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South Carolina game moves Dogs up with several recruits.


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Georgia appears to have reaped some recruiting rewards — at least in the short term – during its thrilling 41-37 win over South Carolina on Saturday.

The Bulldogs hosted dozens of elite prospects for the game on unofficial visits, including a number of players that are also considering South Carolina. It appears that Georgia moved up at least a notch or two for virtually all of them.

The Bulldogs appear to have made some major headway with running back Marcus Lattimore, who is considered the No. 1 back in America. The Duncan, S.C., resident, who stars for Byrnes High School, did not previously have Georgia among his top five but does now after his unofficial visit.

“I have to say that they are back in it for me,” Lattimore told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons. “Georgia has never pressured me and that meant a lot. . . . Me, my dad, and my cousins went down to the game and it was crazy. The atmosphere, the crowd, the game, it was all ridiculous. The students were so loud the entire game and it was great to be there for that. I couldn’t even hear myself think on that last play because it was so loud in there.”

As impressed as Lattimore was with the game-day environment, he said he was even more moved by separate letters from Georgia coach Mark Richt he and his mother received the same day earlier last week.

“He listed 10 reasons why I should go to Georgia,” Lattimore told Scout. “He said that I fit the offense like a glove, he said that the location is not too close and not too far, and things like that. They were all legit reasons for me to look at Georgia again. I was not expecting anything like that so it kind of blew me away.”

Lattimore said he intends to return to Georgia for an official visit. If that’s the case, he’ll have to pare down his list of schools. Lattimore previously listed Auburn, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oregon and Penn State in his top five. Now he says he has added Georgia to that group along with Florida State. Recruits are allowed just five official visits. Auburn and South Carolina have generally been considered the leaders, so at least two others will have to be eliminated soon.

The South Carolina game also appears to have helped the Dogs with cornerback Johnovan Fulton of Manning, S.C. The recruitment of this 4-star prospect has generally been considered to be between the Gamecocks and Alabama. But Fulton told Rivals.com he really liked what he saw while visiting Athens with teammate Dexter Morant, a defensive end who is already committed to Georgia.

” I got to see the fans and the action,” Fulton told Kipp Adams of ugasports.com. “We got there three hours early and it was still packed to where we had to park really far away. That just shows you that the fans do not mess around with these SEC games.”

Fulton (6-1, 180) said he’ll probably return to Georgia for an official visit. Currently he has two planned: LSU on Oct. 10 for the Florida game and Alabama on Oct. 17 when it hosts South Carolina.

Attending the game also moved Georgia to the top of the list for Spartanburg, S.C., wide receiver Charone Peak. Peak is considered one of the top junior prospects in the country.

One of the Georgia had only one official visitor this past weekend and that was linebacker Khairi Fortt of Stamford, Conn. The four-star, Class of 2010 recruit reportedly was very impressed on his visit and told Rivals.com he’ll choose between the Bulldogs, Penn State and North Carolina.

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What Georgia did with Branden Smith against South Carolina on Saturday helped them win the game against Gamecocks. But it may have also helped them win over minds of some recruits.

Smith had a couple of key plays in the Bulldogs’ 41-37 victory. First he fielded a kickoff four yards deep in the end zone and fumbled it over to South Carolina on the Georgia 8-yard line after he decided to bring it out. Just five minutes later, the freshman cornerback was back on the field, this time on offense. And this time he held onto the ball, taking a reverse pitch and showing blazing speed on the way to 61-yard touchdown.

While the touchdown play did wonders for Smith’s confidence — not to mention the Georgia scoreboard — it really resonated with the many elite recruits there to watch the game.

“I really liked the way they used [smith] on both offense and defense,” said Newnan’s Alec Ogletree, the state’s No.1-ranked defensive back and an early UGA commitment. “I wouldn’t mind playing some offense if they asked me, but I’m I wouldn’t say I’m as fast as he his. And I liked that they stuck with him after he fumbled that kickoff. They put him right back out there and that really showed me something.”

“They told me to watch how their young players played,” said Manning, S.C., cornerback Johnovan Fulton, who is rated as South Carolina’s top defensive back, told Scout.com. ” I was really impressed with how they used Branden Smith and that really opened my eyes and made me like Georgia even more. . . . I liked the way they utilized him all over the field.”

Smith was the top-rated cornerback in America when he signed with Georgia out of Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High. He said being able to play on both sides of the ball and return kicks was a major reason he chose the Bulldogs from more than 30 offers.

“It was a big factor,” the Georgia freshman said Tuesday. “Since the first day they recruited me — they were the first people to offer me a full scholarship — it was something we talked about. Coach [Mark] Richt said he wanted me to play both sides of the ball and I really wanted to play both sides. He told me I could if I committed. I did and it’s all come out true.”

Georgia’s coaches took some heat for even having Smith back returning kickoffs Saturday. Sophomore Brandon Boykin had returned the previous kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. And Smith was criticized the week before for bringing the ball out of the end zone despite fielding it deep.

Then Smith lost the handle on the football without even being hit and South Carolina recovered deep in Georgia territory. He didn’t know what to expect coming to the Georgia sideline.

Smith said he was surprised by what he encountered.

“Hearing my teammates keep rooting me on, that just put the spirit back in me,” Smith said. “They were saying to forget about it, that I’d get another chance. Coach Richt told me, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m gonna put you back in. Redeem yourself.’ It took a little while. The whole time I was just thinking to myself, ‘if I can touch the ball again, what can I do?’ When they called my name to get in on offense, I was just talking to myself saying, ‘I have to make something happen on this play.’ Once I got the ball, it was just good blocking by the receivers and the O-line and I just made it happen.”

