I started hearing all these rumors yesterday that UGA is possibly in the game when it comes to recruiting AJ Johnson out of Gainesville High School. Being a former coach of AJ, I was glad to hear this because the kid is such a great athlete, and more importantly great kid. For months now, AJ has been a very solid commit to the University of Tennessee, and it pains me to see so many people that don't have a real clue about what the Dawgs are missing out on.
Since AJ was a little kid, he was always a pretty big Dawg fan. When I met him in the 6th grade, it was obvious even then that the kid was a special football player. Watching him progress through the years at GMS and GHS has been at the least exciting! He excels not only on the field, but just ask any teacher he has had at Gainesville what they think about the kid, and you will hear nothing but praise. When AJ started getting heavily recruited his junior year, I was eagerly awaiting the offer from UGA. Yet, nothing happened. Surely the Dawgs were just waiting until the end of his junior season I thought. Nope, the offer never came, not even during his senior year. When I investigated, I heard pretty much that AJ was ticked off at the Dawgs and wouldn't even give them a thought after Grantham was hired. You see, good old Willie Martinez just "knew that AJ would never be able to play linebacker" in the SEC. Willie may have been right about that, but I guarantee he will make one hell of a defensive end at the next level. And, oh how I would love to see the kid play in the silver britches at OLB in that 3-4 scheme.
Enough of that rambling, and now I will get to my point. After further investigation, and talking to the staff over at GHS, I found out the real reason we have been hearing these rumors about UGA offering AJ Johnson a scholarship this late in the game. It turns out, the UGA recruiting strategies may be getting a little sharper than some are led to believe. You see, there is a little know freshman at Gainesville High School that college scouts are already beginning to salivate over! Have you ever heard the name Deshaun Watson? I have mentioned him here before, and if you don't know him yet, you will. I promise.
Deshaun Watson started all twelve games as a 14 year old freshman this year at GHS, and is going to be one of, if not THE, best things that has ever come out of that high school before all is said and done. The coaches at UGA are no dummies. I'm sure they accidentally "bumped" into Watson while making a visit to good old Gainesville, GA. So, do I think the Dawgs are really trying to get AJ a few days before signing day? Maybe. What I do think is that they were trying to get to know a future #1 quarterback recruit in the nation.
Stay tuned in the coming months for a feature on this recruit for the class of 2014.