When DeAngelo Gibbs saw that Kirby Smart was named the new head coach at UGA, he told DawgNation it would change a lot in his recruiting.
That was before Smart invited the 5-star prospect up to Athens on his first recruiting weekend as the new coach. Gibbs said Smart told him he “had to coach” and “wanted to coach” and “was going to coach” him during a lot of one-on-one time on Dec. 15.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder said that weekend was probably his best ever trip to UGA and he’s made plenty. Smart’s pitch was about as broad as the athleticism of the 5-star he was recruiting.
Gibbs has All-SEC potential at the minimum at cornerback or receiver and rates as the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect for 2017.
“He wants me to come there and basically decide what I want to play,” Gibbs said. “So he’s recruiting me as an athlete. He was like ‘We just want you on the team whether it is offense, defense or even special teams. Center. Whatever. We just want you on the team at Georgia.”
Then Gibbs said this: “Georgia is recruiting me fast and hard and heavy and strong.” “You can tell Kirby wants to build a dynasty by getting all the top players. I see that. But at the end of the day I have to feel it in my heart and inside of me. I got to feel the right place fits for me and I feel the whole school accepts me as a student and as a person and a player and all of that.”
That pull to bring the nation’s No. 2 corner in the Class of 2017 has only gotten stronger since that trip. His great friend Breon Dixon committed to UGA on Christmas Day. That was a short time after another in-state 5-star defensive back, Richard LeCounte III, committed to UGA.
“Those two guys are all in my face right now,” Gibbs said. “They pretty much have not stopped.”
Gibbs said that those two commits are trying to convince him to come to UGA now as hard as any SEC assistant coach. What did he say to Dixon after he committed to UGA?
“I told him he made a good decision,” Gibbs said. “That’s what I thought. Georgia is a good fit for him.”
Yet then he showed off the backpedal that every elite cornerback has.
“But whatever is the best fit is for him might not be the best fit for me,” Gibbs said, who acknowledged that Dixon to UGA did “somewhat” improve the program’s chances with him.
Gibbs and Dixon are pretty tight. They visit schools together and are always hanging out. Both play to enroll early, but Gibbs said he still plans to wait as long as he can before he announces his decision.
“I’m still keeping my options open,” Gibbs said. “I’m not leaning toward any school even though that was a smart move for (Breon). I’ve still got to view all my options.”
Gibbs has been a treat to watch at the Rising Seniors practices this week, which features many of Georgia’s top high school juniors. He said he’s as close to 100 percent health as he’s been in awhile. He was dealing with a pair of ankle sprains during the season.
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.