ATHENS - Mark Richt turned to his left and looked at a UGA staff member.
"I think once they sign that thing I can comment on them?" Georgia head coach said, getting an affirmative nod back.
So in an unprecedented occurrence, Richt commented on Josh Malone, a receiver who has not actually committed to Georgia. Normally commenting on an uncommitted recruit would be an NCAA violation, but Malone has signed a financial aid agreement with both Georgia and Tennessee, and according to the interpretation of the compliance office, that makes it okay.
So Richt went into a public recruiting pitch for Malone, a four-star receiver from Gallatin, Tenn.
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"I think the guy's a dynamic player. I really do," Richt said. "I think he's a guy that could come in as a freshman and make a difference, especially if he comes in at the mid-year, which I think is his plan for wherever he goes. Yeah, I think the guy, with the knowledge he would gain in the spring and through the summer, and have a guy like Chris Conley to mentor him, he could take advantage of his skill sets, which I think are outstanding. Great speed, great height, snatches the ball well. He's a very sharp kid. Great family.
"We'd love to have him here."
It was fairly startling to hear a coach publicly comment on a recruit, and initially Richt was reticent, wanting to make sure he wouldn't get in trouble.
"I just wanna get it straight, because you put some stickers on an envelope you get in trouble," Rich cracked.
That was a reference to Georgia recruiting coordinator Daryl Jones being suspended a week this fall because of a fairly minor violation.
"I'm serious," Richt said. "I'm gun shy about all that."
By signing the financial aid agreement, a recruit has more leverage than waiting in February to sign a letter-of-intent.
Quarterback Jacob Park of Goose Creek, S.C., who has committed to Georgia, also signed the financial aid agreement. Park plans to enroll at Georgia for the spring semester.
"We want guys that are really good passers. He's an outstanding passer," Richt said. "I think he's a really sharp decision-maker. We'll find out about how he handles pressure once he gets here. But he's got the things we've looked for over the years to have a guy that we think can be successful. We've been blessed with good quarterbacks over the years."