Mark Richt’s hot seat is no longer scorching. In fact, thanks to a few injuries, a handful of letdowns and a nice run from his Georgia Bulldogs, his team might just be the favorite to win the SEC East.
While nothing about Richt’s long-term future with the team is guaranteed by any means, it would appear he’s getting more comfortable where he’s at considering how he’s approaching some potential UGA recruits.
Tray Matthews is one of the top defensive backs in the 2013 class and one of the best players in the state overall. In August Matthews committed to Georgia over teams like Alabama and LSU. Although the pickup was huge, we know just how much a verbal commitment this far out is good for these days.
In order to keep and perhaps even strengthen this commitment, Mark Richt had his very own Jerry Maguire-esque moment when he called to wish Matthews a happy 17th birthday last week. He didn’t just call, but instead tested out his vocals with an SEC rendition of “Happy Birthday” and then followed that up with some good ol’ fashion hamburger conversation.
Here’s what Matthews had to say about it courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“Coach Lilly said I’ve got somebody who wants to talk to you and it’s Mark Richt. As soon as Coach Richt got on the phone, without saying anything else, he started singing me ‘Happy Birthday.’ And he sung the whole song to the finish. I was shocked. It made my day. I’ve never had a coach sing me ‘Happy Birthday’ before. That was really cool.”
Matthews said both he and Richt had a good laugh about it, and then talked for a few more minutes. “He wanted to know how my season was going, and asked all kinds of personal questions. He asked ‘Where do you like to go out to eat? What kind of hamburgers do you like? How do you like them cooked?’ We talked about stuff other than football.”
While we’re impressed with Richt’s pitch here, he still has a long way to go if he’s going to be the top pitch man in the SEC. Steve Spurrier is known for doing whatever it takes to land a recruit, which includes dancing in living rooms when the time calls for it.
As a tailgating enthusiast, however, I’m really, really diggin’ the grilling conversation. As flattered as I might be with his attempt to make wonderful birthday music, the hamburger talk would likely get me to reaffirm my commitment right on the spot.