featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. There was key insight into the Georgia football program to be found on Twitter, too. More social media buzz is schedule for Tuesday, when UGA star pitcher Emerson Hancock holds a 10 a.m. Zoom press conference to announce his future intentions with the Major League Baseball Draft approaching. On Wednesday, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity joins DawgNation at noon for the On The Beat program. The show moved from its customary 7:30 p.m. Monday slot on account of Memorial Day. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean appeared last week. The Bulldogs have a reloaded team that looks to break more records next season. RELATED: How Tom Crean plans to turn Georgia basketball into a winner Here are three social media blasts worth noting from the Memorial Day weekend: Monty speaks up and out Georgia senior Monty Rice has yet to make first-team All-SEC, and he's hardly a household name even in his home state of Alabama. But the feeling here is Rice has evolved into the leader and player Kirby Smart knew he could be two years ago when he tabbed him to step in Roquan Smith's shoes at linebacker. Rice echoed his head coach's Sugar Bowl post-game sentiments when he called out himself and teammates on Memorial Day, setting a tone that's sure to roll into workouts when UGA players return on June 8. WATCH: Kirby Smart sends stern message after Sugar Bowl win It's one thing for a coach to say it, but another when a team leader like Rice is sending the message in the locker room when the coaches aren't around. I've been on a defense that was supposed to be dominant and we weren't. Wanna know why? 1word complacency #ripshotime #lastyeardontmatter Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) May 25, 2020 It's worth noting Georgia led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season and ranked third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. It's also worth pointing out that it was Rice throwing a fit in the postgame of the Auburn game. While many others celebrated a 21-14 win, Rice was aggravated UGA gave up its first rushing TD of the season. WATCH: Monty Rice more evidence of invisible progress during COVID-19 break And, from the sounds of it, incoming freshmen like Kelee Ringo will see to it returning starters can't afford to get complacent. RELATED: Kelee Ringo trains with NFL star, could make sudden impact at cornerback Peyton tees off Former Tennessee standout and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is perhaps the greatest pitch man in football history, so he was right at home being mic'd up for 'The Match ll' golf event with Brady, Woods and Mickelson. Manning hilariously explained why he wouldn't match the signature red and black colors worn by his golf partner, Woods. 'I'm mot wearing black and red, that's Georgia Bulldog colors, I mean, I just can't do that,' Manning said. 'If you want me to get sick on the first hole I'll do it. 'I'm not gonna let Kirby Smart get a picture of me in black and red for their social media account.' #Georgia fans take note: social media matters, even Peyton conscientious of Kirby Smart https://t.co/xNX3jz8bIJ MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) May 24, 2020 Tennessee has elevated its program image through social media throughout the offseason like no other program, trumpeting a No. 2 recruiting ranking that currently hinges more on volume than average player rating. To boot, the Vols social media account is promoting fictitious cartoon 'Coach Duggs' playing video games, celebrating the animated action as though it was real. Gametime Back where it all began Tennessee @ Toledo Starts Now -> https://t.co/MzqHRTGM0Z pic.twitter.com/2so1jP0swO Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 25, 2020 RELATED: Vols rewriting recruiting playbook Jake's belated farewell Celebrated Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm slipped away from the Bulldogs' program via a social media farewell on Jan. 8. RELATED: Jake Fromm drops surprising decision on Georgia, ends decorated career It seemed odd that a player so highly regarded and accomplished as Fromm would choose to bid his program and fan base farewell via a social media post rather than an in-person press conference. The personable Fromm is as celebrated a home-state hero as one will find. From his heroic Little League World Series days in Warner Robins, to his fascinating and fun character reveal as a star of the Netflix QB1 Series. Fromm, now in the role of NFL underdog quarterback as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, took time to share his sentiments for Georgia through the school's football account on Saturday. Most everyone knew how Fromm felt about the Bulldogs, but to finally hear him acknowledge the legacy he leaves behind had to leave UGA fans feeling fulfilled Fromm shared some of his favorite memories, concluding, 'What's not to love about it? Everything, honestly . I loved every minute of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world. 