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5-star UGA commit John Emery Jr. feels nothing has changed after LSU visit

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. This play sheet leads off with a report on 5-star RB commit John Emery Jr. out of Louisiana. 

DESTREHAN, La. — We learned a lot about John Emery Jr. over the last week. The daily DawgNation reader will see several glimpses of Emery over the next several days in the Intel.

There are some very encouraging stories about Emery share. That’s the young man who wished all the Bulldog fans could have tasted some in-season crawfish during their trip to the “504” area code last week.

John Emery-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
5-star RB John Emery poses with his offensive line at Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana on October 11, 2018. Yes, he did perk up quite a bit at the chance to take a picture with all of his guys up front. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He loves his city. Adores New Orleans.

Emery loves Bourbon Street even though he got to visit that spot by himself without his parents for the first time last year.

What about John Emery the beatboxer? The aim is to show you that side of the nation’s No. 2 RB for the 2019 class, too.

We hope to show you how his mother Nikki Trudeaux can act as both his hype man and his inspiration to soar in life.

She’s a nurse. But she currently instructs and trains other nurses. With good reason.

“My Mom is probably one of the smartest women I have ever met,” Emery Jr. said.

What most of DawgNation wants to see with John Emery Jr. 

Yet at the same time, we realize what the masses also want to know right now about Emery. Those folks likely want to read encouraging things about the status of his recruitment at this time.

Should the 5-star RB be on flip watch? Did the game and the LSU visit affect things with UGA at all?

No.

That was his very much to-the-point answer there.

His father, the former Tennesse Vol who has a growing collection of UGA shirts, also feels nothing regarding his son’s decision should change off just one poor showing in Death Valley.

There are things that one picks up regarding Emery that seem to support that notion.

  • He doesn’t really enjoy the recruiting process and in some ways, that cozy fit he feels in Athens has been able to simplify his senior year and his recruiting story.
  • Emery did not want to carry six potential teams on his back through his senior year.
  • He does not wish to subject himself to the continued best sales pitch from a lot of these contending programs when he likes the connection and current fit with the Bulldogs.

Emery verbalized that to the UGA staff after he committed back in July.

“Ever since the weekend, I committed I kind of let them know you don’t really have to give me so much of the recruitment talk,” Emery Jr. said. “I’m not a big texter. I would rather either meet you or you can call me. We can talk on the phone for a good bit.”

John Emery Jr.-John Emery-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
John Emery Jr. is rated as the nation’s No. 2 RB prospect for the class of 2019 by the 247Sports composite rankings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He even felt that running backs coach Dell McGee sensed that.

“Ever since that weekend when I committed after that when I left he kind of noticed it and kind of backed down and chilled out,” Emery Jr. said. “They noticed that. They will hit me up every other day and every once in a while to check on me. To see how my school is going and how the season is going. I kind of love that. I do love that. Not talking to me every day. Don’t feel that you need to talk to me every day. I don’t want to get tired of you. I’d rather meet you than talk on the phone.”

“With Georgia, it is kind of just chill and a natural flow,” he said. “I like it. I like it a lot.”

The relationship between John Emery Jr. and UGA

When asked about Athens, he mentions it reminds him of New Orleans. That is a very good thing for Bulldog fans who wish to see Emery sign with the red and black.

He estimates his recent trip for the Tennessee game was his fifth visit to Athens.

“I always have a great time up there,” Emery Jr. said. “Everybody and the environment. The atmosphere is great. Everybody in Athens is just so happy and nice. It reminds me of New Orleans.”

That was his first game inside Sanford Stadium. He said it was “amazing.”

He wears a pair of thick red UGA rubber bands all the time. The 5-star senior wore out his first set of those and re-upped with a new two-pack he picked up on his latest visit.

Those never usually come off.

“I sleep with them,” Emery said. “Sleep with them. I tuck them in with me and all that. I like them. The red. Go Bulldogs.”

When he says that, his face looks like it is January 25 and he is still talking about his Christmas gifts.

He might take an official visit to another school, but if it does it sounds like that is not the enviable thing for his family. The long visit weekends after games on Friday nights are draining.

Emery winds up sleeping on the way to the stadiums. Or he will be very tired that Saturday if he does not.

What matters to John Emery Jr. 

John Emery Jr.-John Emery-UGA recruiting
John Emery Jr. is described by the coaching staff at Destrehan as a “pleaser” at times. He wants to make those around him feel happy. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Ask Emery about his body art. His answers convey faith and a dose of humility. The timeless Philippians 4:13 verse inspired the tribute that dominates his right shoulder.

