June 23, 2010

Dawgs go the Long way again

Hunter Long didn't need much time to to make up his mind once Bulldog offensive line coach Stacy Searels offered him a scholarship Sunday afternoon.

He accepted on the spot, becoming the Bulldogs' 13th verbal commitment, moments after Watts Dantzler informed a crowd at Dalton High that he too was Georgia bound.

"It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog," said the 6-foot-3, 293-pounmder from Briarcrest Christian in Eads, Tenn. "Bottom line, I just felt more comfortable there than anywhere I've been."

With good reason:

Long's older brother Austin is a redshirt freshman with the Bulldogs.

"We're very close and everything but he's not the real reason I chose to go to Georgia," Long said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm very happy that he is there and everything, but the reason I chose to go to Georgia is because I felt it was the best fit for me. I know he can't wait for me to get down there."

Long, who will play guard for the Bulldogs, took part in the annual Mark Richt camp last week where he tried his best to make points with the Bulldog staff.

Apparently he did just fine.

"I think I had a good camp and everything," Long said. "I talked to Coach Searels, and he said to just be myself and they were going to take a look at me at guard and after a week they would let me know."

Long got the word late last week, but waited to announce his decision after good friend Watts Dantzler committed to the Bulldogs earlier Sunday afternoon.

"I went into the camp still thinking that I had to show what I could do because I didn't think I had an offer locked up," Long said. "After Saturday I think they had begun to feel comfortable with me, although I definitely felt I needed to prove what myself and everything."

One of the Tennessee's up-and-coming prospects, Long chose the Bulldogs over a number of schools including Memphis and Southern Miss, although North Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama are thought to be close to offering as well.

But Long didn't see any need to wait.

"I've been to most every school in the SEC and I think I've already met and talked to everybody that I needed to," Long said. "To me, there's no other place like Georgia; it's the best place I can be. I didn't think it was any use to take my recruiting any further."

Long is the second interior lineman to commit to the Bulldogs, joining Wesleyan center David Andrews who did so several months ago.

Dantzler is listed as an offensive tackle.

"We (Long and Dantzler) talk pretty much every day," said Long, who added the two have spoke often about continuing their college careers at the same school.

"We talked about it a lot at first, but that had kind of cooled once his offers started picking up," Long said. "But after we went to camp and I saw I had a chance to earn an offer, it really helped me make my decision."

So did Long's familiarity with Athens.

"I just felt at home every time I've been down there," he said. "I prayed about it but every time, my thoughts kept coming back to Georgia."

Long said he's glad to have his decision out of the way, although the process hasn't been one he's enjoyed.

The opportunity to travel to different schools is something he won't forget, but no he's ready to focus on his senior year before beginning his life in Athens.

"It was really a lot of fun. I had some great offers, but they weren't Georgia," he said. "But I am glad I've got it done. Now I can focus on my senior season because I think we've got a great chance to make it to state."

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