ORLANDO, Fla., — Mekhail Sherman did not hold back his feelings. He made it known after the Under Armour All-American Game that he can play linebacker, whether from an outside or inside position.
“I did what I had to do and did more,” Sherman said after Thursday’s game. “Just because I had an ACL injury doesn’t mean nothing. That didn’t take away from my ability. I did what I can do best, which is play linebacker and be free.”
Sherman finished tied for second on his team with six tackles and tied for a game-high 2.0 tackles for a loss. On one of those, he teamed up with fellow Georgia Bulldog Jalen Carter for a party in the backfield.
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) January 3, 2020
I CAN PLAY LINEBACKER. STOP PLAYING WITH MY NAME. 😪.
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) January 3, 2020
The scary thing with Sherman is that he still isn’t playing at 100 percent. The Washington D.C. product suffered a knee injury in his junior season. He was able to play during his senior season at St. John’s College, but in taking with DawgNation this week, he said he’s only around 80 to 85 percent healthy.
At times during practice this week, you could tell that Sherman wasn’t always comfortable, whether it be because of the wet grass, his knee brace or the new Under Armour cleats he was wearing. But his performance in the Under Armour All-American Game should serve as a reminder that he’s not even close to reaching his ceiling as a prospect.
Sherman is the No. 18 overall prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s also the No. 2 outside linebacker prospect. But his performance this past week showed that his future at Georgia could also possibly come at the inside linebacker position.
Best in show
Jalen Carter wasn’t the highest-rated Bulldog coming into the event, as he was the No. 53 ranked prospect in the country. But the defensive tackle prospect had a monster week in Orlando and proved to be a handful all week for opposing offensive linemen.
Carter had four tackles, a tackle for loss as well as a pass break-up. He was named the team MVP for his side which included prospects like Jordan Burch, Tank Bigsby and Julian Flemming.
I’m the real deal✊🏽😈
— Jalen Carter (@breadmanjalen) January 3, 2020
A native of Apopka, Fla., Carter is the highest-rated defensive linemen in Georgia’s 2020 signing class. That ranking only figures to rise after the week he had. He likely will still be behind Bryan Bresee — who will likely finish as the No. 1 overall prospect in the country — and possibly Florida signee Gervon Dexter.
But Carter had the most impressive week of any Bulldog in Orlando.
He’ll have an opportunity to play early given the Bulldogs will be losing five defensive linemen from the 2019 team, and he’s coming to Georgia fully ready to take over that role.
“Tyler Clark is a very good player and I feel like I can come in and play exactly like him at the next level,” Carter said.
The big questions
Coming out of Orlando, there are two huge storylines regarding the 2020 recruiting class and both deal with 5-star prospects.
The first is the ongoing drama surrounding running back prospect Zach Evans. The 5-star running back once again delayed his decision, as he was supposed to announce his college plans in the fourth quarter of the game.
Evans issued a public apology during the game to his future college coach during the broadcast. After the game, Evans told reporters that he is only talking with one school and that he has spoken to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart recently.
He also praised Georgia’s effort in the Sugar Bowl.
“Kudos to them. I want to tell coach McGee good job last night,” Evans said. “I saw Zamir White score. I want to tell coach Smart good work out there. George Pickens, y’all already know best freshman.”
As for what’s next, Evans said an official announcement could come any day. Georgia starts classes on Tuesday, but it is up in the air if Evans will be able to enroll early. The running back from Houston had previously indicated that was going to be the case.
The other big storyline is how does Georgia close with 5-star offensive tackle Broderick Jones. He is the No. 19 prospect in the country and the No. 2 offensive tackle. He’s been a long-time Georgia commit but did indicate that Auburn was very much in the running for his services.
Jones reiterated that meeting new offensive line coach Matt Luke in-person is going to play a significant role in deciding his recruitment. The offensive tackle from Lithonia, Ga., is set to take his official visit to Georgia on Jan. 24. That same weekend, Georgia will get an official visit from 4-star center Sedrick Van Pran, who is also unsigned. However, Van Pran has made it publicly known he is much more solid with Georgia.
Van Pran and Jones were hanging out a good amount during the week in Orlando. Another player Jones seemed to grow close with was 5-star athlete Darnell Washington. He ended up picking Georgia and has signed with a member of the Bulldogs 2020 class
National Signing Day is set for Feb. 5, which is when Jones will make his announcement public.
A look ahead to 2021
We also got a chance to see some 2021 recruits this week in Orlando as well.
And it became very clear that the best quarterback in town this week was Caleb Williams. The 5-star quarterback is a member of the 2021 class and he’s a special talent. The event this weekend really didn’t even let him show off his mobility, which is why he’s ranked as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country.
Williams spoke with DawgNation and made it known that he is Georgia’s No. 1 priority at the position for the 2021 cycle. Georgia will face competition from the likes of LSU, Penn State and Maryland for his services. He is from the Washington D.C. area.
Williams comments to DawgNation did come before fellow 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff announced he was de-committing from Oklahoma. Vandagriff is from Bogart, Ga., which is about 20 minutes from Sanford Stadium. Vandargriff did say that the distance to Oklahoma mattered in his de-commitment.
Another big name in Orlando in the 2021 class was 5-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims. He told DawgNation that the loss of offensive line coach Sam Pittman did matter a lot in his recruitment. The Bulldogs were in the leader for his services, but now LSU and Alabama occupy that top spot.
Mims did say that he has met with new offensive line coach Matt Luke and that he is looking to get to Athens “as soon as possible” to begin to develop a better relationship with Luke. Mims did not participate in the drills portion of the camp as he recently had screws removed from his knee.
Videos, highlights and interviews from Under Armour All-American Game
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Nation’s No. 1 CB Kelee Ringo has made his college decision
- Kelee Ringo: The decision primer includes a viral photo, a snake and a new NCAA rule
- Darnell Washington breaks down why he chose to be a Bulldog
- 5-star Georgia RB target Zach Evans explains why he delayed another announcement
- 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has made his college decision
- Zach Evans: Georgia signee talk up his “Heisman” potential
- The TE that didn’t choose Georgia shares his wish for Darnell Washington to be a Bulldog
- Arian Smith made sure the morning after that tough LSU loss wasn’t so bad after all
- WATCH: Brodrick Jones and Jalen Carter reps highlight the Day 3 one-on-one battles
- WATCH: Marcus Rosemy, Arian Smith explain what they’re bringing to the Georgia football wide receiver room
- How Georgia football ended up missing on Tank Bigsby, Theo Johnson and some of its top targets
- PHOTOS: Check out the Georgia football recruits on Day 2 of Under Armour All-American Bowl practices
- Elite RB signee Kendall Milton chooses to report earlier than expected to UGA
- WATCH: Georgia signee Arian Smith wins “Fastest Man” challenge at Under Armour
- Even before hiring Matt Luke, Chad Lindberg knew he was ‘the guy’ for Georgia football
- Sedrick Van Pran-Granger: All-American OL still feels ‘comfortable’ as a Georgia commit
- Incoming freshman Jalen Carter feels he can play a Tyler Clark-type role as a freshman
- What we learned about Georgia football recruits, targets at Under Armour All-American game media day
- Dontae Manning contrasts Georgia football and Oregon ahead of announcement
- All-American week snapshot: Which UGA signees and targets play where
- Jordan Burch: Why Georgia didn’t even crack his final 3
- 5-star RB Zach Evans shares ‘strongest connection’ and scope of decision prior to Jan. 2 announcement
- Even Mekhail Sherman was surprised when Kirby Smart, Georgia football flipped Jermaine Burton
- Broderick Jones: The 5-star OT details why he is still committed to Georgia