Brock Vandagriff: Previewing a big Georgia “Junior Day” visit this weekend
BOGART, Ga. — The first read to begin an update on all things Brock Vandagriff has to come out hard and fast. That’s how he plays quarterback.
This one certainly will.
The aim will be to mirror how 5-star QB gets rid of the ball for his Prince Avenue Christian team: Decisive. Hit a read. The right read. In stride. Move the chains. Go.
Vandagriff will be at Georgia on Saturday for an important “Junior Day” visit. He said he is only mainly considering Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina at this time.
He has only set up a visit to check out UGA so far.
The now 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior shared a very mature outlook on why he de-committed from Oklahoma and how it will shape his decision going forward.
“My Dad and I talked and stuff,” Brock Vandagriff said. “We’re kind of sacrificing the best fit for me for other things which are priorities now.”
It was an impressive outlook. Not just because he said that while wearing a pair of cowboy boots to school.
He doesn’t have an opinion, or at least a firm one, on new offensive coordinator hire Todd Monken yet. That will come tomorrow.
“Not yet,” he said. “Going to meet him tomorrow and talk ball.”
Don’t expect him to a drawn-out recruiting process. He’ll scan his options. Make the right read and go.
“I like the process being over with,” he said. “So I am going to get this process over with once I make a decision.”
He thinks he will be committed by March. Sooner than that even. That’s how fast this thing can go.
“Maybe in the next month or two,” he said.
What will the weekend visit be about?
“Mainly seeing who I would play with if I went there,” Vandagriff said. “I’m familiar with the coaches. Familiar with the facilities. Nothing has changed since the last time I have been there. Probably just getting to know the players more and the guys I would be playing with.”
Georgia has a strong chance as the true “home” team.
“I think that Georgia has like the top priority and if everything fits at Georgia and if it goes how I expect it to go then I think I will probably not visit anywhere else,” he said.
Just don’t expect a quick-trigger. Not even with the greatest “Junior Day” unofficial visit of all time.
“I don’t think I would commit this weekend,” he said in reference to that potential feeling. “Because I would go home and just pray about it. I wouldn’t make an impulse decision but I wouldn’t wait much longer.”
Brock Vandagriff: The things that really matter here
His de-commitment took place on Jan. 1. When he made that move, he cited that location was a big factor. That was what was included in the de-commitment tweet.
— brock 🌊 (@BrockVandagriff) January 1, 2020
He approached that idea with his parents first. They shook him off the way Joe Burrow did the LSU trainers after that shot he took against Clemson.
His father told him to bring it up again in 1-2 days. Think about it. Be sure. Be decisive. So he did.
The 5-star QB brought it up again by showing his folks the two versions of that de-commitment tweet. Both were mature, composed and respectful.
What he didn’t include was the timing of it all. That really mattered here.
Vandgriff, like all of us, was in a loaded family car driving off to a grandparent’s house during the holidays. His family’s roots, especially on his mom’s side, are in rural Alabama.
The family feels started tugging on him at Thanksgiving. Then again at Christmas. He had already been thinking about it for two months. He said he’d even been praying about it.
“Then we were at the dinner table with every family member in Alabama,” Brock Vandagriff said. “The great grandparents. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Stuff like that. I don’t know how we got to talking about it. I didn’t say anything about it. I guess it was just the Lord’s timing.”
Somebody said: “Man, Oklahoma is far away.”
He had to nod his head to that thought. They were right.
“I couldn’t go to sleep that night,” Vandagriff said. “I was thinking about it. I was like ‘I got to stay closer to home’ so the people I love can be able to watch me and I can still go to hunt in Alabama on the weekends.”
He made it all seem logical. Decisive even. Like the right read on a play call.
“Like just earlier this year the main thing my Dad and I had talked about was system and a fit system,” he said while describing what used to matter most here about his college future.
Hello Oklahoma. See Jalen Hurts. See Kyler Murray. See Baker Mayfield. And so on.
“I would say that’s not the main thing anymore,” he said on Thursday. “The main thing is trying to be the best player that I can be regardless of the system and just being like close to the family has become, well, it has really burst onto the scene as important to me.”
It is 13.8 miles from Sanford Stadium to his neat and tidy high school locker. It is 913 miles from that same locker to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memory Stadium and Sooner football.
That trip to Norman is only 13 hours longer than the Athens commute by car.
“Spending time in other states is not for me,” he said. “I like to travel. I like to stay near home. I want people near me to come watch me.”
The 247Sports Composite ratings place the homegrown talent as the nation’s No. 1 pro-style QB and No. 9 overall prospect for the 2021 class.
He’s the top player in Georgia, too. Seems like he’d be the ideal visitor for any “Junior Day” event this weekend, right?
That’s what those rankings services say. What kind of quarterback does HE think he is?
“I think I am just another quarterback who is a pocket passer who just likes to win,” Vandagriff said.
