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Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com
South Gwinnett DE Justin Mascoll is rated as the nation's No. 1 weak-side DE for the Class of 2018.

5-star Justin Mascoll’s thoughts on UGA add to the concern for 2018

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 this 4-star or 5-star might lean and add a dab of perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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The context of this discussion will be the core of every recruiting class at Georgia going forward for forever.

The Bulldogs have a talent base within the state and around the Atlanta area to stockpile the core of a roster that can annually compete for championships. We called it the “Homegrown ratio” earlier this year.

Here’s how UGA has done signing the Top 15 players in the state dating back to 2012:

  • 2012: 4 (No. 1, 2, 4 and 12) — It led to a No. 8 final national recruiting ranking.
  • 2013: 3 (No. 8, 10 and 13) — It led to a No. 11 final national recruiting ranking.
  • 2014: 3 (No. 1, 3 and 5) — It led to a No. 8 final national recruiting ranking.
  • 2015: 7 (No. 1, 4, 5, 8, 10) — It led to a No. 5 final national recruiting ranking.
  • 2016: 5 (No. 2, 8, 12, 14 and 15) — It led to a No. 8 final national recruiting ranking.

Now here’s how Georgia is doing so far this year:

  •  2017: 9 (No. 2, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) — It currently rates No. 3 nationally.

Let’s dive into 2018

This adds weight to a discussion for the Class of 2018. Those players are in focus this week with the Elite Juniors Classic and Rising Seniors events behind held all week in Metro Atlanta. Those events showcase the top junior football talent in the state every year.

Yet there’s a different ratio to examine for 2018. That’s a glance at the players who have already committed away elsewhere with more than 380 days to go before their decisions are final.

  • 2018: 6 — No. 1, 4, 11, 13, 14, 15 have already committed elsewhere.

The first thing that should be said here is that Georgia is never going to get all the players in the state. The transient population in the Metro Atlanta area only adds to that. That number is worth looking at this week given that those six prospects

That number is worth looking at this week given that those six prospects who have already opted to play out-of-state include the nation’s top-ranked player in Trevor Lawrence and the state’s other top two quarterbacks.

5-star OG Jamaree Salyer has been rated as the nation's No. 1 OG for 2018. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
5-star OG Jamaree Salyer has been rated as the nation’s No. 1 OG for 2018. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

There are two other players on that list (Derrik Allen, Christian Tutt) that could also be leaving the state. Ohio State has done a great job recruiting both players. Tutt has already declared the Buckeyes as his leader. Allen also likes the Buckeyes and is now going to take an even closer look at Clemson after his longtime friend Lawrence has decided to play there.

The simple conclusion is that the Bulldogs are going to have to do a great job recruiting outside the state in 2018. That calls to mind players like North Carolina 5-star RB Zamir White and Florida 5-star CB Tyreke Johnson.

Georgia does appear to be the team to beat for the state’s No. 2 (Jamaree Salyer) and No. 6 (Trey Hill) prospects for 2018. Those are the nation’s Top 2 guard prospects for that cycle.

Those talking points dovetail nicely into a discussion regarding South Gwinnett 5-star defensive end Justin Mascoll. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 1 weak-side DE for 2018 and at No. 19 overall.

Mascoll also checks in as the No. 3 player in Georgia for 2018.

What Justin Mascoll is thinking

The 5-star prospect is using this week as a good simulation and trial run for his college experience. He’s away from home and his parents and understands that this is a taste of what college football will be like for him.

Mascoll told DawgNation his decision could come right before, during or at the end of his senior season next year.

“I still need to find that feeling where I don’t get tired of being there,” Mascoll said. “I need to start thinking about my school as like ‘I need to get back up there’ and ‘I can’t wait to get back up there’ because I still haven’t really felt that yet. It is more like I am getting tired of going there type-of-thing. I’m still waiting on that feeling. Maybe it is just me because I have on-and-off feelings about certain things. I feel like that’s definitely a feeling that I am looking for.”

That seems common. Mascoll is heavily recruited. He has been for about the last six months or so given his 5-star ranking. Even though he is in the Class of 2018.

Justin Mascoll hopes to make his college decision sometime before, during or after his senior season. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com)
Justin Mascoll hopes to make his college decision sometime before, during or after his senior season. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com)

“After a while, it does feel like the same old stuff every time, but I do find out that in those times it gives you a chance to determine when schools are being real and when they are not being real and just telling you stuff.”

He said he doesn’t have a core group of schools just yet, but he has been looking at FSU a lot more. That’s a nod to his teammate Robert Cooper. Cooper, a massive 6-foot-3 and 350-pound defensive tackle, has already committed to the Seminoles.

Cooper is rated as the No. 11 prospect in Georgia for 2018. Clemson and UGA have also been after Mascoll for quite some time.

The 5-star DE added that Auburn was “definitely in the mix.”

“Coach (Travis Williams) is definitely a real guy,” Mascoll said. “We talk a lot. Me and coach ‘T-Will’ are really cool.”

Mascoll had a lot of positive things to say about Georgia earlier this year. He said Athens felt like home to him.

How does he feel about the Bulldogs now?

“I feel like Georgia is a good place,” Mascoll said. “But I get this eerie feeling about Georgia. I still feel good about them.”

He was asked to specify what that exactly meant.

Justin Mascoll thinks he will play with his hand on the ground at defensive end in college. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Justin Mascoll thinks he will play with his hand on the ground at defensive end in college. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

“Sometimes I just feel as if I want to be different,” Mascoll said. “There are a lot of guys going there. You are going to have to compete everywhere you go. I am not afraid of competition or anything, but I have always been that type of kid to be different that what everyone else.”

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect said Georgia has maintained his interest and that it would still go down to the wire as one of the schools he would give very strong consideration to.

Most of the coaches that are recruiting him see him eventually swelling up to 260 pounds and having his hand on the ground primarily as a defensive end in college.

Mascoll felt that Clemson, FSU and Georgia have been recruiting him the hardest of late.

Lawrence’s decision to play at Clemson came as a surprise to him.

“It did raise my eyebrows a little bit,” Mascoll said. “I kind of thought he was leaning toward Georgia. I didn’t think too much about Clemson with Trevor. I knew Clemson was one of his top schools but that really surprised me. That was kind of out of nowhere.”

One last thing on UGA

Mascoll’s perspective on what the Bulldogs are building reflects what a lot of the guys at the Rising Seniors event are thinking about the program.

“I think they are building something great,” Mascoll said. “I think they are building something that will help them win championships in the future. Definitely a national championship. I feel like that would definitely be a great thing to be a part of. I mean why not?”

He said that location would be a big factor that could ultimately lead him to choose Georgia.

“I also like the people there,” Mascoll said. “The guys on the staff and the players there are really cool.”

He is not working to enroll early after his senior season. Mascoll also added that he hoped to wear No. 7 on the college level.

 

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