Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Georgia football and basketball got big news on Thursday

Friday May 25, 2007

What a double shot of good news yesterday for Bulldog fans.

Caleb King makes the grade

Caleb King
Caleb King
Photo: Rivals.com

Rumors began circulating and by mid-afternoon it was confirmed that highly-touted tailback Caleb King has qualified to play for the Dawgs next year, putting an end to one of the most-frequently asked questions of the spring. King told Chad Simmons of UGASports.com ($) that his brother told him the news at 5 a.m. (Personally, someone better be dying or dead if I’m being woken up at 5 a.m.) The family wisely met with GAC counselors during the day to double-check that King’s academic credentials added up. By mid-afternoon, his coach was confirming the news to the AJC, and Simmons spoke directly with King to get his reaction. Caleb topped off the day with his high school graduation. Not a bad Thursday.

King’s story is interesting all around. He earned his superstar-in-waiting reputation mostly as a junior and at last summer’s camps. After his junior season, he transferred from football powerhouse Parkview to Greater Atlanta Christian school for “academic and spiritual reasons“. An injury sidelined him for most of his senior season, but he has since recovered and even ran some track. He works with a trainer several days each week. He used the opportunity at GAC to focus on academics and end years of speculation about his grades. “I’ve been studying all the time, and it’s been totally business,” he told Simmons.

Then there’s the dynamic of his family. King’s brother (and guardian) Andre is out in front as more or less a spokesman for Caleb and the family. When King transfered to GAC last year, Andre handled the press. It was he who woke Caleb up with the good news yesterday. With meddling parents in the news, there are some who cast a suspicious eye on Andre’s involvement and presence in Caleb’s decision to transfer and during the recruiting process. But as a self-described “father-figure” to Caleb, Andre isn’t just some hanger-on. It will be interesting to see to what extent we hear from Andre down the road as Caleb’s college career gets underway.

Finally, there’s the “how do we use him?” question. It’s reported that King doesn’t plan on redshirting, and that decision heading into the season might be the next chapter in the Caleb saga. If King does play, he’s coming into a tailback situation with two established seniors plus the redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno. In premature comparisons to Reggie Bush, it’s been speculated that King can be moved around and even used as a receiver at times. If King is that kind of versatile back, hopefully the staff can come up with more ways to use his ability than the Tyson Browning screen pass. If he really is good enough not to redshirt even with a deep backfield, make his role and freshman season meaningful.

Hoop Dawgs pick up a tremendous commitment

Trey Thompkins
Howard Thompkins
Photo: Rivals.com

You could almost hear Dennis Felton yell, “OH HELL YES!!!” from nearly halfway around the world. Felton, currently serving as part of Operation Hardwood in Kuwait, had to be thrilled to learn that his program had just picked up one of its most significant commitments in years. National top 20 forward Howard Thompkins chose Georgia over Florida and dozens of other programs. The 6’8″ Thompkins has the potential to have a Tyrus Thomas kind of impact on the Bulldog program.

Thompkins’ choice boiled down to this: he could have been the latest high-profile cog in the established Florida program, or he could be the cornerstone in the next step of establishing the Georgia program. A year away at Oak Hill Academy helped to tip the scales in favor of the hometown Dawgs; he had spent enough time away from home. He will return to Wesleyan this fall for his senior year, and then he’ll head a short distance up the road to Athens.

Though Louis Williams might technically be the highest-profile recruit signed by Felton, few expected Williams to ever set foot in Athens. If Thompkins arrives on campus without a hitch, he will be the biggest freshman addition to the program since Jumaine Jones. But as the Dawgs proved during the Jumaine era, one standout player doesn’t make a championship team. Felton continues to assemble the pieces of a complete team, and Thompkins is a dynamic addition to the future frontcourt. Now we’ll see if Thompkins’ commitment can have a “pied piper” effect and convince other top prospects to trust in Felton and the future of Georgia basketball. There are other big prospects in the 2008 class who are considering Georgia such as center Tony Woods. How good would a Thompkins and Woods frontcourt look when added to this year’s class of Price, Jacob, and Barnes? Along with Woods, I’m still holding out hope for an impact perimeter scorer. That final piece would give us a Georgia team that could compete with anyone in the nation.

Another angle to the Thompkins commitment comes from AAU land. Thompkins is a member of the Atlanta Celtics, an AAU powerhouse with a few alumni you might have heard of. But Georgia hasn’t been able to get more than the occasional sip from this deep well of talent in its backyard. If Thompkins is the first fruits of an improved relationship between Georgia basketball and the AAU programs in the state, Thompkins’ impact will be felt for years.

One Response to 'Georgia football and basketball got big news on Thursday'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  • I don’t think Caleb redshirts. Nothing about his recruitment says “5 year guy.” So why not go ahead and play him now. If he gets hurt later and we need to use the redshirt then (like with Lumpkin and Brown) great. If not, we’ll get use of him while he’s here.

    If not not planning to be here 5 years, why redshirt him? It’s like having a Ferrari in the driveway….and not the highway.