Marist's Kendall Baker, one of the top two-way linemen in the state, commits to Georgia on Wednesday.
ATLANTA — Georgia coach Mark Richt picked up another prized recruit on Wednesday as Marist two-way lineman Kendall Baker chose the Bulldogs over Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Auburn.
Baker, a four-star prospect, is the 12th member of Georgia’s 2014 recruiting class.
“I want to play in front of the home crowd,” Baker told UGAsports.com. “I grew up here. I grew up watching Georgia. I have family and friends here, and they would be able to see me. Then when I went up there, it felt like I was a part of the family there. Ever since Georgia offered me, they recruited me hard. They recruited me as hard as any school throughout the process.”
Baker, a 6-foot-5, 270-pounder, is rated as the nation’s No. 29 overall prospect at offensive tackle in the 247Sports composite rankings.
“He’s a big, strong and athletic kid,” Marist coach Alan Chadwick said. “It remains to be seen whether they will play him in college offensively or defensively. Some of the schools have been recruiting him for defense, while others see him more of an offensive player. I guess the evaluation is still out about where they feel like they can use him the best.”
Baker said it was the relationship he developed with the UGA coaching staff that ultimately made Athens his destination.
“I’m really close with coach (Chris) Wilson, coach (Bryan) McClendon and coach Richt. All three of those coaches have formed a good relationship with me, and I have talked to them a lot. They are really cool, nice guys and hopefully I can get that type of relationship with everyone up there,” Baker said.
“I fit in really well there,” he said. “I know a lot of people already up there. I know a lot of guys in my class that are already committed to the University of Georgia. I know those guys and we know each other. We have played together in games like Rising Seniors and the Junior All-American game. Guys like Detric (Dukes), Jeb (Blazevich), Sony (Michel), and Nick (Glass). We have played together and know how each other plays. We already have that relationship, so I feel like we will gel together well.”
RISING STAR: Nick Chubb, a four-star running back from Cedartown High who committed to Georgia earlier this month, will get heavy consideration for a fifth star after a strong performance at Monday’s SPARQ finals, which were televised on ESPNU from Nike’s headquarters in Oregon.
Chubb finished third out of 161 participants in the athletic competition for the nation’s elite college football prospects. They were measured in four categories: 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, the vertical jump and the powerball toss.
Chubb was the top UGA performer (and third in the nation) with a SPARQ score of 143.91. He measured in at 5-foot-11 and 217 pounds. Chubb was laser-timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.44 seconds, and he registered a vertical jump of 41 inches.
UGA KICKER CHARGED WITH BUI: It looks as if Georgia will play without one of its more prolific scorers when the Bulldogs open the season at Clemson on Aug. 31.
Marshall Morgan, Georgia’s starting placekicker, was arrested Saturday for boating under the influence (BUI) on Lake Sinclair. UGA athletic department policy calls for an automatic suspension from competition for all alcohol-related arrests. A DUI arrest mandates a suspension from 20 percent of competition dates, according to UGA’s student-athlete handbook, but it’s unclear if a BUI will be meted out the same way.
If so, that would mean at least two games out of a 12-game schedule. The Bulldogs play Clemson and South Carolina the first two weeks of the season.
Georgia coach Mark Richt could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but UGA spokesman Claude Felton said Richt “is aware of the situation.”
UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said “BUI” is not addressed in the student-athlete handbook, and he is not sure what guidelines might apply. He said the case would be reviewed by the “comprehensive action committee,” a panel of senior administrators, which would make a recommendation to him and Richt.
“It’s under review and, at some point in time, it will be dealt with appropriately,” McGarity said.
Georgia already knows it will play its opener without starting strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and backup tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith. Harvey-Clemons was assessed a one-game suspension, and Flournoy-Smith was dismissed from the team for a marijuana-related incident that occurred in a dormitory in the spring. Neither player was arrested at that time.
Morgan was processed at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and charged with operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and towing a skier without an observer on board, Putnam County Chief Deputy Russell Blenk said. Morgan, who was pulling two individuals on inner tubes with a personal watercraft, reportedly was observed by Department of Natural Resources officers monitoring lake activity from a helicopter. He was released on property bonds of $1,556 and $168, police said.
Morgan, a rising sophomore from Coral Springs, Fla., was 8-of-14 on field-goal attempts and 63-of-67 on extra-point attempts while starting all 14 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman.
According to a depth chart released by Georgia this summer, Morgan’s backups are Patrick Beless and Thomas Pritchard.
Beless, a 5-foot-9, 162-pound sophomore, attended the Marist School, where he played soccer and was the football team’s kicker as a senior in 2011 (Austin Hardin, now on scholarship at Florida, was the kicker before that). Beless also was on the 2009 Class AAAA GHSA state champion soccer team.