The welcome mat at Carver High is back out for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Carver football coach Dell McGee said he has told Georgia coaches they can recruit at the school again, less than two months after McGee first withdrew the team’s welcome due to a snafu involving one of its players.
“It kind of mended itself,” McGee said Thursday. “We had a lot of talks with the coaches and everything’s fine now.”
McGee said that no Georgia coaches tried to visit the school or players since he first spoke out against the university, but the school was sending someone to pick up several players’ transcripts today.
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“They respected it, and they didn’t come here,” McGee said of the Georgia staff. “Right after it happened, I talked to (Georgia coach) Mark Richt and he said he’d do the same thing. He said everything was on our terms and to just let them know when they were welcome back again.”
The incident began in July when Carver quarterback Devin Burns went to Athens, Ga., with the intent to commit to Georgia in person. While on the campus with his family, Burns was notified his scholarship offer had been revoked.
Burns had not been told his offer was no longer on the table and nobody from Georgia notified Carver’s coaches of the change, McGee said. Because of NCAA regulations, Georgia cannot comment to the media on any individual recruit and could not verify the details or offer an explanation.
McGee, in an effort to make a point in defense of his players, told Georgia coaches — and the media — the university was no longer welcome at Carver. He said, however, that it never meant his players could not be interested in Georgia, or he would try to talk someone out of committing or signing with the school.
“Some of our kids really like the University of Georgia and really want to go there,” McGee said. “And it’s always been about the kids. I’m not going to tell any kid where to go.”
Burns has since committed to Maryland, and the incident may have cost Georgia another recruit. Defensive end Corey Crawford was with Burns on the trip to Athens and intended to commit that day, too. Crawford waited, however, and committed to Clemson shortly after.
Although the story of McGee’s policy quickly traveled around the Internet and picked up online mentions from ESPN and USAToday. McGee said it was never his intention to make headlines.
“It was never about me or about the publicity or anything of the sort,” he said. “It wasn’t about any of that. Some of it was my fault and some writers made it a bigger deal. It was a big miscommunication.”
The Carver coach, a former Auburn player, said he hoped the ordeal would shed light on recruiting practices, which he said are often unfair to players and should be reformed.
“By now, most Division I schools have 19-20 kids lined up to sign and the regular season isn’t even over for (high school teams),” McGee said. “It makes it hard for kids who maybe didn’t play as a junior or didn’t have great junior seasons to get a chance. They might have great senior seasons or show a lot of talent as a senior, but they’ll have to go to the smaller schools because the bigger ones already got their commitments. Some kids might have Division I talent, but it limits them.”
Carver is ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.