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Post On the radar

Monday March 30, 2009

Quarterback prospect Nick Montana (yes, Joe’s his father) paid a visit to Alabama and Georgia last week, and the AJC’s Michael Carvell had a chance to discuss the visits with Nick. When asked what he found appealing about Georgia, Montana said,

If Georgia is turning out first-round draft picks like (Stafford) at quarterback, then I think anyone would take a close look at Georgia. They just put a lot of guys in the league. I also like that Georgia wins. They were ranked No. 1 at one point last year.

Lots to like about that quote. First, no knock on David Greene or D.J. Shockley, but quarterback has been the one position at which Georgia has historically struggled to develop high draft picks. Even a legend like Fran Tarkenton was only a third-round pick. Stafford is a surprisingly polarizing figure among Georgia fans, but he’ll also be the highest draft pick among Georgia quaterbacks since Johnny Rauch was selected with the second pick in 1949. One has to think that the stature of Stafford helped with Aaron Murray last year, and it even appeals across the country to someone like Montana. Good to see that changing.

The second bit is a nice wake-up call to some Georgia fans. Despite all of our kvetching and quibbling about what’s wrong with the Georgia program, the perception of the program hasn’t suffered as much as we might think. He also noticed Georgia’s preseason ranking last season. It seems like common sense that elite prospects would want to go to high-profile programs that win and are ranked high, but you’ll have to convince those who prefer that Georgia embrace the low-profile underdog role.

Will Georgia even become a finalist for Montana? Who knows at this point. His offer sheet is long and truly national, and he’s just starting the process. Right now it’s enough that Georgia has enough national standing to merit a visit and serious consideration from such a prospect.

It’s hard to mention Montana without Rice, and there’s a related story here. While Joe’s son begins the recruiting process with multiple offers from top programs, the son of the other half of the legendary Montana-to-Rice combination is walking on at UCLA this fall (h/t The Wiz).

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