Whew. Buckle up for Friday’s UGA Recruiting Rewind for DawgNation this morning.
If you breezed by DawgNation yesterday and cared at least an iota or two about UGA football recruiting, then that was your day. The AJC reporting team filed 16 updates yesterday from the Corky Kell Classic Luncheon.
We’re not breaking our arms patting anyone’s back. That’s what we should do when it comes to covering UGA football recruiting.
That said, it is only natural to expect a super-sized Friday UGA Recruiting Rewind for DawgNation after a day like that. This one is so vast it also includes at least one Donald Trump reference.
Here are today’s must-reads
1. Nation’s No. 1 athlete goes back and forth
What’s going through the mind of Mecole Hardman, Jr. these days? Well, besides playing QB for his senior year at Elbert County there’s a few SEC teams dancing in his head.
Hardman told the AJC yesterday that some days his mind centers on one school. That could be after a particularly insightful conversation with a recruiter. He then might change direction as quickly as he does on the field.
We won’t ping the cliche’ meter by saying Hardman has that “IT” factor that’s noticeable even in a bus full of elite athletes.
I’ll just say this: UGA’s 2016 recruiting class won’t reach its full potential unless that guy’s name is up on the board at UGA’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. Hardman can make an ALL-SEC team at cornerback, receiver or kick returner.
2. Big Julian pondering early enrollment
McEachern’s Julian Rochester is quick on the draw to show his love for UGA. He’s committed to the program and tries to lure other blue-chips to the program. He said yesterday he might take an official visit or two to enjoy those experiences but if he does he’s still locked to UGA.
He’s so set that he even brought up the possibility of enrolling early in January. The 6-foot-5 defensive tackle also got a peck on the cheek from a loved one on Thursday.
3. Charlie Woerner will be a fan favorite
The topic came up the other day about which commitment is likely the most popular among the UGA fan base. Jacob Eason would likely take the popular vote given his vast ability and perch as the top-ranked quarterback in the nation by at least one recruiting service.
If there was such a poll, I’m betting Charlie Woerner‘s name would be climbing among all precincts like a Trump. Why? Well, he’s the nephew of former UGA All-American Scott Woerner. He’s also a skilled size athlete who understands the game well enough to play multiple positions. He’ll also bring ball skills to the table with his 6 foot, 5 inch frame.
But another big reason is he’s completely devoid of any recruiting drama. The Rabun County senior said this yesterday at the Corky Kell luncheon to prove just how committed he is to UGA.
4. Kyle Davis talks Top 3
Archer 5-star receiver Kyle Davis seems pretty comfortable with just discussing his Top 3 now. That’s UGA, Auburn and Tennessee. He graciously gave DawgNation a few minutes of his time yesterday and weighed in on whether a team’s won or loss record this year will affect his decision.
He also spoke about the importance of his official visit and whether any of those three schools were outworking the others.
Davis also showed his sense of humor after his press tour. I believe the young man will want to visit a few more end zones before he does four or five interviews in maybe about an hour’s time again.
from now on if you want a interview from me, I'm charging $15 an interview. (prices may vary depending on the questions)
— KD (@KDSZN) August 20, 2015
5. Derrick Brown has two bucket list games
Derrick Brown — the state’s top overall prospect — sees two games he will have to attend this fall. The first of those is the UGA-Alabama game on Oct. 3 in Athens. The second would be the “Iron Bowl” in Auburn.
The Lanier defensive tackle also told DawgNation he might not take an official visit to UGA for the Alabama game, but he’ll be sure to be there.
He also has a trusted family member helping him to line up the dates of each one of his official visits.
6. How will Holyfield commit?
Elijah Holyfield is the nation’s No. 5 RB and is considered UGA’s top target at RB for the 2016 class. He’s set to make his announcement on Sept. 4. How will he do it? He shared that information with the AJC on Thursday
7. Can Imatorbhebhe flip to UGA?
North Gwinnett’s Josh Imatorbhebhe is a modern day Renassiance prospect. He’s the sort who could pull up a chair at a coffee table with a few random college professors and get off the bench in that conversation. He can also leap over a pretty tall first grader in a single bound. He’s got a 46-ish inch vertical leap. That was tested at The Opening.
He’s committed to USC, but does UGA have any hope of getting him to change his mind? The magic Recruiting 8-ball says not to count on it, but he did share a thought or two with the AJC on that topic. That said, UGA is his No. 2 school.
Josh Imatorbhebhe | 47.1" Vertical, Waaay Up https://t.co/dZYsF9MfQB
— The Opening (@TheOpening) July 8, 2015
8. Pro scout compares 2016’s Top QBs
247sports.com’s Barton Simmons had an interesting report yesterday where he asked a pro scout to rate the elite QBs in the Class of 2016. The positives and negatives were covered regarding Jacob Eason, Feleipe Franks and Shea Patterson, among others.
The big Eason takeaway was his arm strength was clearly noted, but that he was basically a pocket passer who works through his progressions very well. The report also covered a few areas of improvement for Eason and all of the nation’s best at that position.
9. Bailey Hockman = Competitor
Bailey Hockman already showed his grit this summer by not blinking at the thought of having to compete with Eason for playing time when he enrolls in 2017. That’s just a measure of the confidence in his ability plus he knows competing with the 5-star passer will only make him better.
We also gained a little more insight into his Dawg Night performance on Thursday. His father Kyle Hockman shared a story with DawgNation that will earn even more respect in the eyes of fans and peers. Hockman gutted through the drills at Dawg Night among a star-studded rotation of signal callers despite an injury.
10. Nation’s No. 4 RB sets his official visit date
4-star RB Devwah Whaley continues to be high on UGA. The feeling is mutal. Whaley told the AJC earlier this month he could see himself committing to UGA even if another big-time back like Holyfield was already pledged to the program. He also said UGA and Oklahoma were the two best college visits he had ever been on and those schools were also recruiting him the hardest.
Whaley set up his UGA official visit this week and he’ll be in Athens for three days for the South Carolina weekend. That meshes well with his high school schedule as the off week allows him to spend three very pivotal days at UGA.
11. E.J. Price sets commitment date
E.J. Price was once committed to UGA but backed off that decision in late June. Then he posted his Top 8 online and UGA was still clearly in the mix. Price wasn’t at the Corky Kell yesterday, but the Archer 4-star OL made some news of his own by announcing his commitment date.
Price said he’ll make his commitment on Jan. 9 at the Army All-American Bowl. That week in San Antonio will surely have a Texas-sized share of UGA targets with guys like Brown, Ben Cleveland, Eason, Hardman, Jr., Isaac Nauta. Rochester and Demetris Robertson, among many many others.
12. Still UGA and Duke for Dylan
4-star Dylan Singleton told the AJC on Thursday that UGA still leads Duke in the race for his recruitment. Singleton is the best pure football player on the Archer roster and that’s saying quite a lot.
He says to expect a commitment sooner rather than later. We’ll watch this one closely as Singleton’s older brother is on the team at Duke.
ONE MO’ REP: Remember the great Keith Henderson? This week’s Throwback Thursday subject on DawgNation told the story of why he committed to UGA even though it was his No. 2 school.
Jeff Sentell covers 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.