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College
Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss
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Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry gives a glimpse of what the Bulldogs aregetting with recent 2021 D-line commitment Marlin Deanfrom Elbert County High School in Northeast Georgia.

Marlin Dean will serve as the 6-foot-6 footnote to Georgia's loss to rival Florida on the basketball court last week.

The Gators won on March 4 by a 68-54 margin at Stegeman Coliseum, but that event wasn't a total loss. The University of Georgia picked up a 6-foot-6 win in another area inside the arena that night.

That was Dean. The 265-pound defensive line prospect had traveled the 40-odd minutes from the tiny hamlet of Bowman with UGA on his mind.

"Yes, sir," Dean told DawgNation. "At first became I came up there I was telling my parents I was going to commit. I knew I was going up there to commit that night. The coaches were all going to be up there."

Dean did just that in the third quarter of that game.

He told the Georgia staff he was going to be a Dawg that night. The rest of the world had to wait another two days as he put two unique plans in motion.

The first was to get a "clue" edit in mind. He chose the talented graphic artist @HayesFawcett3 for a slick edit of his top schools.

This was a different request. He wanted to subtly try to let the world know what Tray Scott found out the night Florida beat Georgia on the hardwood.

Dean devised an edit which would shed a lot of light on the way he was thinking. Just as long as the individual could count.

If they could count, they would notice that there were 11 schools that made up his top 10. There was also a certain uniform that Dean was wearing at the center of it all.

"Like I told my coach there was an egg in the center in the middle of it all," Dean told DawgNation. "Of all the top teams that I had really shown me interest and was ready to fall in love with they didn't have really anything to compare with Georgia. So with me having the Georgia jersey on in the center of it all, it kind of gave it away."

While everyone was noticing his calculation, it was intended to plant a seed. This wasn't a top 10. Or a top 11.

It was a top 1. It came out on the eve of his commitment.

"I was just having fun with it," Dean said. "I had already committed so I was just having a little fun."

Some recruits want to keep their decision reveal in with locked-up encryption on their phones. Zipped-up lip emojis all over the place.

Dean wanted to tell the world.

"So when I posted that I was trying to give it away before I posted the commitment poster," Dean said. "But not that many people caught on to it so I just didn't really even say anything until I posted that picture."

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Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Marlin Dean: What UGA is getting with its third 2021 commit

Brad Waggoner is the head coach at Elbert County. He played his high school ball at Landmark Christian and for two seasons at Georgia Tech.

He feels that Dean is going to gain a lot more weight. He believes that he will wind up as a 300-pounder in the SEC as his body develops.

"He can run as well," Waggoner said. "He's very athletic. Very agile. Got great feet. He will run extremely well for a big man. The one thing that stood out to me when I got here to Elbert County. He's raw. He's got a way yet to improve but at the same time, his ceiling is going to be very very high. He's got a long way to improve but the things that he has got for sure is he has great great feet and he can run."

What is Georgia getting here? Waggoner brings up the name of a former Bulldog as a means of comparison. This one was a former sixth-round draft pick who would win up playing 11 seasons in the NFL.

"I coached Kedric Golston all through high school," he said. "He went on to play at the University of Georgia. When I first saw Marlin, he made me think about Kedric back when I coached him in high school. Kedric was a little bit bigger from a weight standpoint and a little more explosive but Marlin can definitely run better than Kedric did."

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Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Dean can grow to be a "zero" or a "three" or a "five" technique at the next level. The most likely projection would be as a "5" technique to start with.

The Elbert County standout said that he was not likely at this time to enroll early at Georgia in January of 2021.

Line coach Tray Scott and area recruiter Glenn Schumann proved to be big factors during the recruiting process for the Bulldogs.

Dean camped at Georgia last summer. He went to several games last fall, but things really escalated for Dean with the Bulldogs when the staff saw him in person at a "Junior Day" event back in January.

The "raw" part of his early evaluation comes from the notion that Dean worked as an offensive lineman during the summer. He had only played offensive line for Elbert County up until this past season.

"I just saw a different player this year when he went over to the defense," Waggoner said. "You saw a different motor and everything else."

Good kid. Humble kid. Team player. Waggoner felt comfortable using each of those phrases to describe Dean. That's certainly what he is like in person, too.

He shares a story about the next big thing at Elbert County. That would be 2023 prospect Christian Harris. Folks around the Elbert County program try to not say too much too soon about his potential. But when they do, they will bring up the name Mecole Hardman Jr. while describing his skill set.

