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Want to hear a few new stories about Amarius Mims today?

Amarius Mims: The tall tales that go beyond a Georgia boy’s 5-star ranking

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry brings a different kind of read on 5-star OT Amarius Mims of Bleckley County High School. 

There’s a lot to read about Amarius Mims on the internet. Especially on social media. Most of it anchors around a few key phrases. Or his top schools.

5-star. 6 feet and 8 inches tall. 320 pounds. No. 1 player in Georgia. No. 2 tackle in America. No. 6 player in the country for 2021.

For those that follow recruiting, those blurbs command attention. For those that follow football, they do little to convey how well he plays the game.

What type of player would he be if he was six inches shorter? What type of worker is he? How much does he want to win?

Recruiters are well served to seek those answers. Let’s use this space to define those about Mims.

What goes beyond a frame that only lacks a pair of purple pants to stand in as a non-CGI stunt double for The Hulk? As it turns out, a few more phrases identify him as well as that first collection.

Tougher than a stretch of new rope. Whatever it takes. Pleaser. More determined than a PTA meeting full of Karens. 

In honor of the young man getting within a month of his commitment day on Oct.14, we deem it timely to share a few stories from a reporter’s notebook on Mims.

“This is a kid who loves people,” one of his coaches recently said. “He has the best personality I’ve ever associated with a 5-star.”

Mims is shaped by his simple Middle Georgia roots.

“He has a personality where he doesn’t get too high,” that coach added. “He doesn’t get too low. He just likes people. He loves people. He doesn’t like to disappoint people. He wants to please you.”

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This photo is uncanny. Amarius Mims simply towers over most of the starting offensive line at Bleckley County. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Amarius Mims: The first story you need to know 

Who knows a top offensive lineman better than anybody except his Momma? That is his position coach.

Bleckley County coach Ryan McKenzie also led the room for former Georgia signee D’Antne Demery when he was at Brunswick. It meant he coached current Georgia redshirt freshman Warren McClendon Jr. for multiple years, too. He also coached another All-American in Bulldog starter Trey Hill at Macon County.

He coaches Mims now. The man certainly has stories beginning with those first two quotes about Mims and his personality.

Blue-collar worker. Student of the game. The first one in and last to leave. Likes to be around his teammates. Likes his coaches. Maximum effort. Loyal. Dependable.

Please pardon the repeat visual. But Amarius Mims does a pretty good impression of a California Redwood on the football field. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

McKenzie has a story for each of those examples. But those would not be his best story.

“He was on his way to get that scholarship and before the first-round playoff game [last year] he breaks his wrist,” McKenzie said. “He looks at it and says whatever we have to do so I can play first round so I can be there for my brothers is what we’re going to do. Whatever we have to do, he says.”

McKenzie was thinking about his future.

Mims was thinking there was no way he’d miss his next game.

“We went board drills before the first big playoff game on Monday,” McKenzie said. “We shouldn’t have been doing it probably. Coach [Von] Lassiter and I talked about it. It was the first time we had been in the playoffs for awhile here.”

Mims came out the very first rep. He put the linebacker on his back. Then planted his hand.

“He gets up and he is holding it,” McKenzie said. “He looks up and said ‘Coach it hurts a little bit’ and we take him to the doctor. He fractured his wrist.”

“They put him in the cast and the first thing he says is ‘Coach I am playing on Friday’ after that.”

That was last year against Fitzgerald. Mims played in that game.

“That’s the type of kid he is,” his line coach said. “Not the No. 2 player in the nation. Not the I-have-got-to-protect-myself-and-my-future kid. It was ‘I want to play in this game and I want to be there for teammates. They need me.’ That’s the type of kid he is.”

Big Ums. Mims. You. Boy. 

McKenzie has all of those names for Mims.

“I call him all those things to keep him grounded,” McKenzie said. “I don’t try to feed into all of that stuff everyone else says. I try to be that one agent in his life that holds him accountable for everything.”

If a coach is not pushing him, Mims will look at them like they are crazy. He wants to be coached. Hard. When sitting in on a Bleckley County film session, it is not a chorus of look at what ‘Big Ums’ did here.

“It is why are you not steeping to your right foot here?” McKenzie said. “Why aren’t you being violent? Why are you not punishing the person in front of you? On a pass set, we are supposed to have three kicks. What about yesterday? Our defensive lineman made a play in practice on a pass set. He didn’t get past the line of scrimmage but he jumped up and batted the ball down. It was on him. He was supposed to finish him with his block and he didn’t.”

