ATHENS - Bryan McClendon's growing reputation as a recruiter reached a new level this signing day.
McClendon, credited with being the main recruiter for nine of Georgia's 21 signees, finished as the recruiter of the year, as tallied up by 247Sports.
The list of players who McClendon (the team's running backs coach) was credited with helping recruit: Lorenzo Carter, Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Isaiah Wynn, Keyon Brown and Kendall Baker. All were at least four stars in the 247Sports Composite, and Carter, Chubb and Michel were five stars.
"Oh yeah, he was tremendous," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said of McClendon. "He did a great job. Everybody works hard at it but he certainly had a stellar performance."
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McClendon, who earns $265,000 per year (for now), was ranked ahead of, in order: Southern California's Tee Martin ($450,000), Alabama's Kirby Smart ($1.15 million), LSU's Frank Wilson ($600,000) and Alabama's Billy Napier ($300,000).
Final vacancy update
The defensive staff personnel won't look the same as last year, and neither will the job titles.
Tracy Rocker, newly hired as defensive line coach, will also coach the Will linebacker spot - essentially an outside rusher. That puts Rocker in charge of four starting positions, and their backups, including the Will spot and three defensive line spots. (Georgia remains a base 3-4 defense, though it will use four down linemen much of the time.)
So how does the Rocker move impact the final vacancy? Pruitt and Richt did not want to say. Richt was asked by a fan on Wednesday if there were plans to hire a special teams coordinator, and he indicated he would not, but remained coy.
“I’ll say this, when the dust settles, I think everybody will be excited about special teams at Georgia,” Richt said.
Mike Ekeler, who spent last season as the linebackers coach at Southern California, interviewed last Friday with Richt. While there have been other candidates for the job, Ekeler probably remains the favorite, especially with his background playing and coaching special teams.
Richt said the final hire would be announced "relatively soon."
Crashing at a Friend's house
Jeremy Pruitt is set to earn $850,000 this year as Georgia's defensive coordinator, but for the last month he's been living in a friend's basement.
Since being hired at Georgia four weeks ago, Pruitt has been crashing with Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend. Pruitt still has a home in Tallahassee, but is leaving the house-hunting for after signing day. Besides, he wasn't spending much time in Athens anyway, focusing on the road and recruiting.
"You just go in there and sleep a few hours at night. It's not that big a deal," Pruitt said.
Pruitt isn't married, but he is engaged. (He also has an 18-year-old son who lives with his mother.)
Friend, a college teammate of Pruitt's, said his friend was due to leave soon.
"After this press conference, he's got 24 hours and then he has to get out," Friend said, laughing.
Pruitt's got the money, he can afford it.
"That's right," Friend said.