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There will be one birthday cake plus eight cookie cakes. That will cover the weekend fare for seven “SICEM17” commitments plus one Big Cat.
That’s who will be at UGA this weekend for one of the last three remaining official visit weekends in the Class of 2017. The cookie cakes typically welcome UGA official visitors when they check into their hotel rooms.
First, let’s rattle off the commitment-slash-official-visitors-list.
The one major undecided target in town this week will be Crisp County 4-star DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant. Bryant has already taken an official visit to Alabama, but I don’t see there being any room at the inn for him there.
The Crimson Tide are expected to close with at least five other All-American talents that do not play in South Georgia. It is largely and Georgia-Auburn battle here for Bryant and that bout should go 15 rounds all the way to National Signing Day.
To carry that metaphor out further, the consensus of his latest interviews still show the Bulldogs ahead on all the scorecards.
When asked, Bryant noted the Bulldogs were the team to beat. We’ve written about him extensively and projected him to UGA for quite some time. But the best example I can provide of what he’s like on and off the field is at the end of this link.
When he signs, I think Bryant will become one of the most important members of the class because of what looks to me like an inexhaustible work ethic. There’s that to go along with his 4-star rating and status as the nation’s No. 13 weak-side defensive end.
There will also be a horde of Class of 2019 prospects visiting Athens on Saturday. The best sophomore players from Georgia and Texas are playing at “TRU19” All-Star game at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Grady Stadium in Atlanta.
They are scheduled to visit UGA on Saturday after a morning practice.
Alabama LB commitments Vandarius Cowan and Markail Benton had made mention of taking official visits to UGA this weekend earlier this month on social media. But they both canceled on those plans. Neither was seen as a serious flip candidate for the Bulldogs.
If they ever made it to UGA, it was going to be under the premise that every blue-chip recruit gets to take visits. Athens is no doubt a Top 10 town when it comes to the best places for a young adult to find some weekend fun.
Where are the other targets going?
There are five other names to think about for this weekend. Those would be the major UGA targets which are visiting elsewhere. The first will be 5-star DT Aubrey Solomon. He’ll be in sunny California at USC this weekend.
Bet you’ve heard of him. If you haven’t then here are the three latest DawgNation posts regarding the nation’s No. 31 overall prospect.
He’s taking his likely next-to-last official visit to Southern California this weekend. Solomon’s family hails from California.
This trip is largely a recreational visit. But I’ll be honest here and note that anything is possible with this decision. If Solomon commits to the Trojans in the middle of the Coliseum, I’ll just add a new chapter to this off-the-wall recruiting story.
That should not happen. But I’ve learned by now to expect the unexpected.
The other four names are 4-star WR Nico Collins, 3-star undecided CB Ameer Speed, 4-star ILB target Leonard Warner III and 3-star DT commit Devonte Wyatt.
Collins, the nation’s No. 13 WR from Alabama, is no longer taking a scheduled official visit to check out his home state Crimson Tide this weekend. I don’t think that Alabama is a contender in this fight anymore largely because of location and then positional need.
The 6-foot-5 standout from Clay-Chalkville High should eventually make his choice between Georgia and Michigan.
Speed, a 6-foot-3 cornerback from Florida, is visiting North Carolina this weekend. He’s set to visit UGA next weekend on his official visit.
Wyatt is visiting South Carolina. That’s the school which gave him his first SEC offer and the school that Georgia flipped him from last fall. Wyatt genuinely loves UGA, but he values loyalty.
4-star Brookwood LB Leonard Warner III was at UGA-Auburn for another unofficial visit on Saturday. He has yet to make his college commitment. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
The Gamecocks were the first big school that captured his recruiting attention and he’s not used to taking a lot of visits and seeing a lot of schools. The Bulldogs have to hold on to the Towers High track star because a miss on Aubrey Solomon and a flip to the Gamecocks would make DT the one bald spot amid a lush crop of recruits for 2017.