Under-the-radar early enrollee making real impression on Kirby Smart
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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has high praise for D.J. Daniel
When you have 14 early enrollees, it’s easy for some of them to get lost in the numbers. And when you have as many top-50 recruits as Georgia does, it’s even easier to overlook certain players.
But based off of Kirby Smart’s comments on Tuesday, Georgia fans shouldn’t sleep on cornerback D.J. Daniel.
Smart was asked about cornerback Tyson Campbell on Tuesday, and said that the sophomore is progressing well and getting better. But the player Smart really praised is the 4-star cornerback who spent last year at Georgia Military College.
“What’s good about the corner position is we’ve got some guys coming along,” Smart said. “D.J. Daniel, which we knew in bowl practice that he was going to be a good player because he was covering the likes of the ones who were at the combine. So we knew we had a pretty good player with D.J.”
Daniel was one of the top JUCO players in the country and the No. 2 overall JUCO cornerback. Of course, coming from the JUCO ranks naturally means less fan fair. Of the 24 Georgia signees in the 2019 recruiting class, Daniel was the 17th highest rated.
Daniel originally committed to South Carolina in August, but the Bulldogs were ultimately able to flip him. He will have two seasons of eligibility with Georgia. He’s one of four JUCO prospects Georgia signed, as he joins Jermaine Johnson, Tramel Walthour and Stetson Bennett.
But Daniel had one aspect working in his favor that some of his high school counterparts did not. Daniel got to Georgia even earlier than some of his fellow early enrollees like Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean, as they were off playing in high school All-American games. Daniel was practicing with the Bulldogs as they were preparing for Texas. And as Smart said, working against the likes of Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin — three wide receivers who figure to be draft in the 2019 NFL Draft — helped Daniel gain a leg up on some of his competition.
Daniel is one of three defensive backs Georgia signed in its 2019 recruiting class. All three of them are already enrolled at Georgia, as 4-star safety Lewis Cine and 4-star cornerback Tyrique Stevenson are also benefitting from the reps at spring practice.
“Even Tyrique Stevenson has picked some things up. So we’ve got some good competition at the cornerback position,”Smart said.
Of course Stevenson’s most noteworthy news has come off the field, as he was arrested over the weekend for his alleged involvement in a bar fight.
Georgia has an obvious void to fill at corner with Deandre Baker moving on the NFL. Smart praised returning players like Campbell and Eric Stokes as well. But it’s clear that Daniel is going to factor into replacing the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner.
As Smart said, Georgia’s cornerback competition figures to be one of the better ones on the team, as they may not be a weak link among the top group. And it’s pretty clear Daniel has played his way into that competition.
Anthony Edwards lives up to the hype at McDonald’s All-American game
Georgia basketball commit Anthony Edwards participated in the McDonald’s All-American game on Wednesday night. The future Bulldog finished the game with 12 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Edwards is the first Bulldog to play in the game since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did so in 2011.
In the scrimmages and open practices prior to the game, Edwards continued to show why he’s rated as one of the top prospects in the country. Evan Daniels of 247Sports named Edwards as one of the top performers on both Monday and Tuesday of the event.
“The Georgia commit entered McDonald’s All-American Game week as the top overall prospect in the 247Sports Rankings and Edwards has had some very impressive moments throughout his time in Atlanta,” Daniels said. “The 6-foot-5 shooting guard has a terrific frame with broad shoulders and long arms to go with the athleticism, ball skills and shooting/scoring ability you want out of an elite shooting guard prospect. Edwards’ ability to create his own shot – and make difficult jumpers – make him an extremely difficult player to guard.”
As for some highlights, Edwards showed off his passing skills in one of the scrimmages.
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Edwards also received a loud ovation when he was introduced prior to the game as well.
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DawgNation’s Mike Griffith caught up with Edwards after the game.
“My role is going to be play-making and being the best teammate I can be,” Edwards said. “I showed (Wednesday night) I can pass, shoot, pull up, dunk ….. whatever people think I’ve got to show them, that’s cool.”
Edwards will take part in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 20th, another high-profile all-star game. If he continues to play well like he did on Wednesday, he’ll ascend to the No. 1 overall player in the 2019 rankings. The 247Sports Composite has Memphis bound big man James Wiseman as the top player at the moment. Edwards is currently ranked as the No. 2 player in the 2019 class.
With Edwards in the fold, the Bulldogs have the No. 6 recruiting class in the country, with room to add more players following the transfers of Teshaun Hightower and Ignas Sargiunas. The Bulldogs have already signed 4-star prospects Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara. Tom Crean also has a commitment from 4-star forward Christian Brown.
Uncommitted point guard Cole Anthony took home MVP honors for the event.
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