The 2014 recruiting class for Georgia has picked up momentum in recent days with high-profile commitments from Sony Michel and Jeb Blazevich. Another could be coming soon from four-star defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga. North Gwinnett) who plans to announce his decision in the coming weeks.
The Bulldogs represent one half of his finalists along with two-time defending champion Alabama who has gotten the better of Mark Richt and Georgia in last season’s SEC Championship Game. However, Georgia may come away victorious this time in the pursuit of the 6-3, 240-pound Sawyer after pulling even with the Tide after he attended the G-Day scrimmage in April.
The crystal ball predictions on 247Sports.com are picking Alabama to come away with his commitment, but I’m not sure that won’t change in the next two weeks. Sawyer tells Radi Nabulsi of Dawg Nation on ESPN.com that he is planning to visit each of his finalists with his mother who could be the deciding factor with both schools on even footing.
We have seen how influential mothers can be in recruiting including running off with letters of intent when they disapprove of their son’s decisions, and coaches will often recruit mom harder than the player. The recruiters for each school, Kirby Smart and Lance Thompson from Alabama and Bryan McClendon and Todd Grantham from Georgia, respectively know they are entering the decisive fourth quarter. And like last year’s SEC title game, this could go either way.
Sawyer previously mentioned to Ryan Callahan of GoVols247 that he wants to pick a college that is within driving distance for his parents to attend his games, so is that a sign the in-state program is out in front? That may be somewhat premature until mom steps foot on campus, but Sawyer told Charles Power of BamaOnLine, “Georgia’s only a 50 minute drive from the house. Me and Coach (Mark) Richt connected real cool.” That quote is the most telling for me and should have Bulldogs fans cautiously optimistic.
Beating Alabama on the field and on the recruiting trail is a tall order. Nick Saban has got to be the best closer and recruiter in the sport, so I’m anxious to see where Sawyer decides to go. Stay tuned because this is a volatile situation and Sawyer doesn’t even know where he’s going to go yet.
However, that won’t stop me from making my prediction which could backfire or make me look like a genius. I’m in the minority—f or now—and think the Bulldogs pull off the upset and secure a commitment from the defensive end.