Georgia football: Checking the 2021 recruiting options at CB after the Tony Grimes decision
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry takes a look at the top cornerback options for Georgia after the decision made Tuesday by 5-star cornerback Tony Grimes, Jr. in choosing North Carolina.
Tony Grimes is going to be a Tar Heel. Not a Bulldog or a Buckeye or an Aggie.
That doesn’t mean that UGA still isn’t looking for a top-tier replenish of talent at cornerback for the 2021 recruiting cycle. DJ Daniel and Mark Webb Jr. are set to exhaust their eligibility after the 2020 season this fall. Another strong year of tape for draft-eligible juniors Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes Jr. could vault them both into Day 2 picks (or higher) in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
That’s four of the team’s five top cornerback options from the 2019 season. Former All-American Tyrique Stevenson could be the only holdover. He was certainly impressive during stretches at the “STAR” positions last fall.
With the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect (247Sports Composite) seemingly off the board, where do the Bulldogs turn now to restock that depth chart with the 2021 recruiting cycle?
With that, there are now three names that look to be the top options. DawgNation is also hearing that a fourth option could also be receiving increased consideration, too.
Look for Georgia to take up to five defensive backs in this cycle. Georgia signed two elite cornerbacks in the 2020 cycle in 5-star Kelee Ringo and 4-star Jalen Kimber. Both of those were All-Americans and Ringo was also rated as the nation’s No.1 cornerback in the last cycle.
Defensive backs coach Charlton Warren already has a steadfast commitment from elite in-state safety David Daniel. Georgia will also park a scholarship as long as necessary for transcendent 5-star safety James Williams from South Florida. Look for Georgia to try to sign three highly-adaptable players who could line up on the island at cornerback or in the “STAR” position to help offset the loss of a veteran like Webb.
Florida defensive back Terrion Arnold is also a terrific prospect to monitor going forward. He could play at safety or nickel corner or the “STAR” position should the Bulldogs sign him in this class. Arnold has some of the most impressive highlight film we will ever show the DawgNation reader for a defensive back.
The 6-foot-2, 187-pound senior from John Paul II Catholic in Tallahasse is making plays all over his 11-minute junior tape.
He’s the nation’s No. 9 safety and No. 186 overall on the 247Sports Composite, but his pure 247rating has him as the nation’s No. 2 overall safety for 2021.
What about the cornerback position specifically?
The first of those names would be another elite option from the junior college ranks like Daniel. He would be the one most ready to play right away.
De’Jahn “Nugget” Warren/4-star CB/Lackawanna Community College/Hyattsville, Md.
Rankings (247Sports Composite): Nation’s No. 1 JUCO cornerback/No. 2 overall JUCO prospect
Major contenders: Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State and Tennessee
Need to know: Warren looks to make his decision on Dec. 14. He has already established that he will give UGA his last official visit on Dec. 11 prior to that. Warren has taken notice of what Georgia did in signing D.J. Daniel from the JUCO ranks and quickly installing him as a mainstay starter in Georgia’s top-rated defense in 2019. He’s had significant twists in his career and he would have been in the 2017 recruiting class had his grades been in order in high school. He will be 21 in December and he actually had to walk-on at Lackawanna before quickly earning a starting position.
Warren wasn’t a well-known recruiting commodity prior to late last fall. He was going to need this spring and summer to figure out his recruiting process. He will lean heavily on each official visit when the ability to take those are once again permitted by the NCAA in the pandemic.
— De’Jahn “Nugget” Warren (@Ayoooo_daeee) June 30, 2020
Isaiah Johnson/4-star CB/Bluefield/Bluefield, WVa.
Rankings (247Sports Composite): Nation’s No. 7 CB/No. 78 overall
Major contenders: Georgia, LSU and Tennessee
Need to know: Johnson is a terrific prospect in his own right and he has ties to the Atlanta area. He grew up in the Metro Atlanta area before moving away. The West Virginia resident took a big January visit to check out Georgia. He was actually with Grimes on that trip. He has the size and length that Georgia is looking for at the cornerback position. A specific timetable for when Johnson will make his college decision is not known.
Johnson is one of those special talents that earned the invitation to compete at the national Opening finals last summer out in Texas prior to his junior season. He has been laser timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40. That was during his sophomore season.
Highlight tape (sophomore year):
Nyland Green/4-star CB/Newton High School/Covington, Ga.
Rankings (247Sports Composite): Nation’s No. 8 CB/No. 88 overall prospect
Major contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and LSU.
Need to know: Green has really improved and changed his body over the last two seasons. He’s an impressive athlete with size and the ability to play cornerback. He also does not have a set timetable, but the recruiting industry has been trying its best to chart his preferences during the pandemic. He remains prioritized by Georgia, but he could see an uptick in interest after the Grimes decision. He has a vast upside due to his size and length. 247Sports has Green as the nation’s No. 3 CB prospect on its own specific rating.
It seems like Clemson was the team to beat a few months ago, but now the online trend seems to be pointing to Auburn. He will always have a high interest in Georgia so it will be interesting to see how this one develops over the next few months. If he waits until visits are restored to make his college commitment, then it seems like a few of the contenders here will still be on a level playing field. The first play on his highlight tape actually shows him taking a quick bubble screen to the house as a receiver. It illustrates the type of athletic ability here. Green is a prospect who could certainly earn fast time at cornerback or the “STAR” position at UGA.
