Georgia football: What are these virtual recruiting visits like right now?

Georgia football-Brock Vandagriff-Gunner Stockton
Kirby Smart and the Georgia staff have used Zoom technology to conduct a lot of virtual recruiting visits of late.

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry will provide a snapshot of what those virtual recruiting visits are like right now for elite prospects with UGA during the age of COVID-19. 

Tennessee offensive line prospect Noah Josey is interested in Georgia. Georgia is interested in Josey.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound guard sure would like to visit Georgia right now. He recently told DawgNation that the Bulldogs will certainly get a visit once the college campuses do open back up.

Josey and his family had not been to Georgia since G-Day way back in April of 2019. That’s why he needs a return trip.

When will that be? A good guesstimate might be late July at the earliest. The safer range would take that visit window all the way out to September 1. DawgNation is hearing that it is now very likely that no college recruiting camps or even visits will take place this summer.

So what’s a potential recruit to do? What is a recruiting machine that has finished first, second, and first in the 247Sports Team Composite ratings for the last three recruiting cycles to do?

The answer? Video conferencing of course. That’s how Josey and his family were able to key in on a great many things they wanted to know about Georgia through a virtual visit with the Georgia staff.

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The first thing to know about a virtual visit is that it is not what you might think.

Hairy Dawg doesn’t have a camera or a GoPro on a monopod. Kirby Smart or Matt Luke are not riding around in golf carts showing recruits what the locker room, weight room, and team meeting rooms look like.

That might still happen in spurts, but that’s really what SnapChats and other methods of video sharing are for.

The virtual visit format is more “Brady Bunch” than a guided tour when it comes to that.

“I got to meet a bunch of people via the virtual visit,” Josey said. “The strength coaches. The nutrition people. The academic side of it all. Which was really good. I got to get on a Zoom call with coach [Kirby] Smart for a little bit, too.”

That was an approximate 60-minute call with Smart. Conducted on the first day of the NFL Draft.

“We really just talked about everything,” Josey said. “About academics. About football. About where they want to be. About what they need to get there and how they are going to get there. Just an all-around great conversation for sure. I really appreciated his time.”

Noah Josey said that Georgia coach Kirby Smart recently gave him an hour of his time on the day of the 2020 NFL Draft. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

What is that big Zoom group call like? 

Josey explains it well here.

“You are in a big ‘Zoom’ call and they have everybody in there who does different things at Georgia,” Josey said. “They have the strength and conditioning coach. The head nutritionist. They all just kind of talk about what they do and how it is implemented with the football team.”

There is no camera floating around the UGA campus on that Zoom call.

“It is really more of a tour to meet the entire Georgia football staff more than anything,” Josey said.

There was a chance for a panelist to share slides and images from their departments, too.

“That was a part of it, too,” Josey said. “It was kind of separated where each person had like 15 or 20 minutes to talk about what their thing or what their specialty was.”

Is it effective? Or just the best that any staff can do right now in the age of COVID-19?

“I definitely think it was effective,” Josey said. “But at the same time, it is always better to do those things in person. But my family and I learned a lot about Georgia from it.”

Josey said his “Zoom” went approximately ninety minutes in total. It was just for him and his family. There were no other recruits in on that video call.

Team Josey had a camera set up in their living room. They were all huddled up there together on their virtual G-Day visit.

“I never thought one of my recruiting visits would go like that,” Josey said. “It is an interesting time for all of us with all of this. I think it is pretty impressive how everyone is handling it and finding these virtual visits and still finding these impressive ways to reach kids. For sure.”

It seems to have served its purpose. Josey said that he currently doesn’t have any questions about the opportunity to play for Georgia at this time.

“Not really,” he said. “I got a lot of it covered in that last Zoom call I had with all the people. The academics are great down there for sure. I love the business school at Georgia, too. They do a great job with it.”

His only previous visit to UGA came back for G-Day in April of 2019. He’s able to combine that visit conducted via Wi-Fi with his lasting memories of how DawgNation showed up in the rain to fill 60,000-plus seats in Sanford Stadium for a glorified scrimmage.

“It shows how much the university and how much the entire fanbase values Georgia football,” he said. “It is worshipped like a religion down there and the people love it and they go crazy for it.”


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