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The 912 is on the Map

By BJ Bennett
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If you want to know how to get to the Georgia coast, just look at a college football roster.

As recent recruiting classes have shown and the start of the latest Early Signing Period has validated, coastal Georgia is on the map. Coaches from all across college football have made schools in greater Savannah, the Golden Isles and beyond part of their official visits, with the number of signees from the region growing exponentially over the years. No longer just a picturesque series of exits on the way to Florida, the 912, for many programs, has become priority number one.

The tide has come in along this stretch of the Intercoastal Waterway; this rise isn't receding.    

Wednesday was another banner day for the area. Coastal Georgia standouts to sign early with FBS programs include;

Aaron Bedgood, Richmond Hill: Coastal Carolina
Stetson Bennett, Pierce County: Georgia via JUCO
Logan Berryhill, Camden: South Florida
Kalen DeLoach, Islands: Florida State
Trace Dorminy, Camden: Army
D'Quan Douse, Calvary Day: Georgia Tech
Jakeen Harris, Benedictine: NC State
Kevin Harris, Bradwell Institute: South Carolina
Eric Hicks, Benedictine: Tulane
Lachlan Holt, Richmond Hill: Army
Warren McClendon, Brunswick: Georgia
Dylan McMahon, Savannah Christian: NC State
Quandre Mosely, Glynn Academy: Kentucky via JUCO
Jashawn Sheffield, Frederica Academy: Auburn
Jaylen Simpson, Frederica Academy: Auburn
Jeremy Smith, Jenkins: Marshall
David Spalding, Bradwell Institute: Georgia Southern
Sayyid Stevens, Calvary Day: Duke
Tramel Walthour, Liberty: Georgia via JUCO
Winston Wright, Memoria Day: West Virginia

In addition to current teammates who will stay that way in the historic duo of Sheffield and Simpson headed to Auburn, many players who know each each other well will continue the trend as foes moving forward.

"It's a new rivalry we got here going on with my boy Nolan," Georgia Tech's Douse smiled, with his old teammate Smith, Georgia-bound, adding, "you ain't gonna never beat me".

Some, for the first time, will even join sides.

"It's awesome, going with someone I already know," McMahon nodded of his future Wolfpack teammate Harris. "I'm glad to have somebody up there I already know to get to work with, a friend, someone I'm close to." 

From current NFL stars like Allen Bailey, Jarrad Davis and Darius Slay to current college standouts like Deejay Dallas, Nick Fitzgerald and Richard LeCounte, the numbers, for the 912, continue to grow. Regarded for having some of the best high school football anywhere around for decades, "the process" has now come full circle in coastal Georgia, with accomplished student-athletes making their mark at the next level and the level after that. These communities aren't just off the interstate, they are now in the spotlight as well.

A brand built by the likes of legends George Atkinson, Champ Bailey and Stump Mitchell now extends all over the country.

At press conferences all around Savannah, signees made it a point to celebrate with their peers. DeLoach and Harris, competitors who were together at Islands High School earlier in the day, were among attendees at the Calvary Day ceremony for Douse and Stevens. Former Cavalier, and future Georgia Bulldog from IMG Academy, Nolan Smith was also in the house. School to school, former greats came home to celebrate. On one of the most important days in the lives of these young men, there was a shared camaraderie and pride.

It is simply impossible to list all of the past players whose hard work and persistence helped paved the way for the current crop. The impact is impossible to frame, too. Former recruits from coastal Georgia brought more attention, and therefore more scholarship offers, to the region. Though what has been built is clear to see, the foundation laid should always be remembered. Coaches now look to the Georgia shore and keep looking for more. The reputation is both shared and strong. 

There may not be a specific pipeline, but directions, at this point, are everywhere. If you want to know how to get to the Georgia coast, just look at a college football roster. 

Already, on the first day pen could be put to paper, it's been a big recruiting class for student-athletes in coastal Georgia. Ink still drying, the story of the 912 continues.  

Football is a game of inches; for those on a 100-mile coastline, dreams are within reach.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports