Best of DawgNation: Georgia football starts spring practice, epic official visit weekend on the horizon
The Georgia Bulldogs are back on the practice fields this spring, with Georgia completing its first three spring practices of the 2021 offseason.
Georgia moved to pads for the first time on Saturday, with Jordan Davis providing a behind-the-scenes look at the practice.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) March 20, 2021
Davis isn’t the only defensive lineman that has generated a lot of attention this spring. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart provided a very interesting update on defensive end Travon Walker.
“Travon is the guy that’s got to have a big year for us,” Smart said. “Not only is he replacing Malik [Herring] but in a lot of ways he’s replacing Azeez [Ojulari]. I think everybody just assumes with Azeez being gone that it’s Nolan’s [Smith] job. It’s not like that for us. Sixty to 70 percent of the snaps, Travon is Azeez and Nolan is Azeez.”
Walker has flashed potential for Georgia in his first two seasons and earned consistent playing time along the defensive line. But the former 5-star prospect has just 3.5 sacks in his first two seasons for the Bulldogs. Traditionally, the defensive end spot has not been a productive position in the Georgia defense. But the Bulldogs also haven’t had a talent like Walker occupy that spot.
Georgia is likely to return to practice on Tuesday, with the Bulldogs having Sunday and Monday off. The Bulldogs’ spring game is set for April 17 and will have a 2 p.m. start time.
Official visits being set up for Georgia football
The NCAA has not yet released any official details as far as what the return to recruiting visits will look. But it’s beginning to look more and more like a quiet period will begin starting June 1, with recruits once again being allowed to interact with coaches on visits.
The NCAA has previously stated an official decision and plan as far as what a return to visits looks like should be announced by mid-April.
Some of the top prospects in the country though aren’t waiting that long to start making plans for June. DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell details the latest from a number of top Georgia recruiting targets.
- De’Nylon Morrissette hinted last weekend a lot of the top guys in the state were planning to take their officials together early in June. He said it was in the works and 5-star Gunner Stockton would be there.
- Morrisette plays for the very highly-regarded Hustle, Inc. 7-on-7 squad which features two high-profile Georgia commitments and no less than five other priority targets for UGA in the 2022 cycle.
- It appears those works are moving faster than Eric Stokes at a Pro Day.
- Stockton is indeed planning to take his official visit to Georgia for the first weekend in June. He is trying to put together a big band of heavy hitters on offense. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB and the No. 20 overall prospect for this cycle.
- The Rabun County All-American could be cast as a pied piper for this class, but his efforts here seem more like Bono or Jagger or maybe even Wyatt Earp in this instance.
- All-American TE Oscar Delp confirmed with DawgNation today he is planning to take his official to UGA during the first weekend of June, too. The nation’s No. 1 TE for 2022 (247Sports Composite) also slots in as the nation’s No. 76 overall recruit for this cycle.
- Delp is also planning officials to Florida and South Carolina in June, but those dates are not yet set.
- He’s not the only high-value target for UGA on that Hustle Inc. team. There’s also All-American WR Kojo Antwi. Antwi is another All-American who has seen quite a rankings boost of late. He’s the nation’s No. 13 WR and the No. 94 overall prospect in this class. He told DawgNation that he has also scheduled his official visit for that weekend, too.
- Antwi and Delp are very good friends. Those two have both made it known how much they enjoy hanging out and spending time with one another even though they play for different high schools in Forsyth County. Antwi has also scheduled his official to be at UGA that weekend and at Texas A&M the following weekend. He will visit USC the weekend after that.
- Morrissette is also a strong candidate to make that trip. DawgNation was not able to immediately confirm his plans on Thursday, though. Morrissette had a very revealing interview earlier this week with DawgNation.
- The playmaking WR out of Brookwood High in Gwinett County is the nation’s No. 30 WR and the No. 226 overall prospect for 2022. He’s been playing in offseason or postseason All-Star events with Stockton for the last 3-4 years. If he makes the trip, then that first weekend in June will really be something.
- It was also relayed earlier this week that All-American OL Addison Nichols from Greater Atlanta Christian will be on his official visit at UGA as well that weekend. Nichols ranks as the nation’s No. 9 offensive tackle and at No. 92 overall in the nation for 2022.
- Nichols told DawgNation this week Stockton has been reaching out to recruit him to play for UGA in this class, too.
- This wouldn’t be a 2022 class update without a quick check on the senior commit of the class. That would be Brookwood CB Marquis-Groves Killebrew. He’s a high school teammate of Morrisette and also a member of that same Hustle, Inc. team.
- Groves-Killebrew has his own Intel about what the month of June might mean for this class. He won’t be taking his official visit in June and yet he understands how important the weekend trips can be for UGA. “I’ll be taking mine sometime during the season but I’ll definitely be there during other people’s officials,” he said on Thursday.
- How could the weekend get any bigger? Well, the No. 1 RB in the nation for Rivals told DawgNation this week that he wants to visit UGA as soon as he can once visits are back on again. That’s Branson Robinson and he is also a priority offensive recruit in the 2022 cycle, too.
Even without visits, the Bulldogs have gotten off to a strong start on the 2022 recruiting trail. Georgia has the No. 3 overall recruiting class in the 2022 cycle, with eight commitments already in the class.
Monty Rice shares stories with DawgNation
Former Georgia linebacker Monty Rice made himself some money this week, as Rice ran an impressive 4.54 40-yard dash. The testing numbers come after an impressive four-year career with the Bulldogs. Rice was a major fact at the inside linebacker spot for Georgia and will not be easy to replace.
In his time at Georgia, Rice racked up 219 career tackles. That number likely would’ve been higher had Rice not dealt with foot injuries in 2018 and 2020.
DawgNation’s Mike Griffith caught up with Rice prior to Pro Day and the former Georgia linebacker spoke about his relationship with Smart and why the two were able to click on a personal level.
Rice was hand-picked by Coach Kirby Smart for his leadership role, likely because the two carry the same sort of passion for the game and can understand one another.
Smart is known to be vocally aggressive in his coaching, his voice booming out over the speakers as he motivates, corrects, identifies and motivates his players some more.
“That’s one dude that brings it every day — I don’t care if it’s 130 degrees out there, Coach Smart is going to be out there yelling,” Rice said. “ At the end of the day, he not only wants what’s best for Georgia, he wants what is best for you, and he wants to bring the best out of everybody.
“That’s how you keep a good culture.”
To see Griffith’s full interview with Rice check out the video below. Rice will wait to hear his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is set to run from April 29 to May 1.
Kirby Smart talks the importance of Kelee Ringo
"I'm proud of how Kelee took on this year because a lot of guys get injured and they check out. He never checked out. He checked in." pic.twitter.com/KG9hjlViTW
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) March 19, 2021
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football dons pads: Kirby Smart evaluating ‘character and demeanor’
- Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart challenges Travon Walker to ‘have a big year’
- Kayin Lee: Elite in-state 2023 CB discusses ‘dream school’ offer from UGA
- WATCH: The big winners from Georgia football Pro Day
- Position switch could make Adam Anderson defensive weapon like no other