Richt wary of off-field issues while recruiting

The next time Georgia whiffs on a top football recruit, stop to consider if Mark Richt’s program even continued pursuing the high schooler.

According to Richt’s recent interview on Atlanta sports radio show 680 The Fan, this happens more often than the media and fans think.

“There’s a lot of guys that it may look like on paper, or in the newspaper, that so and so beat out Georgia on a certain prospect, but we’re not gonna say that we decided to not bring him into our university because we were concerned about could he make that transition,” said Richt, who is entering his 12th season at the helm for the Bulldogs.

The over-generalized view of college football powerhouses follows a three-step process: Solidify commitments from as many of the nation’s top recruits as possible, keep those players in good standing with the NCAA and law enforcement agencies, then win games and watch the money pile up.

And, for the most part, those aspects do fall somewhere on the job’s spectrum of responsibilities. But there’s more to it — there has to be when dealing with so many personalities and variables.

So is the initial step – pursuing the best talent – ever not worth the trouble?

“Well, I can’t tell you how many times we don’t bring [a recruit] into Georgia because we were concerned about [off-the-field issues],” he said. “… So that happens quite often and we just gotta make judgments on what’s best for the university. And we do that on a daily basis.”

Richt’s comments come on the heels of an offseason that can’t end soon enough, with multiple suspensions, dismissals and arrests dotting the college football landscape. Just this past week, a returning Heisman finalist – LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu – was told he will not be allowed to play for his team this season. 

Georgia’s own recent history is lined with difficulties, as defensive starters Baccari Rambo, Sanders Commings and Alex Ogletree will all sit a few games to kick off the 2012 campaign, and top running back Isaiah Crowell made headlines when he was kicked off the team in late June.

That’s more than enough for any coach.