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National Govt & Politics
Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

The first transcripts released on Monday from closed door impeachment depositions in Congress show the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was tipped off by Ukrainian government officials about the behind the scenes activities of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as Marie Yovanovitch said Giuliani's goal was to have her ousted from her diplomatic post.

"I do not know Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me," Yovanovitch told investigators on October 11, as the former Ambassador said she first learned Giuliani was up to something in Ukraine in late 2018.

"I really wasn't sure what exactly was going on," she added, as Yovanovitch detailed how she was puzzled and alarmed by public criticism from Donald Trump, Jr., and even Fox News talk host Sean Hannity.

"(O)ne of the senior Ukrainian officials was very concerned, and told me I really needed to watch my back," the former ambassador added.

"I understand, everyone understands, that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. Government chose to remove an ambassador based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives," she said.

The two men from Florida named by the Ambassador - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman - were arrested as they attempted to leave the United States in October, and subsequently charged with campaign finance violations.

Asked about criticism featured in the rough transcript of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukraine leader, Yovanovitch said she was worried by what she read in that White House document - as the President called her 'bad news.'

"I hate to be repetitive, but I was shocked," the Ambassador testified, as investigators pointed out where Mr. Trump said she was 'going to go through some things.'

"Did you feel threatened?" Yovanovitch was asked.

"Yes," she replied.

The full transcript of testimony from Yovanovitch is here.

The other transcript released on Monday came from Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Two more transcripts will be released on Tuesday, from the former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and from the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.

