FRISCO, Texas — John Emery Jr. spoke at length on Monday about his recruiting at the Nike Opening finals.
The nation’s No. 2 guy is an alpha for the Bulldogs. He’s the one that a lot of the four public commitments at the training headquarters point to as “a guy” the class needs in 2019.
John Emery Jr. said he could not think of a single minus about the opportunity to play for UGA. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Emery goes heavy on style and substance. He has a pair of $200 slides and a haircut that makes him instantly recognizable in every drill huddle.
But that was only if one didn’t get the chance to watch those feet glide through every drill. Smooth.
Emery said a lot of highly interesting things during an on-the-record chat.
Georgia, Mississippi State, and LSU are still true contenders. Those are the schools he “has eyes on” with the intent of plotting out his future. Florida, Tennessee, and USC could sneak in there, too. He wants to visit USC out in California.
Yet on all of the topics, he kept coming back to two schools: Georgia and Mississippi State.
John Emery Jr. rates as the nation’s No. 2 RB for 2019 on the 247Sports composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Emery was all set to commit on July 7, but he backed off that. Mississippi State was a school he was high on, especially after a spring visit. But he wasn’t exactly set upon going there. Yet.
There are a lot of comparison and specific points to get to, but there was the one time he was asked to carefully consider all the schools he feels have everything around him he needs to be successful and make his dreams in the game come true.
His response was Alabama and Georgia.
“The offensive lines they have are humongous,” he said. “They have the guys.”
John Emery Jr. on Georgia
In regard to Georgia, he was asked to put it all on the table. The great. The good. The very good and the not-so-good. The questions. Areas of concern.
“I really can’t tell you any minus for Georgia,” Emery Jr. said. “But the pluses are there. They have everything you want to succeed. They have the players in the program. They put their players in the league. The offense that they run. They run an (NFL-style) offense. They have everything you need.”
John Emery Jr. has a very good relationship with UGA running backs coach Dell McGee. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
It sounds like Emery knows all about young 5-star prospects like Cade Mays, Jamaree Salyer, and Isaiah Wilson. Those are three guys that have yet to play a snap at Georgia. Wilson is a redshirt freshman. Mays and Salyer are freshmen.
If he chose Georgia, they would be opening up holes for him for several seasons. The Bulldogs will have a 5-star QB in the program for at least three more seasons, too.
But Emery placed his focus on the OL.
All told, the Bulldogs have signed six players in the last two cycles that rated among the top 10 nationally at their spots on the offensive line. The incredible part will be that all six of them still have at least three more seasons of eligibility to play at Georgia.
That’s not even counting sophomore tackle Andrew Thomas. Thomas started all 15 games as a freshman and is drawing a considerable amount of ALL-SEC and NFL buzz this early in his career.
Mississipi State has signed a pair of top-5 junior college linemen during that same span for its wall up front. Yet both of those were still 3-star prospects. The SEC West Bulldogs have not signed a single 5-star prospect for their OL.
Georgia has also shown Emery a depth chart view that’s not just recruiting spin: There’s not a single established starter returning. D’Andre Swift is an amazing back, but he has to prove it as the featured back.
Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 RB for 2018, still has to show he can bounce back from a knee injury. James Cook, another blue-chip from 2018, will have a role attacking the edges of the defense and working in the slot early on in Athens.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are off to the NFL. The successors to their roles have yet to be clearly defined. That won’t be known until the middle of the 2018 season. If that early.
Emery had to adjust to that.
“At first, before I went up there I was just looking at the depth chart as far as the running backs,” Emery Jr. said. “I was like, ‘that’s too many running backs. I’m not trying to be in a rotation like that.’ I would love a dual punch. I learned the difference. When I went up there (Dell McGee) explained to me that and he went deep with it. He explained how I could fit into that, and I saw that I had a fit there.”
“Everything is just perfect. It is just not for that school. It is for other schools, too.”
He could not provide a single thing that Georgia still could do to further raise his interest level.
“They have already laid everything out on the table,” he said. “I can’t answer that.”
In fairness, he said that two schools right now have done the best job of recruiting him so far. Those would be Georgia and Mississippi State. He then added LSU in there after a few seconds as a third option.
“Those schools look at the big picture,” Emery Jr. said. “As far as NFL-wise. I don’t have to run the ball 30 times or 20-something times a game. That’s one of the things I look for in a school, too.”
Georgia’s Dell McGee has been big in this recruitment
Georgia plans a future rotation with Emery Jr. to join Swift and White. Cook will start out in a role at that slot.
“Hearing that let me know how much playing time I could get,” he said. “That created a big factor for me as far as Georgia.”
UGA running backs coach Dell McGee was rated as the nation’s top overall recruiter by several services in 2018. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
He would like to commit prior to his senior season. Emery would like to enroll early, but he still needs to figure that matter out with his high school.
Georgia and Mississippi State recruit his family the best out of all his options. His inner circle would generally like him to see him stay home. His father does not weigh in hard here. John Emery Sr. just wants him to play to figure out what is best for his future.
His mother would like him to stay home, but he said she also likes Georgia.
Then there’s the way that McGee leads the way for this recruitment for the Bulldogs.
“Coach McGee is probably one of the greatest that I have dealt with recruiters and schools,” Emery Jr. said while noting his effort.
Nolan Smith, the 5-star UGA commit, has also bent his ear this week in Texas.
“I was talking to Nolan Smith and he was just saying that I should go ahead and come,” Emery Jr. said. “He was telling me that I was feeling it and ‘I can see it in your eyes’ and he was letting me know this and that trying to get me there.”
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