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 offers up a very interesting interview with 5-star receiver Jadon Haselwood about the upcoming phases of his recruiting.
The 5-star senior from Cedar Grove High School ranks as the nation’s No. 1 WR for the class of 2019 on the 247Sports Composite rating.
This should be seen as a highly-contested recruitment moving forward.
Does Georgia still have a shot? Is Oklahoma the real dark horse? Does Miami hold the momentum in his process? Is there a mystery team rising from the left coast? Auburn? FSU? Southern California? South Carolina?
Haselwood expressed several new details regarding his decision after Cedar Grove’s resounding 40-13 victory over a Top 10 team at Pace Academy last night. There were coaches from Miami and South Carolina at his game Friday night.
Here’s a sampling of what that conversation revealed:
- What the team that signs him needs to do across the rest of the 2018 season
- He plans to take his decision slowly this time and doesn’t even know his next visit
- Look for him to sign during the early period but he will not make that choice known
- The Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) standout plans to make his decision at the All-American Game. That is the Adidas-backed game which was formerly the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
- He does not have a favorite and shared a good reason why that was the case
- Something did change between him and UGA, but he did not detail exactly what that was
That’s a lot to sift through. Let’s flesh a few of those details out.
Jadon Haselwood says he has no clear favorite
Haselwood was asked to weigh whether or not there was a team secretly tucked away that he keeps as his private leader.
He shook his head no. Then he said no.
“I’m taking my time with this next one,” he said. “This is going to be hard.”
That Miami official visit went well. As it doubtless should. Recruits should be impacted by that city, the campus, the South Florida nightlife and any morning view on those shores.
“I had a good visit,” Haselwood said. “You know that is going to be a good visit as always. That’s Miami, of course. That’s really about it.”
At that point, he introduced a thought to balance out all the social media chatter regarding his decision.
“Everybody is thinking it is Miami right now,” Haselwood said. “Which it is not. It is just the only school I have visited since I de-committed. That’s really it.”
Did stepping back from a 19-month commitment to UGA really reset his process?
“Yes,” he said. “It really opened it fully. I am thinking about taking an official to USC and Southern Cal coming up soon. Then FSU maybe.”
He did mention the homestate Bulldogs.
“I’m taking the official visit to Georgia,” Haselwood said. “I think that’s when they play Auburn.”
When asked about Auburn getting an official, he “was not sure” about a possible trip to see the Tigers again. He also made a clear point about when he will reveal his final choice.
“It is going to happen in the Army game,” Haselwood said, referring to the All-American event that had been tied to the U.S. Army’s sponsorship since 2000. “I’m probably going to sign [during the early period] but nobody is going to know.”
Who is still in it? He basically traced his outline across several schools.
“You just said Auburn,” Haselwood said after that discussion on Auburn. “UGA is still in it of course. Miami. Oklahoma. USC. Florida State.”
What will the school that signs him have to show him over the balance of the 2018 season? What does he need to see above all else?
“The ball in the air,” he said.
The Georgia questions regarding Jadon Haselwood
We’ll address the school that this website covers. That would be UGA. DawgNation had the chance to speak to Haselwood hours before he opted to reopen his recruitment. The video from that conversation is worth a review after reading this update.
He expressed the sentiment that he didn’t really know how the Bulldogs planned to use him. Miami plans to feature him in the same system that launched A.J. Green to NFL stardom. He said Georgia was in a good spot with him that day, but that the program could do more to make him even more excited to play there.
Haselwood wasn’t sure how the Bulldogs planned to use him other than to deploy him as their “X” receiver. He wished the program would be less conservative at times. He repeated that thought on Friday night.
When asked about that day and that conversation, he said he was not set to de-commit from the Bulldogs later that day.
“Something happened,” Hasewlood said. “I don’t want to speak on it, but something happened and I just ended up doing it.”
He had said before he was “1000 percent” committed to UGA. He likely does feel a strong kinship with the core recruits of the 2019 class, but he has to do what’s best for his career.
There was a time when fellow 5-star Nolan Smith served as the frontman for the class. Haselwood would slide up to UGA targets in a different way. His moves were low-key, but he did want to make sure those recruits felt a genuine interest in joining the program.
That said, the answer he offered on Friday night was vague. That was likely his intent. Haselwood knows what he is doing with all of this recruiting stuff.
He can check a reporter’s question the way he bounced around double press coverage from Pace Academy on Friday night.
But that initial answer required a follow-up in regard to what caused him to hit the reset button on Georgia.
“They were playing a little too conservative for me instead of taking shots,” Haselwood said.
Jadon Haselwood had one more intriguing point about UGA
The Bulldogs have not backed off. Receivers coach Cortez Hankton and quarterbacks coach James Coley continued to text him every day. He tries to answer every time that he can.
