Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star like Kyler McMichael might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Greater Atlanta Christian coach Tim Hardy is sharp. He knows that he better use a pure athlete like Kyler McMichael on both sides of the ball.
That logic is reinforced every time McMichael darts by him in practice on run plays so fast he can hear the WHOOSH as he explodes by. That’s also why McMichael gets to keep receivers colder than a Yeti at cornerback.
“He is just so explosive and dynamic athletically,” Hardy said. “For Kyler, his speed and power really stand out. (The way) he can go from point A to point B is really remarkable even for an elite player in high school football.”
McMichael rates as a 4-star athlete. The 247Sports composite pegs him as the nation’s No. 8 athlete and No. 188 overall prospect for 2018.
Greater Atlanta Christian junior CB Kyler McMichael is rated as the nation’s No. 8 ATH for 2018 by the 247Sports composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
“He prefers defense,” Hardy said. “But I think he’s going to take a huge step this year in college. I think he’s going to go from being good and explosive to really, really special on the offensive side. He played running back for the first time last year since peewee ball.”
Hardy gets the same vibe from most recruiters.
“They all ask ‘What is he?’ but they ask it in a really good way,” Hardy said. “They are not really sure what to do with him. They just say they really want him and want to know what we think. Everyone wants him as a ‘DB’ but they also say he is on their running back list as well.”
The well-spoken McMichael already knows what he wants.
“I want to make my decision before my senior year starts so I can focus in on my season and my school here but also the school where I want to go play,” he said. “I just feel it will be smart to limit all the distractions. That’s for my current team and my next team.”
Where Kyler McMichael fits on Saturdays
The 6-foot, 200-pounder received pretty high praise from one SEC coach.
“I did have one college coach who compared just his size and skill set defensively to like a Minkah Fitzpatrick,” Hardy said. “It was a knowledgeable SEC coach. So you just see he has all of that. The size. The length. The speed. He can really do some stuff.”
That’s rare air. Fitzpatrick essentially became an impact defender for the Crimson Tide as soon as he joined the program.
McMichael just fits modern college football. The SEC is a nickel league. The defenses are in those packages about 70 percent of the time. The elite programs need versatile guys who can run and cover and hit and tackle in space.
Greater Atlanta Christian ATH Kyler McMichael has been electronically timed in the low 4.4-second range in the 40. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Greater Atlanta Christian has an elite program. The strength and conditioning staff times all of their Spartans electronically. McMichael has been timed in the low 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash.
“He’s been around 4.42 and 4.43 and 4.45 and I’m sure that Kyler can tell you specifically,” Hardy said. “The good thing about Kyler is he will work and grind. Whatever he has timed as his low, I know he’s anxious to work to go faster than that.”
That’s powered by his “burstability.” That’s a term which Hardy calls on with ease to describe McMichael’s sudden explosion and short space quickness.
“He can really, really run and his 10 (yards) is really something else,” Hardy said. “That might be his most impressive deal right there. He’s out the gate right now and so fast. That’s really just impressive.”
Which schools will fit Kyler McMichael
McMichael said if any school has an edge for him, it would be Clemson.
Georgia and Tennessee also have a very good shot.
“Kirby Smart is really convincing,” McMichael said. “I’ve been talking to (UGA defensive coordinator) Mel Tucker as well. Georgia’s education has increased over the years and it has always been a hard school to get into. The Bulldogs have always had great football. I do believe the Bulldogs under Coach Smart are really going to turn things around in a big way the next couple of years.”
The Volunteers are also a team to watch out for. McMichael said that they recruit him as hard as any other school. He also loves their campus.
That program also holds a certain premium distinction. He said that a trip to Tennessee ranks as his best college visit.
“It would have to be Tennessee,” McMichael said. “When we got there they took our car from us and parked it for us. We went in there and the whole coaching staff was just standing there waiting for us. I was able to walk right in there and shake everyone’s hand. They made me feel very welcome.”
He said a “great education” was the chief thing he was looking for. That was very logical given that he goes to high school at Greater Atlanta Christian. He’s always wanted to study architecture in college.
His most frequent trips have been to Georgia and Tennessee so far. Alabama is also coming on. He’s been compared to Crimson Tide product and future high NFL draft prospect Marlon Humphrey by that staff.
“I’ve just started building a relationship with (Alabama defensive backs coach) Derrick Ansley really well,” he said. “That’s still in progress right now. I do like Alabama. I could see myself going there.”
He felt he could also see himself at Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee, too.
“Clemson is a high school on the radar for me,” McMichael said. “We went up there and my whole family loved it.”
That means something to him. Clemson will only sign like 12-13 prospects this year.
“They are not recruiting a lot of players but they are recruiting the players they have offered pretty heavily,” McMichael said.
Georgia has a solid shot to be in that group. The Bulldogs like him as an athlete. They’ve also compared him to all-time great Bulldog Champ Bailey. Look for him to drop a top 5 sometime this summer.
“Very high chance for Georgia to be in there,” McMichael said. “They’ve been reaching out to me a lot. Great school. Also not too far away from home so my parents like that.”
A name to know for down the road
This blog hopes to be a daily source of information. But the overlying arc is to tell stories. The author is a sucker for those.
It feels right when we share information regarding the nation’s top recruits, but we also go another step beyond that. The focus is definitely on UGA recruiting given the website it appears on, but I feel led to also pay it forward by helping that next recruit down the line. Especially in the state of Georgia.
Lanier sophomore QB Zach Calzada had a remarkable growth spurt over the last year. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
We aim to introduce names that should “blow up” and become the next big thing in time.
Lanier sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada is one of those guys. He plays the one position for 2019 where the state will not be loaded up with SEC prospects.
Calzada has moved from Blessed Trinity to Lanier in Metro Atlanta, but he has a whopper of a story. It sounds like everyone’s Uncle Eddie who has that one fish story.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder won the “QB MVP” honor at the Atlanta MVP Camp last Sunday at Lovejoy High School. What he told me last week jumps out given how many times I’ve heard prospects pine for just a couple more inches to land an elite Power 5 offer.
But we’re talking about six inches here. Calzada was a quarter-inch shy of the 5-foot-8 mark right before his 2016 spring break. The rising junior didn’t drink two gallons of milk a day. Or hang upside from his ankles doing yoga stretches in his closet.
Calzada just beanstalked. No other way to say it.
“I have no idea what happened, Calzada said. “I’ve talked to our doctor and he says I was a really late bloomer. He thinks I will be a minimum of 6 feet, 3 inches now before I stop growing.”
That has changed his recruiting outlook. He’s already very well-trained. Calzada throws with a good base and uses his legs to power throws downfield. But he’s got a frame that now matches the effort he’s put into the game.
“When I was short I had to work on all my intangibles to play quarterback,” he said. “My footwork. My mechanics and technique and arm strength. I had to do every little thing better than everyone else. Pushing myself back then really helped me get better. So now when I have gotten taller, it has just carried over into a lot of areas. My arm strength has significantly gotten better now since I’ve gotten so much taller.”
He’s overthrowing guys. A 40-yard ball now carries 55. That’s a good problem to learn to dial that new range back in.
Look out for Miami when he blows up. He’s a long-time fan of the Hurricanes.