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Amarius Mims is a major target for Georgia in the 2021 recruiting class

Landing 5-star OT Amarius Mims becomes all the more important for Georgia football after Terrence Ferguson decision

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The Amarius Mims recruiting battle looms large for Georgia football and Alabama

Alabama landed a commitment this weekend from the second-highest rated offensive lineman in the state of Georgia, as Terrence Ferguson of Fort Valley, Ga., committed to the Crimson Tide on Sunday. Ferguson is rated as the No. 47 overall player in the country and the No. 5 player in the state of Georgia according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

Ferguson, who comes from the same Peach County High School program that has produced Bulldogs such a Kearis Jackson and Tyrique McGhee, becomes the fourth elite offensive line recruit Alabama has landed in recent weeks. The Crimson Tide have two 5-star offensive line commitments in Tommy Brockmeyer and JC Latham, along with the No. 1 ranked center prospect in the country in James Brockmeyer.

Related: 4-star Peach County OL Terrence Ferguson commits to Alabama

The Crimson Tide are putting together a loaded offensive line class, which is a significant reason Alabama now has the No. 2 ranked class in the 2021 recruiting rankings. And as is usually the case, Alabama is still a serious contender for another elite talent in 5-star offensive lineman in Amarius Mims, who is set to announce his commitment on Aug. 15.

And while Alabama has gone on a nice little run, Georgia very much needs to win this battle and earn Mims’ commitment.

Mims is the No. 1 ranked offensive line prospect in the state of Georgia and the No. 6 overall player in the country for the 2021 recruiting class.  Landing Mims for Alabama, would cement their 2021 haul as perhaps the greatest recruiting haul of all-time with four offensive linemen rated among the top-100 recruits in the class.

It would also strike a critical blow to Georgia and its recruiting efforts. Missing out on a player of Ferguson’s caliber is definitely a blow. But Georgia did sign seven offensive linemen in the previous cycle, including three who ranked among the top-60 overall prospects in the 2020 recruiting cycle.

And Georgia does have two offensive line commits of similar caliber to Ferguson in the 2021 recruiting class in Micah Morris and Dylan Fairchild. Morris is the No. 56 overall player, and Fairchild is the No. 133 player in the class.

Missing out on Mims though, from Georgia’s perspective, would represent a much bigger loss. Georgia has signed a number of offensive linemen as good as Ferguson in recent classes. But if Georgia were to land Mims, he’d be the highest-rated offensive line prospect the Bulldogs would’ve landed since Kirby Smart took over the program. Jamaree Salyer, Georgia’s projected left tackle for the 2020 season, currently holds that distinction.

Beyond being the highest-rated offensive lineman in the state, Mims doubles as the highest-rated prospect in the state of Georgia for the 2021 recruiting cycle. For all the recruiting success Smart has enjoyed as Georgia’s head coach, he has yet to land the No. 1 ranked player in the state of Georgia.

Securing a commitment from Mims would also go a long way in reshaping the narrative about how Smart has, or hasn’t, recruited in the state of Georgia in recent cycles. In the last two recruiting cycles, the Bulldogs have signed just 16 players from the state of Georgia, compared to 33 players from outside the Peach State.

Factor in Ferguson’s commitment, along with Suwanee, Ga., defensive back Jordan Hancock committing to Ohio State, and you can start to see narrative forming about how Smart can’t keep the top players in the state of Georgia home.

That very same narrative was something that worked against Georgia coach Mark Richt at the end of his tenure as Georgia’s head coach. And without taking a real deep look at Georgia’s recruiting efforts, it’s easy to see how some in the national media could drudge up that old narrative.

The 2020 class saw the Bulldogs miss out on a high number of elite targets in the state of Georgia, as the Bulldogs landed only two of the top 25 players in the state. Coincidently though, both of those players were offensive line signees in 5-star offensive tackle Broderick Jones and 4-star prospect Tate Ratledge. In the 2019 cycle, Georgia signed only two of the top-10 rated players form the state of Georgia, with those being Travon Walker and Dominick Blaylock.

Now it’s worth mentioning Georgia signed the No. 1 class in 2020 and the No. 2 class in 2019. And the Bulldogs have had a ton of success recruiting out of state prospects, landing the No. 1 players from the likes of Arizona, Nevada, Alabama and Mississippi.

Smart has reiterated multiple times that he’s not going to change the way he’s going to recruit. Nor should he. He’s been incredibly successful and shown he can recruit in and outside of the state of Georgia. In the 2021 recruiting class, where Georgia ranks No. 16 in the country, the Bulldogs have commitments from five of the top-15 prospects in Georgia, including 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff.

Vandagriff is a clear class leader, as shown by his recent efforts with Califnoira tight end target Brock Bowers. Vandagriff helped serve as a tour guide with Bowers earlier in July as he was visiting the campus.

And just who happened to visit Athens this weekend, and met up with Vandagriff? None other than the aforementioned Mims.

Related: Brock Vandagriff already displaying leadership qualities for Georgia football

The results of this past weekend, along with his trip to Athens once again signal how much of a priority Mims is for the Georgia program. With a program as good as Georgia, there aren’t a whole lot of must land recruits, especially after all the recruiting wins Georgia has racked up in recent classes.

But other than fellow 5-star Georgia prospect Smael Mondon, there might not figuratively be a bigger must-land prospect for Georgia in the 2020 cycle. There certainly isn’t a physically bigger one than the 6-foot-7 prospect from Cochran, Ga.

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