"He's fast now," Waggoner said. "Fast fast fast."

Harris is just going to be a little bit bigger than Hardman. He's already a couple of inches taller than Hardman right now. The 6-foot freshman also already has SEC offers from Arkansas and South Carolina.

When Waggoner took Dean and Harris to visit the Gamecock this winter, he was struck by how happy the big Bulldog commitment was that day.

"South Carolina offered our freshman that day and I really got to see a different side of Marlin that day," Waggoner said. "He was just so happy and excited for his young teammate that day. He was more excited about that freshman getting that offer than anything else that day."

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Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

Why was it Georgia here for Marlin Dean?

Tennessee finished second in the race here. Penn State actually came in third place.Dean said that the Bulldogs earned his commitment because they showed the most interest.

"I will say it was Georgia because they really showed the most interest," he said. "Other coaches showed interest but Georgia texted me every day. They came to the school. They check up on my parents and stuff like that. Then towards academic wise, they really cared what I wanted to major in and stuff like that. They really showed the extra effort that they really wanted me and they showed the extra effort that they really wanted me. That's what made me fall in love with them so fast."

He considered the offer from Georgia to be his first really big offer. That opportunity came back on January 18. It was his first offer from a Power 5 school.

"They were the first big one to show interest," he said.

Coach Scott made a big early statement to Dean that stood out.

"He said that when coach showed him the film he said he saw me," Dean said. "He made sure he saw me. He said he saw an animal in me. He said there was more that I can improve in. [Coach Scottt] said that he wanted to be the coach that give me the tools I need to continue to play."

Hardman also hails from the same community as Dean. That's quite a coincidence. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, that town had a population of 862 residents. It now has a former Georgia Bulldog among its former residents and a future one.

The odds of that, we might say, seem longer than the 6-foot-6 Dean.

Dean said this he has been inspired by Hardman and his older brother. His older brother inspired him at an early age and showed him that he could play the game.

"But then Mecole really set the tone," he said. "It was Oh just because you come out of Bowman you can still go farther and farther' and since he is in the league now it really showed me that anybody can come out of a small town and make a name for themselves."

He said that Hardman was reaching out to him even before he got that offer back in January. He even had a unique reaction to that offer.

"At first I was like, this is not real," Dean said. "Not Georgia. Out of all people? Georgia? Nah. I had gotten invited to a lot of Junior Days' but not offered. When I went to Georgia I just thought that they were just looking at me. The next guy was really going to get the offer."

Scott and the Georgia staff actually told his parents he was getting the offer first.

"I still felt like it was fake," he said. "To this day, I still feel like it is kind of unreal. It is just crazy. Everything is moving so fast."

That's because it did.

When Dean told Scott he was going to commit, that news was met with great joy.

"Let's get it done," Scott said in reply. "Momma, your son is a Bulldog now."

That made it seem very real. He looked over and saw that his mother was about to cry.

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Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn’t a total loss

What will motivate Marlin Dean between thehedgesat UGA

Waggoner believes this commitment will stick. That is the type of person he sees in Dean. Dean told DawgNation that the pledge is solid, but that he might still go check out other schools on visits, too.

"He's a high-character kid," Waggoner said on Dean. "Never going to get in trouble. He also has a lot of respect for his parents. You don't see it all the time anymore but he has great admiration for his parents and his parents have played a great role in his life."

Dean is already squatting more than 500 pounds. His power clean is also north of 300 pounds. Those are very good lifts given his age and size and the length of his arms and frame. Waggoner believes that the young man has clear NFL potential.

"He's raw but he has NFL talent," Waggoner said. "I've coached several guys who played in the NFL and he's just like they were. Now, he's going to have to keep improving and fulfilling that potential but he has all the intangibles to do it."

Dean wore No. 56 last year. That was because his grandmother was born in 1956. He plans to change that to No. 55 this fall for a very good reason.

He's inspired to do so in memory of his grandfather. Ernest Fortson was born in 1955. He took a job at a Hartwell machine assembly plant when he was 14 years old.

He had a job at that same plant until Jan. 27 of this year.

Fortson passed away at the age of 63. He was a huge Georgia Bulldog fan. That's why there is a R.I.P. Pops message with a blue and red heart atop his Twitter page.

"My biggest motivation now is my grandpa," Dean said. "Ever since he passed. The last conversation we had he told me he said to me You keep going' and Don't let me down' and that just gives me more motivation to keep going."

"I know that he's looking down on me now from heaven. He's smiling and looking down on me and saying that he is proud of his grandson."

