You have to feel sorry for Kelsey Griffin of Hoschton, Georgia. Who is Kelsey Griffin you might ask? Only a consensus four-star defensive tackle prospect. He's not someone we've talked about much at GABA, That's not because Kelsey lacks talent. Far from it. He's high on USC's recruiting board. Heck, it seems like he's high on everyone's boards.
247 and Scout have Kelsey as one of the top 10 DL in the country. Rivals and ESPN have him in their top 15. He has an offer list that reportedly includes Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Pitt, South Carolina and Tennessee. We've even put G.A. Mangus on him - which shows you how much we want this kid. If you like 247's "interest" meter the best (I do), it shows him as "warm" on South Carolina. As of yesterday, he was one of the top uncommitted prospects in the Peanut State.
Still can't place him? That's understandable. Kelsey's hometown is in the county next door to Athens. He's probably always been a UGA lean. He was planning on taking in the Georgia-Vandy game today. He even decided to make an announcement yesterday morning at his high school gym - with video cameras,local press and the recruiting service reporters in attendance, surrounded by his family - to declare his commitment to the University of Georgia. "I just decided to commit there; It had been weighing on my heart to commit to the place where I want to be the most … .and it happened to be the University of Georgia," Well, good for him. He probably was a long-shot for us anyhow since Georgia was literally the hometown team.
But not so fast. By the time Kelsey boarded the team bus for his high school game yesterday, he was back among the top uncommitted prospects in Georgia.
What did you just say? He's uncommitted? After committing? Yes - that's exactly it. Kelsey's coach told reporters last night: "Please know that Kelsey is NOT committed to UGA right now. I know this may sound crazy, but it is the facts." For himself, Kelsey reportedly said: "I did not affirm my commitment. For right now, that’s all I have to say. It wasn’t confirmed. It wasn’t official. So right now, I’m uncommitted."
So what happened? A pro-Georgia writer at Bleacher Report blames Kelsey - describing it as a "flip flop" by the big DT. But that really doesn't make sense. At the AJC's Recruiting Blog, all Michael Carvell could do is speculate on the cause, since no one - not Kelsey, his coach or UGA would or could (as you know an NCAA member institution cannot comment on a recruit) discuss:
Why didn’t UGA accept the commitment? What was the reason? Did Griffin think he had a committable football scholarship offer from UGA and he did not? What gave Griffin or his coach the impression that he did? What caused the misunderstanding? Which side was responsible for it? How did UGA explain it to his coach on late Friday afternoon?
Neither Kyle, Mr. Sanchez or MaconDawg (who handle most of the recruiting news at Dawg Sports - have weighed in yet, nor has Senator Blutarsky. Over at Leather Helmet Blog - a pro UGA site - the author has this take:
Griffin, a 4-star defensive tackle from Mill Creek High School, has had UGA as his leader since mid-summer. Yesterday, he called USCe and informed them that he would not become a Gamecock. He then scheduled a press conference to announce his intention to commit to UGA.
Unfortunattely, he was unable to speak with Georgia coaches before his announcement was made public. When he did reach his UGA recruiter, Kelsey was informed that the Dawg would not accept his commitment at that time.
Are you freaking kidding me? This is stunning news. Keep in mind that there are only 30-40 four or five star rated players in the whole state of Georgia each year, and the Dawgs have to keep them away not only from Georgia Tech, Clemson, Auburn, Florida State and USC - but every major program in the entire country. Kelsey was one of the top uncommitted guys in the Peach State and he is close enough to a hometown kid that he might as well play for Clarke Central H.S. for all intents and purposes. His recruiters of record for UGA were none other than the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator and DL coach Rodney Gardner but also RB coach Bryan McLendon. I wouldn't expect Kelsey to get a date for prom without Coach Richt and Grantham knowing it - and they told him he didn't have a commitable offer? For real?
There's no way to spin this positively for Georgia. Kelsey clearly wanted to go there, and clearly felt the interest was reciprocal. Heck, how could it not have been? Most Gamecock fans are familiar with the sour-grapes we hear from Georgia fans on the AJC and other major outlets whenever a Peach State player commits to USC. How Georgia didn't really want him, or he didn't have a "committable offer". In fact, the whole committable offer shtick is sort of a cliche-joke. And, yet, here they've gone and humiliated a kid who by all accounts was going their way. Maybe there is some valid explanation. He may still end up at Georgia when it's all said and done. But miscues like this can really hurt - both the program and the kid who is humiliated after announcing to his teachers and classmates that he's going to UGA, only to be told there's no room in the Inn Between the Hedges (where I've stayed, by the way, and still don't feel totally clean even 20 years later).
But UGA's loss maybe our gain.