3-star DL Darnell Jefferies is easily one of the most interesting UGA recruiting targets
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 or 5-star might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Today’s snapshot offers a detailed look a player Georgia has already offered for 2018 on the ultra-vital defensive line.
Newton 3-star junior DL Darnell “Big Baby” Jefferies already has his own website. How many recruits can say that?
The Bulldogs would love to plug that “Big Baby” along their defensive front for new line coach Tray Scott.
Jefferies measured a half-inch shy of the 6-foot-4 mark and weighed in at 275 pounds when he visited UGA on Jan. 29.
That’s also when he picked up an offer from the home state Bulldogs.
— darnelljeffries41@gm (@darnelljeffrie1) January 28, 2017
There’s no dancing around the fact it was a big offer. Jefferies told DawgNation that he’s taken approximately “10-to-11” trips to Georgia so far during his recruitment.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” Jefferies said. “I felt at home.”
Track Rocker was still the line coach at Georgia what that offer was made. Does that matter?
“I still think UGA is an outstanding team and I believe Coach Smart will put together the best coaching staff to lead the dawgs to a great season,” he told DawgNation.
Why Georgia could use a “Big Baby” in the trenches
But this is the part where this narrative goes off the rails a bit. The most interesting thing about his story is an enterprising spirit that goes beyond his 17 years.
“Big Baby” aims to wear the No. 90 on Saturdays and would wear that jersey at Georgia.
“It is based on my company, too,” Jeffries said. “That’s ‘BigBaby90.com’ for me too.”
“I am introducing a line of sports apparel in a couple of months,” Jefferies said. “The ‘Big Baby’ is my nickname. The team gave it to me when I played the varsity in the ninth grade.”
How will this venture be different?
“Because I want to cater to the big man,” Jefferies said. “It is so hard for me to find clothes. I want to offer more options in the sports apparel brand for guys like me. Just for all big-sized people?
That might register as too much pie-in-the-sky or runaway youthful ambition, but it shouldn’t. He’s a junior in high school with his own domain name.
He’s also already made the right connections in terms of logistics.
“My girlfriend’s mother is involved in clothing and manufacturing,” he said. “She goes to China and knows those manufacturing companies, too.”
She’s also a doll artist, too. Jeffries will design and model and test out his line of clothes in his day-to-day life. They have researched to find sources for their fabric needs.
A different mindset
He shared that his goals were different than most, but also offered up some rare honesty. When asked how does UGA’s Terry College line up with his business endeavors he countered with an interesting answer.
“My goal is to go to the NFL,” Jefferies said. “But outside of that — now that Georgia offered me — that gives me a good chance to do that.”
He’s a former high school teammate of current UGA freshman Jeremiah “JJ” Holloman, but he still has some research along his recruiting fact-finding journey. Clemson is interested and he’s taken two trips to Georgia Tech since he received the Georgia offer.
Jefferies didn’t favor any programs growing up, but still found a personal connection during that Georgia visit.
“I liked it when they get to you one-on-one and just start talking to you and keeping you taken care of you like you are part of the family,” he said. “And I’m not even going to lie about it. Kirby Smart has the program headed in a great direction.”
He’s smart. Forgive the pun. No doubts there. A kid his age that’s thinking about a business venture at the same time others are scratching their heads about unofficial visits and offers definitely has a mature outlook on his upcoming decision.
But he keeps all of that the same.
“Every offer is a blessing to me,” he said.
Jefferies broke down what the Bulldogs appreciated about his ability.
“They liked everything,” Jefferies said. “From my footwork to my hands to my coordination to my eye coordination. Just everything.”
Rocker’s exit should not matter because Smart extended the offer personally. Georgia views him as a hybrid on the defensive line. That means the skills to slide inside to tackle or to also put his hand on the ground at defensive end.
“He told me that he wanted me and that he wanted me to continue to work and keep coming back to camps and getting to better,” Smart said. “He said it was hard to find a D-lineman that has everything that I possess. Both the discipline and the talent wise there.”
He then called that offer just a “step in his process where he would stay humble, stay grinding and keep working hard” to elevate his game even further.
Jefferies said that his latest Georgia visit ranks at the top of his best trips. That’s right there with Alabama, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
— darnelljeffries41@gm (@darnelljeffrie1) February 15, 2017
Better get ready to work
Jefferies is rated as the nation’s No. 32 prospect at DT at this time. But he had his way with the other side of the ball at the Rising Seniors practices and All-Star event back in December.
Holloman, his former teammate, shared some advice for his old teammate about what to expect if he eventually signed to play for Georgia. That’s to get ready for the work, the grind and to be ready for the workouts.
“He said you really have to plan out your days and keep your head forward and your head on straight,” he said. “If you’re doing it the right way, then there’s not a lot of time to play around with what you’re trying to do to better yourself in college.”
Jefferies said that he has no timeline.
“I don’t rank any of the offers that I have,” he said. “I’m just thankful and happy for the ones I have, but I just keep it moving and be grateful for them.”
That said, his family and his girlfriend’s family enjoyed the visit.
“They loved it,” he said. “They all couldn’t be happier. Everyone had a smile on their face the whole time. Everyone was just smiling.”
So what happens to that college drive and that tough hand-to-hand combat in the trenches if he makes a million dollars with that clothing line?
“Football is my first love,” he said. “That’s what I love to do and want to do with my life.”
— darnelljeffries41@gm (@darnelljeffrie1) February 15, 2017
I’d expect to see those rankings climb over the spring evaluation circuit. His film offers a glimpse of his versatility.
…..One more thing
There was a lot of coverage yesterday about the dedication of Georgia’s indoor practice facility plus the news of the $63 million dollar expansion for the west end zone of Sanford Stadium.
There were a lot of pictures and plans and quotes and statement regarding the facility. But the best visual I saw regarding the impact of the place came from an email that was sent to me which contained a video that rendered all the benefits of the new facility.
I was especially impressed by the “red seats” where recruiting guests will sit and the new tunnel effect that will allow the Bulldogs to run out of the west end zone through a split in the crowd seating.
That was nice, but the ability of the plaza to overlook the pre-game “DawgWalk” really stood out. There’s currently not a great spot for recruits to take in that new Georgia tradition quite like that.
That video showed me that doesn’t just sound like lip service anymore. Those two specific additions will enhance the game day experience for recruits at Sanford Stadium.
There’s also the super-sized scoreboard and the plaza that now integrates like a shelf across the Sanford Drive bridge.
The $63 million price tag can be debated, but these new innovations cannot. Let’s hope part of that nine-figure price tag includes a few new music playlists at Sanford Stadium.
It stands within reason that an Apple Music, Spotify or Tidal membership can be covered under all those expenditures.
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.