Carver High (Ga.) football coach Dell McGee told University of Georgia football coaches that they are not welcome on Carver’s campus if they treat all recruits the way they did Tigers quarterback Devin Burns.
The university suddenly backed out of a scholarship offer to Burns, who went to Athens, Ga., on Saturday with his family to accept.
Burns intended to meet with Georgia coach Mark Richt and commit in person with his family at his side. But when a Georgia assistant found out about the plan, Burns was notified his offer had been revoked.
The 6-foot-2, 178-pound senior, ranked a 3-star recruit and the No. 20 dual-threat quarterback by rivals.com, said he was initially upset by Georgia’s decision but that he managed to take the rebuffing in stride.
“I talked to my parents and my coaches about it, and I just got over it,” Burns said Tuesday evening during a break at a youth football camp he was helping coach at Carver. “My parents raised me to be able to deal with things like this.”
Burns said he has interest from other schools and may still visit Florida, Maryland, Louisville and Southern Miss. The trip to Georgia, he said, was proof there was a school better suited for him.
“It was just part of God’s plan for me,” Burns said. “I realized it was his way of showing me I was supposed to go somewhere else. It just opened my eyes so I could see I wasn’t meant to go to Georgia.”
McGee, a former Auburn defensive back, got proactive, stating Georgia is no longer welcome at the school.
“I say that to show them that the incident that occurred wasn’t appreciated,” McGee said. “The biggest thing is, the University of Georgia knew, they had knowledge of Devin and his parents coming there for the weekend. For them not to communicate that they had rescinded that offer before that was not very professional.”
McGee said he took the stance to stand up for the proper treatment of his players, and held by the decision even after Richt called Sunday to apologize for the incident.
“Coach Richt called me and told me he was sorry it happened like it did,” McGee said. “He said he would have done the same thing I did, so he understood.”
Corey Crawford, a rising senior Carver defensive end with an offer from Georgia, was with Burns in Athens and planned to commit as well, but changed his mind after the incident. He was not the only Carver player Georgia may have lost.
The Tigers have a deluge of Division I prospects, including a group of 10 that visited Clemson last Thursday and Friday before heading to Georgia. Two of them — running back Isaiah Crowell and defensive tackle Gabriel Wright — still have offers from Georgia for 2011.
Not an outright ban
Despite saying the Bulldogs were no longer welcome to sniff around Carver for talent, McGee said he would not discourage his players from going to the school and said there was a difference between his notion of taking up the welcome mat and instituting an outright ban, as several media outlets have referred.
“I’m not saying some of our kids will or won’t go to the University of Georgia because that will be totally up to them,” McGee said. “It will be up to the individuals and their parents because I don’t tell kids to go to any school. I have kids come and ask me, and I give my opinion and the truth about some scenarios, about the depth chart, about which kids have already signed there and about the educational programs.
“I will continue to do that, but we have a lot of kids and just being from Georgia, we’re going to have a lot of kids that want to go there as Georgia Bulldogs fans. When an incident like this occurs with one of the players and we still have those remaining players in our program, it opens their eyes and could deter them from going to Georgia.”
McGee and Burns declined to name the Georgia assistant involved.
McGee said he knew the coach well and did not want to sully the coach’s name because he was only “the bearer of bad news.”
Colleges revoke offers frequently as recruits ebb and flow, filling positions and opening up others. But Georgia’s decision to wait until Burns was on campus to commit in front of his family caused the quarterback unnecessary embarrassment, according to McGee.
“It happens all the time — colleges change their minds and that’s OK,” McGee said. “But usually they call me and tell me, and I’ve got to be the one who has to bring the bad news to the players and their families. This was just a breakdown in the communication and was very embarrassing for Devin and his family.”
Georgia said the NCAA prohibited it or any of its representatives from commenting on recruits.