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Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley landed 5-star prospect Darnell Washington.

Georgia football looking west again for tight end position in 2021 class

Connor Riley

The literal biggest recruiting win for Georgia in the 2020 recruiting cycle came at the tight end position as the Bulldogs beat out the likes of Alabama, Miami and Tennessee for 5-star prospect Darnell Washington.

Washington is the tallest player in Georgia’s 2020 signing class, as he’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds. Those are Lebron James measurables.

Georgia ended up pulling Washington from Las Vegas, though it tried hard to also land local 5-star recruit Arik Gilbert, who will be going to LSU. The Bulldogs also pushed hard to land 4-star tight end Theo Johnson. But the Canadian ended up signing with Penn State.

The Bulldogs also brought in graduate transfer Tre Mckitty, though he will have just one season in Athens. The Bulldogs also have redshirt sophomore John FitzPatrick, and redshirt freshmen Ryland Goede and Brett Seither on the roster.

The Bulldogs and tight ends coach Todd Hartley will likely only be taking one tight end in the 2021 recruiting class. And the top two targets on Georgia’s board at the moment both have west coast ties like Washington did in the 2020 class. Hopefully, Hartley will be able to rack up those frequent flyer miles once it is safe to visit prospects.

We’ll begin with the higher-rated of the two, which brings us to Brock Bowers of Napa, Calif. He is rated as the No. 3 tight end in the country and the No. 102 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Bowers recently put out a top 8 with the Bulldogs making the cut. He took a visit to Georgia in January and admitted that really helped the Bulldogs chances.

“I think the main thing is like the relationships with all the coaches,” he said. “Also just how the program the program uses the tight end and how the coaches like to use the tight end there.”

Related: Nation’s No. 3 TE shares why Georgia made his top eight

Bowers other contenders include Penn State, Washington and Oregon. As for a stat that should intrigue you about Bowers, he caught 39 passes during his junior year of high school. He turned 14 of those into touchdowns.

Bringing in Bowers would mark a change though in the type of player Georgia likes to bring in at the tight end spot. FitzPatrick, Goede and Washington all are at least 6-foot-6. Bowers measures in at 6-foot-3.

That’s why the Bulldogs are also seriously pursuing 4-star tight end Moliki Matavao as well. He’s rated as the No. 4 tight and the No. 145 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, checking in much closer to that of Washington, FitzPatrick and Goede.

Like Washington, Matavao comes from Nevada as he’s from Henderson, Nev. which is just outside of Las Vegas. Matavao visited Georgia last summer and had been planning to be in town for Georgia’s G-Day scrimmage, which was set for this weekend. That now obviously won’t be happening as originally intended. Like Bowers, he plans on more visits to Georgia during his recruiting process.

In March, Matavao put out his top 10, with the Bulldogs making the cut, along with the likes of Washington, Oregon, Penn State and a number of other powerhouse programs.

One thing that stands out for Matavao is Hartley and his ability to develop relationships.

“Coach Hartley is a great man,” Matavao said. “He shows a lot of love. He came out to probably five or six basketball games to come and see me. He flew over from Georgia. That just shows how he is doing this. How he’s doing it is really good for Georgia right now.”

Related: Moliki Matavao: “Big Mo” is planning a couple more trips to check out Georgia

Both Matavao and Bowers will want to check out Georgia once again after the recruiting dead period ends. The NCAA has suspended all in-person recruiting until May 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matavao had targeted a summer decision date while Bowers stated that he’s open to committing either before or after his senior season.

It’s also worth mentioning here that Georgia is a finalist for 4-star tight end Hudson Wolfe. He comes from Tennessee and is the No. 9 ranked tight end in the class. The top-rated tight end in the state of Georgia for the 2021 recruiting cycle is Cane Berrong. The Harwell, Ga., native is committed to Notre Dame.

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