Commentary

Dawgs look to Georgia Military College

Juco program loaded with prospects, including two already committed to UGA

Updated: September 21, 2011, 1:34 PM ET
By Kipp Adams | DawgNation

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- Five years ago, the University of Georgia signed a trio of junior college standouts from Georgia Military College in defensive end Jarius Wynn, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin and offensive lineman Vince Vance. They had 26 starts among them for the Bulldogs during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons, and all three continue to play football, now professionally.

Georgia is hoping to reel in another talented triad from the Milledgeville juco program, two of whom already have pledged to play for the Bulldogs.

[+] EnlargeLonnie Outlaw
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comAt 6-7, Georgia Military College WR Lonnie Outlaw is an intriguing prospect as a red-zone target.
Back in 2010, the first week of February had started off promising for 6-foot-7 Wilcox County wide receiver Lonnie Outlaw. He had just gotten word that Georgia Military College had offered him a scholarship, which meant he had an opportunity to continue playing football after high school. Then on signing day, Wilcox County coach Mark Ledford got a phone call from Georgia coach Mark Richt. Since a spot had opened up following the defection of Calhoun wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers to Tennessee, the Bulldogs wanted to offer Outlaw a scholarship after he finished up at GMC.

The towering wideout wasted little time accepting the chance to play in the Southeastern Conference, signing with Georgia a couple of hours later. Outlaw plans to join his cousin Nick Marshall, a freshman defensive back, in December in Athens. Outlaw's intriguing combination of size and leaping ability should give offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and quarterback Aaron Murray a nice go-to option in the red zone and on third downs.

Over on the defensive side, Georgia is looking forward to getting back one of its top signees from the 2010 recruiting class, former Dalton defensive end Jalen Fields.

"Coach [Todd] Grantham told me at Dawg Night I would probably play rush end, which is outside linebacker in their defense," Fields said. "I love Coach Grantham. I think he is an amazing coach. I cannot wait to come up there and play for him and with John Jenkins and Jarvis Jones. They are the type to play for the team and not themselves, so I look forward to playing for a national championship with them next year."

After waiting for two years, Fields (6-5, 280) is eager to play between the hedges.

"I want to get there, show these guys I came to work, and play my role on the team," he said. "If God allows it to get any bigger than that, I will take it."

Georgia Military College coach Bert Williams feels that Fields is close to unlocking the potential that earned him offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida State and Tennessee in high school.

"Jalen has the tools to do everything you want him to do," Williams said. "His ankle injury has set him back from what he was showing us in the spring. That was when he finally started letting it go and showing what his ability allows him to do. He was unblockable when he wanted to be, so we just need to see him do that on a play-by-play basis."

That gives Georgia two incoming players with potential to add depth on each side of the ball. But there is a third prospect the Bulldogs staff is hoping to add, one who could make an instant impact on the field. That player is GMC linebacker Shannon Brown.

If there is one position at which Georgia could use immediate help it's inside linebacker. With starters Christian Robinson and Alec Ogletree out, Grantham has been relegated to using two new starters inside in safety convert Shawn Williams and junior Mike Gilliard, while also rotating in walk-on Jeremy Sulek and true freshman Amarlo Herrera. No doubt, Grantham is hoping Fields can help him bring another Peach State talent to fill that void in the middle for the future.

Brown, one of the top defensive playmakers in Georgia last year, is hoping a head-start to junior college will pay off with an early exit next year.

"I was at East Mississippi from January to this summer, and I will be here from this summer to next summer," Brown said. "So if I pass all of my classes, which I will do, I will be leaving in the summer of 2012 to sign with a D1 school."

Alabama had Brown all but locked up at this time last year, but Grantham never gave up. His efforts for the 6-1, 228-pound linebacker might pay off soon, as the Crimson Tide has not been communicating recently with the Adel native.

"There are two school schools that I am still considering, and they are Georgia and Alabama," Brown said. "The last coach I spoke to was Coach Grantham. Just like with football, you as a recruiter, you just keep grinding. Coach Grantham kept coming and kept coming, and we are good friends now. He showed me that I mean something to him, and you need to have that because in practice all you are going to get is them pushing you. So I need to know when that is happening it is because he cares about me. Coach Grantham is a good friend of mine as well as a guy I would like to play for."

Brown does not plan on taking any visits this fall and plans to make his decision sometime before Feb. 2. He noted that Outlaw, his teammate, is trying to get Brown to join him in Athens.

The Georgia Military head coach compares the hard-hitting, sideline-to-sideline playing style of Brown to another former GMC Bulldog who later became a two time All-SEC selection in Athens.

"Shannon is an outstanding player with a great motor who loves to play," Williams said. "His skill set and play on the field reminds you a bit of Odell Thurman when he was here. Shannon and Odell are similar players as far as explosiveness, so I think that is an achievable goal for him to be that level when he is done."

Kipp Adams has covered University of Georgia recruiting since 2006. He can be reached at KippAdamsESPN@gmail.com or on Twitter @KippLAdams.

Kipp Adams | email

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