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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation.com
4-star tackle Warren McClendon grew up a Georgia fan, but he was only able to make it to one game last season.

Deep dive inside the top 5 for in-state tackle Warren McClendon

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’re going to call today’s blog Warren McClendon Wednesday as we bring out the latest update on the South Georgia UGA legacy from Brunswick (Ga.) High School.

Warren McClendon shared his top 5 schools on Wednesday morning. It was an all-SEC top 5 that confirms he’s bound to play in the conference.

We’ll try to cover a lot of the quick basics regarding McClendon and then get down to the details.

  • The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder ranks on the 247Sports composite as the nation’s No. 26 tackle for 2019. That slots him at No. 248 overall.
  • McClendon will graduate and enroll early.
  • Georgia and South Carolina are recruiting him the hardest.
  • He did say that at least of couple schools in that top 5 are somewhat ahead of the pack. That leads to a natural conclusion about Georgia and South Carolina. That’s my conclusion, anyway.
  • The 4-star tackle isn’t sure about when he will decide. But he does plan to take all of his officials this fall and then he will effort to make his college commitment after that. Once he decides, then his process is over. He hopes to honor the word commitment with his decision.
  • He’s also going to have a very busy month of June. McClendon aims to visit every member of that top 5 in June. The only specific trips he still has to set would be unofficial visits to Georgia and Tennessee.
  • Location is not a factor. Neither, really, is playing time — although there are a couple of schools inside that top 5 that offer a greater window to play early than others.
  • McClendon said that he hasn’t even reached the point where he reached a private leader yet. “A lot of going back-and-forth right now,” he said. “Overthinking it and stuff like that.”

That’s a good quick look at all the pieces on the board for McClendon.

Breaking down that top 5 for Warren McClendon

The 4-star tackle will take an unofficial visit to Auburn next week. Florida will get another trip on June 8. He will return to visit the South Carolina staff in Columbia on June 14-15. Georgia and Tennessee also need to get wedged in there prior to the dead period.

He was ready to trim down his recruiting options.

“Just trying to focus on those five schools that I’m really looking [at],” McClendon said. “It was a way to just narrow it all down and stop having all those other coaches [at other schools] texting me and all that.”

Was it getting daunting?

Four-star tackle Warren McClendon was first spotted by DawgNation as a high school freshman. That’s when he appeared to be even more polished a prospect than high school junior and future U.S. Army All-American D’Antne Demery at Brunswick High School. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“You always have those coaches wanting to text you every day and talk to you,” he said. “Sometimes yes [it is hard] but I always do respond. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to respond but I always do.”

It is closer than most might think. He wants to major in physical therapy and he’s confident that all of those schools will prepare him academically for that career path, too.

“There are schools that are above each other but they are all really kind of close,” McClendon said. “I am considering all of them.”

This next passage will read straight like textbook recruiting reporting. We asked McClendon to name the single biggest drawing factor for each member of that final group.

He did so pretty succinctly. Especially for a guy who won’t turn 18 years old until next April.

Auburn: “That would be [offensive line] Coach [J.B.] Grimes. I’ve built a relationship with Coach Grimes ever since he got back to Auburn. I like him as a coach.”

“They probably talk to me almost three times a week about coming up on a visit,” he continued, “so when I told him yesterday about coming up on a visit next week, he was excited.”

Florida: “That’s coach [Dan] Mullen and [offensive line] Coach [John] Hevesy because we have been building a relationship since they were at Mississippi State. They were recruiting me pretty hard. Now they are at Florida and it is close to home. I just like it.”

Georgia: “Just being the home state team and always being a Georgia fan as a young person. The family history we have there. I just like it up there, too.”

South Carolina: “That’s because my cousin [offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon] is there and [offensive line] Coach [Eric] Wolford. We’ve built a relationship since they offered me and I like it up there, too.”

Tennessee: “That is because of [offensive line coach] Coach [Will] Friend and Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt. When coach Pruitt was at Alabama, he was recruiting me really hard and now that he is over at Tennessee he is recruiting me even harder. Coach Friend is recruiting me pretty hard, too.”

“I like what they are doing at Tennessee. They have a good class right now, too.”

He thinks he could get on the field quickest at Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Florida, he has been told, is losing six offensive linemen after the 2018 season.

Will it come down to UGA and South Carolina with Warren McClendon?

I remember asking McClendon a while back about the family influences with his cousin at South Carolina. McClendon played and coached at Georgia before becoming the offensive coordinator for the Gamecocks.

His uncle Willie McClendon was a great UGA tailback back in the 1970s and really established the McClendon name in Athens.

Warren McClendon-UGA recruitng-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Warren McClendon told DawgNation that Georgia line coach Sam Pittman and his South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon (his cousin) are the two heaviest recruiting relationships in his decision. (Jeff Sentell/ SEC Country)

Which one of those family tugs was the strongest? McClendon said that most might think that it would be UGA because that’s the school most of his family grew up loving. That was working to offset the current employment status with his cousin in Columbia.

