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Jeff Sentell / AJC
Will UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman be hailed as a recruiting hero after 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson's announcement on Friday? We shall see.

The big dates to know as recruiting season generates extreme UGA fan interest

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.


It is the most wonderful time of the year.

That’s when the interest in Georgia football recruiting goes from white-hot to something in the supernova category.

That’s just what happened yesterday as information began to trickle out that Georgia was definitely in a no-holds-barred street fight for Brooklyn 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson.

DawgNation’s report clarified that there was legit interest from Wilson in UGA and sources were pointing to him choosing the Bulldogs with his announcement on Friday. That was a bit of stunner as most in the recruiting industry felt that he was Michigan all the way with a slight opening for Alabama to earn his commitment.

Isaiah Wilson (No. 74) was said to have enjoyed himself in Athens last weekend. (@dylantylertake / Twitter)
Isaiah Wilson (No. 74) was said to have enjoyed himself in Athens last weekend. (@dylantylertake / Twitter)

The news cycle around Wilson seems like a good time to reset the expected timeline for seven of UGA’s top targets over the approximate 45 days between now and National Signing Day.

The dead period lifts on Jan. 11. The interesting part there is there will be 19 days left from that point for face-to-face contact between programs and Class of 2017 recruits.

I’m going to share the latest information on when each of Georgia’s top remaining targets should make their decisions. The best way to do so is to lump them into categories where there is a pretty firm decision date and then another one with a general time frame window that isn’t tethered to an actual date or event.

Firm decision dates for UGA’s top targets

  • Nation’s No. 7 OT Isaiah Wilson: Dec. 16
  • Nation’s No. 3 S DeAngelo Gibbs: Jan. 1 (Under Armour All-American game)
  • Nation’s No. 13 WR Nico Collins: Feb. 1 (National Signing Day)

General decision windows for UGA’s top targets

  • Nation’s No. 1 ILB Nate McBride: Now-U.S. Army All-American game on Jan. 7
  • Nation’s No. 2 DT Aubrey Solomon: After Feb. 1.
  • Nation’s No. 4 ATH Tray Bishop: Between Jan. 27-Feb. 1 (approximate)
  • Nation’s No. 8 ILB Leonard Warner III: Jan. 20-Jan. 30 (approximate)
  • Nation’s No. 13 weak-side DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant: Jan. 20-Jan. 30 (approximate)

As always, these dates are very much subject to change. We’re talking about 18-and-19-year-old boys here. Enough said.

But those are your major targets and the expected timeframes on their decisions.

Wilson speaks (um..tweets?)

Don’t expect Wilson to say much of anything leading up to his decision. There are currently plans for a decision ceremony at noon from his school in Brooklyn Poly Prep (Brooklyn, NY) on Friday.

He did share the following tweets on Wednesday in the wake of several pro-Georgia reports that came out regarding his upcoming decision.

Get to know the big man

Did you know that Wilson ran some quarterback for his high school team this year? That’s a 6-foot-7, 350-pound “Grandaddy Wildcat” rolling downhill at the defense on the goal line.

Did you know his Poly Prep team also includes the son of one Jon Bon Jovi?

Those details stand out along with the notion that he wears a SpongeBob backpack. Check out this link and scroll down to item No. 37. That’s the take on Wilson among New York Magazine’s 47 Reasons to love New York.

I’ll also share the YouTube of Wilson scoring 3 TDs from this season.


A pair of big-time officials are set

Georgia earned a pair of commitments from two of the top players in Pennsylvania this year in 4-star cousins D’Andre Swift and Mark Webb, Jr. in September.

They were and still are a package deal. Look for Swift and Webb to take their official visits to Georgia on Jan. 13. That’s becoming a packed weekend for commitments to take their officials to UGA.

Swift and Webb plan to room together at Georgia. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Swift and Webb plan to room together at Georgia. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Early enrollees like Toneil Carter, Jake Fromm, Jeremiah Holloman and Richard LeCounte III will already be in school. That’s also the weekend that current OL commits Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer should also take their officials to UGA, among others.

News came out recently that pointed to Swift taking an official to Clemson. That’s to be expected, but I wouldn’t worry too much about Clemson.

Swift — who rates as the nation’s No. 4 RB for 2017 — plans to attend college with Webb and Clemson doesn’t have a receiver slot open for this year’s class. Those that have been paying attention will note that the Tigers checked off all their receiver needs for this year’s class with the commitments of Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers.

Higgins is rated as the nation’s No. 2 receiver for this year and Rodgers checks in at No. 16 overall. The Tigers are also a very young team and are also not expected to sign a deep class in 2018.

Look for Swift and Webb to also visit Penn State in January.

The latest on Jamyest Williams 

Georgia will continue to push hard to flip 4-star CB Jamyest Williams from South Carolina over the next month. Gwinnett County is a stacked region for players, but Williams was recently named the region’s “Athlete of the Year” by the Gwinnett County Touchdown Club.

The Class 7A state champion from Grayson was dynamic in his team’s thrilling 23-20 overtime win against Roswell in the state finals.

The 81-yard bust-the-gut touchdown run he had in that contest was called back, but that will not be forgotten. Williams was also felled during that game but rose to his feet and returned.

Williams posed for a picture with a Grayson cheerleader in the wee hours of Sunday morning after the 7A state title game victory. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Williams posed for a picture with a Grayson cheerleader in the wee hours of Sunday morning after the 7A state title game victory. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

His ankle was bothering him. He played through it.

“All I can say is this is a blessing,” Williams said afterward. “Just a big huge blessing. God made this happen, man. Only God.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder is like a block of iron. Yet I’d call him one that moves like a Hummingbird on speed.

He was at least the most electric player on the field in that Class 7A state title game, if not the best.

That’s saying a lot, but I already rank Williams as one of the Top 15 players I’ve ever seen in my career. That young man is that good. Really.

His acceleration, skills and tenacity more than off-set what he doesn’t have on the growth chart. When I went to visit Grayson last week as they prepped for Roswell, I saw Williams drilling with no sleeves on.

That was incredible considering the frigid temperatures, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from Williams. He told me it wasn’t cold as long as he continued to keep moving.

Williams can be a quality SEC corner but also make plays in the Isaiah McKenzie mold on offense and special teams in Columbia. The nation’s No. 6 CB prospect is an Athens native, but it seems like the Gamecocks are just a better fit.

That’s probably not going to keep the Bulldogs from trying. Williams plays a position that the Bulldogs still need to add a few playmakers in this year’s class. 4-star CB William Poole III is currently the only committed corner in this year’s class.

The 4-star CB will not graduate early.

“I am going to take my official visit to South Carolina in January,” Williams said. “It all depends on things and then I may take an official visit to Georgia. I am going to try to get out to UCLA also.”

Williams said he remains steadfast in his commitment to South Carolina but also expressed what he feels about Georgia.

“I will always have heart for Georgia because Athens is my hometown but I am still 100 percent committed to South Carolina,” he said. “That’s my school.”

His highlight reel from the 7A state title game shows everything that this special player can do.

Williams didn’t leave the Georgia Dome until right at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning and he was already back in a sand pit training later that day.


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