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Local News

  • The Hall County Sheriff’s Office says there have now been four arrests after a fight that led to multiple stabbings at a park in Hall County. Investigators say none of the injuries were life-threatening.  There are drug and weapons charges for two men arrested in Habersham County: the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office says 22 year-old Jonathan Norton and 28 year-old Cody Bennett were caught trafficking in methamphetamine. They were booked into the Habersham County jail.  The GBI is investigating in Dawsonville after an inmate is found dead in the Dawson County jail. The investigation continues in Chatsworth, where an 11 year-old girl was killed, apparently mauled to death by dogs. 
  • Cole Wilcox was off to one heck of a start to his sophomore season at Georgia. After an abrupt end, the right-handed pitcher may have played his final collegiate game, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Major League Baseball draft approaches. Well, Wilcox may have played in last game for the Bulldogs. Such is life in these days. After he went 3-0 record with a 1.57 ERA, Georgia’s season was canceled after 18 games. Wilcox had struck out 32 and walked only two over 33 innings. There were high hopes for Georgia to return to the College World Series. Now, the focus must be on the draft. The MLB draft will be held June 10-11 and will be limited to five rounds, down from 40. That is where the uncertainty comes in for Wilcox, who is projected to be a late first-round pick. He has not committed to turning professional. “I don’t know yet,” Wilcox said Tuesday in a video conference call with reporters. “That is something that I probably won’t know until after the draft is over because that’s how it works, teams keep their business to themselves. It’s kind of a guessing game. Whatever happens, happens. I look at it as a win-win. “Obviously I love the university for the two years I was there, two of the best years of my life, not only with baseball but my experience and growth as a person. And then on the other side of it, you have something that is going to fulfill a lifelong dream. Either way, I look at it as a win-win, for sure.” The draft begins Wednesday of next week with the first round, 37 picks in total. Rounds 2-5 will be held the next day, with a total of 160 players being selected. Wilcox is rated No. 23 in the MLB prospect rankings. It’s likely the Wilcox will be drafted early, along with teammate right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock, rated No. 4. Georgia was 14-4 before the season ended. Among Wilcox’s victory was a shutout of Georgia Tech on Feb. 29, when the 6-foot-5 pitcher threw seven innings and allowed three hits while striking out 11 and walking none. “I got off to a good start, and I feel like I was just starting to scratch the surface,” Wilcox said.  In two seasons at Georgia, Wilcox went 6-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 23 appearances. He struck out 96 and walked 40 for his career and was an All-SEC selection as a freshman. If Wilcox is to move on, he will leave memories, some of the best of his young life, behind. “It affected all of us, in I feel like, the same way,” Wilcox said of the shortened season. “We knew we had a special team, a special group. We had good bonds throughout the whole team, and that’s what was so special about it. The season ending like that cuts out two and half months of memories out of your life, really, that you could be out there playing with your teammates, traveling on the road, going to different places.  “Looking back at last year, that was something that were the best memories of my life, traveling to Mississippi State, going to Hoover (Ala.) for the SEC Tournament. Stuff like that is just tough, and you are really going to miss, and you know that you’ll never play with those guys again.” This would be the second time Wilcox has been drafted. Coming out of high school in Chickamauga, he made his intentions known that he intended to play college baseball. Still, Washington selected him in the 37th round. Wilcox said it will help this time around knowing what to expect. Wilcox said he has been in contact with several major league teams. He remained in Athens for much of the hiatus, working out at an available gym. He has kept a throwing regimen not throwing off a mound but ready to ramp up if and when the time is right. When and where is still to be determined.
  • Five members of the OLLI@UGA program were recognized for outstanding service and contributions at the organization’s annual meeting May 28. Recipients of the Carol Fisher Award, OLLI’s highest honor, are Lee Albright, Andy Horne and Penny Oldfather. The President’s Award, which recognizes special projects benefitting OLLI, was presented to Peter Balsamo and John Muthe.  The awards were presented by Chris Jones, whose term as OLLI president ends June 30. Jones announced the recipients in the OLLI annual meeting held via Zoom due to coronavirus restrictions. The Fisher Award is named for a deceased former professor in the University of Georgia’s Mary Francis Early College of Education who was instrumental in starting the Learning in Retirement program, which evolved into OLLI@UGA. The award recognizes outstanding service over a long period of time.   Albright was OLLI president in 2016-17 and served on numerous committees including the search committee that selected the current OLLI executive director. As chair of the Hospitality Committee she led planning for many social events, the annual meeting, the OLLI Fair and the New Member Orientation. She represented OLLI at several national and regional meetings of lifelong learning organizations.  