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July 20, 2013

Diary of a Dawg Night Wait-lister

As I've mentioned here a number of times before, I have limited interest in high school football recruiting.  I tend to follow a player upon him becoming a Georgia Bulldog, and not before so.  Nevertheless, I found myself intrigued a week ago with UGA's "Dawg Night," and the desire of a young man -- a Dawg Night "wait-lister," so to speak -- to perhaps become one of the fortunate ones to eventually sign with Georgia.
 
Last week, I knew little regarding UGA's Dawg Night, but was interested in what exactly a prospect experienced at the event.  The articles I discovered primarily dealt with which recruits committed to Georgia during the night, but not what they actually encountered.  I did discover a few articles with supposed inside information on some recruits' thoughts on Dawg Night, but those particular pay-site pieces were for "insiders" only -- no pay, no insight.   
 
As fate would have it, I was put in touch with the father of Shiloh High School's Cameron Stewart a few days following Dawg Night.  Cameron and his father didn't know it, but I was quite familiar with the soon-to-be junior wide receiver.  I lived in Snellville from 2003 to 2012, including covering high school sports as a correspondent for the Gwinnett Daily Post for several years.  I might know little about high school recruiting, but I still follow football in Gwinnett County rather closely.
 
I was first familiarized with the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Stewart following his defender's-hand-under-facemask, leaping catch against Meadowcreek as a mere sophomore a year ago (photo).  Cameron finished the 2012 season with 26 catches for 615 yards and 9 touchdowns.  His receiving yards were nearly half that of his entire team's; the rest of the Shiloh squad combined for less than half (four) his number of receiving touchdowns.  Nicknamed "Calvin Johnson Jr.," Stewart also runs a 4.5 in the 40, and maintains a 3.0 GPA.
 
Some sophomore highlights of Cameron:
 

 
A number of schools have come calling for Stewart, including Auburn, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.  The receiver, who still has two years remaining of high school ball, has been given offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Louisville.  But, so far, nothing has come from Georgia -- a school located less than an hour from his home.

This summer, Cameron has been invited to his fair share of collegiate football camps.  At one camp just prior to Dawg Night, Kipp Adams of ESPN/Dawg Nation felt compelled to tweet, "Remember this name Cameron Stewart 6'3" WR Shiloh HS."  Regardless, a few days later as far as an invite to Dawg Night, again, nothing came from Georgia.

Cameron's father, Randy, visited Georgia's "2013 Coach Richt's Football Camps" webpage and was confronted with the following: 2013 Dawg Night registration has met capacity. If you are interested in being placed on a waiting list for this camp, please call 706-542-1515 for details.  Randy called for details and was greeted with an automated message, declaring Dawg Night was filled, but if the recruit's contact information was given, he'd be placed on a waiting list.  If spots came available, Georgia would reach out to the most deserving recruits. 

A spot must have become available rather quickly because Georgia was soon in touch with Cameron, asking him to attend its Dawg Night.  The wait-lister had turned invitee in less than two hours.

Regardless of the rain and the fact one could tell which recruits were the highly anticipated, and which were the last accepted (by the jerseys the players wore -- evidently, there was a slight difference in the jersey appearance between the recruits Georgia had been expecting for some time compared to the last-minute wait-listers), Cameron had a "great time" at Dawg Night.  Prospects were first weighed and their heights measured.  After being informed about the UGA football program, the players were then divided into groups, where they underwent drills.

I just had to ask what was Cameron's favorite part of Dawg Night...  Apparently, during the drills, Stewart's performance turned the heads of both assistant Tony Ball and Mark Richt.  This wait-lister was taken aside and given unanticipated "special attention" from one who would be his position coach and the head Bulldog of them all.  Not bad for someone who wasn't even invited to the event to begin with...

Again, I might know little about high school football recruiting, but I do know my UGA football history and am quite aware of the numerous local players -- those that would turn out to be standouts for other schools -- the Bulldogs have let slip through their fingers over time.  Of course, with the abundance of talented recruits available seemingly from all over, such unawareness will inevitably result and obviously occurs at every major program. 

As I was ending my call with Randy, I asked if Georgia happened to show Cameron some interest in the near future would the star receiver suddenly be attracted to becoming a Bulldog.  "Then, UGA would definitely be in the mix!" he confirmed.  Randy then bided me farewell speaking from a restaurant in Nashville, where his son had just finished his stay as an invitee to Vanderbilt's Elite Camp IV.

Following the conversation, I was reminded of one of the reasons why I don't follow recruiting closely: it's difficult for me to comprehend why a recruit is considered a wait-lister by some, but an A-lister by others.  Regardless, and as tweeted, remember this name -- Cameron Stewart.  And, it would likely be in Georgia's best interest to remember it as well when the Bulldogs extend their initial invites next time they hold camp. 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this young man is as talented as you say, UGA will show plenty of interest from here on. Great wr, s are always in high demand.

Patrick Garbin said...

Anon,
Agreed.
--
Patrick

ben said...

Great article...totally different from every other blog. Thanks!

Amanda said...

This man is a nuts! amanda vanderpool fashion