But it appears that is a matter that is constantly evolving.

“That is still something there that is tugging on me with this,” McClendon said.

He said that is now surprising now to see different pockets of his family put their cards on the table for Georgia or South Carolina.

“Actually, a lot do,” he said. “That was surprising. Yeah. Some of my Georgia family and the Georgia fans in my family have switched over to South Carolina now. So it is just all crazy.”

He did acknowledge that the members of his family that are now in the Carolina corner are the ones that are the most directly connected to that member of the coaching staff.

McClendon said he is looking at the Georgia Tech game (Nov. 24) for his official visit to Athens. The main contender for the counterpart visit to Columbia would be the UGA game in the second week of the season.

It was interesting to learn that Sam Pittman at UGA is recruiting McClendon solely as a tackle. That seemed significant given that the Bulldogs could only sign two tackles this year.

“Georgia recruits me as a tackle and everybody else recruits me as both a tackle and a guard,” McClendon said.

He also said that he was most comfortable projecting to play tackle on Saturdays in the SEC.

The Sam Pittman and Bryan McClendon factors at work here 

When asked, he acknowledged that Pittman, the UGA line coach, and his cousin are the two most central coach/recruiting figures in his decision.

McClendon has a clear opinion about Pittman. He’s been talking to him since Pittman recruited former Brunswick U.S. Army All-American D’Antne Demery in the class of 2017.

“He’s a great guy to be around,” said McClendon of Pittman. “He’s a great coach and is really one of the main reasons why Georgia is in my top 5. He is just a good person to be around. … Everything he does is funny. He’s just a fun person to be around really. You can’t be around him and not have fun.”

Pardon the hypothetical here, but he was asked how he would view South Carolina if Pittman coached the line there … and Bryan McClendon is recruiting him to Georgia.

“Oh, man,” he said. “That’s a tough one. I haven’t thought about that. I don’t know the answer to that.”

McClendon said he doesn’t have any more pressing questions about Georgia.

“Coach Pittman says he likes my technique and just how physical I am when taking on the pass rush,” he said. “He said he just likes me a lot.”

He also said he feels the future is very bright in Athens.

“They’ve turned the program around from where they were before in basically a year,” he said. “That’s pretty good. I only see them going up from where they are now. I see them winning a couple of national championships in their future with how things are going now.”

Cortez ‘Mack 10’ Andrews continues to hold UGA in his top 5

Cortez Andrews is going to wind up playing in the SEC, as well. That seems like the 1-foot putt of predictions when it comes to the 4-star safety prospect from Tallahassee, Fla.

The Florida product revealed his top 5 recently on Twitter. That should come as no surprise to anyone who read the DawgNation update with Andrews shortly after G-Day.

The Alabama legacy grew up with the Tide as his dream school because his father, Carlos, played at Alabama from 2001-04. That’s why the nation’s No. 25 safety prospect from Amos P. Godby High once had the Tide as his dream school.

Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss made his final group.

This obviously seems like an edit that now illustrates (or at least reinforces) the top 5 he shared via another tweet back on May 7.

Andrews, who aims for a career in sports broadcasting one day, also did a media hit with Alabama-based SmashMouth Radio on Wednesday.

In his 13-minute on-air interview with host Scott Griffin, he broke down all five of those schools. What did he have to say about Georgia?

Cortez Andrews-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football recruiting-UGA football recruriting
Cortez Andrews compared his G-Day experience to a really good Chick-Fil-A sandwich. He’s smart to consider a post-football career in communications as a sports broadcaster. (Cortez Andrews/Contributed photo)

His thoughts centered on Kirby Smart and the Georgia defense. He focused on the relationship he has had with Kirby Smart dating back to landing a scholarship offer in the spring of his sophomore year.

“Aw man [the] University of Georgia,” Andrews told Griffin. “Coach Smart has known me since my 10th-grade year. I actually got a scholarship offer from him in the spring of my 10th-grade year. Going up there is all about family. They talk to me a lot. My birthday they actually sent me a ton of birthday cards. It is all about family with them and you know life after football. Just the way they have been on me. I just love the way that Dawg defense is.”

“That played a big role in it. You know Coach Smart came from Alabama. He was a DB growing up. He did a lot of stuff with that Georgia defense. That’s why I can definitely see it there. I love that defense.”

He also had a novel answer about what a school could do that would cause him to lose interest.

“Selling me dreams is probably the worst thing for me [to hear] as a recruit,” Andrews said. “I don’t like that. That has happened a lot in the past with a lot of other schools selling me dreams of ‘you are this and that’ and ‘you are going to be this’ and ‘you are going to come here and play right away’ and that is all stuff I don’t want to hear. Me being a top recruit or a player some guys want to hear that stuff. But for me as a person, I work for everything I have got. I want to be able to work for everything.

“I want to come in and leave my impact somewhere but I want to work and I also don’t like being sold false dreams. You know what I am saying? I’d rather listen to somebody be real. Keep it real.”

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.