The fax machine started humming again at 9:05 a.m., and Karlene Lawrence, one of Felton's assistants, shouted, "Here they come!" "They" are the Luckie brothers of Stone Mountain, Ga., believed to be the first triplets to commit to a Division I program. Goff says the only way to tell them apart is that Miles Luckie, a 6'2", 270-pound defensive lineman, outweighs Mike and Dustin by 45 pounds.
"They can eat, too," Georgia assistant David Kelly says. "I know their mama is going to be happy to turn them over to the University of Georgia."
The conversation changed abruptly when Lawrence pulled another fax off and said, "O.K., this is going to be the surprise of the day. This is big, very big."
Seems that Torin Kirtsey, a running back from Jacksonville, had reneged on his verbal commitment to South Carolina and opted for the Dawgs. He wasn't on the board originally, but Felton's minions had saved room for him, just in case. Kirtsey had called Georgia the previous Friday and was told that the Bulldogs didn't have any scholarships left. But when Jackson bolted for Notre Dame, Goff called Kirtsey on Monday and told him he could have the scholarship reserved for Jackson.
It was almost 11 a.m. when Chip Towers, the beat man from the Athens newspaper, announced that he had just phoned Simon's mother. "She said she was on the way to the school for the press conference, and it's still Georgia," Towers said.
"We might want to wait until the ink's dry," said Mac McWhorter, who coaches Georgia's offensive line and tight ends.
"We might take this one with the ink still wet," said Felton.
Nearly three hours passed, and Simon still wasn't official. That did little to calm the nerves of the Dog Catchers, a group of Bulldog recruiting nuts holding a signing-day vigil at the Frog Pond Lounge at the Ramada Inn. "These guys are like expectant fathers," said Larry Wages, who cofounded the Dog Catchers in 1983. "I know it looks crazy for a bunch of middle-aged men to be so interested in a bunch of 17-year-old boys, but let's face it: Recruiting is the lifeblood of the sport."
At 1:47 p.m. Wages took a phone call from the S.I.D.'s office. "We got him!" Wages shouted.
" Simon?" someone at the bar yelled.