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August 14, 2012
No Fluke, Dawgs add No. 26
East Mississippi Community College (Scooba, Miss.) safety Shaquille Fluker took a visit to the University of Georgia this summer, and the Bulldog coaching staff offered him on the spot.
At the time of the offer, it was almost too good to pass up, but now that Fluker has waited a few months to make sure, he is ready to become Georgia's 26th commitment for 2013.
"I am committing to Georgia," said Fluker. "When I went on my visit, I just liked being there and the idea of being part of that team. I liked how they wanted me and told me they wish I was down there so I could play now."
After not signing a safety prospect in the 2012 class, Fluker gives the Bulldogs their fourth, and most likely their final, safety commit in 2013.
With three years to play two, one of the deciding factors for Fluker was the chance to play and play early. Fluker also held offers from Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky.
"I really like how they showed me they need me," said Fluker. "They need guys at safety, and they really let me know that they want me a part of their team."
Growing up Meridian, Mississippi, the JUCO standout was no stranger to SEC football.
As a matter of fact, he spent his whole high school career dreaming of playing in the SEC, but after failing to qualify out of Meridian High School, he knew he would have to wait at least two more years.
Now he has a chance to play in what he feels is the best conference in the nation.
"When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was play in the SEC," said Fluker. "It is the biggest and best conference out there, so I wanted to play there. Now it feels pretty good for that to be happening."
Not only was Fluker familiar with the SEC, but he has also had a fondness for the Bulldogs for quite some time.
"When I used to play the video games and all, I would play with Georgia a lot," he said. "I know they are a big time school in the SEC, and I want to go there and help them next year."
During his visit to the Classic City, Fluker had the opportunity to meet Georgia defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos, and talk football.
Lakatos was the three-star defenders primary recruiter, and played quite a large role in his decision to become a Bulldog.
"When I was on my visit to Georgia, I talked with Coach Lakatos and he showed me what they do on defense. He showed me some of the things they run and some of their coverages, and stuff like that," said Fluker. "I could tell that he is a very intelligent coach, but he likes to laugh and joke around too. That is how I am so it was cool to talk with him. But you can also tell that when it is time to get down to business, he can do that too."
When the JUCO standout decided to give the Georgia coaching staff the good news, he delivered it to the head hoach, Mark Richt.
According to Fluker, Richt couldn't have been happier.
"He was excited. He told me that he was proud to have a player like me coming to join them," said Fluker. "He was basically telling me that they were glad I would be coming there and could help them right away."
While the plan is for Fluker to come in and contribute immediately at the safety position and special teams, the Mississippi native is treating the opportunity to play at Georgia just like he did his opportunity to play at East Mississippi.
"Coming out of high school, I didn't know they (East Mississippi) was interested in me. Then coach (Cliff) Collins, the defensive backs coach, told me he wanted me to come there and play for them. I knew I would have to work hard and nothing would be given to me. It was an opportunity," said Fluker. "At Georgia, I know I will have a chance to do some things, but it is up to me, too. I know I'm going to have to work hard and show what I can do. I'm looking forward to it."
With one final season left to play at the JUCO level, individual goals are only something Fluker cares about if it helps his team win.
"I mean, I'll take tackles or interceptions, but my goal is to go out there and help my defense," said Fluker. "My goal is to help my team win. I want to help our defense keep the other offense from scoring at all. That is what I try to do."
While the 6-foot-1, 200-pound heavy hitter has goals on the field, he also has goals in the classroom as well.
"I do plan on graduating in December. The way I see it, I have to. I have to get out of here and get to Georgia," he said. "I'm going to work hard in both areas and make sure I pass all my classes and get all my classes so I can enroll at Georgia in January."
Now that the Bulldogs have completely filled their need in 2013 at the safety position, Fluker has a message for Dawg Nation.
"It's a great day to be a Bulldog," said Fluker. "When I sign, its going to be a great day to be a Bulldog, too."