Will Robert Beal be a defensive end in college? Or an outside linebacker?
That remains to be seen. What is no longer cause for debate is the jersey he will wear on Saturday next fall.
The nation’s No. 2 defensive end committed to Georgia on Tuesday morning with a crafty Bleacher Report video that ended with him as the highest-rated commitment for 2017 in Athens. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder is now the 13th commitment for UGA in what is expected to be a fruitful month for Georgia on the recruiting front.
Beal played the first three seasons of his high school career at Norcross but is no longer the top-rated prospect in Georgia. He has announced he will transfer to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year. Prior to that, he had been the top-rated player in Georgia for 2017.
Beal is rated as the nation’s No. 30 player overall for the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
The Bulldogs beat out Alabama, Florida State and Notre Dame for Beal. UGA defensive coordinator Mel Tucker had made him a priority over the spring. Beal was at one time committed to Notre Dame but backed off that pledge.
What will Georgia be getting? Current UGA linebacker Lorenzo Carter is the best player parallel for Beal. Carter also prepped at Norcross and that player parallel was made freely by longtime Blue Devils coach Keith Maloof during Beal’s time with the program.
This decision marks the second commitment in three days for the Bulldogs as the festivities for Nike’s all-star “The Opening” combine get underway on Wednesday. Andrew Thomas, the top-rated offensive lineman in Georgia this year and the No. 49 prospect overall, is expected to choose between Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame at that event.
Beal will not be at The Opening this week. He also missed spring practices at Norcross this fall and four games during his junior season while recovering from injury. He had 35 total tackles, 11 stops for losses and five sacks in seven games in 2015. He finished with 19 total tackles, 12 tackles for losses and 3.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2014.
Georgia has recruited Beal heavily across his career even sending him more than 100 letters in a day during his junior season. Beal told DawgNation back in April that no school was out-recruiting the Bulldogs for his services.
Look for Beal to major in broadcasting in college. He’s blessed with a rich and deep voice and not just an innate ability to make quarterbacks nervous. He should start out at outside linebacker at Georgia.
Check out his tweet for the video announcement.
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.