Google the name Jaylen McCollough.
The findings from that search don’t indicate a prospect rating from Rivals or 247Sports. Scout.com offers up a 4-star evaluation.
That seems like he’s about 8 stars short. At least.
Those should come soon because word is spreading about a sophomore everyone calls “Tank” once they see him on the field.
The Hillgrove High (Powder Springs, Ga.) sophomore established himself last weekend at the “True 19” sophomore showdown.
McCollough picked up an Alabama offer last week. Add that to a list that includes Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee.
When a high school coach told me last September he’d be the best safety in America by his senior year, I filed that name away.
Then I started watching his Hudl clips. That coach continues to look like a very smart man.
UGA offered him last November. He visited the campus last weekend as part of the True 19 event.
McCollough wore a pair of UGA gloves at the True 19 game last Sunday. He said that was the thing a “Georgia boy” should do when playing the day after an unofficial visit.
“Just repping the state school,” McCollough said. “State school. Might as well.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect used the word “home” to describe his UGA visit.
“It brought me back home,” McCollough said. “I love going back to Athens. It is a good atmosphere with good people and good coaches. Every time I go up there I just love it.”
His skill set equates to an interchangeable defensive back. He could play cornerback, slot cornerback or at safety.
What does he think about all the recruiting wins over the last year in Athens?
“You mean keeping all the dogs in-state?” McCollough said. “It is a good thing there. Coach Kirby (Smart) is doing a good job with it. They are building something special. Give it about a year or so and it is going to be good.”
The Class of 2019 is loaded in Georgia. Look for the crop to occupy up to 15-20 slots on the national top 100 rankings in their cycle. There’s growing talk Georgia could claim a vast majority of those prospects.
The organizer of the True 19 game predicts the Class of 2019 will win a national championship at Georgia. He also said there could be up to 20 players on the True 19 Georgia roster that wind up in Athens.
Most of those guys already seem to carry the banner for Georgia. They haven’t made a commitment yet, but their feelings seem strong.
McCollough said he will not decide until sometime in his senior year. He wants to enjoy the recruiting process and take it all in. He plans to major in engineering and felt Georgia already is a fit there.
He also said that all schools are equal right now. He’s taken trips to Alabama and Georgia so far and liked what that two programs had to offer.
But “Tank” noted Georgia already has given him a lot to think about.
“It is always good to think about staying in Georgia and staying in-state and being close to the house,” he said. “But I am actually from Alabama so that’s a school that I will take a long look at, too.”
He added one more unprompted thought.
“Keep the savages in-state,” McCollough said. “Keep all the dawgs in-state. So UGA is really making me think a lot about them right now.”
McCollough noted he has had frequent dialogue with 4-star DE Nolan Smith. Smith also wore UGA gloves at the True 19 game. Smith has made it clear that the Bulldogs are the team to beat for his decision.
Smith was a devastating force in that contest. He had 4 tackles and 3 sacks in the All-Star format.
“We talk about it,” McCollough said. “We are trying to build something special.”
It sounded pretty clear that he would like to play with Smith at the next level.