“This was my first tattoo ‘I can do all things through Christ’ and it was something you know I followed as a young kid,” Emery Jr. said. “Me and my Mom. My mom introduced. It is just through Christ you can really do all things. Who strengthens me. I just followed that as a kid, man.”

His right arm continues on down sharing his personal testimony.

“This is Jesus man,” Emery Jr. said. “Carrying the cross. This means a lot to me. Just knowing that he died for us. So I had to get it. Then I saw the art on Google and I was like ‘Oh yeah, I have got to cop.'”

There are roses that adorn his right forearm. He also saw that art on Google. Emery wants to study business and major in Sports Management but it is clear he has an eye that is drawn to unique visual expressions.

If you see him tweet out “Rare Breed Only” then that is a nod to his personal brand. He does find it convenient that one of the Georgia recruiting pitches of late did involve that “Rare Breed” slogan. Georgia was his first real offer, but he adopted that personal brand before he was aware that it was also in use at UGA.

The words “Rare Breed” are highlighted in fire red and it serves as the logo next to a hand holding the Earth.

The colors there are another unique tie-in. The red is darker than the scarlet tone of those bands.

“It is fire, man,” Emery said while describing how much he likes that look. “Put it like that. Shout out to Bo Willie, by the way, man.”

That specific “skin designer” is the co-founder of the Tatted Up body shop in Louisiana.

John Emery Jr. has been a humbled as a 5-star 

He cherishes little things.

There’s another imprint on his right hand that tell a story. It is the surgical scar from where he broke his hand last year. It led to five missed games in 2017.

But still ran for 864 yards while averaging approximately seven yards per attempt as a junior. There were times last year when his coaches had to hold him back.

Emery looked that eager to get back on the field.

“That hurt him being out,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “You could tell that hurt him not being able to help his team. It also made him appreciate football knowing it could be taken away at any time and that nothing is given to him easily by the game.”

Emery touched the ball three times last Friday night. His first carry didn’t come until the third series of a game that was 47-7 at the half.

He still cashed in two touchdowns along those three touches.

“A kid like John you never get tired of talking about,” Robicheaux said. “He is just the ultimate student-athlete. The kind that you will see when you come out in the summer on the turf when no one else is around. He is the guy you will see working out on the levee. Running stadium steps. Just that desire to be really good.”

Each trip to the end zone will always be special.

“When I score it is a great feeling man,” Emery Jr. said. “It always feels like the first touchdown ever. It feels like the first touchdown you would ever get playing football.”

Emery has had some issues with fumbling this season. He will ride himself about letting his Destrehan High team down.

It was to the point that he was highly critical of the need to keep the ball buckled up in its “seatbelt” on the way to big plays.

Robicheaux said he can’t think of one thing that is not positive to say about him. Even the fact that he’s put the ball on the ground.

“I would not change him,” Robicheaux said. “Because the reason he is doing that is he is trying to do too much. He’s giving too much effort on every play not wanting to go down.”

That may sound like coachspeak, but here’s a good way to look at that.

Eyeball those efforts. When the nation’s No. 22 overall prospect tries really hard, he is capable of very special things.

That might be why when Emery leaves the field, he is soaking wet. He sweats. A lot.

“He just gives 110 percent in everything he does,” Robicheaux said.

Incredible recruiting class underway at Grayson High

I’m sure the subject of Grayson High School will draw a few polarizing opinions in this space. Especially when it comes to fans of the University of Georgia.

The Bulldogs haven’t had a good run of late with top prospects at that school. Most will recall Owen Pappoe’s recruitment and the on-and-off love affairs with OLB Kevin Harris and OT Wanya Morris.

Grayson High School has a flood of Power 5 college prospects this year aside from Kevin Harris (far left), Wanya Morris (left middle), Owen Pappoe (middle right) and Kenyatta Watson II (far right) in the class of 2019. (Cox Media Group file photo)

Harris, one of the nation’s best pass rushers, is on his way to Alabama.

Morris is the nation’s top OT for this cycle. The 5-star is trending to be a plug-and-play freshman starter for Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. He can be their Andrew Thomas.

This Grayson class is deeper than those three guys. There are pledges to Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Michigan, Texas and Texas A&M all around.

Yet there are a lot more big-time college-bound Rams in that herd for 2019.

A recent conversation with a very good source leads me to believe Grayson will set the new standard for scholarships for the senior class in the state of Georgia.

When it does, the Rams of 2019 will supplant the Stephenson class of 2010.

The Jaguars – led by program recruiting coordinator Corey Johnson – saw 29 of their seniors sign on National Signing Day. There were eight Jaguars who signed with major “Power 5” college programs.

