Would you like to receive DawgNation news alerts? Excellent! News alerts will be displayed in your browser.
Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
4-star QB commit John Rhys Plumlee is wearing a blueshirt in this practice photo from the Alabama-Missisippi Classic All-Star practices last week. Will he be wearing one again at UGA?

4-star QB commit John Rhys Plumlee is still a Bulldog …… for now

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. The play sheet today calls for a good look at the decision facing 4-star QB commitment John Rhys Plumlee

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Wait a couple of months to play for us. We still want you, but we want you to  “Blueshirt” at the University of Georgia. 

That was basically what Kirby Smart told John Rhys Plumlee after his team played for the state title in Mississippi’s largest classification earlier this month.

“They have communicated to me that they are trying to blueshirt me,” Plumlee told DawgNation.

John Rhys Plumlee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
John Rhys Plumlee told DawgNation that he will have some thinking to do about his college decision. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The 4-star said he needed Google to figure that one out.

“That means you come in two or three months later in the summer,” he said.

He feels it would mean a late July or even an August arrival.

“I would pay my own way for the summer,” he said. “It wasn’t really what we were expecting. You know? It was kind of hard to swallow at the time.”

The Bulldogs, after all, do only have two scholarship programs on the roster.

“I’m still committed [to Georgia] right now,” Plumlee said last week and reiterated on Monday. “I’m just kind of weighing out all my options at this time. Just hearing what people have to say. I’m still committed to Georgia.”

The 4-star QB elevated his stock after a senior season in which he amassed (that is the right word) 2,834 passing yards and 1,444 rushing yards. Plumlee even ran or threw for 52 combined touchdowns against just three interceptions.

The Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.) standout is a pro baseball prospect in center field, runs a legit sub-4.5 in the 40 and once picked up a Mississippi State offer as a cornerback. He carries that level of athletic ability.

Ole Miss is now in the picture. The Rebels are asking him to visit. They have came to see him in his home. He’s probably as good as or better than anyone QB prospect they currently have in their 2019 class.

But they aren’t recruiting him to just play QB. That’s what he wants. It was how Georgia distinguished itself from the jump with Plumlee.

RELATED: Why John Rhys Plumlee initially committed to Georgia

The moving parts of the John Rhys Plumlee decision 

Plumlee said that the Bulldogs told him that something happened in the way of an injury. That created the numbers crunch that turns him into a blueshirt candidate for the 2019 class.

“Something happened that made them have to give another scholarship that they weren’t expected to give,” he said. “Blueshirting meant that my scholarship would have to come from the next year’s class. So Georgia would have 24 scholarships next year instead of 25.”

What’s a blue shirt? What is Plumlee thinking? Why would UGA mess with its lone QB commit in this class?

Those are all good questions to sift through. I’ll share what I think is a pretty good read on all his thought bubbles right now.

  • He still feels valued by the University of Georgia. Quarterbacks coach James Coley has ensured that with almost daily text messages
  • If he has no other valued options, he will likely stick with UGA
  • If he does, then he will have to compare those options with the opportunity he has in Athens
  • Plumlee does not plan to sign anywhere next week during the early signing period
  • If he feels UGA is the right place for him in the end, he is mature enough to understand that 2-3 months won’t matter a whole lot in the timeline of when the Bulldogs place him on scholarship
  • It was a small matter of a pride check. There was some frustration and maybe a whiff of anger, but Plumlee internalized it with the realization this is a business decision for him and every program in the college football business. “There are two sides to this thing,” Plumlee said. “You have a relationship side and you have a business side to it.”
  • Plumlee said the Bulldogs have always told him they wanted to take two QBs this year. The thinking behind the recent QB buzz (Hawaii prospect Dillon Gabriel most notably) was the Bulldogs want to find someone who can enroll in January. Plumlee cannot do that.

Notice all the “ifs” in that bullet train? That’s meant to convey he has a lot of thinking to do with the “endgame” to this whole scenario.

