PARAMUS, N.J. — The speculation about Mark Richt’s future at UGA is a “concern” for the mother of the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect.
Rashan Gary is a 5-star defensive tackle from Paramus, N.J., who made an appearance at UGA’s Dawg Night prospect camp last July and ranked it as a “10.” Gary has one spot left on his calendar for an official visit, and the Bulldogs are under consideration for that fifth recruiting trip, along with Alabama, Clemson and LSU, among others.
Gary’s mother, Jennifer Coney, told SEC Country in an interview this week, that the chatter surrounding UGA coach Mark Richt and LSU’s Les Miles has impacted her son’s feelings about those SEC schools.
“It is a concern because what if the new head coach has a different way of thinking?” Coney said.
“What if he isn’t defensive oriented? What if he’s determined to run a 3-4 or a different scheme that Rashan can thrive in? Uh oh, then Rashan won’t get the ability because Rashan can play across the line. But if you are just playing a specific scheme, then Rashan is not going to be able to show his versatility.
“Rashan loves football so why would I take that from him? The coaches matter. The defensive line coach matters. The defensive coordinator matters. I want to know what their thoughts are, what their thinking is.”
Back to Gary and UGA: Coney made headlines last summer when she expressed her concerns about UGA’s defensive scheme to DawgNation back in July. She was concerned about how Gary would fit in on the defensive line if UGA was implementing a three-man line.
She later cleared things up with UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.
“Coach Pruitt and Coach Rocker told me to look at some film and so I was wrong,” Coney told DawgNation. “I called them back and said, ‘I didn’t know’ I’m just going off what I saw during the game … but they do fluctuate. It’s not just a three-man front. It’s a four-man front, sometimes they play a five, but they are prone to a three-man front.”
However, even though the Bulldogs’ defensive front does vary, the fact that they are prone to a 3-4 scheme doesn’t completely diminish Coney’s doubts, she told SEC Country this week.
“I know you aren’t going to play all the time, that’s impossible with their depth chart, playing a 3-4,” Coney said. “How often are you going to play? Yeah, it’s not a deal breaker but it’s something I consider.”
The 5-star recruit has already taken an official visit to Michigan and Ole Miss, and will be in Auburn this weekend for his third official visit, as well as making a trip to Southern Cal on Jan. 15.
Coney said she speaks with Rocker more than any other UGA coach, and will chat with Pruitt every now and then. But should the Bulldogs earn Gary’s fifth official visit, she made need some assurances on the stability of UGA’s coaching staff. What is Rocker’s sales pitch?
“(He says) ‘I’m going to take care of your boy,’” Coney said. “Everyone is going to take care of my boy. ‘Rashan is going to be out in three years. Rashan is going to get his degree and be out in three years. Rashan is going to be No. 1 in the draft. Rashan is going to be this …’ Just promises that they can’t keep. They can’t keep those promises. They can’t even give those promises.”
What would Coney need to see from UGA to be awarded an official visit?
“I’m good,” she said. “The trips are primarily for Rashan. When I go on a trip and I know I am spending my money I don’t have to go back. I have my notebook and I write down everything and ask a million questions. I look at everything. I go by myself and get a good feel for the campuses. Rashan may want to get another feel. We’ve went to LSU twice. Rashan spent a weekend there and two weeks later I went there. Why I have to go a third time? You’ve been there twice already. I’ve seen it. We were there for three days. I don’t need to go back. Just because I don’t go back doesn’t mean he doesn’t pick LSU.”