With all due respect to a class that is seen as the greatest in state history, I feel the 2019 Rams will smash that number.

Consider the following:

  • Grayson has three of the top 10 seniors in Georgia on the 247Sports composite standard. That includes a trio of 5-star recruits.
  • The Rams also have seven of the top 50 players for 2019.
  • Grayson expects 24 seniors to sign with NCAA Division I-A programs in this cycle. That total will include 17 seniors who will sign with Power 5 schools.
  • The Grayson staff projects that 42 of their 51 seniors will sign some form of a college scholarship.
  • By the time National Signing Day rolls around, the Rams will have sent 112 players to Saturday on some form of a football scholarship over the last four years.

Kenyatta Watson does a lot of work with a lot of the state’s student-athletes over the years. But this class at Grayson will be one that will be talked about for many years to come.

The youth movement with the 2018 UGA football team

Have you seen that 68 percent “Bullpups” stat swirling around lately? That is an interesting figure attributed to just how many freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores that comprise the 2018 team.

UGA recruiting-UGA recruiting-Georgia footballIt was actually provided by the sports information department at UGA. Those guys are annually among the best in the biz, if not the best, at what they do.

Check the photo flush right.

That figure breaks down all the math and it makes an intriguing point. Yes, the Bulldogs are young. That’s the product of back-to-back recruiting classes which rated third and first nationally in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

That said, it does list the entire UGA roster at 129 players. That will include a healthy contingent of walk-ons with that. Bear in mind that there is an 85-scholarship NCAA mandate for football in the bowl subdivision.

If I had to break it down, it would come from two other angles.

  • Bulldogs on scholarship
  • Bulldogs that are playing the most games this year

When I do, it seems logical to me that a ratio of those “Bullpups” among the players that have played the most (at least five games) would provide a truer read. According to my math, here’s how that breaks down.

  • Redshirt freshmen: 3
  • True freshmen: 14
  • Sophomores: 18
  • Juniors: 16
  • Seniors: 14

From that, we can surmise that only 65 of those 129 names on the roster have played in at least five games this year. That’s always the best measure in terms of the depth of a football team. When you find out how many players come off that sideline against an SEC opponent, that stat just means more.

There are 35 redshirt freshmen, true freshmen or sophomores among that lot of 65. That percentage breaks down to 54 percent of that total. Both ratios and comparisons tell a story, but I wanted to see just exactly how that broke down among the Bulldogs that do see the field every Saturday.

Not just that entire 129-man roster.

A few info bursts to keep in mind 

There’s not just what is going on with Emery, Grayson High School and the youth numbers at UGA to keep track of. I’ll just drop a few more parcels of info here because we’ve got a lot of stuff to cover across the next few blogs at this time.

  • Kendall Milton, the 5-star RB from California, is a guy we will watch like LSU fans did not watch their language in Death Valley. I feel the Clovis resident is the top UGA target at that position for 2020. He rates as the nation’s No. 2 RB for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite at this time. DawgNation has already dropped an introductory profile piece on Milton earlier this year. Check out his midseason junior year reel below.

  • So why Milton now? Aren’t 5-star updates reserved for entire stories? Yeah, but maybe not this week. Milton told me that he still values the opportunity to check out what kind of fit there might be for him at UGA. The Bulldogs are squarely in his top 10 even though there is a lot of chatter about him at both Ohio State and Oklahoma. That’s sort of the norm for a back this talented, though.

 

  • He told me that he will take a visit to UGA soon. It won’t be this season, but he said to look for that trip to Athens to take place in January of 2019. I wouldn’t count out Dell McGee with this one. After all, he hasn’t recruited a 5-star to Georgia from California. At least not yet.

 

  • Look for Milton (Ga.) OL Paul Tchio to make his commitment sometime soon. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound junior has always taken a keen approach to his recruiting. He’s gone about his visit process rather efficiently so far. The 4-star recruit ranks as the nation’s No. 22 OT prospect for 2020 but I’ve always seen him as an early right guard and a right tackle fit at the next level. He says that decision will come down to Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. Pretty stout list. It is worth noting that Tchio has his Alabama offer as his pinned tweet atop his Twitter account.

 

  • Georgia 4-star junior DT pledge Nazir Stackhouse tells me he has moved. He is no longer at Stephenson as his mother has moved to the Columbia High School district. He’s immediately eligible and actually played in their game against Arabia Mountain on Oct. 12. Stackhouse likely won over a lot of UGA fans after his recent testimonials to the program with these two tweets.

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.