The lifting of transfer restrictions means that Garcia’s two other finalists, Vanderbilt and Clemson, are now back in the picture. It was a virtual coin toss for him between Clemson and Maryland, so the Tigers could be a player if there is still mutual interest. Georgia was Garcia’s intitial favorite as far back as 2008, but Garcia never made it to a Georgia camp, and the Dawgs didn’t extend an offer. According to Rusty Mansell, as told to Seth Emerson, Georgia (and other interested major programs) were a little concerned about Garcia’s ability to bulk up enough to contribute at a high level. With a full season behind him as a Division I starter, those concerns are long gone.
Georgia is definitely interested in Garcia, but he’s also heard from South Carolina and Florida – not to mention Vanderbilt. Georgia has the advantage of being the closest to home which is important to Garcia. It was also his favorite out of the gate during the recruiting process. Georgia’s line coach has changed in the meantime, but there’s no question that the current Georgia staff is interested.
Garcia, after sitting out the 2012 season, would have two years of eligibility remaining. It would be the equivalent of a junior college signing with one big difference: JUCO players are often shots in the dark given the difficulty of rating a player relative to junior college competition. With over a year on the field for Maryland, there’s plenty of film against Division I opponents for schools like Georgia to evaluate.
One other 2012 recruiting note: Georgia Military College defensive back Mario Alford is expected to visit Athens this weekend. If Georgia offers, Alford has told recruiting services that he’d commit on the spot. Alford would be eligible to join the program immediately and play in 2012, and he still has three years’ eligibility remaining. Given Georgia’s immediate need in the defensive backfield, I’d be surprised if Alford isn’t a Bulldog by Monday.