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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
John Emery Jr. is a special 5-star talent commited to UGA in the class of 2019.

DawgNation Invasion: UGA recruiting has two rare Louisiana commits for 2019

Editor’s NoteThe Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge this week to face LSU in an SEC cross-divisional matchup between two storied programs inside the Top 15. DawgNation will highlight several topics this week of interest to the rare road trip to the Pelican State. UGA hasn’t visited LSU since 2008 and will not return until the 2030 season. The topic for today is the big commitment from 5-star RB John Emery Jr. 

 

It used to be that it was nigh-impossible to pull great players from the state of Louisiana. Alabama had won its share of battles of late but even that was hard.

Georgia? That was just not likely. According to the fine databases maintained by 247Sports, the Bulldogs have only signed one prospect from the state of Louisiana this century. That was 3-star Michael Chigbu back in 2015.

Those days seem like they are in the rearview mirror. Especially considering where both LSU and UGA are right now in the national and SEC pecking order.

The Bulldogs have made a few strides in the state of Louisiana over the past few years:

  • Held a commitment due to a strong staff relationship with 2017 5-star WR Devonta Smith at one time before he chose Alabama
  • Held a commitment from 3-star LB Aaron Brule before he de-committed and UGA would go on to sign an even more highly-rated player in 2018 with that scholarship slot
  • UGA hired Louisana native Cortez Hankton away from Vanderbilt to coach wide receivers
  • Georgia has already picked up commitments from 5-star RB John Emery Jr. and 4-star ATH Makiya Tongue back from Louisana for the 2019 cycle.

Has the staff made inroads? For sure. The Bulldogs are also definitely in the mix for 4-star junior OL Sedrick Van Pran. Van Pran has already visited UGA this season and he ranks as the nation’s No. 10 guard for 2020.

But the big buzz came from Emery and Tongue this summer.  I’ve even seen the term “Louisiorgia” used a few times on social media to describe the recruiting invasion that Kirby Smart and company are now making in that state.

Emery rates as the No. 3 prospect in the state of Louisiana for 2019. He’s the nation’s No. 2 RB and the No. 25 overall prospect. Tongue checks in as the No. 8 ATH, No. 12 player in Louisiana and the No. 211 overall prospect nationally on the 247Sports Composite.

The Bulldogs also drew significant recruiting attention from 5-star LSU commit Kardell Thomas. Thomas visited UGA as an LSU commit last year and developed a very good relationship with UGA line coach Sam Pittman.

“I think Louisiana has the best athletes in the nation,” Tongue said. “Everybody in every state may think that but we are hard-working down here. It is really hot. It is hotter than most states. We know how to work in the heat and to get it done.”

“Being able to play with Emery would be really cool. To be able to show how hard-working and talented we are (as players) coming from Louisiana.”

Ed Orgeron discussed the recruiting impact of LSU-UGA

Tongue is right. The state of Louisiana has talent.  Check out the number of 5-star recruits that were found in each state across this decade.

  • 2020: Georgia: 4; Louisana: 0
  • 2019: Georgia: 8; Louisana: 4
  • 2018Georgia: 5; Louisiana: 1
  • 2017Georgia: 3; Louisiana: 0
  • 2016Georgia: 3; Louisiana: 2
  • 2015Georgia: 4; Louisiana: 1
  • 2014Georgia: 3; Louisiana: 4
  • 2013Georgia: 4; Louisiana: 0
  • 2012Georgia: 2; Louisiana: 1
  • 2011Georgia: 2; Louisiana: 3
  • 2010Georgia: 3; Louisiana: 1
  • Source — 247Sports Composite rankings

That year-by-year for both states was needed to in some ways dissuade the perception of the amount of elite talent in the state of Louisiana. Despite its size, the state’s best years can hang with the bountiful crop of elite talent found every year in the state of Georgia.

Georgia has ascended to its status as a Top 5 state in the nation to find talent. There is very little discussion about that anymore. Some national observers only feel that California, Florida and Texas will now year-in and year-out produce better talent than the Peach State. Georgia might now have even pushed past California.

John Emery Jr-UGA football-Georgia football-UGA recruiting
5-star RB John Emery Jr. is the No. 3 player from the state of Louisiana in the 2019 recruiting class. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

LSU coach Ed Orgeron was even asked a question about the recruiting impact of Saturday’s game at his weekly media session.

For LSU, it is clear that his Tigers need to keep elite programs like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State from cherry-picking away at the state’s best players.

“There will be some of our top recruits going to be here,” he told the press on Monday. “They’re going to be watching. They’re going to be looking at Georgia, they’re going to be looking at us of the style of play, what type of university it is, I think this is a very important game for that matter.”

“We have done very well in the state of Georgia. Guys like Arden Key, a lot of guys in the NFL, we want to continue to do that. And we want to keep them out of our backyard, there’s no question about that, and it’s a continual fight.”

What has that “continual fight” looked like of late? Here are a few points to illustrate how well LSU recruits in Georgia and how well UGA recruits in Louisiana:

  • The Bulldogs will likely only be able to come in and snatch a key target or two. The lure of LSU to homegrown recruits is too strong as the only state university and dominant Power 5 in Louisiana.
  • The Tigers have commitments from the Nos. 1, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 prospects in Louisiana for 2019. That’s based off the 247Sports Composite rankings.
  • UGA has pledges from the No. 3 (Emery) and the No. 12 prospect (Tongue) in Louisiana for 2019.
  • Aside from LSU, the Bulldogs are the only school with commitments from two of the top 15 prospects in Louisiana.
  • The recent de-commitments for UGA in the class of 2019 leave the program with just three commitments for 2019 out of the Top 20 players in Georgia.
  • LSU does not have a commitment from one of the Top 20 players in Georgia at this time, but they do have three commitments with Georgia roots. Quentin Skinner, a 2-star long snapper from Buford, will play for Orgeron. The Tigers also have two commitments from a pair of junior college prospects who played high school ball in Georgia.
  • The Tigers signed the following prospects from Georgia in their last five classes: 2018 (0); 2017 (2); 2016 (0); 2015 (3); 2014 (0).
  • The biggest LSU signee from Georgia of late is easily 4-star DE/OLB Arden Key. Key became one of the all-time great pass rushers for the Tigers. The Oakland Raiders picked him in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
  • Chigbu remains the only prospect the Bulldogs have signed from Louisiana since 2000. That’s when the modern star system of star ratings and recruiting rankings came to be.

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