McKenzie is a disciple of perfection. Not perfect. He wants to make the pursuit of perfection permanent in his guys. With Mims, we must remind ourselves that last fall was his first season at tackle. He was a blocking tight end for all of 2018.

There’s no HUDL film of his junior year. There was no need to make a junior version to reel in offers. Take a look at his early senior year work.

There was one pivotal game last fall where he arrived as a team leader, with a few others on his squad.

“He was the No. 1 player that said run behind me coach,” McKenzie said. “He was clearing those guys out of the way like no other.”

Mims is now more than the biggest body on his team.

“I tell him that how you practice and the things that you do inspires the other guys around you,” McKenzie said.

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Amarius Mims is a better run blocker right now than he is a pass protector. Why? It is a matter of reps and exposure to daily work against elite pass rushers. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The 6-foot-8-sized “why” for Amarius Mims

“Every time we talk about that it is he wants to change the stature of his family,” McKenzie said. “It is not changing his life. He wants to change the lives of everyone in his family. He says he wants his talents to open up the whole world for them and take care of them.”

Mims states that plainly. His parents are just simple hard-working people.

“I have a chance to make a lot of people rich,” he says of his family. “I am not doing this for me. I play football because I told myself I want to make sure my Mom and my Dad are taken care of.”

What else sticks out?

“People need to know about his personality,” McKenzie said. “They need to know he’s an extremely hard worker. That he wants to be the best offensive lineman ever. It is not about the hype ever. It is about he wants to be in the best position that is going to fit him. That’s number one and then number two he wants to be at the best place that is going to push and mold him to be the best version of himself he can be.”

An honest scouting report on Amarius Mims

Where was Mims at heading into his senior season? Where does the world think he is? Do those evaluations match up?

He’s a better run blocker right now than a pass protector.

“The world thinks he is an Orlando Pace talent,” McKenzie said of what the scouts say. “I’ve heard that 13 times. Coach, I’ve never seen anybody like him.”

We can see that from his frame and his build. The foundation for greatness is there.

“But he still needs to work more on his feet in pass protection,” McKenzie said. “At this level, I think competition drives that. Him not being able to go to the Opening. Him not being able to go against all those other elite players did not instill the hunger or let him realize he has to bring it every single day.”

If Mims is working at 45 percent of his effort, it likely means the average opponent he faces in high school will not be able to get by him.

“But we practice for where we are going,” McKenzie said. “Not where we are at.”

Mims will get calls from Kirby Smart and Matt Luke. Gus Malzahn. Jeremy Pruitt. Nick Saban. Mike Norvell. They might tell him he is the greatest thing they have ever seen.

But his high school coach greets him every day with what he has to work on. It is as it should be. But he can clearly see the boundless talent there, too.

McKenzie said Mims is probably the best he’s ever had at run blocking and working through his progressions in the run game.

Amarius Mims has added about a half-inch and about 10-15 pounds for his senior season. He’s also shifted around the weight on his body. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“He’s really good in space,” his line coach said. “Probably the best lineman I’ve ever had in space.”

Mims probably doesn’t have Demery’s tools in pass pro yet.

“Demery had a punch like no other,” McKenzie said.

McClendon had a thicker body and is excellent mentally. The Georgia redshirt freshman is vying for a starting spot at right tackle. He’s always been a student of the game.

Hill was the raw talent. His feet are just so good for an interior OL. He is nimble when sets up inside and that gives him an edge coming off the ball. Especially working against the bigger defensive tackles.

Demery and McClendon traded coaching stories with the Bleckley County O-line over quarantine during a Zoom call. They said he made them do all the same things the Royals don’t look forward to doing now.

But they said it made them better.

It was hard for him to assess which one was the best at this stage. Not just because it was a pretty tough evaluation. It was because he is so loyal to the young men who play for him.

“But I think Mims is probably the overall best prospect because first, he is younger than them,” McKenzie said. “Then number two he has so much upside right now.”

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it. 

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Amarius Mims projects as a prototype left tackle on the college level for any national championship-contending program. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Getting better: The next progressions for Amarius Mims

Mims told DawgNation he is now every bit of 6 feet and 8 inches tall. He’s trending closer to the 6-foot-9 mark. His doctor told him his growth plates are open. He might add another inch or two.

That would be unreal.

“My doctor said I could even get close to seven feet,” Mims said.

McKenzie heard that same thing. How could a 6-foot-10 lineman be adept at leverage and pad level in the SEC?