John Rhys Plumlee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
John Rhys Plumlee ranks as the nation’s No. 7 dual-threat QB prospect for 2019 on the 247Sports composite rankings.

What is not “iffy” is this young man’s character. When others would have reason to tell a program to kick rocks, Plumlee still feels an attachment to the program he committed to.

That’s why he is working 5-star ILB prospect Nakobe Dean to join the program that has asked him to Blueshirt.

Plumlee wants Dean to be a Bulldog in Athens.

“He’s a good guy from what I’ve been around this week at the all-star week practices,” Plumlee said. “Just playing with him and against him this week. Great guy. Really good athlete for sure.”

He still wants to see him at Georgia.

“Heck yeah,” Plumlee said. “He would be great for the program. … Athlete for sure. Great guy. Great athlete. Leader and a vocal guy on that side of the ball for sure. Clear middle linebacker. He’s definitely the guy that runs the show over there for the defense. He’s an athlete for sure. He gets the job done every time.”

And of that, it speaks to the maturity the young man displayed this week in Montgomery discussing a topic that has likely caused him a sleepless hour or three.

At least.

“I called coach [Kirby] Smart and he had to explain why he had to do what he did,” Plumlee said. “It makes sense. It was numbers. I was upset at first. Just trying to evaluate it. …. From their standpoint at Georgia, I know why they did it.”

Plumlee has said no program has come to him and said that they want him to sign this week. Or right now.

“It is really about opportunity and where God wants me to be,” Plumlee said. “I am kind of looking at it like that. If that’s where God wants me to be, then that’s where I will be. I am just going to bathe it in prayer and see what it is all about.”

Let’s discuss the blueshirt for John Rhys Plumlee

A “blueshirt” is not the same thing as a “redshirt” or a “grayshirt” here.

Plumlee’s blueshirt offer is essentially borrowing against the 2020 scholarship total. That is how he has been led to understand it.

John Rhys Plumlee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
John Rhys Plumlee said he doesn’t have a job in mind that if Georgia drops out of the picture, then he is going there. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

This comes into play when a program has too many prospects it wishes to sign than scholarship slots in inventory. I’ve grown to look at it as creative financing to bring scholarship players into a program.

They can begin practicing and yet not be on scholarship with the rest of the freshmen in their class.

To do so, a player must fit the definition of being an “unrecruited” player. In the eyes of the NCAA, it means the prospective student-athlete did not take an official visit, that a coach from the program did not visit the athlete at home and there was no letter-of-intent signed or financial aid provided.

Plumlee, even though he is a commitment, still fits under all that criteria.

“Can’t take an official visit,” Plumlee said. “A coach can’t see you at home. So that’s an in-home visit and they can’t come to see you at a game. They didn’t come to see me this year. So I kind of lined up for it. You know what I mean? I was eligible for the blueshirt.”

What sort of advice has his family given him on this?

John Rhys Plumlee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
John Rhys Plumlee said that Ole Miss has recruited him as a quarterback but also as an athlete if that doesn’t work out. Georgia has strictly recruited him as a QB. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“They’ve made it clear through this whole recruitment process they are supporting me whatever I decide,” Plumlee said. “They just want to get as much information to me as they can as to what could happen and what could not happen. That’s kind of what my parents’ stance on it all is.”

He already knows he must get past that initial pride check and figure out what is best for his future.

“That’s it,” he said. “That’s exactly right. I just go to do the opportunity that is best for me. I just have to see where it all lays out. When all the cards come out, then I have to see what it is all about.”

It is only a couple of months in the summer. The “but” here is that Plumlee was raised up on competing. This will hinder that.

“It is only two months,” he said. “But it is a critical time. When you come in you have got [Jake] Fromm in front of you and then you’ve got [Justin] Fields. So you are learning from those guys anyway. You are still picking up things but I’d rather be there the two months in the summer.”

Plumlee said that Ole Miss has been showing him the most interest over the last month. Outside of Georgia.

“It is not that they’ve lost any interest in me,” Plumlee said in reference to the Bulldogs. “And I’ve definitely not lost any interest in them.”

 

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.