Alabama? Clemson? UGA? UNC? A key source weighs in on 5-star Zamir White
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 prospect like Zamir White might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Good morning, folks.
The big topic this week and the rest of the spring will be Zamir White. Let’s hit that hard this morning with a part of the daily blog I call the speed read.
That’s where I pepper in a few important details to bring everyone up to date a catch-up on the subject of the day. It gives our new readers a chance to connect with a daily stream of in-depth recruiting material.
- White, a 5-star prospect who is rated as the nation’s No. 1 RB, would be the highest-rated recruit of the brief Kirby Smart era at Georgia. The North Carolina native has made two trips to UGA in the last three weeks. He is rated as the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect for this year’s cycle.
- The previous Georgia staff rated White so highly they told his Scotland County coach (Richard Bailey) in 2015 that he was better than any current high school senior they were recruiting back then. That’s when White was just a sophomore.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder carries the nickname “Zeus” and that is an interesting mantle for a high school star. If anyone chooses to speculate why a kid from one of the poorest regions of his state has a nickname plucked from Greek mythology, his highlight film is a short scroll below. (The thunderbolts that emit from his cleats on his third-down carries seem like a George Lucas CGI trick.)
- White will graduate early in December of 2017.
- But “Zeus” will make his college decision on June 27, 2017. That’s his mother’s birthday. Those two had an inspiring personal journey through his early childhood. That mother-son bond is especially tight.
- There has been much speculation of late about White making his mind up and being a strong lean to Clemson. That buzz seems to be premature. White has yet to visit Clemson in 2017.
- Clemson should not be discounted. A 247Sports report this week on White’s current pecking order included a quote in which he named Clemson and Georgia as his co-leaders. That was interesting. Because it seems like Alabama is just as big a threat (or perhaps even more so) to sign White.
That’s the need to know. Now let’s jump into some original reporting. The bulk of that will come from an exclusive interview with White’s mother.
Shanee White on her son Zamir White’s decision
Shanee White is an impressive lady. We first met last April in North Carolina. She majored in criminal justice and works as a corrections officer.
We spent a little time together discussing her son’s story at one of the finest new restaurants in town. It was an exotic little spot known to the locals as Zaxby’s.
Where does his decision stand right now?
“I think he is still narrowing it all down,” Shanee White said. “Taking it all in one day at a time.”
She stays very up-to-date on his recruiting, but the one thing which did surprise her with was his idea to make his commitment on her birthday.
“He dropped that on me,” Shanee White said. “I wish he would have discussed it with me but he didn’t. But I mean it is fine. If that’s what he wants to do, then go for it. I don’t have a problem with it.”
She knew why her son chose to do that.
“He’s a momma’s boy so that was not surprising to me,” she said.
Her favorites at this time were Alabama and Georgia. That’s in no specific order.
“I like both programs,” she said. “I like the coaches and all. Both of those programs are really good schools. .. You can’t go wrong with either school.”
What about Clemson and North Carolina?
“I like those but I haven’t really spent much time at Clemson,” she said. “I’ve only been to Clemson once and we got there kind of late. I think it was a day I had to work and I might have gotten off work to go. We were rushed trying to get there and I didn’t really get to spend a lot of time at Clemson.”
There was a clear reason why Alabama and Georgia appealed to her.
“Both coaching staffs at those schools talk about family and him becoming a man instead of football because football will work itself out as long as he gets down there and does what he is supposed to do,” she said.
She was fair to Clemson on that topic. She mentioned those two schools along those parameters because she feels she has not spent that much time at Clemson.
That comes back to that late arrival for the Louisville game. She stated they only had about an hour with the coaches before that game started.
Shanee White said she does follow the popular “Crystal Ball” feature from 247Sports regarding her son. She was quite confused when all those recent picks popped up touting Clemson.
Her “Crystal Ball” for her son’s choice still seemed pretty cloudy at this time. White said she needed more time, more data and to have more heart-to-heart talks with her son.
