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Georgia recruits steal Signing Day hype with dogs, mad hatters

Prep Rally

The biggest story on National Signing Day may be the weather -- cancelled signing ceremonies and rolling power outages across the country wreaked havoc on scheduled announcements and left some coaches fighting cold for hours to get their athletes' letters of intent faxed in -- but there were still plenty of other quirky and melodramatic developments, with more still on the way.

It's not unusual for players to use props in their announcements, though those are usually relegated to hats, caps or other apparel. That wasn't sufficient for Isaiah Crowell, the nation's top running back prospect who committed to in-state Georgia with the help of ... a bulldog puppy.

It wasn't enough for Crowell to put on a Georgia hat instead of one emblazoned with an Alabama logo (he was also considering the Crimson Tide). Instead, Crowell had to bring in a live dog (which he nicknamed mini-UGA in honor of Georgia's mascot) wearing a ridiculous miniature Georgia sweater jersey, holding it aloft like a blessed chalice.

Crowell walked into his college signing ceremony wearing a gray suit and crimson tie, which could have been interpreted as a tip-off that he was signing with Alabama. Instead, he pulled a Georgia hat out from beneath the table on which he signed his letter of intent, then added a lovable looking pooch while he had a televised conversation with ESPNU.

"It was my friend's dog," Crowell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I figured it'd be a good idea since he already had a dog."

Of course, Crowell didn't have a monopoly on melodrama, he just took precedence by bringing in a live animal. One of his future teammates -- Kent Turene -- stunned onlookers by wearing a Texas Tech hat into his signing ceremony, then throwing it off after sitting down to sign his letter, and put on a Georgia cap.

If that doesn't seem over-the-top, consider this: Turene had been committed to USC for six months, and was still expected by some to sign with the Trojans.

"It was just about keeping people on their toes," Turene told Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chris Nee. "It wasn't anything against that school or anyone there.

"When I went [to Georgia] it was a great place. I had a great time on my visit. Also the relationship with the coaches and the players was great. I got to spend time with the players and see the whole thing there, what it is like to be there. I just felt at home."

Yet all the Signing Day drama didn't focus on Georgia recruits, though the surprises that came Ohio State's way were significantly less pleasant. Instead, committed Buckeyes offensive line prospect Chris Carter was arrested for sexual imposition after fondling a 15-year-old girl while pretending to measure her for an ROTC uniform.

After being confronted with the allegations, Carter allegedly admitted he had fondled other girls, handing over a book that included the bust measurements of multiple female students at his John F. Kennedy (Ohio) High in Cleveland. He spent the night in a Cleveland jail and was not among the 23 players Ohio State signed Wednesday.

Dogs, wardrobe malfunctions and jailed teenagers? All just part of one very hectic and unique National Signing Day.

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