Schools across the South are charging after Jeffrey Whitaker. He is set to host four schools for in…
Whitaker takes surprise trip to UGA
"It was kind of one of those last minute decisions," said Jeffrey Whitaker about the decision to visit Georgia Saturday. "I was thinking about it and just decided to get on up there." He is glad he did too. "It was awesome up there at the game. The crowd was loud, the atmosphere was exciting, and I had a good time. The whole experience kind of opened my eyes up about Georgia a little bit." Whitaker admittedly stated that the Dawgs were all but out of it for him earlier this fall, so are they back in it now? "They are in it and I am definitely looking at Georgia very seriously," answered the 6-foot-3, 303 pound defensive tackle out of Warner Robins (GA). "I had a deep talk with Coach [John] Lilly and Coach [Rodney] Garner over a month ago and I have been thinking more about Georgia since then." "I was just honest with them about eliminating them and they made it clear to me that they still wanted me. I talked with them and I talked with Coach [Mark] Richt and Georgia is now on my list." "This visit definitely helped them, especially meeting with the coaches face to face." Whitaker just did not feel that they Dawgs were serious about him as a target in 2010. He was not getting the attention he felt he should have if he was high on their list. The conversations with the coaches and his experience Saturday in Athens has made it clear to the Army All-American that he is wanted by UGA. "I spent a lot of time up there on Saturday. I got to Georgia around 2pm and stayed until the game was over. I talked to Coach Garner, Coach Lilly, and Coach Richt again and it was great to talk to them in person. I had conversations with all three of them and a couple of other Georgia coaches, but the main talk I had was with Coach Richt." "We talked for a good while before the game and he was real with me and I was real with him. He told me about what he and the coaches there thought about me and I let him know how I felt about them." "Coach Richt told me that they wanted me at Georgia and that I would have a great opportunity to play there. He did not promise me any kind of starting spot or anything like that, but he just laid it out there for me. He was honest with me like always and that is what I have always liked about Georgia." Around 20 programs have offered Whitaker and he has taken his time with the process, but it is now getting to the stretch run with signing day less than three months away. He has narrowed his list down somewhat and he will be doing that again officially in the near future. "Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, California, Florida State, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama are some of the schools still on my list, but I have a good idea who is going to get my five official visits now," he stated. "It is getting crunch time so I need to make some tough decisions. I know who a few of the schools are that will get official visits, but I just need to set things up with all five and then I will reveal those schools. I am about ready to get things started now." The big defensive tackle had a strong senior season and fell one game short from getting to the playoffs, but he still has another game to play before officially turning in his pads. Whitaker was selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio and he will playing along side a Bulldog commitment. The two have gotten close and that commitment did a little recruiting in Athens Saturday night. "Me and ‘Big G' have gotten pretty tight and we hung out some at the Auburn game. We just talked about some things and he messed with me some because I had on some navy blue. He had to throw those Auburn jokes in there, but my outfit meant nothing. He just told he would love for me to come to Georgia with him and that we could do some big things together. He is a character and it will be fun to hang out more in San Antonio because he is an All-American also." Whitaker is just taking things step by step and he is close to locking up his five finalists. From there he will take his visits and make a decision late in January. He said he will not be ready to announce at the All-American game. "I will likely decide right before signing day, probably about two weeks or less before then," he said. "I am looking for that perfect environment, good people to surround myself with for the next four or five years, and someone who can make me into a good man." Chad Simmons is the Recruiting Manager for the South Region and he can be reached at ChadSimmons@Scout.com.
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