Georgia coach Kirby Smart had a need. He was looking for a new barber, so Smart tweeted out a video in which he and some fellow Georgia coaches were wondering where they could get one on Dec. 10.
In the video, Georgia defensive coaches Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann were joking about Schumann’s need for a haircut and how following the completion of Georgia’s new $80 million football operations facility, the Bulldogs will have their own barbershop within throwing distance of their offices.
Smart then sent a text to special teams coordinator Scott Cochran if he knew of anyone who could fill that role.
Cochran claimed to know a guy, an interesting remark for the bald first-year Georgia coach.
Got the barbershop. Need a barber. Y’all know anybody? pic.twitter.com/5OkobmUfyD
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) December 11, 2020
That guy happened to be Xavian Sorey, the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. He’d cut Schumann’s hair once before on a recruiting visit to Georgia before the pandemic. Schumann asked him to do it and Sorey just happened to have his clippers with him.
Many internet recruiting sleuths figured out who the video was really for. So too did Sorey.
“I knew it was for me and I knew other people knew it was going to be for me,” Sorey said. “It just shows me they did something extra. No other school did something like that, but Georgia did. That’s why I’m a Georgia Bulldog.”
Sorey’s haircutting skills aren’t what everyone is excited about. He’s also a 5-star linebacker prospect and one of the 20 prospects who signed with Georgia in the 2021 signing class. Just days after Smart’s video came out, Sorey ended up picking the Bulldogs over the Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators in a high school gym near his small hometown of Campbellton, Fla.
“I just felt at home with them,” Sorey said. “I had a great relationship with the Georgia coaches for a long time and they stayed consistent.”
Like a good haircut, Sorey is going to take some time. He’s going to have to nail all the little details — the precision trims — if he’s going to be the next linebacker to add Georgia’s NFL pipeline.
When Sorey enrolls at Georgia in January, the Bulldogs figure to move him around on defense. He has the athletic gifts and tools to play inside linebacker and outside linebacker.
He’s displayed those same athletic feats on the basketball court, the very same one where he held his signing day ceremony. That’s also where Smart got an up-close and personal look at what a special athlete the 6-foot-3, 215 pound Sorey is.
“I got to watch him play a basketball game, one of the few guys I got to watch basketball and just thought he was a really good athlete on the basketball court, dunking, very talented and he’s really a good kid,” Smart said.
— Xavian Sorey Jr (@Sorey_Jr) February 7, 2020
Sorey knew for a while that he was going to play college football. He’d been recruited since his freshman season and knows him succeeding as a football player will help improve the lives of his family members.
The future Georgia linebacker was easily the best player every time he stepped on either side of the football at Graceville High School. That was due in part to the size of the school; Graceville plays in the lowest classification in Florida and has an enrollment of just 167 kids from grades 6 through 12.
Sorey wanted a challenge. So he went to play his senior season at IMG Academy, a football factory in Bradenton, Fla., that routinely plays some of the best high school teams in the country. Sorey was one of 10 seniors to play for IMG Academy this year who signed with a Power 5 team.
Georgia has now signed at least one player out of IMG Academy in each of the last three classes. Some of the alums of the boarding school include Isaac Nauta and Nolan Smith.
Smart loved that Sorey was willing to challenge himself by upping his level of competition. It also didn’t hurt the Bulldogs that fellow 2021 signees Lovasea’ Carroll and Marlin Dean were teammates this year with Sorey.
“I think (it) put him in a position to be more successful in college because he got exposed to other players like him, where he had not seen that in his home town,” Smart said. “That kind of gave him an awaking, thinking, ‘Woah there are a lot of players like me, these guys are pretty good.’”
While Sorey has the athletic gifts and internal drive to excel, Smart pushed back on the idea of him being a finished product. He stressed that Sorey is still a raw player. He played in just three games at IMG Academy due to an offseason foot injury that required surgery.
That’s something Sorey said Wednesday he very much wants to be a part of.
Smart tried to temper expectations with the 5-star linebacker. But he also called the injury a “blessing in disguise.”
“He’s going to have to be patient and really understand the defense and grow as a player, but I think he’s willing to do that,” Smart said. “He’s committed to the relationships he has here. He’s got a lot of relationships with a lot of coaches that are going to push him to excel and it’s just not going to happen overnight.”
Linebacker was a need for Georgia in this class. Sorey certainly fills that hole at either inside or outside linebacker, with the Bulldogs also signing Smael Mondon, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Chaz Chambliss.
He provides Smart with the new barber he desires.
— Nakobe Dean🔝 (@NakobeDean) December 16, 2020
“Just go in and play hard,” Sorey said on what he’ll bring to Georgia. “Be the best player that I can be. Go win some championships. I’m definitely going to be cutting too.”
Smart swears the video he tweeted out wasn’t just for Sorey but rather to show off the new football facility, which is set to be completed in 2021. The inclusion of Lanning, Schumann and Cochran certainly wasn’t a coincidence, as Smart and Sorey both highlighted the role all three of those coaches had in bringing Sorey to Georgia.
As for Smart’s own relationship with Sorey, he has no issue with sitting down and getting a hair cut from the Georgia signee.
“I could care less about my hair, so he can have at it,” Smart said.
DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell also contributed to this story.
Georgia football linebacker Xavian Sorey Jr. details why he committed to Georgia
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