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Five-star defensive end Brenton Cox is now back on the market. He says he plans to sign on Dec. 20 and enroll early.

Does the Brenton Cox de-commitment lead to serious 5-star gazing for UGA?

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Thursday calls for an examination of what the Bulldogs can do with Brenton Cox and the potential for an epic 5-star haul in 2018. 

I’d venture to say Brenton Cox , who announced his de-commitment from Ohio State on Wednesday, will be taking an official visit to Georgia soon. That will be either this weekend or next weekend.

Brenton Cox
Five-star defensive end Brenton Cox rates as the nation’s No. 2 strongside DE and the No. 22 player overall on the 247Sports Composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He told me was planning to do so after the final game of his senior season. Cox and his strong Stockbridge team fell to Buford in the state quarterfinals on Nov. 24.

It was their only loss of 2017. Poof. His season was done. Just like that.

That setback gave him time to focus on his college decision. It sure seems like he has used that to arrive at a big decision.

 

Cox, who should be seen as someone very close to his family, now has the option to choose between Alabama and Georgia. He took his official visit last weekend to Alabama.

It went well.

Well enough for him to no doubt realize he would be just fine with Alabama as an alternate option to Georgia.

Cox also visited UGA for the Kentucky game and he told DawgNation afterward that there was more to it than just a visit. 

Here’s the big takeaway quote from that conversation about Georgia:

“What has changed?” Cox said. “Well, really it is just the players there. The players there that I actually know. Like [UGA freshman] Justin Shaffer. Netori Johnson. I actually know [5-star UGA freshman] Isaiah Wilson. We really connect.

“If I was to go there, then we would try to be like ‘The U’ in the old days. Because everyone knows each other. Everybody decided it was best to stay home and play together. That’s the only big difference now with how I feel about Georgia.”

RELATED: What does the big board now look like for UGA?

The next step in the news cycle with 5-star Brenton Cox

Let’s watch to make sure he does visit. If so, I would give the Bulldogs a very good shot here going forward.

The quick storyline that popped up Wednesday night was that Cox de-committed after his official visit to Alabama.

Brenton Cox-UGA recruiting
The decision for Brenton Cox (left) should now come down to Alabama and Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

I don’t think that trip to Tuscaloosa trip forced the de-commitment as much as it made him realize he had another strong Southeastern Conference option to those cold winters in Columbus.

DawgNation also learned Bulldogs had a good shot with Cox following that visit for the Kentucky game. We had two sources close to the situation share that they felt that he could very well wind up at Georgia.

Cox has expressed that he feels he can be developed into a Sunday player at UGA. He pointed to recent first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd when he made that comparison.

He will enroll early in January and start competing for a starting spot at his future school in 2018.

Cox being in play also sparks a very interesting subject for DawgNation to bear in mind. How many 5-star prospects does the program now have a decent shot at signing in 2018?

It is actually stunning to consider where the Bulldogs stand. Let’s lay it all out with a series of 5-stars whom Georgia is in contention to sign. I will define “contention” as a status where the Bulldogs are widely considered by the industry to be among the top 3 candidates for a player.

5-star gazing for UGA

  • QB Justin Fields: Committed and expected to sign. (Take a deep breath here, folks.)
  • RB Zamir White: Committed to sign and enroll early at UGA.
  • OLB Adam Anderson: Committed but does not plan to sign early.
  • DE/OLB Micah Parsons: Penn State and Ohio State loom large, but UGA will get his final official visit.
  • DE/OLB KJ Henry: Has a top 5, but it should come down to Clemson, Georgia and Virginia Tech.
  • OG Jamaree Salyer: Will choose between Clemson and Georgia on Dec. 20.
  • OT Cade Mays: Will choose between Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State on Dec. 20.
  • DE Brenton Cox: Will decide between Alabama and Georgia on Dec. 20.
  • CB Tyson Campbell: Alabama, Miami and Georgia seem like the schools to watch here. Look for his decision to go the long route and finish on the previous National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
  • CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart: The nation’s No. 3 cornerback told Damon Sayles of 247Sports on Wednesday that he can see himself as an SEC cornerback. He also updated his travel plan for UGA. Taylor-Stuart told Sayles that he will no longer visit this month. The San Diego resident now plans an official visit to UGA for the weekend of Jan. 26.

Would eight be enough for even the greediest Georgia fan? How about nine? That’s unlikely. But I do scan all those names and think that the Bulldogs can now make a run at an Alabama-sized haul this year in the 5-star category.

Alabama signed a total of six prospects with the elite 5-star rating off the 247SportsComposite in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. That’s astounding.

Georgia can put up a number like that this year.

Brenton Cox-UGA recruiting
Does Brenton Cox now seem like a strong contender in Athens? (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

Taylor-Stuart should be seen as the longest shot among that group. Parsons also comes to mind as a mighty tough pull. The rest? Those guys are all within reach for the nation’s No. 4 class (and climbing) at this time.

Who would be Georgia’s best chance at signing another 5-star in 2018? I’ve got an unorthodox answer to that one. I’ll go with 4-star RB commit James Cook. He’s currently No. 32 overall on the 247Sports composite.

A great showing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl likely would push him to 5-star status. He’s already a 5-star prospect on Rivals.com, but not on the 247Sports composite, which is the standard rankings metric for Cox Media Group’s recruiting coverage.

Cook’s potential elevation means that the Bulldogs are in the running for up to 10 potential 5-star prospects in the class of 2018. Sounds crazy, right?

Well, it doesn’t sound so crazy when the phrase turns this way: The SEC champions are in the running for up to 10 potential 5-stars in 2018.

The crazy part is the team that phrase refers to this year trains in Athens. Not Tuscaloosa. These Bulldogs are now in the thick of the running for the nation’s No. 1 class in 2018.

ALSO: Take a look at which 2018 commits and targets now plan to sign during the early period

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.

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