Horne, retired former dean of the education college, was instrumental in transitioning the Learning in Retirement program into the national OLLI network founded by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He was vice president of the OLLI Board of Directors, a member of three Nominating Committees, and as co-chair of the Curriculum Committee helped arrange dozens of classes.  Oldfather served six years on the Curriculum Committee, recruiting instructors for hundreds of classes and advocating for greater diversity in class offerings. A retired professor in the College of Education, she is beginning her second term on the Board of Directors and is co-chair of the committee that arranges luncheon programs.    Balsamo and Muthe received the President’s Award for their leadership in helping OLLI initiate use of Zoom for classes and meetings. As a member of the Curriculum Committee, Balsamo arranged OLLI’s first remote classes via Skype about two years ago. He has since recruited numerous instructors at distant locations to teach via Skype and more recently via Zoom. He also helped start the WiseMEN Special Interest Group, which brings male OLLI members together for discussions. Muthe lives at Iris Place retirement center and was responsible for starting OLLI Zoom classes at the center. He manages the technology that enables about 25 residents who have joined OLLI to attend the classes. He has taught some classes and also helped start the WiseMEN group. He uses his technology skills to help Iris Place residents with their camera phones and to make phone check-ins with them.  
  • As a four-year starter on the University of Georgia men’s basketball team from 1988-91, Rod Cole was known as a versatile fighter on the court. Sliding back and forth from guard to forward, Cole was the go-to player when positions needed to be filled.    His ability to make decisions in high-pressure situations helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA tournaments for the first time in school history. Now the owner of Above All—a cleaning and restoration company—Cole is using his and his business’ versatility to help fight a much bigger adversary—the coronavirus, or COVID-19.    Above All specializes in indoor air quality, a component essential to combating the virus. Cole says joining in the fight against COVID-19 was “right up their alley.” Even so, the company has experienced many changes due to the virus.    The company has had to turn its attention to sanitation – Above All uses the disinfectant Noroxycdiff – rather than only remediation. To do so effectively, Cole brings in individuals to train his staff.    “I want my guys knowledgeable about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it,” Cole said. “Knowing the right protocols and ways to do these things are in the best interest of everyone.”   For Cole and his team, some of the biggest adjustments are simply in the day-to-day routine in treating facilities. Cole describes his and his team’s new uniform as the type of thing one would see on TV. Along with their respirators, Above All workers wear full Tyvex suits with shoe coverings and sealed hoods, and their hands are double-gloved and tied at the wrists.   “It’s not normal for people to put on PPE (personal protective equipment) and suits like that,” Cole said. “For one, that stuff is hot. Then, by nature, we want to jump out of the truck and shake each other’s hands; you can’t do that now. The stuff that used to be normal can’t be right now, so I think that is probably the biggest shift my guys and I have had to make.”     Cole likens operating Above All to sports, how athletes adjust to changes on the field much like he did on the Georgia basketball court.    “Athletes have that ability to not only view the physical but to think,” Cole said. “They process data very quickly, because things come at them even quicker. They’re forced to adjust to those [changes] and move. That process isn’t just a physical one; it’s a thought process, too. Business is the same way. There are a lot of obstacles to face, but there are ways to adjust.”   While the pandemic has required Cole and his company to make major changes, this is not the first time Above All has been faced with business-altering obstacles.    Cole began his business nearly two decades ago as a cleaning service primarily for large hotels. However, the aftermath of 9/11 included a near standstill in travel which forced hotels to cut back on things such as cleaning services.    From there, Cole’s business shifted its attention to water damage. He acknowledges the importance of this business decision.   “Over the years, I’ve learned to diversify,” Cole said. “You learn a lot from the mistakes you make [and] a lot through trial and error. Sports taught me how to deal with adversity. At that point, unfortunately, a lot of people lost their way of living [and] threw their hands up, right away, at the stress of it. I try to look at the positive, and I try not to get down. I tell myself that if 90 percent of the world is looking at it [negatively], I need to look at it [positively].”    Many of Above All’s business clienteles include colleges and commercial businesses. When colleges shifted to online instruction and shelter-in-place orders went into effect, work for Above All slowed down a bit.    However, Cole remains optimistic things will begin to pick up as businesses begin to reopen. Above All has picked up new business in retirement homes and more, and Cole is excited for his company’s plans in the future.    Cole encourages the student-athletes – seniors in particular – whose seasons were cut short due to the pandemic to harness the strength they have to refocus on the positives.   “It’s really difficult, and no individual is the same or has the same thought process,” Cole said. “We’re all faced with hardships in sports, work [and] life in general. Something I’ve always appreciated about athletes and military people is they have been pushed to the limit. Athletes have coaches who push them to their physical limits. When you get older, you just have to realize you can refocus all that strength you had as an athlete – the ability to push yourself, physically, to the limit – harness that mentally and know you can move forward if you try.” 
