BRADENTON, Fla. — Let’s count to four on the Georgia recruiting board at wide receiver.
One. That was Xavier Jenkins. He was a South Georgia kid the Bulldogs want that can also build up their recruiting base in that fertile area.
Three. That was Matt Landers. He was like Jenkins. Big on size. Low on hype. Stellar on up-side. He loves that he got in early with UGA.
Four? Could that be Jeremiah Holloman? Or Mark Webb? What about Trey Bishop, Nico Collins and OreTre Smith?
That’s Georgia’s recruiting situation at receiver in a nutshell with the Class of 2017. Will they take four? That’s the plan all those receivers have heard. Holloman told DawgNation this weekend at the IMG 7-on-7 National Championships that UGA would count to five at receiver if it meant that was what it took to add him to this class.
Give the Bulldogs staff credit for continuing to make sure every base is covered. That’s the best way to explain why assistant Shane Beamer makes sure to stay in touch with Smith. The No. 1 player in South Carolina this year hears from UGA a lot.
He’s thinking hard about South Carolina, but the Bulldogs continue to stay in touch.
“I talk to (UGA receivers) coach (James) Coley periodically, but I talk to Coach Beamer just about every day,” Smith said.
He feels the Gamecocks are recruiting him harder than any other program. He said he hears from head coach Will Muschamp every day. He will also enroll early.
Look for Smith to commit on his birthday. That’s on September 11. He will also release a Top 4 or maybe a Top 5 in the near future. Smith said Saturday at the IMG 7-on-7 national championships in Florida to expect that release within a week.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound prospect hails from the same region in South Carolina that sent Summerville legend A.J. Green to Georgia. A rising senior at Wando High School, Smith said the numbers Green put up in high school inspire him.
“I try to beat them,” Smith said. “I almost had one of his best seasons last year. I try to pass him even though he is a big name. I work to beat him. He had like 80-something receptions and I beat him last year. But then he had 1,400-something yards. I needed 100 more yards to catch that record. I had 18 touchdowns last year as a junior. I don’t know how many touchdowns he had as a junior with that.”
He likes the potential fit at Georgia. His last visit to Athens was “about a week ago.” He said UGA head coach Kirby Smart spoke to his mother about the recent incidents with the players at Georgia and the way discipline is stressed in the program.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail with a lot of it,” Smith said. “I don’t want to say anything, but it is a good situation for me. The depth chart is good for me. They don’t have a lot of tall receivers so the opportunity at Georgia sets up well for me.”
He said he doesn’t feel any pressure to fit in.
“I am not tempted to do anything,” Smith said. “I am just trying to find out where I fit in the best.”
Does he feel UGA would accept his commitment at any time?
“I think so,” Smith said.
Smith said he has been to South Carolina more than any other school. He shared that Clemson and Georgia are the other two programs that he has seen the most right after the Gamecocks.
The nation’s No. 3 athlete broke down his thoughts on several of his top contenders:
Clemson: “I grew up bleeding orange,” Smith said. “That’s because my Mom went to Clemson. That is cool, but this journey is for me. I am just trying to see where I fit in and where I could contribute the most. I am building a good relationship with coach (Jeff) Scott. I also have a really great relationship with coach (Tony) Elliott. We talk a lot and joke all the time. I talked to Coach Elliott a couple of weeks ago and it was a really good talk. He said a lot of really important things to me. I enjoyed that. My recent Clemson visit was great. That cleared up a lot of the air for me with Clemson.”
Georgia: “It is a major contender,” he said. “The people are great. It is nice. I like it. Coach Beamer is an amazing man. I also respect coach Kirby Smart a great deal. It is a nice environment when I am up there. It is an enjoyable place to be at.”
North Carolina: “When I went up there it was great,” Smith said. “I hung out with a bunch of players and stuff. They just told me how real it was compared to with what the coaches tell you. I really appreciated that.”
South Carolina: “South Carolina is my home,” Smith said. “They are showing me a lot of love as my home in-state school and I appreciate that,” Smith said. “I like coach (Bryan) McClendon a lot. I know everyone up there. That school is all good with how they are recruiting me right now.”
Smith aims to study sports psychology. He said that all of the programs among his top schools would be a great match for him with his degree path.
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.