The decision came down at a private pep rally. The school community at Harrison High School heard it first. There was a news helicopter flying overhead of all things.
But the decision will quickly echo across the state of Georgia, the Southeast and the college football world.
Justin Fields has now committed to play for Georgia. The Bulldogs somehow managed to land themselves their third consecutive 5-star quarterback prospect.
How did it happen? Well, tenacity for starters.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart did not let Fields go without a fight. This story goes back to Christmas Day. That’s when Fields was still committed to Penn State.
Smart texted Fields on Christmas. He wished Fields and his family Happy Holidays.
Well, that level of “Attack The Day” recruiting paid off. Fields picked out the Georgia cap at a private ceremony on Friday morning.
Harrison High school did not allow the media to attend the ceremony, but school officials have set up a 12:15 p.m. press conference to give the media the chance to speak to Fields about his decision.
What this means for Georgia
The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect will stay home and join his sister, Jaiden Fields, as a member of the Bulldogs family. Jaiden Fields, a Class of 2019 softball prospect, has been committed to Georgia for quite some time.
He chose the Bulldogs over heavy interest in Florida State and LSU. Fields took official visits to both schools earlier this season
Georgia’s recruiting pitch was able to overcome the recent tradition of Heisman Trophy winners by a dual-threat quarterback at Auburn (Cam Newton) and Florida State (Jameis Winston), respectively.
This decision should create sizable ripples throughout the rest of the talent pool in 2018. Fields has told DawgNation he hopes to line up an additional eight prospects to play with him.
A few of those have already committed to Georgia, but look for more to follow in the weeks ahead.
But what Georgia has been able to do recruiting elite quarterbacks is worth a quick revisit.
Georgia signed 5-star Jacob Eason in 2016. Jake Fromm, who was also rated as a 5-star quarterback by some services, signed and enrolled early in the Class of 2017. It is an unfathomable feat at the quarterback position in the modern era of college football recruiting to sign three consecutive 5-star quarterbacks.
Fields makes that a combined 15 stars on the QB depth chart in Athens.
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound prospect won the Elite 11 QB competition this summer. Trent Dilfer, the noted quarterback coach of that event, said Fields took to that specific event with a sense of professionalism that was unmatched in all of his years working with that event.
This decision marks the second time that Georgia has signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in the modern recruiting era. The Bulldogs also landed 5-star defensive tackle Trenton Thompson as the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 2015.
The news Friday completes a remarkable journey for Fields. He’s evolved from not having any offers at all in May 2016 to committing to his in-state school as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2018.
He is now the highest-rated of Georgia’s 16 commitments for 2018. Fields joins North Carolina phenom Zamir White as the second 5-star prospect in the class.
Justin Fields is the dual-threat UGA fans have wanted
Fields also will check the box for what DawgNation has been looking for under center for some time: a dual-threat QB. D.J Shockley, a dual-threat quarterback, manned the position the last time the Bulldogs won the SEC title in 2005.
That fact is not lost on Georgia fans. Fields has serious wheels and is faster than both of the program’s two commits at wideout in the Class of 2018.
He clocked a 4.51 laser time in the 40-yard dash at Nike’s The Opening regional in Orlando, Fla., in February. That was also when Fields was still committed to play for James Franklin and the Nittany Lions.
It was not a sticking point for this commitment, but look for Fields to play right away as a freshman in 2018. He should see the field no matter who wins the starting job as a change-of-pace quarterback.
Eason and Fromm are classic pro-style passers who work in the pocket. Fields can do that. That was clear watching Fields at The Opening. He wasn’t able to use that speed at all, but he still won a throwing competition and a 7-on-7 tournament competing against the nation’s top quarterback prospects.
Fields is expected to enroll early in January. He was set to complete all of his necessary coursework for graduation during the fall semester at Harrison.
What else is there to know about Fields? He has a tradition of pointing to the sky as a measure of his faith after every touchdown.
He’s also maintained a 3.9 grade-point average at Harrison High and scored a 29 on his ACT. Fields also closely fits the academic profile of the average incoming Class of 2018 freshman at UGA.