“You put him in a two-point stance,” McKenzie said. “You tell him to spread the feet a little more and you tell him to get wider. Just come off the ball. Keep your base. Try to use that length to lift guys up better.”

Can he get better with another inch?

“If his arms get longer I think so,” McKenzie said. “His pass protection may get even a little bit better. But I don’t think that length is always the best in football. There is so much bending and squatting.”

Bleckley County offensive line coach could be a head coach in his own right by now. But Amarius Mims is fortunate to have him holding him to the highest standards every day for the Royals. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Mims is every bit of 320 pounds right now. It takes a toll.

“A lot of people will say probably he doesn’t mash a lot of people all the time,” his line coach said. “He will only mash people when he wants to. But he’s told me he’d rather drive them to the sideline and leave them there. Because he doesn’t like picking [himself] up all day.”

“Big guys don’t like laying on people. They have to put them down there on the ground and they have to get up 80 times a game. Imagine being in the weight room and squatting 320 pounds 80 times. People don’t understand that.”

That’s why Mims is seen shielding off his assignment a lot. Or driving them 10 yards off the line and dropping them off.

“He doesn’t need to get any taller,” McKenzie said. “He just can stay where he is, continue to add muscle and build onto his frame and continue to work on the limit and the sky is the limit for him.”

His weakest strength is probably his leadership ability. He needs to learn how to encourage more. It will be easier in college. He will be surrounded by the 6-foot-4-and-up club in the SEC.

The message will be received differently then. Compared to when he is literally 12 inches taller than the starting guard on Friday nights.

“I tell him he will have to be mentioned like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James,” McKenzie said. “Those guys are hated. Not because of their talent. Not because they are bad people. But because they demand so much from their teammates. Once he gets that attribute up of demanding perfection from his teammates, he’ll really be something special.”

RELATED: 8 things to know right now about Amarius Mims and his recruiting 

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Amarius Mims is often smiling on the practice field. Or challenging his teammates to get better every day, too. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Why he should be called Mount Mims

5-star Georgia QB commitment Brock Vandagriff raves about Mims. Not because he wants to sell him on keeping his jersey clean. They are longtime friends and now even fishing buddies.

“I am going to be completely honest with you,” Vandagriff said. “I don’t think that [relationship] has evolved much. From the start, Mims and I have been great friends.”

RELATED: Why Brock Vandagriff will know the Amarius Mims decision before any coach 

That Pied Piper talk to join him at Georgia is not the focus. Vandagriff places their friendship first. Even after Mims spends a weekend in Athens. When the Georgia staff might ask for intel, he has little to report.

“The coaches after he spends a weekend, they will be like ‘Hey what did he say about Georgia?’” Vandagriff said.

He can only tell them they didn’t talk much about Georgia.

“It is genuine between me and Mims,” Vandagriff said. “I love the kid to death. I am going to support him wherever he goes.”

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Brock Vandagriff (left) and Amarius Mims (right) certainly go back aways. (Amarius Mims/Twitter)

Vandagriff will likely go to the commitment event for Mims. If there is one.

“Because I support him,” Vandagriff said. “I love the kid and we don’t talk about [recruiting] much. We talk about fishing and football and we don’t talk about college too much. Just living in the moment.”

There’s another simple Mims story that fits in here. It is about his social media account.

He’s not one of those 5-stars like former Bulldog Mecole Hardman Jr. who couldn’t stop tweeting.

The Tennessee fans adore him. He told DawgNation this summer he could post a picture of him walking plain as day down the street. It would result in a wave of UT views. But when he tweets or shares something on Instagram, it is often for others.

Mims has about 30,000 total followers across his two primary social media accounts. He’s sent out follow requests for countless others for their accounts. He’s probably reeled in 300,000 followers for others.

We have not seen a 5-star do that before. Not to that extent. Vandagriff will joke that Mims can’t outfish him. But Mims can catch more social media followers for others.

What’s the reason?

Someone only has to ask. The last thing he wants is for someone to mix him up with a 6-star ego.

“Don’t want to seem like I have a big head or anything,” Mims said. “I’m always going to try to help somebody out. I don’t want anybody to think I’m too good to help them out.”

McKenzie found another way to describe him.

“He’s just a mountain of a person,” he said.

 

Want more Mims? Check out his 1-on-1 DawgNation interview from late July. The interview appears on our weekly “Before the Hedges” program. This first chapter opens up at the 3:46 mark.

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

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