Oh, what a G-Day.
DawgNation filled up Sanford Stadium for Kirby Smart. William Poole III committed to the program, Ludacris threw down and Jacob Eason threw it around. Those things make an impression on a big list of recruits that filled up Sanford Stadium on Saturday.
That all went according to plan. But there’s news with the recruiting of Jeremiah Holloman which went off the script. Smart could never have planned what happened to this receiver prospect, but it sounds like the Georgia way.
The 6-foot-2, 191-pounder named UGA as his leader. Tennessee was his top school, but that G-Day trip pushed the Bulldogs slightly ahead. He was surprised by how many Georgia fans knew his face. The fans told them how much they loved him and wanted him to stay in Georgia and put on for the home team.
Yet when it is time to go, even four-star prospects have to walk back to their car like everyone else. That’s when he met one particular “middle-aged” fan in Georgia gear. And he sold Holloman on Georgia as well as anyone did on G-Day.
“That fan just started talking to me and then I really just realized it,” Holloman said. “I kind of just like fell in love. He was giving me comparisons of how I could be a big threat here. He was saying there were a few things I could do to help out the program. He said everyone I talk to says they see A.J. Green in me and how they feel I can be a big help for them.”
The Newton High School star is not sure UGA would have been his new leader if not for that interaction with that one fan. Holloman said he told his parents “he loved Georgia’s chances” after the trip.
He said he didn’t feel the urge to commit yesterday, but he was “in love with Georgia” on his visit. He will not make his commitment until he can hash it out with his family and loved ones. Don’t expect him to make an impromptu decision.
What has changed is that he will make his decision a lot sooner than National Signing Day. Holloman said it could come at any time and he will not adhere to any specific timeline. He was supposed to go to Tennessee this weekend for his first spring game visit, but a ride fell through. Then a ride materialized, but he still opted to go to G-Day.
“I wanted to see what Coach Smart does,” said Holloman. “He did great yesterday.”
The four-star receiver came in believing #93KDay was going to happen, but then he was stunned by Eason’s ability in the scrimmage. He said the coolest moment of G-Day for him was the ovation when the five-star freshman checked into the game.
“Eason was a big factor in having me name UGA as my leader,” Holloman said. “From seeing how he produced yesterday was unbelievable. And then seeing how clearly Kirby Smart is going to turn that program around was another factor and then having a chance to be right here in your backyard playing in the best conference is a big deal to me.”
UGA was supposed to use a lacrosse stick as an in-game prop at the game on Saturday, but the biggest attention grabber or recruiting tool would be that No. 10 slinging it around the yard. When Eason took the field, Holloman registered that.
“I just felt that UGA was on their way to beginning something new and special,” said Holloman, who said former UGA star Leonard Floyd is his cousin. “That clearly caught my mind, but apart from that having that young quarterback able to deliver with a few things he still has to work out and stuff. The fact that he’s still young and able to do what he did yesterday in front of a large crowd caught my attention.”
Holloman said Eason already looked like a junior in college.
“I feel like he is definitely the future at Georgia,” Holloman said. “What was going through my mind was ‘Where are my shoulder pads?’ when I saw him throw it around.”
The rising senior is rated as the nation’s No. 40 prospect at his position for the Class of 2017. He’s exploded onto the scene the last two months and also holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Michigan State, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.
He was committed to Michigan for a time over the last year but had Tennessee as his leader after a recent visit. What led to that?
“Just after being around the coaches and finally getting a chance to meet the players and stuff and just seeing how I fit it there.”
Holloman brings length and speed, but also a lot of physical ability. He also won a Georgia High School Association state championship in the triple jump last May. He expects to clear 49 feet while defending that title this spring.
G-Day, Georgia’s annual spring football scrimmage, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Sanford Stadium. Check back here daily for DawgNation’s G-Day coverage brought to you by Georgia United Credit Union.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him 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.