E.A. Sports Today

Webb picks Georgia

Oxford OL ends long self-managed recruiting process by picking Georgia over Alabama

Oxford’s Clay Webb and his family celebrate the senior lineman’s commitment to play his college football at Georgia. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The hardest thing for Clay Webb to do was get to Monday.

The Oxford offensive lineman announced his commitment to Georgia in the school’s Sports Arena, the same place he accepted his ceremonial Under Armour All-American Game jersey, but keeping the decision he personally made weeks before was one of the most difficult things he’s done in his life.

He made it official by doffing a Georgia cap.

Webb’s reveal ended one of the closest guarded secrets of a top-ranked prospect of the recruiting season. He never participated in social media and said he only revealed his choice tocthe winner on Saturday.

Oxford football coach Ryan Herring shares the news about Clay Webb’s commitment to Georgia.

He remained tight-lipped publicly throughout the process, revealing little whenever the subject was broached, a strategy he said greatly reduced the “unnecessary stresses” of the process.

“I knew for a while, but I was just seeing everything and kind of keeping quiet about it,” Webb said. “It was pretty difficult (holding it in).

“I guess you guys all know that I don’t really get on social media and I don’t like talking a lot about that. … I’m not really that guy to stand up in a room full of people and go ‘Hey, look at me.’”

Because of that, he earned a lot of respect from Oxford coach Ryan Herring for the way he handled his business.

And, of course, it can be crazy. Herring said the recruitment process with Webb was unlikely any other he’d experienced before, and he’s had his share of top-line SEC-level prospects.

Webb, 6-3 and 290, is the 23rd-ranked overall prospect in the country by Rivals, No. 1 among centers and No. 2 in Alabama.

His decision ultimately came down between Georgia and Alabama, although Clemson was in the mix for a long time. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Georgia’s Kirby Smart both made personal visits to the high school last Monday, a day Herring called “pretty intense” and Webb called “a little crazy.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Herring said. “Roc Thomas’ situation was nothing like this. Nothing.

“You had a lot people who wanted Roc Thomas (who signed with Auburn before transferring to Jax State), but the three major power brokers in college football had been camped out in Oxford for two weeks basically. When you have Kirby Smart and Nick Saban in your school building the same day in the meat of their recruiting … that’s pretty surreal.”

Herring said if Webb’s choice had been Alabama people probably would have known before Monday. He said Webb couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the choices.

“The choice he had there wasn’t a wrong decision,” Herring said. “To me it’s the three best football programs in America and Georgia, of course, has been inches away from national championships last year and this year, too, and they’ve got everybody back so everything looks nothing but bright for them.

“There wasn’t a choice to me that was better or worse than others. The toughest thing was telling the other guys you’re choosing somebody else.”

Webb said the bond he made with Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman was the difference maker.

“Going to the Georgia games I just felt really close with coach Pittman and some of the other players who were already there,” he said. “I just built a better relationship with them.”

He said Pittman was “pretty happy” when he called with his decision. His commitment elevated Georgia’s projected signing class to No. 3 by Rivals (behind Alabama and Texas A&M).

Oxford officials had scheduled Webb’s coming-out announcement for Monday a week ago, but they had no indication of the decision at that time.

Signing day is Dec. 19, but he’ll already by in Athens by then.

The lineman plans to head to Athens Friday and participate in the Bulldogs’ on-campus bowl preparations. His feeling is the Bulldogs will start training him at guard and then move him to center when they feel he’s ready.

He previously withdrew from the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and will not participate in the Under Armour Game. He wrestled for the Yellow Jackets for last time Saturday at Carrollton.

Clay Webb shares the moment of his commitment with his Oxford teammates.

To see more pictures from Clay Webb’s commitment ceremony visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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