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 J.D. Bertrand might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
There seems like a labyrinth of ways to drop some knowledge here about 4-star linebacker J.D. Bertrand.
The best route sounds like praise of the highest order for the nation’s No. 59 overall prospect per 247Sports for 2019.
The fact Bertrand is an Eagle Scout is a gigantic plus, but that’s not it. Neither is a little story describing how Georgia commit Nolan Smith II told the staff Bertrand should the linebacker for #NewBreed19 in Athens.
The nation’s No. 4 outside linebacker for 2019 recruiting class, Bertrand is also a 4.0 student. That was the way to go until a compliment of the highest order caught my ear. It took place during what Bertrand described as his “eighth or ninth” unofficial visit to UGA.
Kirby Smart told the Blessed Trinity Catholic (Roswell, Ga.) standout that he reminds him of former Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri.
That’s high praise.
Sunseri, the son of longtime NFL and college coach Sal Sunseri, is a football savant of the highest order. I remember watching a series of game clips on Sunseri with one of the best high school coaches in Alabama.
Sunseri played like he had Miss Cleo in his helmet on a Bluetooth headset.
He diagnosed play after play before the snap. He would even leave his gap to go take down jet sweeps behind the line right after the exchange. Sunseri had a great career for the Tide and found himself picked in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. A 6-foot, 210-pound safety, Sunseri jumped back onto an NFL active roster late last season with the 49ers.
“Coach said that I reminded him of Vinnie Sunseri but not to the aspect that I’d be playing safety,” Bertrand said.
A 6-foot-1, 216-pound prospect, Bertrand is closing in on his 10th visit to Georgia, but he isn’t close to a decision. Bertrand got his Bulldogs offer the last week and visited on Thursday.
“I am still trying to weigh things out and play it by ear,” Bertrand said. “I want to leave as many opportunities open as I can for right now.”
How did J.D. Bertrand’s most recent visit go?
Bertrand basically got to play fly on the wall Thursday at Athens. He sat in on team meetings and saw what a day in the life of a Bulldogs player would look like.
That also covered player meetings. Workouts. Then candid conversations with the coaches. He said it went very well.
“They see me right now as an inside linebacker,” Bertrand said. “But they’ve seen me play the ‘Sam’ and outside ‘backer on my film. They could kind of see me playing a ‘rover’ position so right now they see me as an inside ‘backer but with a ‘but’ there. They like that I have played multiple positions and depending on how I look coming in my freshman year, then they would be able to know where I would be placed.”
Bertrand has offers from LSU and Vanderbilt of late. He visited Auburn, but that trip did not net a scholarship offer.
“Most schools want me as an inside ‘backer but Georgia also said they wanted to give me a look at the ‘Star’ position. It is basically like a coverage linebacker maybe walked out to more into open space some.”
He’s going to take a wait-and-see approach to his decision.
“All these offers might bring it closer because it is more realistic at this point but I am just going to wait and see here,” he said. “A lot of things can change in two years and I don’t want to commit somewhere and have to de-commit.”
He added one more thing about that. It was what an Eagle Scout would say: “Once I say I am going somewhere I want to be able to say confidently this is where I am going to go and where I plan to go.”
Bertrand asked both Smart and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann what he needed to work on to get better at his game. He appreciated that, but that wasn’t the best part of his most recent visit.
“Just being in with the players and being in with them in those meetings and being able to see what it was like to be a player at Georgia,” he said.
Breaking down J.D. Bertrand
Bertrand knows football. He also knows his game. His football IQ was evident when I saw him at the Elite Sophomores Classic back in December. He’s already very good at picking his way through the trash and finding the football.
Look for Bertrand to be at LSU this weekend and Vanderbilt the following weekend. A Stanford trip is planned for April.
Bertrand isn’t sure about a major yet. He shouldn’t be given, his class standing, but he will take a look at something in terms of sports management.
He has lived in Georgia since he was 3 years old, but his parents are from California. His father grew up in Ireland and played rugby there. That’s all part of an ideal makeup for a ball-seeking linebacker: rugby DNA. Speed. Great football IQ. Eagle Scout. 4.0 GPA.
What does Georgia look like to him after so many trips?
“It almost always feels like home when I am there just because I have been there so many times,” Bertrand said. “(Georgia) started recruiting me with Coach (Mark) Richt when I was in the eighth grade. I’ve just been getting used to it more and more and just feel more comfortable there after every time I go.”
Does Smart’s program feel any different than what he took in on his first few trips?
“I feel like there is also a lot more energy behind it,” Bertrand said. “It is a new program that’s on the rise. There is a lot more energy behind it. Everyone wants to go and get the national championship.”
More on the Class of 2018
Georgia sent out an interesting offer this week with the visit of Oklahoma OT Owen Condon. Condon ,s a 6-foot-7, 300-pound prospect, according to his 247Sports profile page.
Condon visited Georgia on Thursday and came away with the offer. He rates as a 3-star recruit and as the nation’s No. 40 prospect at tackle for 2018.
— Owen Condon (@owen_condon) March 16, 2017
It wasn’t a Georgia-specific visit. Condon is making the rounds and hitting up a few SEC schools. He also checked out Florida on his trip.
Condon fits the Sam Pittman-size prototype at tackle. It is becoming the norm that if an offensive tackle prospect doesn’t have to stoop to fit inside a few doorways in the Butts-Mehre building, then he might not get an offer.
According to 247Sports, he becomes at least the 21st offensive tackle that Georgia has offered for the upcoming recruiting cycle.
It is also worth nothing that Florida has yet to extend an offer his way after his visit to Gainesville.
Another name for 2018 to keep in mind?
The latest news on Condon is a reaction to the recent de-commitment from Max Wray over the last week. But there might be something to keep an eye on between Georgia and 4-star IMG standout Curtis Dunlap, too.
Dunlap shifts over to center this fall at IMG. He’s in line to become a rare 3-year starter for the Ascenders. He’s very good and has been dominant at the two Opening regionals he attended.
He picked up his Opening finals invitation after an impressive showing at the Miami regional.
Dunlap, who is 6-foot-4, 360 pounds, has a few ties to Georgia. He was impressed by his recent visit earlier this month. Bulldogs recruiters see at him center or guard.
“It went great and I’m definitely interested,” Dunlap said. “Coach (Sam Pittman) is great.”
Pittman told Dunlap he’s looking for a center in 2018.
Did that trip change the way he looks at his top schools? Dunlap released a list of top schools recently, and the Bulldogs did not make that cut.
“They weren’t recruiting me,” Dunlap said.
That has changed. Let’s see if it continues from here.