The ripple effects of G-Day are expected to be seismic for the Georgia football program. The first public one came on Tuesday.
UGA finished its 2017 shopping needs at guard by adding its second road grader from Cedar Grove High School in junior Netori Johnson.
He was at G-Day and announced the news of his commitment on Tuesday via social media. Johnson becomes the eighth member of this year’s signing class at UGA.
His commitment, along with the recent pledge of four-star cornerback William Poole III, gives the program real momentum that could possibly build toward UGA signing one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2017.
The new offensive line coach at UGA played a major factor in this one, too.
“Sam Pittman played a major very big role in my commitment because of just the person he is and how we clicked and how we bonded,” Johnson said. “I definitely got a look at the record that coach holds that let me know they coach their players up and put their players in the league. He’s got 17 players in the league and that’s great. That’s awesome for me. That’s one of the things that what won me over, but the only thing I like about him is he’s a goofy coach but when it is time to get grimy and dirty, then he is all business. I like that. Because I am just like that. I am goofy, but when it comes down to the field I am about my business. No joking and no playing no more. It is about smash mouth and doing what I have got to do. I like that he’s just like that. He’s a coach, but also like an older brother to me.”
The 6-foot-3, 353-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 4 offensive guard prospect in this signing class and No. 122 player overall.
There’s a lot to like about this addition. Let’s tick off the reasons why:
- He was previously committed to Alabama. Auburn was seen as his recent leader.
- Johnson finishes off the unlikely scenario of two Cedar Grove teammates joining the Class of 2017 at UGA. His teammate, Justin Shaffer, had previously committed earlier this year. There’s a real possibility that those two could be the starting guards at UGA by 2018 or 2019.
Shaffer told DawgNation when he committed that the coaching staff had let him know that the program planned to sign two guards in 2017. Johnson echoed that when he spoke to DawgNation this week.
- Johnson is a colorful personality. He’s known for his flamboyant hairstyles and fun-loving smile. He changes the color or colors of his hairstyle with regularity. He would easily make the Top 5 of any reporter’s listing of the most engaging and fun interviews on the UGA recruiting beat. According to a few classmates, yellow is about the only color he hasn’t dyed his hair.
- He’s extremely athletic and ripped off a cartwheel at a Rivals camp earlier this spring. When working at a Nike camp earlier this spring, his counselors continually referred to him as an athlete in a big man’s body.
- Look for him to immediately target “his two tackles” for the Class of 2017. He said his immediate recruiting targets will be Pace Academy four-star Andrew Thomas and Brunswich four-star D’Antne Demery.
The commitment reinforces one of the building blocks for the UGA program set by Kirby Smart when he first took over as head coach. He wanted UGA to get bigger up front and the addition of Johnson certainly helps that cause.
“We are going to take over the SEC,” Johnson said. “We are going to take over from Alabama. That’s who we have to take it over from. Alabama is running things right now in the SEC and that’s who we have to take it from at Georgia.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.