When that offer came, Dean said that his grandfather was able to go around saying that his grandson was going to go to Georgia. There's no doubt that it gave him great pride to say that.

When Dean told him about the offer, he said the first thing Forston asked was if UGA had seen his grades yet.

"He was like That's good' because he says that it is not always about the talent," Dean said. "It is about what is in your head, too. You have got to make smart decisions when you go up there. That really gave me something to think about with that, too."

It mattered a great deal to him.

"He didn't know about all the other offers," Dean said. "He just knew about Georgia. With me committing to Georgia, I feel like that he would be saying that he was proud of his grandson."

When you see Dean with his head bowed and his hands clasped in his commitment edit, that's the reason why.

The post Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn't a total loss appeared first on DawgNation.

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Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Many Georgia football fans already had Nov. 14 circled on their calendars, and the date has now become even more alluring. The Masters, originally scheduled to start on Thursday, announced it intends to take place Nov. 12-15 this year. That means traditions will flow within the hallowed grounds of Augusta National on Saturday (Nov. 14) less than 100 miles away from the sacred hedges of Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs, a preseason favorite among championship contenders, will be tangling with their orange-clad rivals from the North on that same day in what's sure to be a nationally televised event. 'That makes for a great doubleheader, to have Augusta National followed up by a Georgia-Tennessee football game,' UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. 'That's some high-quality TV right there.' A look at the SEC schedule reveals the matchup between the Bulldogs and Vols to most likely be the league's feature matchup, setting up a battle under the lights. The possibilities are endless. Might we see College GameDay, hosts clad in green jackets, broadcast from Augusta? Georgia football coach and golf fanatic Kirby Smart would be only a short helicopter ride away from an appearance on the show. It certainly makes for a historical afternoon and evening on Nov. 14 that will never and can't possibly ever be replicated. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered these unprecedented times. Precautionary measures such as social distancing and limited group gatherings are wreaking havoc on global activity. It has staggered economies while testing the willpower and patience of society. Sports has certainly not been spared, fans now chomping at the bit to find a competitive entertainment fix. Spring and summer sports seasons have been canceled and/or postponed, and deadlines are fast approaching if fall athletes are to be properly prepared for their respective seasons. Football is the cash king among U.S. sports, a vital revenue producer in the television advertising and stakes game. There's a priceless social value as well, particularly in the Southeastern Conference where football Saturdays are their own religion of sorts. The beliefs and practices have played out among generations of family, friends and business associates. Thus, November 14 stands to represent a day of sports pageantry like no other before in Georgia. Some might point out that, traditionally, it would be Auburn facing the Bulldogs in that November game slot. RELATED: Details of 2020 schedule flop, why Kirby Smart approves of it The SEC office, however, swapped Tennessee and Auburn weekends on Georgia's schedule. It was a tradeoff that accomplished what Kirby Smart wanted, in avoiding consecutive road games with Georgia Tech and Auburn in the same month. The Tigers, meanwhile, no longer have the prospect of facing Alabama and Georgia on the road in the same month. And for the Vols, it splits up their two key SEC East Division games. At times Florida and Georgia came back to back, a challenge Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer would rather do without. But this year the scheduling repercussions go well beyond the gridiron. What's arguably the most lavish and sacred golf tournament in the world will intersect a key football weekend. It makes for a sports afternoon like no other. The post Georgia football and The Masters set for weekend unlike any other appeared first on DawgNation.
  • There may not be azaleas in bloom, but there may be a Masters after all. Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday that the intended dates for the 2020 Masters will be Nov. 9-15. The major golf tournament was scheduled for this week before it was postponed last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the coronavirus,” Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport. “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials. Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week.” The club also announced that the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was canceled. The inaugural event was held last year. Each player who accepted an invitation for the 2020 championship will be invited to compete in the 2021, the club announced. Those who purchased tickets to the women’s event will be issued a refund. The Masters new dates would run into college football. On Nov. 14, the Saturday of the third round, Georgia is scheduled to host Tennessee and Georgia Tech is scheduled to play Notre Dame at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry shares a conversation with a high school teammate of Mekhail Sherman from this year. Shermansigned as part of the 2020 recruiting classwhich again wound up as the nation's No. 1 class on the 247SportsTeamComposite rankings. Mekhail Sherman was rated as a 5-star recruit for almost his entire shelf life as a prospective college football recruit. The last 247Sports Composite ratings saw his rating dip to four stars. It meant he wound up as the nation's No. 32 overall prospect for the 2020 cycle. Sherman now holds the distinction on that scale as the highest-rated 4-star prospect in the 2020 class. That still slots him as the nation's no. 2 OLB prospect. His 2019 senior season contained great intrigue. Sherman suffered a season-ending knee injury early in his junior season. It was something to monitor. The beauty of his game was in the way he covered ground out on the edge and all over the field. Especially for a future college LB. His recovery and comeback proved to be fierce. But he spent his senior year playing defensive end for a powerful St. John's College program in the Washington D.C. metro area. The focus was on getting on the field first. Getting back to helping his team. But there was also the challenge of getting back to being the player he used to be. There were many times where Sherman looked like a one-man wrecking crew on his sophomore film. He had 18 tackles for losses and seven sacks among his 51-tackle year. Check it out below. That was the momentum season for his time as a recruit. The Bulldogs offered him on his birthday in February after that season. He qualified for The Opening. While he was there, his laser time in the 40 turned just about every head there given his size and position. Sherman was in the 220-pound range then. Clocking 4.5s in his laser 40. It meant he dashed alongside all the elite skill guys in the 'Fastest Man' Challenge. At this time a year ago, the 2020 Georgia signee was busy narrowing his decision down to Georgia and Ohio State. He visited Georgia for G-Day and committed to the Bulldogs less than three weeks after that trip . Sherman wound up being a one-man linebacker recruiting class for the program in 2020. 'MJ' can certainly plug-and-play at either LB spot for the Bulldogs. Sherman did see a lot of reps at ILB at the Under Armour All-American Game earlier this year. Sherman finished that contest with six tackles. That tied him for the second-best total from all the All-Americans in that game. He had five solo stops. It also proved for the second-highest game total in that category. The Baltimore native also tied for the game-high total with his two tackles for losses. He said after the game that he had something to prove that night. The future 'Wolfpack' member wanted to show everyone how he could still make plays for the LB spot. That said, his overall athleticism lends itself to being out on the edge as a 'Jack' in Georgia's odd front. Do you believe in stars? Or is the game film a better arbiter? Do the words of a teammate matter more while assessing what Sherman can be at the college level? If so, the scouting report for 2021 4-star recruit Taize Johnson provides an interesting view on Sherman. Mekhail Sherman: What Maryland commit Taize Johnson feels Georgia is getting What does Johnson feel Georgia is getting in Sherman? 'Definitely a natural leader,' Johnson said. 'Leadership comes easily to him. Guys just gravitate towards him. He has real positive energy and a positive spirit all the time. This year, we had a rough patch. Losing four games straight. But he was always steadfast on us. Telling us this isn't our best football yet. This isn't the end for us. Always being positive. He's a very positive guy.' He felt some natural frustration during fall camp getting ready for his return to the field.Sherman had to wait 10 very long months for his clearance to return to the field from that knee injury. 'I was able to imagine how hard it was for him,' Johnson said. 'He was frustrated early on in camp. I can understand what it was like playing at such speed before the injury. But I felt like as the season progressed that speed just naturally came back. I saw the old Sherman. Just him being positive all the time.' DawgNation estimates that Sherman was probably at about 75-to-80 percent of his former self during Under Armour All-American week. He was on a practice field covered with elite talent and he only looked like one of many All-Americans out there at times. 'Sherm' spent some time trying to get his knee brace right. When he's all the way back, he will be hard to miss. Even on a field filled with elite talent. That estimate seems logical given the timelines it takes for an elite athlete to return from that type of knee injury. It falls in line with what Johnson saw, too. 'I honestly give him about 80 percent,' Johnson said of what he saw from Sherman in 2019. 'I feel like this off-season with him going into Georgia he will be back to top shape by next year.' That also might explain what the recruiting industry saw that week when they dropped him from his long-time standing among the nation's top 20 prospects to that No. 32 overall ranking. Sherman, even at less than his best, was still an elite high school football prospect. 'I feel he is going to make an impact early at Georgia. Even if he doesn't get as much playing time, I feel like his presence is going to be known,' Johnson said. 'From the time he steps on campus people are going to know who he is, know who he is about and they will know he is not about any games.' There was a game last fall with St. Joe's Prep that Johnson said he will always remember. That was the same St. Joe's Prep program that D'Andre Swift played for in high school. 