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Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Five-star prospect Kardell Thomas rates as the nation's No. 2 guard for 2019.

5-star junior LSU commit Kardell Thomas intrigued by Georgia

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Tuesday calls for a chance to recap a conversation with Kardell Thomas. He’s committed to LSU and ranks as the nation’s No. 17 overall prospect for 2019, per the 247Sports Composite. 

Kardell Thomas is one of the nation’s top juniors. He has been one of the most physically imposing prep players in the nation this fall.

Thomas is committed to LSU. He plays at Louisiana power Southern Lab in the heart of Baton Rouge, close to the LSU campus.

The intention here is not for a DawgNation reader to scan his words and start to ponder whether the Bulldogs can flip him. That could happen. Anything is possible in the hearts and minds of teenagers.

Kardell Thomas-UGA recruiting
Kardell Thomas ranks as the nation’s No. 2 guard prospect in the class of 2019. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

But the bigger picture is a reflection of reach. Georgia has upped its credibility with players far and wide in this turnaround season. That Auburn loss was one on the chin, but the fact the Bulldogs were rated as the nation’s top team in the College Football Playoff rankings only can benefit national recruiting in the days to come.

Georgia could very well finish 2018 with its second top 3 class and challenge for the No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2019.

Players such as Thomas have noticed Georgia. Why?

“I like them,” Thomas told DawgNation. “I’ve been watching the Bulldogs play for a long time now. They first started recruiting me after my Army combine camp. I’ve just kept watching them. They have come up tremendously with the way they have been playing.”

He said he already senses the Bulldogs “most definitely” will get an official visit next year.

“I like the way that Kirby Smart coaches,” Thomas said. “I know with him being under Nick Saban all that time that he knows and wants to do the same things that Nick does. Whatever Coach Saban taught him, it is clear that he has learned well.”

Thomas even went as far to say that he knew Smart would be able to lead the Georgia program back to national prominence.

“I’ve also noticed Georgia’s backs and the depth there,” Thomas said. “Any time a back can come up and do some of the same good things that the starters are doing, it does catch your eye. That is something to look at.”

Thomas also is pretty plugged in with some UGA commits and a few other players who are considering UGA. He rattled off a lot of names that DawgNation readers would know well.

He said he’s hearing a lot from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M.

UGA has just started to recruit Kardell Thomas

According to Thomas, he had an offer from Georgia for several months but only just became aware of it. That took place last week when the Bulldogs began to actively recruit him. He doesn’t have a crushing amount of offers (13) but that is still plausible for a high school junior.

Thomas spoke to Georgia line coach Sam Pittman last week. That must have been a fun conversation. Both of them like to joke around and laugh. A lot. Thomas is a lot like Georgia freshman Netori Johnson in that way.

Kardell Thomas-UGA recruiting
Kardell Thomas is committed to LSU but will take a good look at Georgia. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

“They have a freshman right guard and freshman right tackle,” Thomas told SEC Country. “I know they are recruiting [2018 prospects] Jamaree Salyer and Trey Hill very hard. If you do your research, you’ll know if it’s likely going to take you two years to start at these schools just off the simple fact that they’ve been there and will need exposure if they haven’t played yet. ”

He was planning a trip to see Georgia face Kentucky this week. Thomas wanted to see what earned the Bulldogs that No. 1 ranking.
But that was before the weekend that saw the Bulldogs tumble from the top spot.
He updated his travel plan Monday and said he still intends to visit but wasn’t certain. If he makes the visit, it will be his first to UGA.
“I watched that South Carolina game,” Thomas said. “It was a good game. I also watched them play Notre Dame. I’m just studying them to see what they do.”
Pittman made an impression. That exposure helped, but the staff has to recruit after that.

“I could tell that he’s a real stand-up guy and a God-fearing man,” Thomas said. “I like that. He has a really close connection with coach [Bo] Davis at Florida, too. He said Coach Davis is like his son. I’m close [to] him.”

The 6-foot-4½, 345-pound player is a massive presence in the middle. He believes in his ability. Thomas said he will not let any depth chart keep him from a school that fits him well.

Salyer is the nation’s top guard this year. Hill checks in at No. 2. What if UGA signs both? If Georgia does, it will not immediately affect the way he looks at Georgia, he said.

“It’s not going to turn me off, but I’m going to be cautious about it,” Thomas said. “I’ll have to see what they do. If they are already in the lineup, then I know I’ll just have to beat someone else out. That would be better than just going up against like five other guys who haven’t played yet. I’m trying to do as much research into these schools so I know what I’m going into.”

He said to look for him to likely remain committed to LSU until he makes his final decision.

“I am not going to lie,” Thomas said. “Everyone has a shot. I’m not going to rule any of these schools out.”

Thomas said he wants to go into broadcast journalism when his playing days are up. He could wind up as another former SEC player in the broadcast booth, breaking down games and players.

“I really hope when all is said and done that I can take the place of Marcus Spears on Thinking Out Loud one day,” Thomas said.

The news regarding Caleb Tannor Monday night

Caleb Tannor de-committed from Georgia Monday night. What happened? Was it mutual? Did he have to?

Caleb Tannor-UGA recruiting
When Caleb Tannor trains, he flips these 300-pound tractor-trailer tires for a good workout. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

There are reports out there that cover a wide range of scenarios, but I will focus on the following: Tannor’s decision helps to alleviate a potential problem for Georgia.

With Tannor in the class, the Bulldogs had commitments from three players (also Adam Anderson and Azeez Ojulari) who would likely play the same position in Athens. Jaevon Becton has the size that befits more of a strongside defensive end, but he also could line up as the “Jack” in the traditional UGA odd front.

That was tight, but then the Bulldogs were also chasing three other linebackers who are all rated higher than Tannor: KJ Henry, Otis Reese and Channing Tindall. Reese and Tindall also could line up at inside linebacker, too.

With Tannor in the mix, it made for a crowded picture at defensive end/outside linebacker for 2018 ― especially given that the Bulldogs had 18 commitments and potentially just room for six more public commitments in the 2018 class.

Tannor’s move creates some wiggle in the class going forward. If the Bulldogs want to add another defensive or offensive lineman, or a wide receiver, in this class, then that scholarship slot would be better served there than on an additional linebacker.

That becomes very clear if the Bulldogs are able to close the deal with Henry, Reese or Tindall.

Did you watch Before the Hedges Monday night? 

Do you know about Before the Hedges yet?

DawgNation’s weekly live recruiting show went live on Facebook with its third episode of 2017 Monday night. Hannah Chalker and a slightly under-the-weather correspondent checked in and chopped up all the hot topics regarding UGA recruiting here.

We broke down:

  • Does the Auburn loss hurt UGA in recruiting?
  • It looks like the Tennessee news with Butch Jones will matter more.
  • Who are the remaining targets for 2018?
  • We also included a get-to-know video interview with 4-star DE Azeez Ojulari.


Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-America candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.