'The fans are amazing, and that's what makes Georgia football fun, the whole state of Georgia and DawgNation gets on board.' . An Experience Unlike Any Other | @FrommJake takes us back to some of his favorite memories as a Dawg #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/mYjAS6y94A Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 23, 2020 DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post 3 Georgia football social media blasts from Monty Rice, Peyton Manning and Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry will serve as the firstDawgNation profile for highly-regarded 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin. There is a lot of material to share here. There are already a few connections from impressive 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin to the University of Georgia. His mother, Denise Livingston, is a UGA grad. That Martin family tree will also list former Georgia Bulldog star Mecole Hardman Jr. as a cousin. The roots of Martin's family trace back to Hartwell near Elbert County. Martin just committed to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl out in Texas, too. That elite invitation and early pledge to that prestigious game will say something about his skill set. That early career goal takes him back to his FBU (Football University) days with other top 2022 prospects like Rabun County's Gunner Stockton and Grayson's Marquis Groves-Killebrew. Martin and Groves-Killebrew aspire to play together in college. That topic among close friends will come up a lot on the recruiting trail, but those two make a more convincing argument than most of their peers do. 'That's my brother right there,' Martin said. 'We've got a great relationship. There's a high chance we will be playing together. Every time that we are together everything goes well. We are always communicating. We have got very good vibes with each other.' Those two would hang together for weeks in the summer. That was even prior to their rise as elite 2022 football prospects. They now train with the highly-successful Hustle Inc. 7-on-7 football program. Martin articulates why he wants to excel at football with great passion. 'Football is in my blood and it is what my family does,' Martin said. 'It is like everybody in my family plays football so it is like an I-have-to-do-it-situation and I've got to be there for my Mom and my parents. If I get where I want to be in football, it will make a difference for us.' The Marietta High playmaker is the youngest of three brothers. The oldest played college football as well but gave it up to pursue a career as a special education teacher. His middle brother is currently playing at the junior college level. It sounds like all the boys in his family play football. When he picked up his recent UGA offer, it was met with great joy in his family. Blessed and honored to receive an offer to play at The University of Georgia #UGA #GODAWGS @DellMcGee @KirbySmartUGA @CoachDanLanning @Coach_N_Bryant @CoachSchuUGA @CoachCwarren @TravionScott @3DMocha @MHSFBFAMILY @tballardqbcoach @TWithJay pic.twitter.com/vUYSWEJVlK Daniel Martin (@Mr_DanielMartin) May 6, 2020 'My mom graduated from Georgia so she was really excited and my auntie graduated from Georgia,' he said. Mom will play it cool, though. 'She's always wanted me to go to Georgia but if that is not the best choice for me then she will understand,' Martin said. Hardman also did not apply press coverage about being a Dawg. 'He just said that for him it was the best choice and he would love for me to go there,' Martin said. 'But if it is not the best choice for me at that time then he will understand.' Martin said he been to Georgia at least five times. He counted up trips to four games. How does he feel about Georgia? 'I've been up to Georgia plenty of times and it is just like the feeling of even if you are not playing there and even if you are not committed there you are still family,' he said. 'I love the vibes there. Everybody is nice. Everybody is cool. I haven't visited a lot of places as many times as I have visited Georgia.' 'Every time I go up there it is the same thing. Everybody is saying Hi' and asking how your day was. It is just always a great feeling up there.' The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Martin has been that tall since he enrolled at Marietta. He picked up the nickname of 'six-three' awhile back. The tall jokes have been constant, but that is a very good thing. Martin currently charts as the nation's No. 5 OLB and the nation's No. 48 overall prospect for 2022 on 247Sports. The surface level scouting stuff about Daniel Martin Dell McGee is the primary recruiter for the Bulldogs with Martin. He extended that offer to become a Bulldog. He was offered to play OLB for Georgia, but that might not be his best position. 'When I got the offer I was so surprised,' Martin said. 'I was thinking I would need more film to get a Georgia offer. But once he did, it was just a great feeling to know that I got an offer from my home team and the team I grew up watching and watching my cousin play there and see what that did for him. It was just a great feeling.' Georgia and Oregon were his dream schools coming up. He has basically only visited Auburn and Georgia with any frequency up to this point. 'Georgia is definitely a top school that I always looked up to,' Martin said. McGee was able to track Martin for more than a minute on his other trips to check out Marietta High over the years. That program has been a hotbed over the last 2-3 years and Martin is the type of athlete who will stand out on any field. He was even skilled enough to be an injury stopgap replacement at quarterback for the Blue Devil freshman team in 2018. Martin was also a freshman varsity starter at Marietta High and handled himself quite well. He further distinguished himself between the lines as a terrific plug-and-play defender for the GHSA Class 7A state champions last fall, too. Let's zoom in on one specific aspect of the stretch run to the playoffs. While he started most of the season at what would be seen as the 'Star' position in Georgia's defense, that spot is known as the 'Stud' in the Marietta High defensive look. When playoff time came around, it meant he needed to be prepared to get a good look from the first-team Marietta offense. The Marietta offense needed some great weekly prep from the Blue Devil defense, too. We've heard of the term 'iron sharpens iron' ad naseum these days. Well, this became a case of 'Arik' sharpens iron. Martin was the iron that was sharpened by the 'Arik' in that little nugget. That would be 2020 5-star tight end Arik Gilbert. 