Andrew Thomas and Jamaree Salyer are tight. They are as close as two offensive linemen bunched in on the goal line in a “two tights” formation.
They started playing together when Salyer was a seventh-grader at Chapel Hill Middle School back in 2013. Thomas was in the eighth grade. Then they went to Pace Academy together. They go on college recruiting trips together.
Could they possibly commit together?
Thomas told DawgNation this week he will choose between Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame later this month at Nike’s summer “The Opening” showcase recruiting event at its headquarters in Oregon. Salyer is a highly-sought prospect and is rated as the nation’s No. 1 guard for 2018.
Salyer said there was a “25 to 30 percent chance” he might commit at The Opening even though he is just a junior.
Where did that idea come from? Was it Thomas? Was it his Pace Academy teammate Trey Blount? Blount works those two every day about going to Georgia like he’s Floyd Mayweather on a speed bag.
Nope. That one is on UGA line coach Sam Pittman.
“I called him the other day and within the first five seconds, he said ‘you are going to commit at The Opening’ right off,” Salyer said.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder was stunned.
“Really?” Salyer replied. “I am? I was like ‘well okay’ and ‘alright’ with that. He got me with that one.”
Salyer was named the top offensive lineman at the Nike Atlanta regional on March 30, 2016 at Buford High School. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Georgia is considered the strong favorite to get the commitment from Thomas at the Nike event. Pay close attention to that. Salyer and Thomas share the same values on and off the field. They have maintained for awhile they will likely play together on Saturdays, too.
“It would be something to commit at the Opening with Andrew,” Salyer said. “I can’t lie to you and say that I haven’t already thought about it.”
Thomas carried a wide grin when that subject came up. The two seemingly do everything else together on the field and along the recruiting trail. They could commit side-by-side, too.
“I would have to talk it all over with my family,” Salyer said. “My family values the same things Andrew’s family does. I know a great fit for him would likely be a great fit for me, too. I do feel I could do that, but if I did I don’t feel like it would be fair to some of the other schools who want to see me and recruit me during my junior year.”
Salyer said he hoped to see what Ohio State and Stanford will do before he makes a decision. He’s yet to receive an offer from those programs. Thomas did admit the two of them double teaming the same school or commitment stage at the Opening would be memorable.
“It would be nice if we did commit together,” Thomas said. “We’ve always just pretty much been doing everything together since middle school.”
The two are basically instant first down delivery devices on the line for defending state champion Pace Academy. Thomas — now a senior — is rated as the nation’s No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 49 overall prospect in the Class of 2017.
He does not feel the need to urge Salyer to join him at his school of choice. He will let his friend figure that out on his own.
“I feel Jamaree and I have the same values,” Thomas said. “I feel like my family and his family have the same values. So I feel whatever choice I might make if that is also the right choice for him then he will make that decision without my help. There’s no need for me to pressure him. He doesn’t need to commit to a place he doesn’t want to go to.”
Salyer told DawgNation he already feels confident in saying both UGA and Clemson will receive official visits when he is a senior in 2018.
He is rated as the nation’s No. 1 overall guard and No. 13 overall prospect for the Class of 2018. He could flex over to center at the next level. He said Georgia has asked him to get some reps and train at center to ensure he might be able to play right away in 2018.
“That subject takes me back to my freshman year,” Salyer said. “When I got here (at Pace) I wanted to play tackle, but my offensive line coach told me I’d be better at guard. I wasn’t very open to it, but decided to give it a try and do it. So I turned out to be a good guard. I’m also open to being a center now. Everybody knows if you can play guard, center and tackle then you are basically first-round material for the NFL if you can do it all pretty well. I am training right now at center actually just in case. Because any school — not just Georgia — could want me to play center, guard and tackle.”
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.