Addition of JT Daniels continues Georgia football inroads into California recruiting
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Georgia football continues to add more and more talent from California
Georgia did not have a single scholarship player on the 2019 roster from the state of California. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given the distance between Georgia and California, or for the fact that the last signee Georgia landed from California came back in 2009, and that was a kicker.
But California is one of the few states that can rival Georgia in the form of producing blue-chip talent. Using the 2017 through 2020 recruiting classes as a data range, the state of California produced an average of 39.75 blue-chip recruits, while Georgia was just behind at 36.5*.
With Georgia leaning more and more on out of state talent in recent cycles — the Bulldogs have signed less than 10 in-state players in each of the last two classes — it was only a matter of time before Kirby Smart and his staff began to land some talented players from one of the best talent-producing states in the country.
The Bulldogs started that in the 2020 recruiting cycle, as it signed running back Kendall Milton and wide receiver Jermaine Burton. Both players were ranked among the top-100 players for the cycle and had offers from many of the top programs in the country.
And yet, the Bulldogs were able to land both. Burton had ties to Georgia, while the recent success that Georgia running backs have had makes it one of the best schools for the position in the country.
It was a strong sign of Georgia’s reach and ability to land elite prospects from all over the country. As the dust settled on National Signing Day, the Bulldogs were going to have at least two scholarship players from California, as well as walk-on quarterback Nathan Priestley.
Then last week, Georgia added another quarterback with California ties to the roster in the form of JT Daniels.
Daniels, who played for national powerhouse Mater Dai High School in Santa Ana, Calif., isn’t seen as the same level of recruiting win as Milton and Burton, even though the quarterback was rated as a higher prospect than both coming out of high school. Daniels threw just 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions as a freshman before tearing his ACL and meniscus in the first game of his sophomore season.
Add in that Georgia already brought in graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman earlier this offseason, and it’s at the very least an interesting roster move. The addition of the California native might be a move that pays off more in the 2021 season if he is not granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA or does not beat out Newman for the starting job.
Having Daniels on the roster starting in 2020 though still may prove to add something to the Georgia program, even if he can’t do so as the team’s starting quarterback. The Bulldogs now will have three players from the state of California on scholarship, and they can honestly explain what it is like for a kid from California to play at Georgia. That’s something the Bulldogs couldn’t do a season ago. Daniels and Milton will be able to provide accurate insight into what it is like to be so far from home.
And that input could play a huge role in some significant recruiting battles for Georgia in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
One of Georgia’s biggest recruiting targets at the moment is tight end Brock Bowers. He’s the No. 3 ranked tight end in the 2021 recruiting cycle and is from Napa, Calif. He’s rated as the No. 94 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
Missing the practice vibes 🤞 #3 pic.twitter.com/WsIhiUu8wB
— Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 21, 2020
Both of Georgia’s recent 2021 commitments, Chaz Chambliss and Dylan Fairchild, each mentioned Bowers as the player they would be trying to convince to come to Georgia.
Bowers also received one of the Apex Predator edits that a number of Georgia’s top recruiting targets have gotten on social media.
— brock 🌊 (@BrockVandagriff) May 14, 2020
He also isn’t the only California recruiting target for Georgia in the 2021 cycle, as the Bulldogs are one of the many teams vying to land the services of Korey Foreman. He’s from Corona, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles and de-committed from Clemson in April.
Foreman is the No. 1 player in the country for the 2021 cycle and while USC is a heavy favorite now to land his services, Foreman did take notice of the Daniels’ move, as Foreman reshared Daniels’ commitment announcement on his personal Instagram page.
One Instagram post doesn’t mean that the Bulldogs are now going to start pulling all the top recruits from California. If the Bulldogs just get one recruit from California in the 2021 cycle, it will still carry some significance given the Bulldogs didn’t sign any from the state in the past decade.
But the addition of Daniels certainly turned a lot of heads in the college football community. And it could continue to open doors for Georgia in California, from Oakland to Sac-town, the Bay Area and back down.
*All recruiting rankings come from the 247Sports Composite rankings
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
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- Opinion: A bold prediction for JT Daniels and UGA in 2021
- Kirby Smart, Georgia assistant coaches speak out regarding death of George Floyd, protests
- WATCH: Breaking down the many angles of new Georgia football transfer quarterback JT Daniels
- Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the addition of JT Daniels?
- Georgia football podcast: Separating fact from fiction with JT Daniels’ UGA transfer
- Opinion: The 5 UGA players most likely to lead the SEC in a statistical category
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