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.
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