Mark Richt said this week he believes Josh Malone could make an immediate impact as a freshman at Georgia.
Richt’s probably right. Malone is one of the nation’s most coveted wide receivers from Camp Station High School in Gallatin, Tenn. Richt was also correct when he called Malone a “dynamic player” and said Georgia would “love to have him.”
That’s the key. Georgia doesn’t have Malone yet, at least in terms of his commitment. He plans to announce his decision on Wednesday. What the Bulldogs have from Malone is a signed financial aid agreement.
Normally, coaches aren’t allowed to publicly discuss unsigned prospects. But because Malone signed the aid agreement with Georgia, Richt is allowed to give public praise toward one of the Bulldogs’ top targets in the 2014 class.
Malone also signed with Tennessee, Clemson and Florida State, which means coaches from those three schools are permitted to comment on the standout receiver. And they have.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher agreed with Richt’s assessment on Malone.
“He can be a difference maker with us too,” Fisher said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “He can be a difference maker here and is a guy we want very badly.”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones called Malone a “very, very talented young man.” Malone has been considered the top target remaining on Tennessee’s board.
“He’s a complete football player,” Jones said.
Does this mean we’ll see more coaches making public recruiting pitches to try to land prospects? Yes and no.
Malone is a unique case because he signed several financial aid agreements before actually choosing a school. Most mid-term enrollees have only signed a financial aid agreement with one school.
There will be more undecided prospects like Malone who sign with multiple schools to allow their coaches to have unlimited contact in the final few days before a decision is made. That was Malone’s motivation to sign with four schools.
“With my decision coming soon, I just wanted to give everybody a shot,” he told Rivals.
But that doesn’t mean every coach will get into a public back-and-forth for a prospect. While “never say never” has to apply in today’s world of recruiting, that could be seen more as a turn off to some prospects if coaches get into a heated public battle.
The more likely scenario is what we’ve seen with Malone – coaches making a quick case for the prospect and then moving on. Jones said this week he didn’t plan to comment publicly on Malone, but Jones did make sure to compliment Malone just to make sure he had a quote to go with the other coaches.
As for Malone’s recruitment, it will likely come down to the wire. He told Rivals he hasn’t made his decision and plans to meet with coaches from Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson over the next few days.
It could be a final private sales pitch that helps Malone make his decision.
“Honestly, I’m going to be surprised myself to see what happens,” he said.
Sharpe to visit Florida, then announce
Offensive lineman David Sharpe from Providence School of Jacksonville will take an official visit to Florida this weekend before he announces his college choice.
Florida is considered the leader for Sharpe, according to 247Sports. He’s also considering Georgia and Tennessee.
Sharpe had planned to announce his decision last week before deciding to hold off. His official visit to Florida would seem to be a good sign for the Gators.
Florida is hoping to have a successful weekend as it hosts several visitors to watch the Gators play Florida State. Junior college wide receiver Eric Lauderdale and Florida State receiver commitment Ryan Sousa will be in Gainesville.
Highly-touted defensive linemen Thomas Holley and Malik McDowell are also expected to visit along with linebacker Nyles Morgan. Raekwon McMillan had been expected to visit Florida this weekend but won’t make the trip, according to 247Sports.
Florida, which enters the weekend with a 4-7 record, could use a good showing against the nation’s No. 2 team.
“Our guys understand the importance of this game,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “We’ll work hard and we’ll have a great crowd just like we did this past Saturday to support our guys. [It's] one of the great rivalries in all of college football. Florida State’s got a good football team. They’re having a great year. It would help us a lot to go get a win.”
Green still interested in South Carolina
Cornerback Wesley Green from Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia, Ga., is expected to visit South Carolina this weekend.
It’s unknown whether Green will take an official or unofficial visit this weekend, but it does show he still has interest in the Gamecocks after he decommitted from South Carolina in September.
Green hasn’t scheduled any other visits, although he’s expected to take trips to Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Other prospects expected to visit South Carolina this weekend include junior college offensive lineman Kareem Are, wide receiver Tyshun Samuel and defensive linemen Dexter Wideman and Andrew Williams.
Wideman’s recruitment is an interesting one to follow. He’s committed to Florida State but has shown strong interest in South Carolina. He visited Columbia on Nov. 16 to watch the Gamecocks’ win against Florida.
Wideman told GamecockCentral.com earlier this month he plans to announce a final decision at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2.
“I’m still verbally committed to FSU and I still like FSU,” Wideman said. “I may open it up before the game, but I’m not sure. Really, right now I’m just focusing on my school work.”
Prospect to watch: Bo Scarbrough
Running back Bo Scarbrough from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has been committed to Alabama since early in the recruiting process.
That hasn’t kept other schools from actively recruiting Scarbrough, who’s been willing to listen despite his commitment to the Crimson Tide.
Ole Miss appears to be one school that has made an impression. The Rebels have become the top challenger to Alabama, according to Rivals. Another school that could get in the race: Florida State.
“Keep an eye on Florida State as he is planning to take an official visit in the first weekend of January,” according to Rivals.
Rivals ranks Scarbrough the nation’s No. 2 running back and No. 31 prospect overall.