Posted by Bryan Fischer
Two talented players from Valdosta High decided to stay in-state and add to a “Dream Team” recruiting class by putting on Georgia hats and committing to the Bulldogs in separate ceremonies Thursday night.
Jay Rome, rated the number one tight end and 26th best player overall in 2011 by MaxPreps.com, picked Georgia in a pre-taped announcement on ESPNU.
“At the end of the day, I wanted to stay home, stay in-state and get all the in-state love,” Rome said on the show.
After committing, the tight end publicly pleaded for several other in-state recruits, including highly ranked running back Isaiah Crowell and defensive end Ray Drew, to join him in his commitment. Rome actually had to drive 80 miles to Florida to tape his announcement but ended up making it back to Valdosta in time to see Mark Richt and company pick up another recruit in teammate wide receiver/cornerback Malcolm Mitchell.
Mitchell, like Rome, chose Georgia over Alabama in a long and drawn out ceremony. Traffic to the radio station carrying the ceremony live actually crashed before the announcement due to the huge surge in internet traffic.
“Both schools have been great throughout this whole process,” Valdosta coach Rance Gillespie told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “All the coaches have done a great job of recruiting these guys and conducting themselves courteously and professionally. They’ve all worked hard.”
The recent Valdosta High commitments give Georgia 21 commitments for the class of 2011. Considering Georgia finished the season with a losing record, including a 3-5 mark in SEC play, the recruiting haul for this year’s class is particularly impressive.