  • Madison County High School makes plans for an in-person graduation ceremony, which had been postponed from May because of coronavirus: it will be held June 20 at the Madison County High School football stadium in Danielsville.  Franklin County’s in-person graduation will be held on the same Saturday.  Other area high schools, including both high schools in Oconee County, have talked about holding in-person graduation exercises, possibly in July. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia basketball sophomore Mike Peake has entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to multiple sources. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Peake was a late addition to last year's class, signing in August out of Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kans. Peake played in 24 of 32 games last season, including the final 12 contests, averaging 9 minutes per outing with 2.3 points and 2 rebounds. Peake scored a career-high 8 points in the season-opening game against Delaware State and pulled down a season-high 6 rebounds in a season high 23 minutes against South Carolina on Feb. 26. Peake's departure brings the Bulldogs' roster down to 13 scholarship players. RELATED: Georgia adds big V-Tech center, over scholarship limit Georgia added Virginia Tech graduate transfer center P.J. Horne last week. Horne, a 6-6, 225-pounder, averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. UGA Coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean opens up, tells all on UGA basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss The post Georgia basketball sophomore enters transfer portal appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia already had the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the 2020 cycle. Yet there's a chance it could go to another level with the addition of 5-star CB Tony Grimes. Let's simply couch the thinking here by saying there's a chance it could happen at this time. It could happen for Georgia or North Carolina or Ohio State or Texas A&M, too. Those were the four programs the nation's No. 1 CB prospect for 2021 (247Sports Composite) released as his top 4 schools on Sunday night. Grimes, who was already set to enroll early in January of 2021, is currently probing the possibility of summer graduation and enrolling at the school of his choice in August. That would make him a tremendous late addition to the 2020 recruiting class for one of those four programs. The reason? His father Deon Glover told DawgNation on Wednesday evening it would be because there's a chance that his Princess Anne program (Virginia Beach, Va.) might not have a football season this fall due to the novel coronavirus. Glover feels that his son would be able to reclassify as a class of 2020 recruit if that unfortunate situation presented itself. 'He could have graduated last year,' Glover told DawgNation on Wednesday evening. 'We pushed one class into this year so he could play his senior season. He only needs one class. He can take that online and be done in a month.' That's actually the same path that incoming Georgia Bulldog J.T. Daniels did as a reclassified prospect who joined the USC football program in the summer of 2018. That came after just three varsity seasons of high school football for Daniels. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Grimes ranks as the nation's No. 1 CB for 2021 and the No. 7 overall prospect for 2021 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. RELATED: 5-star Tony Grimes is a special player both on and off the field If that presents itself to be the case, then the chance to play early doesn't look the same at Georgia as it does for the 2021 season. Grimes is a special talent, but there are three cornerbacks returning to the team this fall for what look to be their resume seasons to enhance their status as a future top 60 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Junior Tyson Campbell, Senior D.J. Daniel and redshirt junior Eric Stokes, Jr. all have that potential and the vast playing experience for the Bulldogs during the 2019 season as part of the nation's top-ranked scoring defense. Georgia also signed the nation's No. 1 cornerback for the 2020 cycle in former 5-star Kelee Ringo, too. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Kirby Smart's comments of the 2021 recruiting cycle thus far laced with empathy and uncertainty Nation's No. 1 CB prospect Tony Grimes places UGA among his top four schools BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post Tony Grimes: Big potential development looms with the nation's No. 1 CB for 2021 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Gene Stallings took time Wednesday to share his feelings on two men he was once hired to beat, revealing friendships that pre-dated rivalries. Stallings, 85, coached at Alabama from 1990-1996, overlapping with former Auburn coach Pat Dye (1981-1992) and former Tennessee coach John Majors (1977-1992). RELATED: Former Georgia All-American Pat Dye dies Dye passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80 years old, and Majors died on Wednesday at 85. Iron Bowl Friendship 'Pat Dye and I have been friends for a long time, let me tell you two or three things about Pat,' Stallings, who still lives on his ranch in Paris, Texas, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. 