Deejay Dallas was UGA’s second commitment for the Class of 2017, but that was under Mark Richt’s watch last July.
Where do things stand now between UGA and the four-star athlete? Not as good as with several other schools. It appears the coaches he committed to last summer still have his attention, but they are no longer in Athens.
Dallas told DawgNation if he had to make a decision this week, he’d likely sign with Miami, or perhaps Oregon. The 6-foot, 196-pounder just had another great visit to Miami. He said that school, plus Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon and UCLA, are recruiting him the hardest.
The rising senior at Glynn Academy (Brunswick, Ga.) has grown very close to his primary recruiters at three of those schools: former UGA coach Mark Richt at Miami and former UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt at Alabama.
“I have also built a strong relationship with coach (Jim) Harbaugh) and (assistant) coach (Chris) Partridge up at Michigan,” he said. “So like Alabama, Michigan and Miami are the three schools where I feel like I have the strongest relationships now.”
He said that distance would not affect him at Michigan and that he could thrive in the cold weather, too. The only distance element that might affect his decision would be a committing to a school so far away it would be hard for his family to see him play.
Where does UGA fit into his plans?
“When I was on my visit they really laid out the red carpet,” Dallas said. “They showed me everything I’d do if I decided to come there. I knew coach (Kirby) Smart when he was at Alabama. I said I was rebuilding a bridge after that visit, but it was really rebuilding a bridge with Georgia because I de-committed and all. That kind of did affect how they saw me up there. So I just needed to go up there and show them I was still interested.”
But Dallas said he barely hears from UGA now. He’s not sure if he will take an official visit, because of the talent on its way to Athens.
“Right now they are about to be stacked,” Dallas said. “Teams that get stacked real fast at my position with players like me I feel l will probably get lost in the shuffle. Georgia is still of interest, though. I still like Georgia. I’m not going to lose faith or lose hope with them.”
When asked to elaborate on what he meant by that, he gave the following reply.
“Just watch and wait and you’ll see that Georgia is really going to get some dudes at receiver and athlete and defensive back,” Dallas said. “They are going to be stacked with skill players, defensive backs and receivers.”
The nation’s No. 13 athlete does not wish to make another commitment. Dallas plans to share where he’ll sign right before he enrolls early in January. He’s visited Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech and has already made two trips to see Richt at Miami over the last month.
The four-star prospect also hopes to visit Stanford in June. He’s two points away from the 24 on the ACT he needs to earn an offer from the Cardinal. Arizona and Georgia Tech are the only Power 5 schools which have offered him at quarterback.
Arizona is the only team that has offered him at quarterback that actually makes a commitment to throwing the ball out of the spread formation. That’s big because his preference is to play for a school in a major conference, but he’d prefer to do so under center.
“If quarterback isn’t in God’s plan for me then I am going to listen and see what God’s plan is for me,” he said. “… Wherever I feel comfortable, that is where I am going to end up going.”
A preferred situation would be playing at safety and cornerback. He feels he has the skills to play both positions. Yet he can also glide in and out of routes at receiver. He worked at receiver during the Elite Juniors Classic last December and turned the head of every coach on the staff.
“Put me on offense and I’ll change a game,” Dallas said. “Put me on defense and I will control the game and keep the other team’s points down so we can win.”
Harbaugh and Michigan see him in a Jabrill Peppers-type role on both sides of the ball. Richt sees him at receiver and as a kick returner with snaps at ‘Wildcat” quarterback. Alabama views him as a Cyrus Jones-type. They will find a way to get him on the field. Dallas said he hears from four different Crimson Tide coaches in his recruitment.
As far as the roles he will play, Dallas said that Oregon and Michigan stand out because they offer him the chance to play both ways.
“To play both ways to me is to be elite,” Dallas said. “To me to be elite you have to play both ways and play at a great program with great coaches mentoring you.”
He said he speaks to Richt as much as any head coach. That’s the best relationship he has with any coach, but Harbaugh tries to connect with him every two days.
“I talk to (Coach Richt) like every day,” Dallas said. “I was once committed to a program he was running. He and I have been tight since he was at Georgia and now he is at Miami and our relationship hasn’t changed.”
Dallas is a different type of prospect when it comes to recruiting. Others feel they have to go to prospect camps to raise their stock. He referred to them as “T-shirt and shorts” camps.
“My coach has always told me Elvis never did any free shows,” Dallas said. “He said those shorts camps don’t even mean anything. They will help you get your name out there but coaches will find you. If your film is top-notch and the coaches think you can play they’ll find you. You don’t have to go to a Nike camp or an Under Armour camp to get known. Those t-shirt and short camps don’t prove anything other than covering skills for a defensive back. They don’t do anything for receivers or quarterbacks. Game speed and camp speed are two different things. Having a shirt and shorts and cleats on is a different speed than having shoulder pads, a helmet and pads on. I used to do them, but to me, there’s really no point because you’re not proving anything when you already have those offers.”
Dallas said it would be a good experience to get invited to “The Opening” to compete against the top recruits in the nation. But he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to make it to the regional qualifiers because of track season. He runs the 100, 200, the 400 relay, and also does the long jump.
G-Day, Georgia’s annual spring football scrimmage, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Sanford Stadium. Check back here daily for DawgNation’s G-Day coverage brought to you by Georgia United Credit Union.
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.