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Matt Luke will take over for Sam Pittman as the offensive line coach.

Why Matt Luke must make a good first impression on the recruiting trail

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Why Matt Luke must make a good first impression on the recruiting trail

Given the challenges presented in Matt Luke’s first game as the offensive line coach, he did pretty well. Against Baylor, Luke had to replace three Georgia starters and prepare the offensive line to face the Big 12’s top pass-rushing team.

And while Georgia did give up 3.0 sacks in the game, the patched-together unit did well enough to help lead Georgia to a 26-14 win over No. 7 Baylor.

Add this into the fact that Georgia landed the signatures of Tate Ratledge, Chad Lindberg, Devin Willcok and Austin Blaske, and it’s been a strong first month for Luke in his time in Athens.

“It’s not the end, this is the beginning,” Luke said after the Sugar Bowl win. “We can really build off this.”

And for the future of Georgia’s offensive line, the Bulldogs will need Luke to build off this strong start. Because of some of Georgia’s top targets in both the 2020 and ’21 classes want to see what Luke can bring to Georgia.

Related: Georgia offensive guard Solomon Kindley decides on NFL future

Broderick Jones and Amarius Mims are both 5-star offensive tackles. They both come from the state of Georgia. And both prospects had Georgia as a clear leader when Sam Pittman was the offensive line coach at Georgia.

But now with Pittman at Arkansas, Jones and Mims have questions that needed to be answered by Georgia. Which is why other teams —Auburn in Jones’ case and Alabama and LSU for Mims — have made up ground in those respective recruitments.

Starting with Jones, he made it clear at the Under Armour All-American Game he is still committed to Georgia, though he sees Auburn as a team that’s made it a “50-50” battle. Auburn will get Jones’ final official visit, though the Tigers saw offensive line coach J.B. Grimes step down on Tuesday night.

Jones will take a visit to. Tennessee the weekend of Jan. 17 before visiting that next weekend Georgia. That official visit will be big because it will allow him to have a face-to-face meeting with Luke.

“Just trying to build relationships with coaches and players,” Jones said on what he’s looking for on his official visit. “They just had a new offensive line coach come in. I have to get to know him more and I’m looking to do that more on the official visit.”

Related: Georgia OL recruits battle against top defensive linemen at Under Armour All-America practices

Jones is the No. 19 overall prospect in the class and the No. 2 ranked offensive tackle. He’s an incredibly athletic specimen for his 6-foot-5, 285-pound frame. He’s also a key player on his Lithonia High School basketball team.

And even though he’ll be arriving in June, he hopes that he’s going to be able to contribute and possibly start early in his career, much like Andrew Thomas did in his time at Georgia.

When in Orlando, Fla., last week, Jones spent most of his time around tight end signee Darnell Washington and center commit Sedrick Van Pran-Granger. While Van Pran-Granger still is unsigned, he made it much more clear that he is likely to end up with the Bulldogs.

And that could also be big factor with regards to Jones’ recruitment.

“That’s someone I can see as a roommate. Someone I can look at as a brother,” Jones said. “I’m pretty sure Sed is locked in with Georgia. I’m pretty sure he’s happy with what’s going on.”

Related: The 5-star OT details why he is still committed to Georgia

Jones will make his final announcement on Feb. 5 which is National Signing Day. Keep Jones in this class is the No. 1 priority for the remainder of the 2020 recruiting cycle.

As for Mims, he leads a talented crop of 2021 in-state offensive linemen that includes top-100 prospects in Micah Morris and Terrence Ferguson. Of the three, Mims is the highest-rated. He’s the No. 3 offensive tackle in the 2021 class and the No. 13 overall prospect.

Mims had Georgia as a clear leader when Pittman was the offensive line coach. But now with a change, Georgia has fallen back a bit, and behind LSU and Alabama.

But he’s not in a hurry to make a decision. In fact, the mammoth Mims — he’s listed at 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds as a high school junior — is actually looking to get back to Athens as quick as he can.

“I just feel like I want to build a relationship with him,” Mims said in Orlando at Under Armour Future 50 event.  “I plan on going up there as soon as possible to go visit.”

Under Pittman, Georgia was able to develop great offensive linemen and recruit at an elite level. We’re going to see how good Luke’s recruiting chops are early on in his stint at Georgia.

And if he can land both Jones and Mims, the dropoff from Pittman to Luke might not be a drop-off might not be much of a drop-off at all.

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