'We competed against each other in games and also recruiting, and we never had a cross word. 'Pat always conducted himself as a gentlemen. He was very competitive, his teams played well.' Stallings and Dye served together on the board for Great Southern Wood for more than 20 years. The two had gone on a hunting trip together last year with former UGA quarterback and head coach Ray Goff. Dye replaced Stallings on Paul 'Bear' Bryant's Alabama coaching staff as an assistant in 1965. Stallings left the staff to become head coach at Texas A&M, before his 14 years on Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff (1972-85). Stallings returned to the SEC as the Tide's head coach in 1990 after a stint as the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals head coach in the NFL. By then, Dye had taken over as Auburn's head coach (1981) after stints at East Carolina (1974-79) and Wyoming (1980) and put the Tigers' program 'on the marquee.' Dye had, in fact, changed the course of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry. The Tigers had won four straight over Alabama for the first time in almost 30 years before Stallings snapped the streak his first year back in Tuscaloosa. Dye, also acting as Auburn athletic director, also persuaded the Tigers' boosters to playing the 'Iron Bowl' in Auburn rather than Birmingham where the gamehad traditionally been played dating back to 1904. 'That had been done before I got back, but if it were up to me, I'm not sure I would have changed it,' Stallings told DawgNation, asked about going to a home-and-home. 'I think it was a good thing they changed it. But when Pat retired (1992), we were still playing the game (in Alabama home years) in Birmingham.' Third Saturday Handshake Alabama was also playing its home games against Tennessee in Birmingham, rather than Tuscaloosa, when Stallings coached the Tide to the 1992 national championship. Alabama had to get through Majors and the Vols in Knoxville that season, gutting out a 17-10 win in a rivalry Stallings said was at times more fierce than Auburn, despite his friendship with Majors. 'Johnny was an assistant coach at (Mississippi State), when I was coaching at Alabama,' Stallings recalled. 'We would meet together in Nashville and we would recruit, and then we'd meet together and have dinner that night. 'I've always loved and appreciated Johnny Majors. One of the things he did, he raised his grandson. Johnny took the grandson and raised him like he was is and I always appreciated Johnny for that.' Stallings' family priorities have been well documented. He authored the book 'Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son.' The writing is about Stallings' relationship with his late son, John Mark, who was born with Down syndrome and a hear defect. But on the football field, Stallings, Dye and Majors were all business. 'When the game gets started, you don't worry about who is coach on the other side of the field, you get ready for the team, not the coach,' Stallings said. 'When my team played Coach Bryant, I loved Coach Bryant, but when the game got underway, it was Texas A&M playing against Alabama. 'It was the same thing with Johnny. We were friends, and I showed him respect.' Rivalry perspective The Tennessee game, like the Auburn game, was historically a big deal and many still feel the same way. 'Coach Bryant, he had rather beat Tennessee than Auburn in those early years,' said Stallings, who played for Bryant at Texas A&M before serving as an assistant under him. 'I know things have a tendency to change, but he really got the team ready to play Tennessee. Auburn was not a great team in those years, and then Pat (Dye) put them on the marquee. 'But before that, we'd get ready for Tennessee two weeks before the game. 'If you're going to be accepted at the University of Alabama, you have to beat Tennessee, you have to beat Auburn, and eventually you have to win the national championship.' Stallings went 3-0 at Alabama against Dye and Majors some three decades ago en route to joining them in the College Football Hall of Fame. On Wednesday, he mourned losing both of them. The post Alabama legend Gene Stallings reflects on friends Pat Dye and Johnny Majors appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It seems like fourscore and four news cycles ago when Georgia football coach Kirby Smart joined the beat reporter corps on Zoom last Thursday. It came before a weekend when America's attention shifted away from the novel coronavirus to Minneapolis. There were the actions of peaceful protestors and then those not-so-civil activists. It turned our heads away from the policies which would be in place this week for the return of Georgia's players to Athens to begin preparations for the 2020 season . This week marks a rite of passage for every new season.The UGA signees from the 2020 signing class that did not enroll early are officially moving away from home to join the program and campus life in Athens, too. In the midst of all of that, the Bulldogs were also able to add another former 5-star QB prospect to first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken's room. That JT Daniels stuff took on a life of its own, too. Those events eclipsed a lot of what Smart said on that Thursday morning visit with the beat reporters who cover the UGA team on a regular basis. It was specifically interesting what Smart had to say about recruiting. 'First off, it's extremely different,' the fifth-year head coach said. 