The Ones Who Got Away...
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
It was a warm June night back in 2011 when maybe one the biggest recruiting hauls and maybe one of the biggest "what-ifs" in college football occurred. The Bulldogs hosted a summer camp for high school recruits named "Dawg Night" in Athens, GA. That night Five high school players, all rated five or four stars, committed to Georgia. 3 of these players (Brice Ramsey, John Theus, and Tramel Terry) kept there commitment. Two others ended up at other schools due to the emergence of a couple Bulldogs who were a couple recruiting cycles a head of them... Theus ended up being the only solid contributor to this group.
Dawg News Daily dives in to the recruiting world and takes a look back on a few recruits that slipped away from the Bulldogs.
Derrick Henry, RB-
Henry was a three-sport star in football, basketball and track. He set the national high school career rushing mark with 12,124 yards. He had 4,261 yards and 55 touchdowns as a 2012 senior and was considered one of the top players in the recruiting class of 2013. The huge Running Back (6-3, 240lbs) committed as a sophomore to the Bulldogs on the aforementioned Dawg Night back in 2011. The breakout freshman seasons from Todd Gurley (1300+ yards and 17 TDs) and Keith Marshall (750+ yards and 9 TDs) were enough for Henry to reconsider his commitment due to the possible crowded depth chart in Athens. There were also some rumblings the size of Henry could move him to the defensive side of the ball. Henry ultimately committed to Alabama and in his Junior season set the SEC single-season rushing record with 1,986 yards and tied the conference mark for rushing touchdowns with 23 on his way to Heisman trophy award and also a National Championship.
Stanley "Boom" Williams, RB-
Boom Williams, raised just 30 minutes from Athens, committed to play running back for the University of Georgia five minutes after Derrick Henry told Mark Richt the same thing. The Georgia coaching staff hand-timed Williams at 4.28 seconds in the 40. "Boom" also saw a crowded backfield and ended up committing to Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats. Williams had a solid career at UK amassing 2500+ yards and 20 touchdowns over 3 years. Williams decided to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Devwah Whaley, RB-
When news first broke of Mark Richt getting dismissed by Georgia, one of the first recruits to express his displeasure was 4-star running back Devwah Whaley. Whaley decommited from the Bulldogs 1 week after the announcement and the Texas running back ended up committing to Arkansas. There's no news that Coach Smart didn't try to recruit back to the Dawgs. Whaley hasn't had the career of the 2 backs above, but he is a special talent that has struggled to see the field due to injuries.
Devonta Smith, WR-
Now this one just stings! Devonta Smith said when he committed to UGA both coach Mark Richt and wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon were stunned because they thought LSU was the team to beat. Needless to say, the coaching staff was excited to have Smith on board. With the dismissal of both Richt and MClendon, Smith sought another route and the 4-Star wide receiver landed at Alabama. Smith showed flashes his freshman year with 8 catches and 13 yards receiving. He ultimately broke the Bulldogs heart twice as he was the receiver who caught the infamous overtime 2nd and 26 touchdown in the 2017 National Championship! Smith followed up with a sophomore season of 42 catches and 690+ yards receiving and 6 touchdowns.