When you're the nation's top football recruit, schools will do almost anything to get your signature on a letter of intent. They pull out all the stops during official visits. Somehow they seem to have someone present at all of the player's high school games. They call him on the phone as often as they legally can.
Then, some schools even go a step further, like the University of Georgia. When the Bulldogs needed to fill a vacancy for an on-campus recruiting coordinator, the Bulldogs passed over a variety of analysts in the recruiting space to hire a man who was most recently serving as the director of Under Armour football camps in the state, who happened to have one key prior role on his resume: He formerly coached the nation's top recruit, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson High defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, early in the top prospect's career.
To be fair, Daryl Jones, the man who landed the recruiter position, is a fully qualified candidate. Before taking the reins of Under Armour's Georgia prep operations, Jones coached at different schools for 17 years. That time certainly gave Jones ample opportunities to forge bonds with other schools across Georgia and the Southeast, from where UGA draws nearly all of its recruits.
Still, there is bound to be skepticism about Jones' appointment because of his relationship with Nkemdiche, an in-state recruit who might be the best prospect out of the state of Georgia in years. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound beast of a defensive lineman is considered a plug-and-play solution on the defensive line for any team with a hole, making him arguably the nation's most sought after 5-star recruit in the Class of 2013.
Whether hiring Jones -- whom Nkemdiche raved about in an interview with ESPN -- can help bring the big man into the fold in Athens remains to be seen. In the meantime many will continue to wonder whether UGA's decision to bring on board a man who was no longer a coach or a recruiting analyst was done independently of the chance to impress one of the best young football players to hit the Georgia scene in a long, long time.
- American Football
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- the University of Georgia