Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way a 5-star like Jadon Haselwood might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Good morning, DawgNation.
The Bulldogs faithful wake up this morning to find their school’s recruiting class rated No. 1 in the nation for the Class of 2019.
Let’s take a moment to let everyone exhale and say the following: 2019 is SUCH a long way away. There probably will be at least two National Signing Days by the time these kids arrive. The staff at UGA likely will see a departure or two. I’m trying to plan our next vacation. Why get worked up over 2019? These are 15-year-old children!
Say all the nay you care to. Let it all out. ‘Tis still a free (relatively) country we live in. The “Get off my lawn” crowd provides a healthy check to any runaway red-and-black freight train of optimism.
But this roll call does too: Jadon Haselwood’s commitment yesterday gave UGA the top-rated class for 2019 per the 247Sports’ composite ranking. The 5-star WR is the first elite receiver Georgia has added to the board since top-shelf quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm committed to Georgia.
Haselwood’s choice already gives UGA a matching set of 5-star prospects in 2019.
Nolan Smith II was the first. Smith’s presence in the 2019 class cannot be oversold. Remember what Richard LeCounte III did for Georgia’s 2017 class? That one wound up third in the nation. It came together with about 14 months of work on the recruiting trail.
There are 23 months to go before Georgia signs the Class of 2019. That’s why clear thinkers look at that as so far away. So many things that can change. They usually do.
But what if an uber-recruiter like LeCounte had another year to build the 2017 class? All those months also could be viewed as ample lead time to build a big head of steam.
There’s also one other thing: Georgia’s early 2019 surge coincides with a perfect storm of opportunity. 1) The near-$100 million that has been earmarked for facilities will be in place; 2) The 2016 and 2017 classes darn sure better be able to put a better product on the field; 3) Georgia’s prospect haul for 2019 looks like the Dahlonega Gold Rush. It shapes up to be the deepest group of prospects (which already favor UGA) in years.
The Bulldogs have the nation’s No. 1 class for 2019 with four commitments. Here’s an early prediction: When all is said and done and signed, the program will fall no further than the third spot. This class really can finish No. 1 overall. All the parts are there.
Why? Read on.
What’s all this fuss about 2019?
This topic in so many ways seems like the perfect talking point for Bulldogs fans. Especially the way rivals chirp about the program.
The eyes always are focused on the years ahead. The present? The perpetual work-in-progress. The “wait ’til next year” culture seems almost a birthright for Georgia natives and UGA alumni.
But college recruiting is a new world that seemingly gets remapped every two years. Did you know there is already a 2020 group text message? Those 14-year-olds already are organizing and getting to know one another. They already compare which schools are telling everyone what they want to hear. These guys form their own unions.
This all just feels different.
The recent “True 19” game has a lot to do with that. Kenyatta Watson served as the organizer of that game. He’s played the game (Boston College) and coached the game. His son is a highly rated member of the Class of 2019. He’s way plugged in and has earned the respect of his peer parents and their sons over and over again.
Watson predicts the Class of 2019 will win a national title at Georgia. He now says that in casual tones like he’s reciting the fact that Bulldogs fans pine for dual-threat quarterbacks.
That game and the collective spirit among those boys is the sort of thing that happens every December in Atlanta around the week of the “Rising Seniors” practices.
It just came a year early for the Class of 2019. When those boys visited UGA during the weekend leading up to that game, rival programs took notice. They were not pleased.
Those boys spend considerable time together, see how good everyone actually is and decide they want to play with that guy and that guy. That’s what the Rising Seniors game does for UGA recruiting every year.
Those “True 19” boys already are trying to build a wall around the state’s top-rated prospect for 2019. We shared Owen Pappoe’s story earlier this week on DawgNation.
Haselwood and Smith are also not typical 15-year-olds. Haselwood has his own website. Both are already U.S. Army All-Americans. Smith spent last Christmas Day feeding the homeless in his native Savannah.
They seem like young men that others might want to rally around. Some already have.
Yet those are still subjective views. Let’s get to the metrics.
Breaking down 2019
There are 105 players rated by 247Sports in the Class of 2019. A quick scan reveals 14 of those guys are from Georgia, including seven of the top 35.
I see at least another four out-of-state players the Bulldogs are already heavily in the mix for.
I’m going to type the following sentence with the same confidence in which I foresee the Georgia beat reporters will ask Kirby Smart how the quarterback, offensive line and kicker competitions are going this fall.
The Bulldogs are going to sign at least 10 of those 18 names. The alums of that “True 19” game tell me to expect to see at least 15 of those highly rated players choose Georgia.
My estimates are steeped in conservatism. The best-case scenario looks like 15 of the top 100.
Yep, that’s so far away. But the bigger picture is we just touched on the nation’s top 105 players from the 247 board.
Georgia already has offered 54 players in the Class of 2019.
It looks like 16 of those guys are from Georgia. There are several guys on that list who reside outside the nation’s top 105 but already hold offers from UGA. They already feel strongly about playing for their home state. We will tell their stories in the coming days.
A lot can change. It will. But already a great deal is going right for Georgia recruiting the Class of 2019. These guys are closer to making their decision than most might think.
The junior year is really the new senior season compared to the way recruiting took place eight to 10 years ago. With the likely advent of early-signing periods and January enrollment for early graduates, those 23 months aren’t as far away as one might think.
Check out Mr. Haselwood’s highlight video below. He should be about 215 to 220 pounds when he enrolls.