UGA’s Mark Richt makes sales pitch at Dunwoody

  • UPDATE: Nick Buchanan let the AJC know Friday morning that he will take an official visit to UGA on Jan. 23

UGA’s frantic search for offensive linemen for this year’s recruiting class has led the Bulldogs to Dunwoody High School.

Mark Richt and UGA's new offensive line coach are scheduled to be at the DeKalb County school on Friday morning to give a quick sales pitch to offensive lineman Nick Buchanan, who is committed to Cal.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder is the third offensive lineman from the state of Georgia that UGA has offered this week – less than three weeks before signing day. The Bulldogs are desperately trying to add at least one or two more by Feb. 4.

OL Nick Buchanan

Buchanan, who is rated as the state’s No. 201 overall prospect, seems interested enough in UGA to listen.

“It’s pretty cool to get a Georgia offer,” he told the AJC on Thursday night. “If you grow up in Georgia, that’s the team everybody is cheering for. When you go to school during football season, it seems like everybody in the hallway has a Georgia shirt on. So it was cool to get an offer from them.”

Buchanan is committed to Cal, but it wasn’t a lengthy and deep relationship that led to it. He got a scholarship offer from the Pac-12 school during his official visit last month and accepted shortly thereafter.

UGA isn’t the only school trying to snatch Buchanan at this late date. He also got an offer this week from South Carolina, and he’s being evaluated by Penn State.

“My parents are just sitting back and absorbing it all,” he said. “I’m still committed to California right now. There’s not one thing that will make de-commit. But my ears are open to whoever offers me. I’m not going to shun anybody who is interested. I will hear them out.”

When will Buchanan take official visits to UGA or South Carolina or both? He hasn’t decided anything yet. He’s going to wait to talk to the coaches in person before deciding his next move. The courtship with UGA only began last Friday.

“The Georgia situation was kind of similar to what happened with Cal — Nick had several offers, mainly from smaller Div. I and I-AA schools, and then Cal sort of stumbled upon his film, and I think that’s what might’ve happened with Georgia when the two new guys got hired, Schottenheimer and Sale,” said Buchanan’s coach at Dunwoody, Jim Showfety.

“It moved very, very quickly with Georgia in the last 3-4 days. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Cal. I don’t want to get into all of that. That’s going to be up to Nick and his parents, and I’m sure they will discuss everything at length. I know his parents are very, very big on education. That’s going to play a key role, I can promise you.”

Calling OL (AJC/Michael Carvell)

This past season, Buchanan was named as Dunwoody’s permanent team captain after exhibiting leadership both on and off the football field. His coach couldn’t stop saying good things on Thursday.

“He’s got great feet,” Showfety said. “He comes off the ball extremely well. He’s very powerful. He’s very good in open space. I give a lot of credit to his special teams coach. What he did was he put Nick on our kickoff return ‘wedge’ and as a ‘personal protector’ on our punt team. And I think a lot of schools were able to see how well Nick could move in the open field. I’ve had more coaches tell me how impressed they are with his highlight video.

“Nick is just a solid kid. He plays through pain, and he’s a great leader. And my defensive coordinator thinks he can be just as good as a defensive lineman in college as an offensive lineman.”

UGA has two offensive linemen so far as part of this year's class. Marist high school's Sage Hardin was offered by Ole Miss on Tuesday, but says he remains "100-percent" with the Bulldogs. The other is DeVondre Seymour of Hinds junior college. He has caused some concerns because he's still working on academics and was unable to enroll early last week as expected.

Earlier this week, UGA made offers to two offensive linemen from Creekside, Marquel Harrell (committed to Auburn) and Venzell Boulware (Tennessee). Harrell may visit the Bulldogs next weekend, while Boulware turned down the invitation because it was "too late."

Buchanan’s film is posted at the bottom of this blog …

Editor’s note: If you’re UGA and there’s this much talent in Georgia, it makes a lot of sense to go after in-state offensive linemen less than three weeks away from signing day with the hopes that (1) they grew up a UGA fan or (2) they want to play closer to home. UGA has already offered three homegrown products this week. Who could get the next call? 

Top 10 OL in state of Georgia

Mitch Hyatt, North Gwinnett (Clemson)
Chuma Edoga, McEachern (USC)
Chidi Valentine-Okeke, Faith Christian (Alabama & Auburn lead)
Marquel Harrell, Creekside (Auburn)
Dallas Warmack, Mays (Alabama)
Kaleb Kim, Mill Creek (Auburn)
Bailey Sharp, Sprayberry (Auburn)
Venzell Boulware, Creekside (Tennessee)
Sage Hardin, Marist (UGA)
Cole Minshew, Coffee (FSU)

Best of the rest
Zach Giella, Augusta Christian (Clemson)
Will Bryan (Georgia Tech)
Brandon Sandifer, Northside (Florida)
Nick Polino, Buford (North Carolina)
Mike Hornton, Lakeside (Florida)
Chandler Jones, McEachern (Louisville)
Levi Brown, Heard County (Marshall)
GG Robinson, Parkview (Louisville)
D'Andre Plantin, Norcross (Virginia Tech)
Darion DeBrossard, Shiloh (Vanderbilt)
Josh Fannin, Mill Creek (Middle Tennessee State)
Brad Morgan, Etowah (Georgia Tech)
Darius Anderson, Mundy's Mill (East Carolina)
Tyler McGarr, Harris County (Cincinnati)
Tony Taylor, Wesleyan (Navy)
Nick Buchanan, Dunwoody (Cal)