April 23, 2013

On his own terms

Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) tight end Jeb Blazevich took a different approach to the recruiting process.

He handled it all on his own terms.

The Tarheel State standout set times when he would talk to the media, and he narrowed his list of schools early on.

On Tuesday, he narrowed that list down to one team when he chose to commit to Georgia and become the Bulldogs' fourth commitment of the 2014 class.

According to Blazevich, it was a decision that came down to the relationships he was able to make and his faith.

"Honestly, I just felt that God was leading me there (to Georgia)," Blazevich said after his announcement on Tuesday. "I know some might not understand that. I just fell in love with Athens first off. Then it was Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (John) Lilly and the things that they've done and the men they are. I think that says a lot about what their program stands for and what they are headed towards. Those are basically the main factors."

The Bulldogs have a strong history at tight end with players such as Ben Watson, Leonard Pope, Orson Charles, and Randy McMichael currently on NFL rosters.

Blazevich, however, didn't focus as much on the tradition at tight end as he did the reputation of his future position coach.

"Honestly not so much as the coaches," he said when asked about UGA's tight end tradition and how it affected his decision.

"Different people have different paths and different people do different things. Coach Lilly's resume played an important part because I know how successful he has been. If he has the talent, he will work with it. Hopefully we will find out if I have the talent and I'll definitely work towards getting it."

While relationships with the coaches played a large role in the four-star prospect's decision, a lack of relationships with those in the student body at UGA and the people in Athens also helped the Bulldogs land Blazevich.

"I know Nick Glass, of course. Other than that, I don't really know many people. I know last year's tight end signee, Jordan Davis," Blazevich said. "I don't really know anyone there. It is kind of exciting to get there and do my own thing and sort of start a new trail. I know a bunch of people going to Clemson and at Ole Miss I have family that lives there so it was my chance to do my own thing."

With friends and family at Clemson and Ole Miss, Blazevich admits that turning down offers from those programs was quite tough task.

"It was very difficult. Even without them there, saying no to the coaching staffs with the people that they are, it was hard," he said. "Then of course having your family there, it is just a very big plus and advantage that I had to turn down. I wanted to do something different. I didn't want to be another family member going to Ole Miss. I didn't want to be another Charlotte kid going to Clemson. I guess I wanted to trail blaze."

The Rivals250 prospect won't make to Athens until the summer of 2014 and his focus for the time being is on his own high school team.

He won't start concentrating on becoming a Bulldog until his work is finished in his senior season.

"Honestly, I'm not going to think about that until after our season," Blazevich said when asked about his expectations of himself once he gets to Athens. "I have work to finish here. As soon as I can, I have to learn the playbook. I have to get that. I have to get on their weight-training program. I have to get that down. I'm their player until I'm done playing high school ball. It is whatever my coaches need here and then whatever UGA needs."

When it comes to his commitment to Georgia, Blazevich says Bulldog fans have no reason to worry.

He spent a lot of time making sure he would be 100 percent firm in his pledge.

"When I say I committed, I am definitely committed whole heartedly to Coach Richt and Coach Lilly. I take that very seriously and that is why it took me a long while," he said. "I don't want to be one of these guys that goes back and forth. I don't blame guys that do that because sometimes they just don't know. I have just always been taught that your word is your reputation. I've put that on the line and I'm committed to Georgia. In terms of recruiting for them, I've had a lot of guys try to do that for me and I've met a lot of great guys with that. But I've met a lot of guys that are just phony and doing it for the coaches. If the coaches tell me to get a guy, I'll definitely try."

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