Is Ellis Johnson a Candidate at UGA?

There's a bit of buzz today that Ellis Johnson may be a candidate for the DC position at UGA. The topic is tearing up the message boards, and the AJC's Mark Bradley is saying that doubts about Spurrier's longevity and our ability to go to the next level might bring him to Athens.

So, what are we to believe? Here's my take on the issue.

Why EJ might leave:

 

  • UGA is undoubtedly willing to pay money for the guy they want. While I'm sure we're willing to bid against UGA, are we willing to take it to the end?
  • While the idea that we'll always have a ceiling in the SEC is clearly far-fetched, it is true that UGA is more of a proven winner than Carolina. EJ may choose to go coach where he believes he can win faster rather than sticking out the tough job of program building at Carolina.

 

Why EJ might stay:

 

  • Whatever Bradley may want to say about Spurrier, I doubt the OBC is going anywhere for another four years. Why do you think he just signed a contract extension? Back in 2006 or so, the rumors used to worry me. Now, after Spurrier has proved his commitment to the program and his goal of making history with us, I tend to believe he will stay when he says he will. EJ has built a good relationship with Spurrier, and that relationship could be what keeps him here.
  • EJ is a Carolina native. He has said he wants to stay here. Moreover, EJ ain't getting any younger. At close to 60, he may want to finish out his career close to home as a Gamecock.
  • While UGA is certainly an attractive destination for a coach that wants to win big, we do have a lot of returning talent next year and have gotten momentum going on the recruiting trail. Does EJ really want to miss out on possibly cashing in on the machine he helped build?

 

In the end, I think EJ stays. He has a lot of incentives to stay here, such as a chance at success in 2010 and a home in his beloved SC. The only factor I could see luring him to UGA is money. If UGA is willing to pay EJ much more than we are and EJ wants the money, it could lure him. I think we're safe, though, as I think we're willing to give EJ enough of a raise to keep him if need be.
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