Amarius Mims will return to Athens this weekend as one of the biggest (literally + figuratively) names attending Georgia’s big “Junior Day” event.
The 320-pound junior is already aware the scenery will be different around the football complex since his last visit for the Texas A&M game. Sam Pittman is now at Arkansas.
When the beloved line coach left for his dream job as head coach of the Razorbacks, it hurt the Bulldogs and their chances with Mims. Georgia had been his leader up until that decision.
The Bulldogs are now looking up at Alabama and LSU for the lead schools vying to sign the 6-foot-7.5 bookend left tackle prospect out of Bleckley County.
Enter Matt Luke. Restoring a strong relationship with Mims will big chore for Luke as he enters the first full recruiting cycle as Georgia’s offensive line coach. He’ll need every ounce of the charisma he displayed on national TV for The Sugar Bowl against Baylor.
In fact, that’s the big thing that Mims hopes to see from this trip, too.
“Just building a relationship like I built with coach Pittman,” Mims said of his goals for the visit.
Mims ranks as the nation’s No. 3 OT prospect for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite for 2021. That places him as the nation’s No. 13 overall prospect for that cycle.
If a school blows him away, there’s the chance that he could make an immediate commitment. If that’s the case, he will still take other his officials after that to make sure he picked the right school.
What will he be looking for in a school fit?
“A good relationship with your coach,” Mims said. “Good relationship with our team. Making sure that you want to be there. I feel like that’s a big part.”
Amarius Mims: The catching up Georgia has to do here
Mims told the media at the Under Armour All-American “Future 50” event how Pittman to Arkansas changed up his connection to the Georgia program.
“It affected it a lot,” Mims said. “He and I had a strong relationship. We built something like very strong. Even to this day now that he left, we still talk. We still talk almost every day. It affected it a lot.”
Others took advantage.
“When coach Pittman left it kind of took a little turn,” he said. “I feel like Alabama and LSU have stepped up.”
Luke already made a point to stop by Bleckley County back in December when Georgia’s coaches were on the road.
“He came by my school and talked to my coach,” Mims said on Jan. 2. “I talked to him yesterday, too. Both Coach Luke and Coach [Kirby] Smart texted me on the phone. I feel like I want to build a relationship with [Luke] too and I want to give him a chance.”
Mims has an initial impression of Luke to build off of.
“I feel like he is a good coach,” he said. “He is going to be a good recruiter and everybody likes him. He’s a good person. I feel like if I get up to build a relationship with him, it will be good.”
He said he watched all of the program’s Sugar Bowl win against Baylor.
“I felt like they did good even though both of their tackles weren’t there and they were missing their starting running back,” he said. “I felt like they did well.”
Mims said back on Jan. 2. that he planned on getting up to Athens for a visit as soon as possible. That is just what he plans to do this weekend.
Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and LSU have been the other teams on his mind.
“It is like LSU and Alabama are right there,” he said. “Then you have Auburn, Clemson and Georgia right there with each other, too.”
He wasn’t able to compete at the “Future 50” event in Orlando. He had surgery on his knee recently. He had just has some screws taken out of it before he made that trip to Florida for that event.
The 5-star junior has been to Alabama a few times. He said his best relationship with a member of that staff was with OLBs coach Sal Sunseri.
“I’ve been there multiple times,” Mims said. “I have been able to build a relationship with the coaches. I talk to the coaches a lot. I feel like I can come in and do well as a player with them.”
LSU is also benefitting from its long-term relationships. The head coach of the national championships has made a clear impression.
“He’s always up,” Mims said. “There is never a dull moment when we talk.”
There’s also an interest in lining up for that high-powered LSU offense.
“Me having a conversation with [offensive line] coach [James] Cregg and Coach O I feel like I can fit in there, too,” Mims said. “Of course they are in a spread offense and that’s an offense I am looking forward to playing in, too. I feel like I can go in there and be able to play early, too.”
Mims said at the “Future 50” that he is currently planning two official visits in April. The first of those will be to Oklahoma. The second will be to check out LSU. He hasn’t set any dates on those as of yet.
That will be his first trip to LSU. He is hoping to make a decision by this summer.
The rising senior shared an interesting thought comparing what he’s seen so far on trips to both Alabama and Georgia.
“I would probably say Georgia when you go in the locker room it is like nice and everybody is jumping around and talking,” Mims said. “At Alabama, everybody is like more serious. It is time to play.”
— DawgNation’s Connor Riley contributed to this report.