'That was a game where anyone could see that our sideline was down,' Johnson said. 'He just said to forget what the coaches are saying. Forget the scoreboard. Forget about us not playing at home. Forget about everybody being hurt or banged up. It is just right now about us. He was just letting us know that we could do this and we were still in that game. He said for all of us to not worry about anyone else but to focus on ourselves and do our own job. He said that was how we were going to get back in that game.' 'He just really kept people on task when they were down.' You asked for it. We heard you. Our weekly live DawgNation 'Before the Hedges' recruiting show is now up on Apple podcasts. Check it out. Mekhail Sherman: His own words That knee injury happened, like most do, on a fluke. But this was a few first downs farther than just that.His knee joint was leg-whipped by his own teammate. He suffered a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial lateral meniscus tear. 'The knee and what it will do to you really all that has done is given me more fuel to my fire,' Sherman said after G-Day a year ago. 'You can love the game so much but the game will cheat you. It cheated me. I got leg-whipped by my own teammate. My ACL was torn. But all that it did was I had to sit back.' 'Then I had to talk to God. I had to talk to family and realize why I do this. I had to revert back to why I do this. Now, this injury will not only touch you physically but also touch you mentally. All I have been doing is going through these trials and tribulations between physical, mental and spiritual ways to get stronger. So when I get back on that field there is no turning back.' 'MJ' gave one of the most unique answers imaginable when asked what was his 'why' for playing the game of football. His answer covered 700 words and was transcribed verbatim by DawgNation last spring. It should serve as the ultimate reference material as to why Georgia valued him so highly in the 2020 class. Sherman is going to be a great candidate to be a team captain at UGA during his time Athens. He proved to be a behind-the-scenes anchor for the 2020 recruiting class. He's just wired to lead. The future Bulldog has had great family support coming up. It has lead to a maturity that goes beyond his years on this Earth up to this point. As an Athlete, 1 out of the 3 will suffer: Social Life, Education, Your Athletic Career. Be Wise. Mekhail Sherman (@JuicedUpK9) January 25, 2019 Want to see for yourself what Sherman is all about? Check out his extended interview with DawgNation from the Under Armour All-American Game Media Day' session in late December below. The post Mekhail Sherman: Former teammate shares what UGA is getting in the elite 2020 signee appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Perspective is a wonderful thing, and like opinions, everyone has their own. This is especially true when it comes to sports, and there's nothing that triggers passion like SEC football. At Georgia, it's all about Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs 365 days a year. Not even the coronavirus pandemic can dampen the excitement building around this current squad. Many of these Georgia players were on display in a dominant 26-14 Sugar Bowl win in New Orleans that closed a season that saw UGA go 5-1 versus Top 25 teams. If was 19-0 at the half before Matt Rhule could hit 'send' on his new Carolina Panthers head coach agreement. Nine of the 11 starters off that Georgia Sugar Bowl defense are returning, along with five of the 11 offensive starters from the tone-setting victory. So when the DawgNation staff huddled last week to pick their 5-on-5 backyard football teams, there was no shortage of candidates for the No. 1 slot. DawgNation recruiting expert Jeff Sentell went first, and Richard LeCounte was the first man off the board. Sentell is as good as they come evaluating talent, and he had no problem defending his pick, explaining how LeCounte 'checks all the boxes.' 'Number One,Pro potential; Two, Former 5-star; Three, Veteran; Four, Great leadership skills and Five, physical ability,' Sentell notes. 'The clincher here are his 27 career starts. Monty Rice is the only returning Bulldog on this roster who has more than 20 career starts on his player resume.' Indeed, LeCounte was a pick everyone liked, but maybe didn't agree with in that No. 1 slot. Did receiver George Pickens, the Sugar Bowl MVP with his mind-bending 12-catch performance, have a better case to be the overall No. 1? Or should the DawgNation Team have handed the No. 1 overall pick to top-five Heisman Trophy favorite Jamie Newman? The quarterback position will, after all, likely prove pivotal to Georgia's national championship hopes. Perhaps it wasn't so surprising that the controversy and debates over player draft order continued throughout the draft, right down to choosing the top four assistant coaches! Here's the video from last week, narrated by DawgNation Daily host Brandon Adams, unscripted, unpredictable, and undefeated. DawgNation offseason blasts Breaking down DawgNation Draft 1.0, scouting reports Identifying the breakout candidates for 2020 Connor Riley's lessons learned from Scott Sinclair workouts Brandon Adams' take on Sam Pittman's need for college football Kirby Smart provides glimpse into future football health protocals The post WATCH: Controversial DawgNation Georgia football team draft sparks No. 1 debate appeared first on DawgNation.