'Not every kid is going to be 6 feet, 5 inches and 250 pounds and run routes like Arik can,' Martin said. No recent prospect has been able to put all of those elements together the way Gilbert has. When those two went at it, it was a battle. Gilbert didn't win all of those either. That is a highly-impressive statement given that Gilbert is one of the finest hybrid receivers to come out of the state of Georgia in years. 'When I competed against him, it just made me better,' Martin said. 'It taught me that I couldn't be as physical as I wanted to with everybody. People can be the same size as me and I will have to rely on my feet more rather than my strength and my hands. I would have to play off more and wait for his reactions in the game.' He was the senior prospect in his varsity prime. Martin was the up-and-coming sophomore. There's a range of opinion that conveys that Martin was able to blanket and shut down Gilbert anywhere from 25 to maybe 40 percent of the time on his best days. 'When he and Arik would go at in on one-on-ones, it was always competitive,' Marietta head coach Richard Morgan said. 'Daniel won his share of battles whether it was in coverage. Maybe it was getting off a block. He did his part. I don't know the exact statistics are, but either way he performed very well. Especially just to be a high school sophomore going against a guy like Arik.' That little scouting detail there plus big-boy offers from Auburn, Georgia and Oregon over the last two months will certainly validate that his future is very bright. Check the sophomore tape here below to just go ahead and remove all doubt. It will not include his five games and 25 tackles and that one Pick-6 against McEachern from his freshman campaign. 'I love contact,' Martin said. The back-and-forth debate about Daniel Martin right now He does not yet have a 247Sports composite rating. The pure 247Sports ranking sheet for Martin will list him as the nation's No. 5 OLB and the No. 48 overall prospect. That's a top 50 player nationally. But there's this thing. Check him in person to the side here. Those shoulders don't really scream 'SEC outside linebacker' and that's not necessarily a bad thing here. Is he a future linebacker? Is he a safety? Is he a future 'Star' or a nickel corner in the right matchups? That is certainly an interesting debate. Yet it seems likely that his frame and shoulders won't really lend itself to a projection that he will be 245 pounds one day in the SEC or another big-boy conference. It is already cliche in the recruiting world to label him as an 'Isaiah Simmons' type of defensive athlete. That phrasing has certainly gone viral over the last eight months, but the most honest thing to say here is that Martin can be used in a variety of ways in a defense with the same creativity that Clemson had for Simmons over the last two seasons. What position does Martin think he will play on Saturdays? 'I feel like I can be anything they wanted me to be just to be honest,' Martin said. 'I can go down the line and be aggressive and beat offenses with the speed. I can stay in the box and use my strength and move the linemen out of the way to get to the running back. I can cover real well. Just where ever they would need me.' 'I can play strong safety. I can come down in the middle. I can play man coverage. I feel like I can play anything.' He has the most fun lined up at strong safety. 'That's where I have the most freedom while moving around,' he said. 'I can visualize everything and look down and break on the ball coming downhill and all of that. I can also go get the balls that the quarterbacks throw, too.' The head coach of the defending Class 7A state champions share his views on that intriguing topic. 'In our defense he is the Star' or the Stud' for us, and in my opinion that is his natural position,' Marietta high school Richard Morgan said. 'You don't have to substitute for him on third-and-long with a fifth defensive back when you go nickel or dime because he can still do that. He plan man coverage against slot receivers.' 'He can stay on the field the entire game. He's just got a great skill set. He's so long and rangy he can cover the curl and the flat. He can blitz the quarterback. You're not run to the width of the field against him because he is just going to outflank you and make the play. It is difficult to just get around him.' Martin initially wanted to play safety for Marietta as a freshman. But he was already so aggressive and physical that the OLB spot just fit him better. 'He does have the skill set to play that boundary safety,' Morgan said. 'A lot of it is going to depend on how much bigger he gets.' The rising junior has a safety's skill set in a frame that might project in two years to an OLB in terms of his body. 'To me, that's what he is,' Morgan said. 'He's a safety, but he's such a great tackler and a great guy when he's close to the line of scrimmage that you can bring him on blitzes and things like that. He's got a safety skill set, but he's got that linebacker build and that linebacker mentality. He's just the combination. I know the coaches that I have talked to about him compare him to Isiah Simmons.' 