EDITOR’S NOTE: This original Eric Stokes story continues a special series in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau profiling homegrown talent from the state of Georgia. To access other HomeGrown Talent articles please visit the series hub on DawgNation.com.
Picture Eric Stokes at Florida right now. Or Louisville. Maybe even Ole Miss or West Virginia.
Anywhere but Georgia.
When that happens, the strength of the Bulldog secondary is a lot less sporty.
Stokes signed with Georgia in the class of 2017. He was the 24th highest-rated of the 26 players Georgia signed. That’s what the 247Sports Composite ratings said.
Those had him as a 3-star recruit. It meant he was the nation’s No. 63 cornerback and No. 669 overall prospect. He the No. 65 player in the state of Georgia that cycle.
It made sense. Stokes had a lot more tape at running back than he did at cornerback heading into his senior season. His senior year film helped his cause tremendously.
In a world where 3-stars should be seen as very good players, Stokes has risen well above that.
We might look back at all of that and find there were not 64 better players this decade in Georgia than Stokes. The Eastside High (Covington, Ga.) native will contend for ALL-SEC recognition this fall. His name will also stir up some NFL Draft talk, too.
Stokes won the Georgia High School Association’s Class 4A state titles during his junior year in the 100 (10.48) and 200 meters (21.58) in 2016. He also won the fastest man competition at “The Opening” regional in Atlanta that year.
The common thread in all those showings was a tepid start. Stokes would even describe his form back then out of the blocks as poor.
That now seems like an omen for his time at UGA, too. Not the best out of the blocks. But once he could open up and cut it loose, he certainly did.
It did just take a minute. Both during his recruiting process and when he got to Georgia.
Eric Stokes really came into his own during his redshirt freshmen season last fall in earning a starting job. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
The climb: Eric Stokes from Eastside to UGA
A few tweets and pictures tell this story the best. According to the 247Sports database, Stokes was one of 23 cornerbacks that Georgia offered in 2017.