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Who are the Top 5 remaining recruits on the board for Georgia in 2017?

Breaking down Georgia’s Top 5 remaining recruiting targets

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 it all out.

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — DawgNation’s last priority list for Georgia’s recruting class of 2017 came out less than two months ago.

A lot has changed since then. Santa checked off a lot with his holiday rounds.

No. 2 DeAngelo Gibbs? Check. (But that package was found on New Year’s Day)

No. 3 Nate McBride? Santa crossed that name off with a holiday delivery. 

No. 4 Jeremiah Holloman? Christmas came early for that one

The class is up to 23 slots and there’s not much wiggle room. We’re here at U.S. All-American week in Texas and the timing seems right for our last priority checklist of the 2017 recruiting cycle.

This list also includes a prospect that is committed to a school for the first time.

That means there are three new names to know, but still the same 5-star leader at the top. Lee County senior DT Aubrey Solomon has been as hard to move out of that spot as it is to push him out of the “A” gap in the trenches.

Top 5 remaining targets for UGA

(1) 4-star DT Aubrey Solomon (Lee County / Leesburg, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-3/290

Recruiting rankings: No. 2 in the nation at DT and No. 31 overall. (Up from No. 4 in the nation at DT and No. 60 overall in November.)

If he signed with Georgia, Aubrey Solomon would become the second-highest prospect in the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
If he signed with Georgia, Aubrey Solomon would become the third highest-rated recruit in the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

November DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 1

Biggest contenders: Alabama and Florida.

Why: Solomon is a true ascending player in this class. His current rankings listed above are a strong climb from No. 5 at DT and at No. 77 overall from back in October. His decision should be seen as very fluid. He won’t make his decision until at least a couple of weeks after National Signing Day.

I believe Michigan is out of it and that it will be a UGA vs. Alabama battle down the stretch. He’s told me this week that Alabama leads by a lot but that UGA has gained on the Tide this week. The recruiting attention he’s gotten from Georgia’s nine commitments in town has aided that cause.

It is important to note that his mother Sabrina Caldwell will be a very major factor in his decision.

Recent and most relevant stories:

(2) 4-star CB Jamyest Williams (Grayson / Loganville, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 5-9/175

UGA hosted undecided 4-star safety DeAngelo Gibbs and South Carolina 4-star cornerback Jamyest Williams for the Auburn game. 5-star CB Stanford Samuels III is in the background. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
UGA hosted undecided 4-star safety DeAngelo Gibbs and South Carolina 4-star cornerback Jamyest Williams for the Auburn game. 5-star CB Stanford Samuels III is in the background. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Recruiting rankings: No. 6 in the nation at CB and at No. 54 overall

November DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: Unranked

Biggest contender: South Carolina (He told DawgNation he’s 100 percent committed there.)

Why: Williams grew up in Athens. He told me this week that he always need he would likely take an official visit to UGA. That’s what he has always maintained in the months after he committed to South Carolina before his first game of the season against IMG Academy.

Williams is a special talent. Look past his height and look at his overall game and playmaking ability. Georgia and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker have continued to pursue him and have made passionate pleas about his worth and need in the secondary at Georgia. He could be an ideal nickel cornerback to shut down slot receivers and an asset in the return game. There’s very little imagination required to forecast that Jamyest Williams can at least have an Isaiah McKenzie-type career at UGA in the return game and then also develop into one of the top defensive backs in the SEC.

Williams shows up at No. 2 on DawgNation's most important remaining targets for 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Williams shows up at No. 2 on DawgNation’s most important remaining targets for 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

The common player parallel is Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu from his LSU days. Williams ranks without a doubt as one of the Top 15 players I’ve ever covered in 15-plus years of covering elite high school football talent.

If you like to see a talented player red-line the effort meter on every snap in practice and much less the games, then Williams is your guy. I’ll catch his college games on TV even if he is playing at the University of Moscow. He’s just that much of a treat to watch compete.

Recent and most relevant stories:

(3) 4-star WR Nico Collins (Clay-Chalkville / Pinson, Ala.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-5/202

Recruiting rankings: No. 14 in the nation at WR and at No. 104 overall (That’s down from No. 13 in the nation at WR and No. 90 overall in November.)

November DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 5

Biggest contender: Michigan

Why: The current state of the receiving corps at UGA has always made Collins a priority. At 6 feet 5 inches, Collins brings true value. The Bulldogs currently do not have a player with his size and ball skills in the program.

Will Nico Collins be under Georgia's Christmas tree? (JEFF SENTELL/AJC)
Will 4-star WR Nico Collins eventually be a part of Georgia’s Class of 2017? (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Collins has been interested in UGA for at least a couple of years. He was a frequent visitor when Mark Richt and his staff manned the program. He’s also been a key target for Kirby Smart and receivers coach James Coley.

He looks to make his decision on National Signing Day and recently gave UGA his last official visit slot. I don’t think Alabama has enough room in another one of its vaunted classes to sign another receiver. Even an in-state talent like Collins.

If I had to guess right now where I will likely be on National Signing Day, this decision would be one of my two most likely choices. Collins adds value because he was been a highly-productive and All-State level player in the top rungs of Alabama high school football for the last three seasons.

He’s also shown the ability to elevate his game in the postseason.

Recent and most relevant stories:

(4) 4-star DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant (Crisp County / Cordele, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-5/235

Recruiting rankings: No. 13 in the nation at weak-side DE and at No. 174 overall

Bryant and his head coach Shelton Felton (right) completed a dramatic turnaround season at Crisp County this year. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Bryant and his head coach Shelton Felton (right) completed a dramatic turnaround season at Crisp County this year. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

November DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: Unranked

Biggest contenders: Auburn, Florida and LSU

Why“Big Cat” seems to favor Georgia but is going to make sure he puts all of the proper research into this decision. I don’t expect him to make any sudden commitments but to go through him official visit list, gather in all he needs to see and then make an educated decision.

Bryant is the prototype for the new UGA defender on the edge. He can line up with his hand on the ground or stand up. The 4-star defender had some pretty interesting battles with UGA 5-star commit Isaiah Wilson at the Under Armour All-American practices last week.

He can fit that Lorenzo Carter mold and is a very aggressive and instinctual player. He also has that tough-minded South Georgia mindset. Auburn is a contender here as well as his dream school growing up in LSU.

Georgia-Markaviest Bryant-Georgia recruiting
4-star DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant of Crisp County High School was an unofficial visitor at UGA-Auburn on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Georgia has made him a priority since he showed out in the Rising Seniors practices a year ago. Georgia assistant Kevin Sherrer is a great recruiter and usually gets the guys he needs from South Georgia at a position of need. His recent track record (Tray Bishop, Tyler Clark, Walter Grant, Chauncey Manac) speaks for itself.

Recent and most relevant stories:

(5) 4-star ILB Leonard Warner III (Brookwood High School / Snellville, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-4/230

Recruiting rankings: No. 8 in the nation at ILB and at No. 185 overall

November DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: Unranked

Biggest contenders: Florida State, Georgia Tech and Stanford

4-star Brookwood LB Leonard Warner III was at UGA-Auburn for another unofficial visit on Saturday. He has yet to make his college commitment. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
4-star Brookwood LB Leonard Warner III was at UGA-Auburn for another unofficial visit on Saturday. He has yet to make his college commitment. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Why: This proved to be a very tough decision. Warner is an extremely good player and his instincts and intelligence level is off the charts. I can easily see Warner making all the calls in the middle of a SEC defense early in his career and becoming a team captain later in his career.

The chance to enroll and play at Stanford reflects that.

Warner’s true value here on this list could be at any of the last three rungs on this board. The reason he’s slotted here is aligned with a position priority. Wide receiver is a major need for Georgia. The program needs to fill up its depth chart with a player like Collins. Bryant can also play defensive end or outside linebacker.

Warner will be a great SEC linebacker, but the Bulldogs already have two very capable inside linebackers in early enrollee Monty Rice and U.S. Army All-American Nate McBride. It is a matter of needs at this point as to why he’s rated at No. 5 on this list.

He seems like he’s been comfortable with the thought of playing at Georgia for quite some time. But will that be what he winds up choosing at the next level?

That’s a good question. Georgia’s scholarship number might also play a part here. Warner still needs to take an official visit to Stanford before he makes his decision.

Recent and most relevant stories:

Other names to keep in mind: 4-star OG Tedarrell Slaton, 3-star CB Eric Stokes

 

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