'To me that is a great comparison because of what he can do on the football field. But he still has to grow and develop and take your game to the next level. But I think where he is at now as a sophomore, I do think that skill set is very similar.' His Marietta film doesn't show off his ability to play man coverage, but he is very skilled at that, too. His work with Hustle, Inc. and Justin Miller have sharpened those tools, too. Miller shined brightly at Clemson and spent seven years in the NFL. The former Pro Bowler is now a well-known and highly-sought DB trainer in the Atlanta area. Martin was always too big to cover guys coming up. He was always asked to play defensive end or linebacker or wide receiver. But he can certainly open up his hips and walk backwards in coverage. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound rising junior can shut down elite wide receivers at his size. 'I've had to prove to everybody that it doesn't matter about your size,' he said. 'You can play where ever you want. You just have to put your mind to it.' Whenever he is asked what position he plays, he starts off with the same answer. 'I start off with athlete and then if they ask me to be specific I will say outside linebacker-slash-nickel,' Martin said. 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 Daniel Martin stories that we won't soon forget The narrative scope so far has just been about Daniel Martin the player and some of his recruiting interest. If you've read this blog for anytime now, we don't just leave it at that around here. What is Martin like was a person? Well, that's the stuff that locker rooms can build a program around. 'I'd love to commit on my uncle's birthday because my uncle passed a couple of years back,' Martin said. 'That was a person who always pushed me and I always looked up to and he was always helping me. Hopefully, I can commit on that day to honor him.' That is always an admirable gesture right there. Patrick Gibbs was born on September 19. That was his mother's brother. The Martin family lost Gibbs two years ago due to a heart attack. Gibbs was 38. 'He played football but he didn't make it that far,' Martin said. 'But he would always come to my games and support me and call me after my games to see how I did. He was pretty much just a great uncle. When my Dad wasn't around, he stepped in and helped me.' Morgan proved to be very insightful in adding to the character sketch of Martin as a young man. Not just his ability to fly in off the edge and blow up a bubble screen. 'I've got one,' Morgan said. 'Not a lot of other people know about it.' There's no need to share the names of his teammates here in this story. The actions taken by Martin more than carry the story. The Blue Devils always dress up on Fridays. It is part of the character education in Morgan's program. Marietta is dressed to come to work on game days. Martin began to notice the same shoes and styles and clothing attire on a few of his teammates. His concern was met by a few of his teammates, too. They really didn't have anything to keep dressing up for those business trips. 'So the next Saturday he got him, the boy on our team and a couple of teammates and they took him to the mall,' Morgan said. 'They bought him clothes and shopped for him.' Everyone needs help from time to time. The simply wanted their teammate to fit in with the rest of the team and not have to worry about sticking out. 'He didn't publicize it at all,' Morgan said. 'It was not a big deal to him. Just being a good teammate. I only know about it because his mom sent me a picture of the boys at the mall. That's how I found out about it.' The rising sophomore is also on a mentorship program at Marietta High School. It afforded him the opportunity to take a special needs student to the prom as her date at an tailor-made event for those individuals in Gwinnett County. 'He was a young lady's date and took her there,' Morgan said. 'That's just the thing with Daniel. He does a lot of things already for other people that doesn't get noticed. But college coaches need to be aware of that, too.' 'They need to know about the quality and character of this young man, too. Not just how well he plays football. You want to invest in kids with great character also as well as great athletic ability. It is very reassuring for them to know they are getting that full package there with him.' Look for Martin to also be featured more at receiver this fall. He's capable of 30-to-40 catches on the offensive side of the ball for the defending Class 7A champions, too. His educational aspiration is also something serious, too. 'I haven't really looked that deep into it but I love animals so if football doesn't work out I want to be a veterenarian or something in that nature,' Martin said. Martin is a fan of a certain specific species. 'I've always had dogs,' Martin said. 'I just love dogs.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) HEDGES: The rival national programs between UGA and another No. 1 class 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 Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 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 Dylan Fairchild: Elite O-line target includes UGA among his top six schools What exactly are these virtual recruiting visits like right now? How the 2021 commits turned a slick edit into Amarius Mims Appreciation Day Dallas Turner: Why Alabama has a slight lead on UGA for the elite pass rusher HEDGES: Why James Williams looms so large for the 2021 Georgia class Georgia's program is now moving past the de-commitments of previous cycles Georgia extends an impactful offer to future 5-star RB Richard Young The 5 things you haven't read yet about recent OLB commit Elijah Jeudy Georgia OL commit Micah Morris made a silent pledge to UGA quite a long time ago Jermaine Burton: Why coming home meant everything to Georgia's next great WR The post Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his 'home' feeling at UGA appeared first on DawgNation.