Brock Vandagriff: Let’s tee up that pro-style QB thing
Those are the fast and quick reads.
But it was tempting to open things up with what his teammates call a mullet ready to flow out from underneath his helmet.
Vandagriff favors that look. Even though he must be very precise with it to make sure it adheres to all school and team regulations.
That’s why his hair is neat and tight on the sides and those locks don’t touch his collar (especially when he straightens up) in the back. There’s also the part about this whole pro-style QB thing here.
That’s ….. interesting. But definitely not an all-encompassing label.
That title is reserved for the guys who are not the escape or extend-the-play guy with their feet. Yet consider the following:
- Vandagriff has had a season in which he caught 34 passes at wide receiver in high school.
- He’s also had a season in which he picked up 7.3 yards per carry on the way to 1,001 rushing yards.
- But he’s also had a season in which he threw for 3,190 yards.
- The junior has also been timed at 4.69 seconds on a laser in the 40-yard dash.
- He also sent every kickoff from his sophomore year out of the end zone
Is that a pro-style QB? A dual-threat? A triple-threat?
He spent his entire freshman year at Prince Avenue at receiver. He wasn’t the quarterback for that team, but added 34 catches for 472 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-star QB for 20201 was the No. 2 WR for his Wolverines in 2017.
That’s pretty odd, right? Especially with that kickoff stuff.
But that makes sense to those who saw him punt and kick for the Wolverines during middle school. The clips still exist with Vandagriff kicking the ball deep and then flying downfield to be the first man to make the tackle on the kickoff in his eighth grade games.
Vandagriff could probably punt in college. Even if he couldn’t throw the ball a lick. He’s also very strong. The 205-pound QB can already power clean 290 pounds.
He’s still the punter for Prince Avenue. He still can probably boom touchbacks on the regular with that leg of his. He won’t be covering kickoffs. Those days are likely behind him now.
Kind of like that flowing hair that flows out of the back of his helmet.
Want a good story? Let’s take a minute to chronicle his first pass as a high school player. It was during the 017 season.
Vandagriff was lined up wide right at receiver. He came across to the other side of the field on a jet sweep.
He stopped to plant and throw. His heart was skipping beats. He swallowed his nerves and let loose a pass running to his left and throwing with his right arm off a jet sweep. The ball sailed 38-and-a-half yards in the air.
It hit the team’s top receiver in stride for a catch-and-run touchdown. Of course, it was a touchdown. It wouldn’t be quite the same story if he overthrew him.
“It was the first game of the season and we’d been stressing this defensive end the whole week,” Vandagriff said. “If we run this play we are going to run away from this guy.”
The Wolverines lined up. Called the play. But Aquinas had flipped its ends. The look to the sideline was to the head coach. Greg Vandagriff, his father, told them to run the play regardless.
“I get the ball and he’s coming up and I kind of launch it,” Brock Vandagriff said. “We had an awesome junior receiver Christian Parrish and he ran right under it for a touchdown.”
If he had to critique that throw, his self-evaluation would not be kind.
“I think the throw distance was good but the mechanics were kind of off,” he said. “I was kind of worrying for my life there on the sideline.”
With the ball in his hands now, he’s not worried. The opposing defensive coordinators are.
He would go on to throw many more passes from there. Vandagriff threw for 267 yards and two scores as a freshman, followed by 3,190 more yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore and then 2471 yards and 31 scores in just eight games as a junior.
Vandagriff completed 72 percent of his passes as a junior, but added 1,001 rushing yards and 23 rushing scores as a sophomore in 2018.
Pro-style? Dual-threat? It seems the line is blurred. Greg Vandagriff, his father, doesn’t care about the rushing totals for the 5-star who sits at his dinner table. Not anymore.
Those carries just add up to hits. Chances for him to leave the game. That’s what the other team wants.
“I wouldn’t say I’m just like a strict pro-style passer but I mean that’s what I try to be,” Brock Vandagriff said. “I don’t try to be the dual-threat guy because I know I’m not going to be outrunning people at the next level and stuff like that. Being able to work on some things in the pocket in high school is helping me mature as a player. That’s because I don’t do the things in high school that I am not going to be doing at the next level.”
“I wouldn’t say I am a pure pocket passer but I wouldn’t say I am a dual-threat,” Vandagriff said. “I do run when I have to but it is not fifty-fifty.”
His father started out as a defensive guy in his coaching career. That has been an asset. Even if he did draw it up backwards in the eyes of his son.
He taught Brock how to read defenses and read coverages at an early age. He knows what the other side is always thinking and trying to do. Ron Veal, who also trained Trevor Lawrence, has worked with him and his father over the last few years.
“He’s a great dude and an older male figure in my life,” Brock Vandagriff said. “I look up to him and I’m glad that I have someone else I can ask questions about. Ron’s taught my dad some stuff as well and all three of us have matured in our understanding of the quarterback position.”
Check out his junior year film. The story of that season will make for another good read, too.