ATHENS — Will UGA still recruit Herschel Walker’s nephew?
That has been a popular topic among Bulldog fans this week after UGA picked up a commitment on Monday from Jeb Blazevich, who is the nation’s No. 5-ranked tight end.
Walker’s nephew is Milan Richard, a 4-star tight end from Savannah’s Calvary Day School who boasts 15 scholarship offers, including ones from UGA and Georgia Tech.
UGA is expected to sign only one tight end in this year’s recruiting class, and that was a main selling point as the Bulldogs heavily recruited both Blazevich and Richard. Both had an equal shot at the spot.
Now that Blazevich has committed to UGA, while Richard is still not ready to make a decision, there are new questions — Will the Bulldogs still recruit the nephew of Walker, a legendary running back at UGA? Would they accept a commitment from Richard if he really wanted to play there?
Richard’s high school coach, Mark Stroud, said he talked on Wednesday evening with UGA wide receivers coach Tony Ball, who recruits the Savannah area for the Bulldogs.
“We just continued our conversation from earlier this week,” Stroud told the AJC. “They are still going to recruit Milan and look at what they have as they go. They are not going to cut ties, by any means. They are going to actively recruit him. They want to let him know that they are still very interested in him, and they’re going to continue the recruiting process with him.”
Does UGA still have a scholarship available for Richard if he wanted to play there? Or are the Bulldogs simply saying that all options aren’t closed? Richard’s coach thought it was the latter.
“That’s what it appears to be to me,” Stroud said. “I don’t think Georgia wants to say something now that doesn’t happen later. They are just going to continue with the process. They like him no more or no less than they did a week ago. They are just going to continue with the recruiting process and see where everything lands.
“I don’t think Georgia wants to make any promises that aren’t going to happen. I just don’t think they want to say ‘Hey, you definitely have a spot here’ and then something happens, know what I’m saying?
“But they are definitely going to recruit him. I guess it depends on what happens — whether Milan is still interested in Georgia, and whether some other things come thought somewhere else. I think everybody is just going to have to wait and see how it plays out.”
But is Richard still interested in UGA?
“He has always been interested in Georgia, and Georgia has always been interested in him,” Stroud said. “It has been a very mutual thing all along. But how it’s going to play out from here, I don’t think anybody really knows.”
Richard complimented Blazevich on his pledge to UGA, telling theclemsoninsider.com, “He was a great get for them. I was happy for him.”
Richard and Blazevich developed a friendship after being recruited at the same position by the same schools, most notably UGA and Clemson.
Blazevich, in his media interviews this week, said he was fully aware of the importance of Richard’s family legacy to Bulldog fans.
When asked if it was his understanding that UGA will sign only one tight end this year, Blazevich told the AJC on Wednesday, “Yes sir, there’s something going on and they’re still figuring that out. But they did say one tight end.”
Blazevich admitted that it would be hard for UGA to turn down Walker’s nephew if he was still interested in continuing the family tradition,
“That’s just part of it. If he wants to come, they are going to accept him,” Blazevich said. “But I get the feeling that he wants to do his own thing and be the star somewhere else, because he definitely has the ability to do that.”
Clemson, which finished as a runner-up for Blazevich, is a strong contender for Richard. Clemson recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott showed up at Calvary Day this week to check on Richard, and TigerIllustrated.com says he’s the team’s top priority at tight end.
Clemson got a commitment from another tight end, Cannon Smith of Columbia, S.C., last weekend.
Georgia Tech assistant Lamar Owens was at Calvary Day on Wednesday.
The Yellow Jackets are recruiting Richard to play wide receiver. Florida State and Mississippi State are also possible destinations for Richard, who hasn’t named any leaders.