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UGA, Richt make major push for Bama commit Sims


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AJC College Sports Recruiting

UGA, Richt make major push for Bama commit Sims

2:13 pm October 21, 2009, by Chip Towers

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Georgia is making a major push to recruit Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims. And it has created a bit of a moral dilemma for the player and his family.

Sims, an AJC Super 11 selection and one of the early favorites for all-classification player of the year honors, has been committed to Alabama since April. But Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Richt, who has had a relationship with Sims and his family for four years, has taken a personal interest in changing Sims’ mind and convincing him to come to UGA instead.

“That was pretty cool,” Blake’s father, Sonny Sims, said of getting a phone call from Richt on Monday. “Coach Richt has been part of Blake’s life for a long time. We’ve got pictures of Blake with Coach Richt as a 9th grader. That’s why we couldn’t understand why Georgia didn’t snag him early because he’d been groomed all his life for Georgia. Everything in our house was Georgia. We were shocked when Blake committed to Alabama. It just happened. He didn’t even give me a chance to talk to him about it. He just did it. But he did and we’ve got a good relationship now with Coach [Nick] Saban. So it’s a tough situation.”

Sims declined comment for this story and deferred to his father and Gainesville coach Bruce Miller. “Me and his father are going to handle this,” Miller said. “It’s a touchy situation and we want keep Blake out of it.”

Miller said Georgia’s head coach asked “for the chance to sit down and talk with them.” And that has been both flattering and flustering for the Sims family.

“Here’s what we’re dealing with: The parents a love Coach Richt,” Sonny Sims said. “Blake loves coach Richt. We’ve known him for four years and we think he’s the perfect man for our child to live with for the next four years. But we also raised Blake to believe that his word is his bond. And Coach [Nick] Saban is an honorable man, too. So Blake gave his word on one side but his heart is on the other side.”

Georgia is not the only school still coming after Sims. Florida, Tennessee and Michigan are all actively pursuing Sims. And it has gotten considerably more intense of late.

“I don’t know where all this is coming from,” Sims said.

Where it’s coming from is the season that Sims is having. The 6-foot, 180-pound athlete has 1,114 yards and 16 touchdowns passing, 345 yards and six touchdowns rushing and two catches for 148 yards and two TDs. All that despite Sims rarely playing into the fourth quarter for the undefeated Red Elephants (7-0), ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.

I asked Mr. Sims if they were disappointed Georgia did not act quicker on Blake, who has attended Georgia’s football camps every year since the 9th grade.

“I think Coach Richt is just a real honorable and real respectful man,” Sonny Sims said. “And that might hurt him in this world we live in today because everybody’s so aggressive.”

It sounds like Richt is going to get a second chance.

“I know one thing that’s going to happen: He IS going to sit down and talk to Coach Richt,” Sonny Sims said. “That’s got to happen because half of the things we raised Blake on were from things Coach Richt said.”

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