'The recruiting world has changed as much as anything because you're just not capable of going to high schools.' He did not duck the obvious there. When we come to think of it, the Georgia staff has basically had three full weeks (weekends included) of on-campus recruiting in 2020. That's now into the first week of June. Those were the last three weekends in January. That was followed by the National Signing Day for the 2020 class in the first week of February, but then another dead period for the rest of that month. Georgia only had a small number of unofficial visitors on campus in March. The Bulldogs were taking advantage of spring break before ramping up to roll the welcome mat out after the first weekend in March. Spring drills would be underway and the months of March and April would be big for visitors. 'We would be going out watching spring practices, going school-to-school,' Smart told the UGA beat on Thursday. 'I wouldn't be able to because I don't get to go out in May, so that didn't really change for me, but it changed for a lot of our coaches. We've done what you guys know to be the case. There's no magic potion. There's nobody doing something magically that everybody else isn't doing. We're jumping on Zoom. We're communicating with parents, coaches, recruitswe're doing everything virtually, and that's really the best we can do.' The staff was set to go on the road from April 15 to May 30 to further evaluate the top 2021, 2022 and 2023 prospects during their own spring practices.The pandemic made sure none of that took place. Throw away that calendar. The NCAA also shared word last week that all on-campus recruiting would still be halted until July 31. too. Division I Council Coordination Committee extends recruiting dead period: https://t.co/kxNibUf3B2 pic.twitter.com/0cRcTbrxQp Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) May 27, 2020 'They keep extending the period that you can't come on campusthe ability to come on campus, they just extended that, so it's looking like that's not going to happen through the end of July,' Smart said. 'So, it's going to be a very different May-June-July period and that's unique. Who manages that the best will be importanta lot of this is who had the best relationships leading into this because, at the end of the day, you can only develop so much of a relationship through a phone, through a text, through a virtual activity. We've tried to be creative in the way we use that. I'm certainly not going to divulge everything we've done because I don't think that's open for everybody to do, and I think we're all competing in the SEC, trying to make ourselves different.' Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. Georgia football: Kirby Smart continues to empathize with recruits The Bulldogs are certainly not lacking in the recruiting department. They never will be under this staff. Despite those obstacles, the Bulldogs still have the No. 13 overall recruiting class on the well-respected 247Sports Team Composite rankings.That ranking was boosted by the commitments of All-American Georgia prospects Chaz Chambliss and Dylan Fairchild over the last week. That gave the Bulldogs nine commits for the 2021 cycle. It comes while still showing remarkable restraint in not taking commitments from prospects the staff still felt like it needed further in-person or more senior year film for a complete evaluation. When it comes to those national team rankings, there'snot a single team above the Bulldogs that does not have at least two more verbal commitments at this time. The number of commitments those schools have on UGA at this time is even markedly higher than that in some cases. The average number of pledges for the top 12 comes out to 15.8 commits per school. Georgia is well-positioned based on the fact that the average 247Sports Composite rating of each of its commitments currently stands at 94.05. That's a focus on quality rather than an impressive volume of commitments at this time. Tennesse sits at No. 2 overall due in large part to its 24 commitments, but those prospects merit an average individual player rating of 89.73.Ohio State has the No. 1 class right now due to its average rating of 95.34 for each of its 18 commitments. Clemson also has a mean rating of 94.55 for each of its 13 pledges. Smart wonders about the effects on the 2021 recruits in general with all of this downtime. The alpha recruiters on every major Power 5 staff have had nothing consequential to do over the last three months except focus on the core recruits on the board. 'I can tell you this: it's probably created a bigger burden on our recruits, and if I was a recruit or a recruit's parent, I would be more concerned with that volume of virtual usage and phone usage, and it's probably led to more kids committing because you can make the case that they're committing because they can't go anywhere,' Smart said. 'I would make the case that they're sick and tired of being barraged by phone calls and virtual activities.' National recruiting analyst Bud Elliott of 247Sports continues to do an admirable job tracking the number of 2021 commitments to this point and comparing it to previous the same timestamp in previous cycles. Morning of May 30: 913 Last year's class on this date: 390 The gap grew again. https://t.co/plzt0mRvXT Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) May 30, 2020 Will this class just be different? Or will the real recruiting cycle for the 2021 class take place in the span of just seven months? Could we see official visits in August in the thick of fall practices? When prospects do get the NCAA green light to return to campus again, it will mean they will have less than five months before the first day of the early signing period to figure out where they want to go. That same condensed time frame will also influence the schools handing out these scholarships, too. Smart wondered what that might lead to. 