November 12, 2009

Joyner reconnects with Dawgs

Five-star cornerback Lamarcus Joyner has been a man of mysterious in terms of recruiting for the 2010 class and in a surprising move, Joyner is visiting Athens this weekend for Georgia's game against Auburn. The talented Florida cornerback seemed to fall off the Dawgs radar after transferring schools. Georgia Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez managed to get things going again with Joyner and the Bulldogs are back in contention for number one cornerback in the country.

"The goal of this visit is to touch base with the coaches and the players and to see how I feel about Georgia. I want to see if it feels like home to me," he said. "I want to see how they will help me prepare for life after football."

After eliminating Georgia in the summer, Joyner decided to give the Bulldogs a second look culminating in a visit this weekend.

"When I changed from Dillard to St. Thomas Aquinas, Dillard had been Willie Martinez's school and that was my connection and that was lost at the new school," he said. "I lost touch with Coach Martinez and we were not connecting the way we had in the past. Coach Martinez called a couple of weeks ago and it struck a cord with me and I decided to give Georgia another look to see how they fit with them."

After seeing the Bulldogs play this season, Joyner sees where he can help the team on the field.

"I like Coach Martinez a lot. They are telling that I have a wonderful opportunity there and that the offensive coordinator loves me and I can come in as a cornerback and try out at wide receiver with my main focus being defensive back. I would have an opportunity to come into their program and make an instant impact."

Seeing how Georgia has used freshman cornerback Branden Smith has inspired Joyner and backed up what the Georgia coaches are telling him.

"Seeing what Branden is doing shows you what kind of coaches they are," he said. "They are not just saying things to get kids in the school. That shows how truthfully they speak and the high quality of their coaches and their word."

Two factors give Georgia a slight edge in Joyner's mind compared to some of the other schools he is considering. One of the factors is the ability to come in and play right away and the other is head coach Mark Richt.

"The things that stick out to me about Georgia are the opportunity to come in and play right away and head coach Mark Richt being a religious man," Joyner said. "Coach Richt has almost the same personality as me. He is a family man like I am hoping to be someday and I do not think he will be going anywhere for a long time. Those two things along with coach Richt's personality are a great thing."

During his visits, Joyner evaluates schools on several different levels, so he can make the right decision when he decides where he is going on signing day.

"I want to see what the program is like. I want to see if the kids have their heads on straight and overall I am looking to be around good people," Joyner said. "I am going to wait until the end on signing day to make my decision.

For Joyner, it comes down to the people and how he feels about them and where they can help him elevate his life.

"I am looking for a program that is going to surround me with people that can help me for my life after football," he said. "I want people who will help me be successfully both on and off the field. I am looking to be surrounded by good people with a great opportunity fir the future, so I can get a degree and prepare myself to handle my business."

Despite some internet conjecture, Joyner says he is wide open right now and the Bulldogs have as good a shot as any of his top schools.

"I am still wide open to schools," Joyner said. "My top schools are Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama, USC, and definitely Georgia. They are up there and I would prefer to go to Georgia than somewhere like California, but we will see how it goes."

Columbus and South Bend have received visits from Joyner and this week he is heading to Athens to see what Georgia has to offer in comparison to other schools.

"I have taken official visits to Ohio State and Notre Dame. I am being very picky with my visits. I have stayed in contact with my top schools and I want to catch up with Georgia and see if they are a school I should really be considering."

After the Georgia visit, Joyner will check out the Gators and either the Seminoles or the Trojans.

"I am going to go to Florida for a visit and either Florida State or Southern Cal for my last visit," he said. "I am looking for a winning program, but the record right now does not necessarily matter. I guess that is why some of the schools with lesser records are recruiting me because they think I can make a difference there. I feel like I can come in and help those programs out especially a school like Georgia that is not on the top of their game right now."

Joyner is taking the trip to Sanford Stadium very seriously and he is not wasting time with schools he cannot see himself playing for.

"If I did not see an opportunity to come in and play right away, I would not waste my time with a school," Joyner said. "I don't expect to come in and be the starter day one, you have to work your way to the top. I want to see myself get playing time and use my first year as a learning experience."

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