“He’s analyzing everything and taking it all in and everybody into consideration,” she said. “He’s going to make the best decision for him and where he feels comfortable. Because I am not the one going back to college.”
But then she added one more interesting tidbit.
“He’s been analyzing it well but I think I am doing more analyzing it and breaking it all down and explaining it to him,” she said. “I think he’s got it narrowed down. He may even have (his mind) made up.”
Georgia’s new appeal to Zamir White
White has traveled with her son to Georgia twice in the last three weeks.
“I like their coaching staff,” she said. “It feels like a family thing down there. They try to incorporate family down there. I think that’s what he is looking for. He is so used to being around his family all the time.”
She knows her son likes Georgia a lot. She also knows that he likes the coaching staff in Athens and that he “gets along great with them.” She also cited his relationships with players.
He’s known Nick Chubb and Sony Michel for some time. White met those guys when they played for Mark Richt.
“They spoke with him about the school and from what he hears with everything about Georgia is it is a great place to be,” she said.
She’s told DawgNation location would be a factor. Shanee White wanted her son to choose a school within a five-hour radius of Laurinburg. But she discounted the fact Georgia was a lot closer to home than Alabama as a factor.
But she discounted the fact Georgia was a lot closer to home than Alabama as a factor.
“I wouldn’t say that because the trip to Alabama is not a bad ride,” she said. “We have taken that ride to Alabama a couple of times. It is not that bad. I have driven that straight before. It is not a bad trip.”
The re-connection to Georgia
Georgia already seemed like a lock for White in the fall of 2015. The coaching staff valued him greatly and he’d already met Chubb and Michel. He told DawgNation that Georgia led Tennessee “by a lot” when it came to his decision. That shows how long he’s favored the chance to play in Athens.
That shows how long he’s favored the chance to play in Athens. Has the new staff re-built that connection?
“I would say that staff has,” she said. “Both coaching staffs have always been very nice and seemed like really down-to-earth and friendly people who stress that family aspect. It now feels pretty much the same as it did before.”
She said her family was impressed by the new indoor practice facility at UGA.
“We’ve been going to Georgia for awhile,” she said. “That’s back when that new facility was just the plans on cardboard that they showed you. So it is nice to actually see it.”
White said she was been to UGA twice with the new coaching staff and made five trips in all. She knew Zamir has made a few more trips than that over the last three years.
Her son wanted to make another trip to UGA because he wanted to attend the basketball game against Kentucky. Has Zamir been to Georgia more than any other school?
“Well we have been to Alabama quite a few times, too,” she said. “It is about the same. Those two schools are running neck-and-neck with that.”
She even felt that the chance to play in Tuscaloosa wasn’t any better or worse than at Georgia.
“I feel he would even get the chance to play fast at Alabama,” she said. “It is just solely up to him.”
Alabama ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi has been recruiting him to Tuscaloosa. Lupoi was central to the Crimson Tide signing the nation’s No. 1 RB (Najee Harris) in 2017, too.
The Dell McGee factor
White believes that the more she sees people, then the more she gets to know them.
Who recruits her son the hardest? Shanee White said it was likely Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee.
“Probably Coach McGee,” she said. “When he is able to come to Laurinburg, then he is there every week. I think he has been here more than anybody. I’m not totally sure because I work a lot, but I know he comes a lot.”
She said McGee is usually there on the very first day NCAA rules allow him to visit.
“They talk a lot about more life things than football,” she said. “Hey, that’s good. That’s what I really want a coach to do with my son. .. If Coach McGee could show up tomorrow and be allowed to make a visit with my son, then he would be here tomorrow.”
The pitch — from her own words — is to come to Georgia and be a “game changer” for the program. Most of the stuff she hears from all those schools sound similar, but the Bulldogs have a unique message.
“Georgia is rebuilding and they have to rebuild since Mark Richt and everyone left,” she said. “They are coming up. They are trying to get that program back to where it was.”
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.