Smith said he could see how his experience this past Saturday resonated with recruits. It was, after all, not so long ago that he was one of the guys standing on the sideline wondering what it might be like to play there.

“That’s one thing I can really tell recruits: Coach Richt is a man of his word,” Smith said. “If he says something he really means it.”

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A comment from a palmetto recruit:

aking advantage of the matchup with South Carolina, the Bulldogs invited some of the top prospects from the neighboring state to Athens. That is another thing that stood out to Anthony when he was on the field.

"I ran into Marcus Lattimore there, which was cool. I know he has a lot on his plate, and has a big decision to make as well. Seeing Kelcy Quarles, Lattimore, Charone Peake, Jadeveon Clowney, Dexter Morant and John Fulton out there, it let me know Georgia is really looking hard at bringing the best players in South Carolina to Athens," said Anthony.

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Man we could really use a commitment from Lattimore or Fulton soon. Sure would help with some other recruits, but guess itll come in time. With the way we played UGA, it didnt hurt our chances.

Lattimore won't happen anytime soon. UGA is really and i mean really focusing hard on south carolina this coming recruiting class for 2011 especially.

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Lattimore won't happen anytime soon. UGA is really and i mean really focusing hard on south carolina this coming recruiting class for 2011 especially.

I know lattimore wont, but if he really wanted to help us out he would already commit and create some momentum for us.

SC has to keep Clowney in state next year. Lot of SC talent in next years class.

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I know lattimore wont, but if he really wanted to help us out he would already commit and create some momentum for us.

SC has to keep Clowney in state next year. Lot of SC talent in next years class.

clowney is a beast, but he is leaning toward leaving the state.. he has felt that way for a while.. just an fyi.. uga is on him hard.. there is a ton of talent up in south carolina for the 2011 class.

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clowney is a beast, but he is leaning toward leaving the state.. he has felt that way for a while.. just an fyi.. uga is on him hard.. there is a ton of talent up in south carolina for the 2011 class.

Clowney was at the USC/UGA game, right? Any word on what he thought about it? You think UGA has a good shot at him, he looks like a really good one.

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clowney is a beast, but he is leaning toward leaving the state.. he has felt that way for a while.. just an fyi.. uga is on him hard.. there is a ton of talent up in south carolina for the 2011 class.

Yeah Ive heard a lot of the top players are leaning to go out of state. But with Stephon Gilmore and Devonte Hollomam here I like our chances of landing clowney.

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I like the gamecock posters on this board, but if I had a nickel for every time I've hears a SC fan say "we've got to do _____"(in order to be succesful, sometimes stated, always implied), and then _______ either doesn't happen, or happens and doesn't lead to more winning, I would be a VERY wealthy man.

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I like the gamecock posters on this board, but if I had a nickel for every time I've hears a SC fan say "we've got to do _____"(in order to be succesful, sometimes stated, always implied), and then _______ either doesn't happen, or happens and doesn't lead to more winning, I would be a VERY wealthy man.

You wouldnt make too much more money. Good things are on the horizon. Our performance in Athens, shows how close we are to being a good team. Georgia knows they couldve very well lost that game, just as we could have.

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You wouldnt make too much more money. Good things are on the horizon. Our performance in Athens, shows how close we are to being a good team. Georgia knows they couldve very well lost that game, just as we could have.

Frankly man sc fans say this every year. They play us close every year. If it's a defensive battle or like this year an offensive one that isn't anything new. I remember back in athens 2 years ago we heard the same thing about sc and good things on the horizon. It didn't happen. I could very well see you guys losing to FAU this weekend in a letdown game. You guys were down 38 to 23 and we threw a pick 6 and had a safety on a punt to get you guys back in the game. You guys do have some talent and you are recruiting well and next year you have a lot of instate talent so you may be right about the future, but until it happens i will have to see it to believe it.

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Frankly man sc fans say this every year. They play us close every year. If it's a defensive battle or like this year an offensive one that isn't anything new. I remember back in athens 2 years ago we heard the same thing about sc and good things on the horizon. It didn't happen. I could very well see you guys losing to FAU this weekend in a letdown game. You guys were down 38 to 23 and we threw a pick 6 and had a safety on a punt to get you guys back in the game. You guys do have some talent and you are recruiting well and next year you have a lot of instate talent so you may be right about the future, but until it happens i will have to see it to believe it.

This is what makes me believe there are good things on the horizon for USC. The HS football talent level of the state of SC is really getting a lot better. If the HS talent level stays high, USC almost has to get better, even losing some top recruits to UGA, UF, UT, SoCal, etc. I expect them to get better, not win the SEC in two years, but I could see USC cementing themselves as the #3 squad in the East. So long as they can take advantage of that instate talent and not lose it all or fail to develop what they do get.

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This is what makes me believe there are good things on the horizon for USC. The HS football talent level of the state of SC is really getting a lot better. If the HS talent level stays high, USC almost has to get better, even losing some top recruits to UGA, UF, UT, SoCal, etc. I expect them to get better, not win the SEC in two years, but I could see USC cementing themselves as the #3 squad in the East. So long as they can take advantage of that instate talent and not lose it all or fail to develop what they do get.

I can't see them cementing themselves as the #3 team in the SEC East with uf, uga, and tennesee in that division. There has always been talent in their state, but next year it just so happens to be a great year.

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