Buford offensive lineman Josh Cardiello has had and still has a lot on his play for the month of December.
For starters, the Georgia commitment will lead his Buford Wolves as they face Cartersville in the GHSA AAA semifinals on Friday, and will then make the trip to Athens for his official visit and UGA's Senior Gala event.
The game against Cartersville, however, is the only thing on Cardiello's mind at this point, and few people thought the Wolves would be in this position when the season started.
"You know, starting off the season people doubted us. They definitely had their doubts. We kind of put those doubts away, and about the eighth game or so we found out we were going to have to forfeit two games. It was like 'oh man we are in our region' and stuff," said Cardiello. "We kind of took that and played it to our advantage. We played harder. We've had to go on the road the last two weeks and we are on the road again this week. In the playoffs, the Wolves tend to play better on the road so it's been fun. It's been fun to prove everyone wrong that doubted us."
While Cardiello is in the process of trying lead his team to a special season in 2012, he believes that the team he will be joining as an early enrollee in January, Georgia, is also destined for special things in the near future.
"With teams, it seems like every so often the team will have a five year span, and I think that is where Georgia is right now. I think it is hitting perfect for Georgia and, they are getting ready to take off," he said. "I think my class is coming in there are the right time, and its going to be really special. I think we are going to have a young team. We graduate a bunch of guys with most of them coming on defense, but there are a lot of young guys behind them. It's going to be fun and I'm really excited."
When Cardiello committed to Georgia, much of the offensive line as a question mark and he saw opportunity.
Now, after starting the same five linemen virtually all season, the three-star lineman still sees opportunity because of Georgia's veterans on the interior.
"It's always the goal to go in there and play as soon as possible," said Cardiello. "With two seniors at guard and one senior that plays tackle and guard, that is a pretty good opportunity go in and maybe redshirt then come in at the end of the year after learning everything and work for a spot. It is definitely a good opportunity to have those older guys playing guards."
On Saturday, the Peach State lineman watched as Georgia fell just short of a last second comeback and fell to Alabama in the SEC Title game, 32-28.
Sunday, however, Cardiello hosted the three Georgia coaches, Mark Richt, Will Friend, and Bryan McClendon, and was impressed with the level of commitment the Bulldog staff showed to him as a recruit.
"It was really cool. They could have easily said 'we lost so let's reschedule a different date' and just go from there, but it was cool to see that they are committed to me like I am committed to them," he said. "For them to be there after a huge game like that, whether they won or lost, just shows what kind of coaches they are and what kind of respect they have for us."
While a large portion of the visit was devoted to spending one-on-one time with Cardiello, the Georgia coaches also shared some of their plans for the current class and on the offensive line.
"I know we really want (Laremy) Tunsil. I talked to Coach Friend and he is always telling me to stay on him (Tunsil) on facebook," said Cardiello. "I think they are really going after Tyrone Crowder, but you just don't know how many spots they have left. They are trying to get him on campus as soon as possible. I think that definitely Tunsil and maybe get another guard in there. That is what they have said so far."
Whoever joins Georgia's, which is already at 30 and counting, from this point on will be joining a very tight knit group according to Cardiello.
"I think that we have all gotten a lot closer and I have gotten to know the guys in my class really well like (Brandon) Kublanow and the other linemen in this class," he said. "We text almost every day in a group message, just joking around. Then there is Shaq (Wiggins) and Shaq is going to be Shaq, and Tray (Matthews). They have been the same through the whole thing."
Cardiello also sees this class as one that is special with the potential to get much more so in the near future.
"Oh man I think that we have a great class and we can be special. I think that we have a good shot a two or three more guys in this class, and if we can get those guys we will be even better. I think we have a great chance at Big Mah (Montravius Adams). I think it is down to us (UGA) and Clemson for him. Then there is Alvin (Kamara). I think we can get Tunsil, and Coach McClendon told me that we aren't out of it for (Robert) Nkemdiche. He says that we still have a shot there and he's the number one player in the country so that would be awesome too."
With so much going on in the final month of the year, Cardiello's focus is with his team and playing for a state title, but the excitement of where he will be in a few weeks is something that is also tough to contain.
"I don't plan on taking part in the bowl preparation because our season is still going and I'm mainly focused on hitting the weights and getting stronger," said Cardiello. "I want to get in shape before I get to campus, but it is exciting to think that I will be starting college in like three weeks. It's a really exciting time and I can't wait."
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