Commentary

Georgia still eyes 'Dream Team'

Originally Published: January 3, 2011
By Corey Long | ESPN Recruiting

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The dream is still alive for the University of Georgia. And if the dream comes true, it could be a nightmare for the rest of the SEC.

The Peach State has a strong crop of players in the Class of 2011, including 18 in the ESPNU 150. The dream team, however, consists of eight undecided players, seven of whom are showing heavy interest in the Georgia Bulldogs.

Under Armour All-Americans Isaiah Crowell (Columbus, Ga./Carver), Jay Rome(Valdosta Ga./Valdosta), Malcolm Mitchell (Valdosta), Xzavier Dickson (Griffin, Ga./Griffin) and Quan Bray (LaGrange, Ga./Troup County) are joined by five-star defensive end Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County) and four-star ATH Damian Swann (Atlanta/Grady) to make up the group.

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Davide De PasIf all these guys ended up at Georgia, Jay Rome (far left) says the Dawgs would win a national title.
Rome is generally considered the leader of the group.

"Well, you know, I definitely like to keep in touch with my boys," Rome said. "We're all from Georgia and we're all doing our thing in the same class, so, you know, you want to play with your friends.

"But I don't think I'm the ringleader or anything."

Dickson disagreed.

"There no doubt that Jay Rome is the ringleader of the dream team," Dickson said. "He's always calling us trying to recruit us to Georgia."

Four of the five players in Wednesday's game are on the White team, with Crowell being the lone dream team member on the Red team.

"It's definitely making the rounds on the Internet and stuff," Crowell said. "It's a special group of players to be together in the Class of 2011. Even if we don't play together, we're all going to be going to big-time programs, and I think we're going to be very successful."

But what if the dream team all assembled in the same place at the same time?

"I think we'd win a national championship," Rome said. "You think about it for a second -- all that talent in the same place at the same time. There's no other possibility."

Bray took it one step further.

"It would be like 'The U' back in the '80s," Bray said. "All that talent, we know each other, and we refuse to lose. I mean, it would change the game in the SEC for sure."

Not everyone is down with joining the dream team. UA All-American linebacker James Vaughters (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) is currently committed to Stanford, and Crowell's high school teammate, Gabe Wright, does not have Georgia in his top four.

"I will not be part of the dream team," Wright said on Monday

Another All-American linebacker, A.J. Johnson (Gainesville, Ga.), has committed to SEC rival Tennessee.

"I'll always be a Georgia boy, and the guys in this class are great," Johnson said. "But everyone has to do what's best for them, and for me that's Tennessee."

Mitchell, who sat out Monday's practice, said that he believes it's possible that if one member of the group commits the rest could fall into place.

"It could be like dominoes," Mitchell said. "We'll see though. There's still a ways to go in the process, and you've always got players committed to Georgia like [Justin Scott-Wesley] trying to talk to you."

Crowell, who will be committing on signing day, could be the one that puts the dream team over the top. The top-rated running back in the nation has Alabama and Georgia virtually tied at this point.

"I might be that last domino," Crowell said.

Rogers shows the swag
It's been a rather quiet week in terms of showmanship and trash talking on the field, but Louisville commit Eli Rogers (Miami/Northwestern) showed a little bit of swagger after laying out to make a diving catch over FSU commit Nick Waisome (Groveland, Fla./South Lake) in 7-on-7 drills.

After the amazing catch, Rogers rose to his feet and emphatically spiked the football.

"Oh yeah, you know, it's been pretty quiet but game time is coming, and I'm going to try to get things hyped up," Rogers said.

The former Miami commit with be joined by his high school teammate and fellow ESPNU 150 member Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville. Rogers said his decision came down to a combination of wanting to get away from home and Miami's struggles on the field.

"Once Randy Shannon was fired, that pretty much closed the door," Rogers said. "Coach Charlie Strong is like a father figure to me, and he's going to make sure I do well."

Rogers said Al Golden and the new Miami staff hasn't tried to contact him.

"No, I'm just thinking about Teddy and I at Louisville," Rogers said. "We are going to come into the program already having a connection, and there will be big things happening in the Big East."

Heyward slows down
Defensive tackle Christian Heyward (San Diego/Point Loma) had to miss the final 30 minutes of practice Monday after re-aggravating a previous injury with his AC joint.

He is listed as day-to-day.

"I should be able to go again [Tuesday]," Heyward said. "Right now it's just bugging me a little."

Heyward has taken visits to USC and Arizona and has three remaining.

"I'm going to be visiting UCLA on [Jan.] 14 next," Heyward said. "Then I'm headed to Oregon on the [Jan.] 21 and San Diego State on the [Jan.] 28."

Heyward will make his final decision on signing day.

Thomas fights back
After an impressive showing from the Red team's defensive backs on Sunday, some of the wide receivers decided to fight back with physical play of their own.

Florida commit A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian) and Rogers got things going, but Michael Thomas (Tarzana, Calif./Woodland Hills-Taft) gave the Red team's secondary a taste of their own medicine when he bullied by Josh Turner (Oklahoma City/Millwood) for a touchdown in 7-on-7 drills.

"I've been injured from back during the end of my season, but I'm getting healthy and I like the physical game," Thomas said. "The first couple of days, the defensive backs have been getting their way, but not with me anymore.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.

Corey Long

Reporter, RecruitingNation