Even an injury that ended Brandon Burrows' senior season before it began couldn't scare Georgia away from the Walton High defensive end.
After learning that Burrows tore an ACL during spring practice, Georgia coach Mark Richt was on the phone, reaffirming the Dogs' interest in the 6-foot-4, 230-pound rising senior.
"Just thinking back to the morning after I got hurt, I was on the phone with Coach Richt and he said I was still good with them," Burrows said. "That really said a lot."
Burrows rewarded Richt's loyalty by committing to the Bulldogs on Wednesday. He becomes their 13th commitment, and chose the Dogs over Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson and N.C. State.
"The impact of that [call] was huge; it's hard to put into words," Burrows said. "Especially before committing, when something like that happens, you're never sure. The first 24 hours after I got hurt were pretty hectic, but it was such a relief, it's really hard to describe."
Burrows, who had surgery on his right knee last month, is the 28th-ranked defensive end in the country according to Rivals.com, and the 38th according to Scout.com.
He was working out at another position, running back, when he fell in a peculiar manner. It didn't look serious at the time, but a subsequent examination revealed the torn ACL.
Burrows said his recovery is "a little bit ahead of schedule," and his high school coach, Rocky Hidalgo, said Burrows "looks like he could play now."
"He's in good spirits," Hidalgo said. "It'll be hard for him when the team hits the field. He always felt like Georgia was the best fit for him."
The way the Bulldogs stuck with Burrows also impressed Hidalgo.
"He had big-name schools interested in him, but Coach Richt and Coach [Stacy] Searels, he trusted them," Hidalgo said.
GSU makes 2 hires
Georgia State strengthened its football staff with two hires Wednesday.
Former NFL player Todd Perry was hired to coach tackles and tight ends, and Dave Kaplan, a longtime Atlanta golf tournament director, was hired as director of football operations.
Perry, a volunteer coach, played for GSU coach Bill Curry at Kentucky before an 11-year professional career with Chicago and Miami. After the NFL, Perry coached junior varsity programs at Alpharetta and Milton high schools.
Kaplan managed the PGA Tour's now-defunct AT&T Classic from 1983-2008.
Georgia State will begin practice Aug. 17 with 27 scholarship players. The Panthers' first game will be in 2010. Doug Roberson
Georgia awarded a scholarship to defensive tackle Brandon Wheeling, a walk-on from Paulding County High. Wheeling, a 6-foot-3, 277-pound senior, received the "outstanding walk-on" designation in spring practice. Wheeling transferred from West Georgia and sat out the 2008 season. ... Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl will earn $1.9 million for the 2009-10 season under terms of his new contract, which was extended one year to the 2014-15 season. It gives Pearl an additional $200,000 per year.
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