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Amarius Mims/Instagram
Brock Vandagriff is one of Georgia's top targets.

Brock Vandagriff already displaying leadership qualities for Georgia football

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Brock Vandagriff is a clear leader for Georgia football on recruiting trail

Among Georgia’s top 2020 targets, there isn’t a prospect farther away from Athens than tight end Brock Bowers. The 4-star prospect — rated as the No. 93 player in the 2021 cycle per the 247Sports Composite rankings — comes from Napa, Calif. That’s 2,575 miles from Sanford Stadium.

Georgia’s had no issue going all over the country to try and land recruits in past cycles, as it secured signatures from Arizona 5-star Kelee Ringo, Nevada 5-star Darnell Washington and 4-star Kendall Milton from Fresno, Calif. The Bulldogs in the last two recruiting cycles have actually signed twice as many out of state prospects as they have in-state.

But those numbers have changed a bit in the 2021 recruiting class. Of Georgia’s 11 commitments, seven are in-state, with an eighth having strong Georgia ties in Lovasea Carroll. This isn’t a surprise given the usually strong crop of players in Georgia.

And there’s also the fact that official visits and in-person contact between coaches and recruits haven’t been allowed since early March, as the NCAA has mandated a dead period that is set to last until at least Aug. 31. That makes it tough for Georgia to get in front of recruits and pitch them on why Georgia and Athens is the best place for their future.

But prospects aren’t barred from visiting and touring the respective colleges completely. If a prospect is willing to travel on his own dime, he can walk around the campus, though not through any of the team facilities. He can still get a view of the town and a feel for it.

That’s what Bowers and his family did last week. They flew from Napa to Atlanta and then drove out to Athens toured the University of Georgia campus. It’s only the second time Bowers has been to Athens, so it’s still important for him to get more familiar with the campus, even if he can’t get an up-close look at the football facilities where he’ll be spending most of his time.

Bowers couldn’t have in-person contact with anyone connected to the program as the rules currently state. But his unofficial tour guide was just about the next best thing. The man who helped guide him around Athens was 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff.

Vandagriff didn’t have to travel quite as far as Bowers to tour around the campus. He’s just minutes away as he’s from Bogart, Ga. His high school, Prince Avenue Christian Academy, is just 13 miles from Sanford Stadium. Bowers and Vandagriff were also joined by outside linebacker commit Chaz Chambliss, who is from Carrolton, Ga., and tight ends coach Todd Hartley was able to lend a virtual hand with Bowers.

“It was good being able to sit down and talk with them face to face and get to know them more,” Bowers told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell of Vandagriff and Chambliss. “They would be the guys I would be going in with. So it was good to sit down and talk with them.”

Related: Brock Bowers breaks down his visit to Georgia

Quarterbacks being the leaders on the recruiting trail is hardly a new development. Jake Fromm was just that for Georgia’s 2017 class, as he took part in multiple commitment videos. Justin Fields filled that role as well for Georgia in 2018, when the Bulldogs went on to sign the No. 1 overall class in the country.

Vandagriff has certainly been that for Georgia in the 2021 cycle. The Bowers visit is an example of that. But it’s not the only instance of Vandagriff meeting up with uncommitted prospects during the dead period.

He posted a picture with himself and 5-star offensive tackle target Amarius Mims on a late-night fishing trip back in April. Mims is Georgia’s literal biggest target, as he’s a massive 6-foot-7, 315 pounds and the No. 6 overall player in the country.

View this post on Instagram

YES i outfished my boy @brockvandagriff

A post shared by Amarius Mims (@65ivee) on

Mims released a top-6 on Wednesday that featured the Bulldogs. Landing Mims would go a long way in helping get the most out of Vandagriff in his time at Georgia.

In a time when coaches can’t get in front of players, having a leader who is able to do so is huge for a recruiting class. That’s what Vandagriff represents for Georgia in this cycle. His tweets have pretty often tagged some of Georgia’s top recruiting targets, including recent wide receiver commitment Adonai Mitchell. 

He’s also not the only player to take on a public role of recruiting other prospects in an age where visits aren’t permitted. Carroll is heavily recruiting his teammate at IMG Academy, 4-star linebacker target Xavian Sorey.

While not all of Georgia’s top targets will be able to do what Bowers did, having a player who has shown that he’s willing to go the extra mile in recruiting fellow prospects will be a huge benefit for Georgia. Especially with two of Georgia’s top targets, Mims and 5-star linebacker Smael Mondon, being uncommitted prospects from the state of Georgia.

There’s a ton of uncertainty surrounding college football at the moment. It’s not even known what a possible season will look like, much less when prospects will be allowed to visit schools once again.

But what is very clear is that Vandagriff is going to help build a better recruiting class for Georgia, which in turn will make Georgia a program in the future. That’s what leadership looks like.

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