5-star Jamaree Salyer can make or break UGA’s next recruiting class
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 priority 5-star like Jamaree Salyer might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
There are recruits that a fan base should pay a great deal of attention to. There are others which maybe those ear-to-the-ground fans will seek to stay plugged into almost every word.
Jamaree Salyer — if we’re speaking frankly — is a bit more than that. The rising senior at Pace Academy has looked like the best interior lineman in America for the last two recruiting cycles. At least.
That’s what I’ve felt comfortable saying going all the way back to when I saw him reach the final Top 5 last July at The Opening in Oregon.
And that’s my bad. I cracked open some research. That seems like a gross underestimation. He’s already the top-rated offensive lineman in 2018.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder has shed about 12 pounds from last year’s dominating frame. He is already throwing up about 415 pounds on the bench press.
Salyer is rated as the nation’s No. 1 prospect at guard for 2018 and the No. 7 overall prospect for this cycle.
He gets it done beyond the lines, too. Salyer holds a 91 overall average amid a very demanding curriculum at Pace Academy. Mr. 5-star is also an A-student. That even comes while taking AP classes in his junior year. It’s a safe bet he will even get accepted into Stanford.
Georgia still continues to recruit him harder than any other school. Line coach Sam Pittman has made Salyer a priority since his first few weeks on the job.
He’s at least the 1A or 1B priority for Georgia’s class this year.
“Georgia makes me feel like that,” Salyer said. “Every time I talk to coach Pittman he tells me that I am the final piece. He said I’m what he wants. He says (Houston County 4-star guard prospect) Trey Hill and I are the final pieces to his line. We talk about it and I definitely feel like Georgia is recruiting me that way.”
This is the recruit you are looking for
What sort of emphasis should the fans at Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Stanford have in regard to his eventual decision?
DawgNation will likely look to every word like bread crumbs that draw an imaginary line to Athens. Sayler is one of two potential 5-star jewels (hat tip to RB Zamir White) for Georgia’s next class.
Here’s the Angus beyond all that sizzle: Salyer’s status as the No. 7 overall prospect in the highest perch for a guard in the last 12 full recruiting cycles.
There is only one other year in the vast 247Sports database that shows where a guard prospect earned a higher mark than Salyer’s 0.9956 composite ranking.
That was 5-star Andre Smith back in 2006. The Alabama prep legend is still the only lineman to be awarded that state’s Mr. Football honor. The Huffman High standout was the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect that year.
Consider the culture here. Guards don’t get rated that high. The nation’s Top 10 is a quarterback, running back and a defensive end’s lane.
Seeing players like Salyer and Smith rated that high is like seeing a Jim Carrey or Eddie Murphy up for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
The average rating for the nation’s No. 1 guard going back over the last 18 recruiting classes has been No. 34 overall. Salyer and Smith are the only two guards that have ever cracked the overall Top 10 in the modern era of recruiting rankings.
What does all that mean? That’s a few dancing paragraphs that reflect Salyer is the second highest-rated offensive guard prospect going all the way back to 2000.
In short, that boy good.
“It was all just hard work from the very beginning,” Salyer said. “I never thought I was that good and still don’t think that. It is just always about what I can do better. That has really helped me. Because I have always thought there’s so much I have to work on. People can call me a 5-star all they want. But in my mind, I’m always going to think I’m just trash.”
The latest on the Jamaree Salyer decision
Salyer wore a Georgia hat when we met this week. It was given to him by perhaps the single most active recruiter trying to sway him to the red and black.
That was not Pittman. Or head coach Kirby Smart.
It came from his longtime friend and teammate Trey Blount. He just handed it over to him in the hallways.
Blount, a 4-star receiver in his own right, signed with Georgia in February. He’s still grinding every day to connect the third leg of a Pace Academy pipeline to UGA.
Andrew Thomas was the second phase of that project. The 4-star OT would up as the nation’s No. 42 overall prospect in 2017. Thomas and Salyer are close. They go all the way back to their middle school football days.
We covered several subjects in a wide-ranging interview. The college decision stuff will flow forth from this point in the blog. But perhaps the most interesting moment came when it was time to snap a few pictures to add to DawgNation’s photo inventory.
Did he want to remove that UGA lid? Salyer considered it for maybe a half-second and then politely said he was good with it.
His road will be different than that of Blount or Thomas. Neither one of those guys took any other official visits beyond their trip to Georgia.
The nation’s No. 1 guard could take all five of his. Look for him to share a Top 7 this spring. He can fill in four of those slots rather easily. The other three will be tough.
Salyer might take his decision all the way up to National Signing Day, too. Clemson and Stanford are both that intriguing.
And yet there’s that red cap he wore.
He calls Pittman by the term “Pitt” in casual conversation. It still ranks as the strongest relationship he’s forged with a recruiter. Clemson’s Robbie Caldwell and Tony Elliott are both also very good in that aspect, too.
Salyer said that was probably his next-best relationship among the college coaches that hope to sign him.
He doesn’t even mind the thought of a position switch at Georgia.
“Pitt and I have talked about it and I know that if I do choose to go to Georgia then I will have to play center at some point,” Salyer said. “I’m not necessarily upset about it. Guards that can play center and centers that can play guard do have a higher draft stock. I knew that, but we sat down and talked about it. He told me it was a good opportunity and by him just saying that and thinking that way about it makes me see him as someone who is more concerned about my future than just the football aspect than helping his offensive line. When he said that to me, it set that light bulb off in my head.”
He’ll be at G-Day on April 22. Salyer is already sure about that.
“Coach Pittman basically already talks to me like I go to school there already,” he said. “He just straight up tells me how he feels about me and where he could possibly see me on the depth chart. But he also tells me about the worst-case scenarios. Let’s say I tear my ACL tomorrow and I am at Georgia he feels like the school will be great enough to serve me with the right degree when I graduate.”
Salyer already aspires to gain his masters degree in business administration.
“It feels like that will carry a lot of weight in the business world,” Salyer said. “So even beyond all the football, that still feels like a great fit.”
Look for a lot more on Salyer in the coming days.