'Will we see more kids come November or December de-commit, or go back and start visiting?' Smart said. 'I don't know because I don't know when we'll be able to bring kids to campus. All that will probably come out at the end of July when we know more about what kids are going to be able to do in recruiting.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Nation's No. 1 CB prospect Tony Grimes places UGA among his top four schools BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post Georgia football: Kirby Smart's comments on the 2021 recruiting cycle laced with empathy, uncertainty appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Hutson Mason admits he was as surprised as anyone last week when news dropped that former Southern Cal quarterback J.T. Daniels intended to transfer to Georgia. 'I wasn't so much surprised he chose Georgia (over Tennessee and Michigan), I was more so surprised that Georgia wasn't looking for another quarterback,' Mason, a former Bulldogs' quarterback, told DawgNation. 'Kirby is in an interesting spot with Jake Fromm gone . ' Interesting, for sure. Quarterback Derby The Bulldogs return 80 percent of the production off a championship caliber defense while reloading on the other side of the football with offensive gurus Todd Monken and Matt Luke. Daniels, should he be granted a waiver for immediate eligibility, would jump into a five-man quarterback derby. WATCH: USC beat writer shares inside info on JT Daniels Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman appears to be the favorite to start, but there's also D'Wan Mathis (redshirt freshman), Carson Beck (freshman) and Stetson Bennett (redshirt junior). Mason said he doesn't think UGA's tentative offensive blueprint would need to drastically change course with Daniels under center. USC has also run a Pro Style version of the spread with RPO concepts. 'One of the things I was surprised by when I was watching tape on him, he's far more nimble and shifty and elusive in the picket than I thought,' Mason said. 'I think he's far more athletic than Jake . 'That was the first thing that stuck out to me. I would see a clip where the pocket collapsed and would normally be a sack or a negative play last year for Jake, and for me, he gets out of. He turns what should be a sack into a 4-yard pickup, or he extends the play and makes something out of nothing.' Questionable Knee Mason said as much as he liked on tape, there's a question if Daniels will possess the same mobility if he's playing in a knee brace after suffering a torn ACL in last season's opening game. 'I don't know if he will be the same in the pocket and escape a lot of things because that knee brace is extremely restrictive on quarterbacks,' Mason said. 'I tried to wear one because a lot of offensive coordinators in college have the theory that they want their quarterback to wear one to protect their knee from the blind side.' Quarterback injuries have become more common as the speed of the game has increased and more teams have spread the field. Mason, himself, has experience attempting to play in a precautionary knee brace. 'I tried fiddling around with it a coupe springs, and I was like 'I hate this,' it's like a peg leg, you literally feel like you have one leg,' Mason said. 'So that that was my concern if he's coming off that knee injury and he has to wear a knee brace, will he ever be the nimble guy in the pocket that I saw on tape?' First Look Mason, who quarterbacked Georgia to a 10-3 record in 2014 and now provides analysts on Atlanta's WCNN-AM 680 'The Fan,' went directly to the archives upon hearing Daniels was heading to Athens. Hearing about a player is one thing, but seeing him and evaluating him in game action, is another. Mason provided a video breakdown of Daniels on Twitter last week. @GeorgiaFootball adds another 5 QB in JT Daniels. The more tape I watch of him the more impressed I become. pic.twitter.com/yEgWPkLdqH Hutson Mason (@HMason14) May 29, 2020 'I believe the two most important traits are accuracy and tight windows, that's why I chose that clip,' Mason said. 'And, it was functional arm strength. A lot of people think arm strength is how far can you throw the ball in a straight line, and that'a a huge misconception. 'It's more of when the pocket collapses, and you have a messy pocket, with somebody at your feet and you can't step into the throw, do you still have enough functional arm strength to get the ball down the field?' NCAA Waiver It has yet to be determined if Daniels will be seen on the field this season, as the will need the NCAA to grant him a waiver for immediate eligibility similar to the one Miami's Tate Martell received when leaving Ohio State. 'I'm sure Kirby's pitch was, We are a quarterback position away from being a national champion,' that's what I believe Kirby's pitch to him was,' Mason said. 'That's pretty enticing. 'I think the program is selling itself, and that was probably more of the angle. But I was surprised, because it seems like, man,'how much more room do you have for quarterbacks?' Time will tell. Georgia players have started arriving back on campus with voluntary workouts set to begin next Monday. DawgNation JT Daniels stories Georgia getting accurate, cerebral' quarterback in JT Daniels Addition of JT Daniels continues UGA inroads into California Breaking down the angles of JT Daniels' addition Details emerge on USC transfer JT Daniels Kirby Smart addresses new normal routine for players The post WATCH: First look at new Georgia quarterback JT Daniels from Hutson Mason appeared first on DawgNation.