“They have not stopped recruiting me at all,” he said.
He also shared an opinion on a topic that has not been overblown (sarcasm italics font) by this point of the bye week. Haselwood mentioned Justin Fields in his answer about how the Bulldogs could bring him back to the 2019 class.
“Obviously right now Justin might need to be in the mix,” Haselwood said. “Because he has the better arm and stuff like that.”
He wasn’t sure he could properly explain his hesitation regarding UGA but gave it a good rep. The foundation of his point was that he’s not used to an offense that does not take shots downfield in the face of a favorable matchup.
Georgia will play a Pro-Style look. Emphasis on the run. That’s the same offense that Richt employs at Miami. The emphasis there might lean to the pass or a truer balance.
Cedar Grove runs a spread offense. That’s where his comfort level is right now. When he watches Georgia, he wants to see them take a shot downfield more. Maybe 10 to 15 percent of the time. Especially when a playmaker is lined out wide and there’s no safety help over the top. He wants to see that throw more.
“For me to go there that’s a major switch-up for the offense,” Haselwood said. “If I go to an offense like that, it will take a lot for me to learn. You have got to learn how to block somebody every play. I don’t know how to explain it right now but I’m not used to that. I’m used to a spread type of offense because that’s what I run in high school.”
Let’s be clear on this: He’s fine with blocking. A lot. He just wants to see those run calls balanced out with shots downfield. (Reminder: Every coach wants a receiver that says they want the ball and don’t get the ball enough. Especially one that will block his back plate off like Haselwood.)
What did he say? That part about the ball being in the air?
“Make that (the offensive attack) not just for the running backs,” he said.
I realize there are two schools of thought here for the reader. Why change the fundamental nature of the UGA attack for just one player? That’s a fair point. No one might not be that valuable. But there’s also the train of thought that the elite coordinator meshes his calls around what those players do best.
Hasewlood very well might be that guy. The next passage offers up pretty clear visual evidence in regard to that.
A true sign of respect for Jadon Haselwood
Jadon Haselwood is the highest-rated receiver in the recruiting industry since Dorial Green-Beckham and Stefon Diggs in 2012.
Pace Academy has game planned against Haselwood in region play dating back to his freshman year. They know Haselwood could be a 5-star safety if he chose to be on Saturdays. There is a slew of state championship-caliber coaches on that sideline who have also played the game at the highest levels.
The plan was to hog the ball and blanket Haselwood with Pace’s best athlete or two defensive backs for the entire game. He still found a way to make the game-turning play.
Haselwood picked off a ball as a deep safety and housed it for an early 7-3 lead. There was another moment when he yelled over to the Pace sideline. He advised the staff not to send the ball his way on kickoffs. Pace was wise not to do so along a very chippy game from both teams.
The Knights won the GHSA state title back in 2016. It was smart to see them employ a ball-control between-the-tackles game ball which allowed them to hog the ball the entire first quarter. That drive extended well beyond a dozen plays with a pair of fourth-down conversions.
They know that even though Haselwood wants to see the ball in the air that he can be an apt, willing and excellent blocker on any level. Check out these tweeted clips.
The gameday life and times of the nation’s No. 1 WR. 5-star Jadon Haselwood has a Pick-6 for his Cedar Grove team so far. Saints lead Pace Academy 13-3 at the half. pic.twitter.com/bgFzhui1CL
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 20, 2018
Not for the whole game exactly. But it was definitely a major coverage trend. pic.twitter.com/Qeqkr7sWRT
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 20, 2018
Parting moment regarding Jadon Haselwood
There are moments that don’t really fit into the structure of a report like this. But I felt that served as a fitting epilogue.
Pace Academy assistant coach Terrence Edwards came up to Haselwood at the close of our interview. Edwards still has his name attached every significant record for receivers at Georgia.
His final season was in 2002.
“I thought this man was going to be the one to break all of my records,” Edwards said. “That’s coming from the leading receiver in Georgia history. But I want you to do what’s best for you, brother. You’re a good kid.”
Edwards struck the right tones there. He hit the respect and appreciation notes, but also left him with his understanding that he knows that he should seek out the best fit for his future.
The reality here is simple. Haselwood is going to be great wherever he goes.
Provided they put the ball in the air. Consistently.
That’s more important to him than the losses that several of the teams he is considering have experienced of late.
The wins and losses during the flow of a season will not sway him a great deal. He pointed out that Cedar Grove struggled while he was in middle school.
The Saints are a championship program now. That’s due in large part to the grind of the staff and several classes of talented players.
It is his right to seek out the college fit that he feels best enables his dreams.
“He still has my permission to be the one to go and break all my records,” Edwards said afterward.
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