Georgia Football Recruiting Fallout Begins Post-Bobo, Friend


Georgia football recruiting has begun to see a slight amount of the expected fallout from the departures of coaches Mike Bobo and Will Friend.

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Don’t worry, none of Georgia’s football commits have flipped…yet. But is it only a matter of time?

People have been keeping a close eye on Georgia’s football recruits who have committed to the program for both 2015 and 2016 since Mike Bobo decided to head to Colorado State and take offensive line coach Will Friend with him. There was no initial indications of problems, but now some of the ripple effect is beginning to surface.

Two of Georgia’s most prized recruits for 2016 — quarterback Jacob Eason and offensive lineman Ben Cleveland — both had contact with Bobo and Friend as a part of their recruiting process, and both 5-star recruits have other coaches licking their chops to see if they can get a flip to go their way.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution recruiting reporter Michael Carvell had the chance to speak to both Eason and Cleveland, and while they both affirmed they are still committed to Georgia, it was what wasn’t said that could be concerning.

Eason’s father told Carvell, “It wasn’t just one guy [Bobo] that got Jacob to commit there. It was the whole package that got him to commit to UGA. We trust Coach Richt, and we’ll see what happens from here. We have complete faith in Coach Richt.”

Then, in a video interview with Cleveland, the deer jerky loving tackle told Carvell, “Right now my commitment is still as strong as it was the day I made that decision. Me and [Eason] talked the other night, and we both agreed that were gonna stay strong in our commitment, so I think we’re both still good as of right now.”

Two things jump out from those statements – “we’ll see what happens from here”, and “as of right now”…both statements following a firm affirmation of still being a Georgia commit.

Can we read anything into that? It’s hard to say. Everyone knows these commitments are not etched in stone, and we’ve certainly seen our number of National Signing Day flips, but the eggshell walking going on with Eason and Cleveland could be concerning. Why say “we’ll see” or “as of right now” if there is no question at all in your mind?

You’d have to think that the person brought in to replace Bobo will be exactly what those two tentative statements hinge upon.

But the backlash of coaching changes isn’t limited to players who have already committed. It was reported by the AJC this morning that Nigerian offensive lineman Chidi Okeke-Valentine has dropped UGA to third on his list of possible schools, after leading his recruiting for some time. He’s leaning towards Auburn or Alabama now.

The reasoning for his change of heart? The loss of offensive line coach Will Friend.

Will there be more fallout as National Signing Day grows closer? Much will be decided as Richt announces who Bobo’s successor as offensive coordinator and Friend’s replacement as offensive line coach will be.

Next: A Look at Georgia's Key Football Personnel Losses in 2015