Might A Solid Church Sermon Sway One Of The Nation’s Top Recruits?

If you follow recruiting, you know that elite college football coaches will do just about anything to land a coveted recruit. They’ll camp outside the player’s home, try to get friendly with their girlfriends, you name it, a coach has tried it.

But trying to woo a recruit under the watchful eye of the big guy upstairs? That’s a new one to us.

Not in the SEC though, where “survival of the fittest” apparently includes a trip to a church service to land a highly coveted football star. That player is five-star athlete Josh Harvey-Clemons, and a month after Will Muschamp came to a church service with Clemons family, Mark Richt is following suit.

Yes, we’re being serious. Here’s an excerpt from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s recruiting blog:

Josh’s grandfather said the idea to invite the college coaches to worship was from some of the deacons. “Coach Richt liked the idea. He said he was more than happy to be there.”

Here’s a likely schedule for Richt on Wednesday night, according to Clemons: Shortly after the 6 p.m. service begins, Richt will be recognized by the minister and given the opportunity to introduce himself to congregation and make a brief statement. What did Muschamp say? “He introduced himself and said how glad he was to be there … nothing that long,” Clemons said.

After the 90-minute Bible study ends, Richt will take a few Facebook pictures and then huddle in a conference room at the church with Harvey-Clemons and his family for the rest of the night.

The funny thing is, as coveted as Harvey-Clemons is, so too is Richt’s seat at Wednesday’s church service. That’s because Richt had to beat out Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher just for the right to be there on Wednesday night. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constituion

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher desperately wanted Richt’s seat in the church pew on Wednesday night. “Coach Fisher volunteered to come to church while we were on our visit last weekend. We’d love for Coach Fisher to be there, but he can’t because it’s the same time that Coach Richt will be there. Instead we’re going to meet Coach Fisher to lunch on Thursday – probably at Cheddar’s [restaurant].”

Only in the wacky world of recruiting huh?


Now, if you’re wondering if Harvey-Clemons is worth it, according to the experts, he apparently is. The 6’5, 208 lbs. athlete is listed as a five-star prospect, and is the No. 1 player in the state of Georgia in the 2012 recruiting cycle. He finished the year with 105 total tackles and three interceptions, and in the process played in the U.S. Army All-American game. Harvey-Clemons is not expected to make an official college announcement until Signing Day, but could be the crown jewel of Florida, Florida State or Georgia’s recruiting classes. All three schools are currently ranked in the top five classes nationally, according to ESPNU.

But while Fisher and Florida State are still trying to get in late (not to mention Louisville and Miami jockeying for his fifth official visit), it appears as though it’s a two-horse race between Muschamp and Richt, Gators and Dawgs for Harvey-Clemons services.

May the better man (or should we say “preacher”) win.

For all his opinion, insight and articles on college football and beyond, please follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.