Junior highlight tape:
Damarius McGhee/4-star CB/Pensacola Catholic/Pensacola, Fla.
Rankings (247Sports Composite): Nation’s No. 27 CB/No. 377 overall prospect
Major contenders: Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee
Need to know: This is a relatively new name for DawgNation fans to get acquainted with. While he’s rated a notch lower than the other three guys presented here, he does have some good tape. He’s also a name that has only popped up over the last few weeks. The DawgNation message board forum has also brought him up recently as a name to key an eye on, too.
McGhee has good tape, but it mostly shows his skills as a cover cornerback and not as a strong run support option. While his ranking isn’t the same as the other three prospects presented earlier, his pure 247Sports rating aside from the composite lists him as a top 10 cornerback and among the nation’s top 100 prospects. He’ll have to put on a lot of weight to contend for early playing time in the SEC. He could also be an early option in the return game as he has good quickness in that role. He can contort his body to change direction without losing speed in space.
Junior highlight tape:
Who else is also hearing a lot from Georgia?
McGhee could certainly benefit from some strong senior tape from his first four games. There are a few other names that also come up with a mutual interest in the 2021 class at that position.
There are two cornerbacks in the South who have also recently placed Georgia among their top five schools.
Dreyden Norwood is a 4-star prospect from Northside High in Arkansas. He ranks as the nation’s No. 19 corner for 2021. That places him at No. 274 overall nationally for 2021.
Blessed to be in this position.🙏 pic.twitter.com/bDrqYr8HZz
— Dreyden Norwood (@DreydenNorwood) April 20, 2020
Arkansas is clearly the team to watch for there with the two-sport standout. He also excels in track and plays quarterback for his Northside (Fort Smith, Ark.) team.
Damond Harmon is a 3-star CB from Highland Springs High School in Virginia. He ranks as the nation’s No. 40 CB prospect and the No. 553 overall prospect.
Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee made his final group.
— Damond Harmon (@hunchoo_21) June 20, 2020
Looking for an in-state name to keep in the back of your mind? That could be Westlake senior Nathaniel Wiggins. Wiggins does have an offer from the Bulldogs, but he hasn’t been prioritized as much as Grimes and the four names presented here.
He is taking a hard look at both Oregon and USC as potential college options. Wiggins has great ability and he is as talented as the quartet of names presented above. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder played both ways last fall at Grady High in Atlanta and certainly has the talent to excel in the SEC.
The 247Sports Composite has him as the nation’s No. 10 CB prospect and at No. 123 overall, but his pure 247Sports rating pegs him as the nation’s No. 7 corner for 2021. In my opinion, he seems to be a top 5 cornerback. He’s simply that good.
Check out his impressive reel below. That’s some good tape, but he looks to have gotten a lot better over the winter and the spring. He’s made some significant gains during his off-season training with former Clemson All-American Justin Miller.
Georgia also recently gave out another in-state offer to Baldwin High cornerback Javon Bullard. The three-star recruit is rated as the nation’s No. 63 cornerback and the No. 763 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite standard.
Is there any chance left with Tony Grimes?
There’s also the question that lingers about Grimes. There was some back-and-forth last month about whether or not he would reclassify as a 2020 prospect or remain in the 2021 class. That was due to concerns about canceling or even postponing the high school season this fall in Virginia.
DawgNation was told that the prospects of reclassifying had dimmed considerably.
It now appears likely that Grimes will take the one summer class he needs to graduate early and join the roster at North Carolina this fall. That would remove the chance for Georgia to try to flip him once visits return as a possibility.
His father, Deon Glover, indicates that as the current plan in this tweet below.
That’s what happens when you put academics ahead of football. All he need is 1 class to graduate high school and he will take that class online and be done. Stanford didn’t offer him early just because he can play football… He is a stud in the class room as well💯 https://t.co/uSGTrv83RK
— Coach Glover (@dhglover) July 1, 2020
Glover told DawgNation in the week leading up to his decision that the plan was for him to remain in the Class of 2021 and to take three of his officials after the June 30 commitment. Grimes was still looking to take three of his officials after he made his commitment.
That appears to have changed.
The news of that possibility was first reported on Tuesday by Adam Friedman of Rivals.com.
BREAKING: 5-star DB Tony Grimes has committed to #UNC and should be suiting up for the #TarHeels this season. Take a look at why he made the decision, the impact he’ll make for #UNC, & why it’s big for @CoachMackBrown & company https://t.co/PQYwFkWWgR pic.twitter.com/XKU6J224Yl
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) June 30, 2020
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
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- Where does Georgia turn now at CB after Tony Grimes in the 2021 recruiting class?
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- 6-foot-7 sophomore OT Payton Kirkland shares why UGA is his dream school
- Andrew Thomas says to expect a lot of pancakes from Jamaree Salyer in 2020
- Before the Hedges: Sudden change for Georgia football and its 2021 recruiting board
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- Elite OLB Dallas Turner announces finalists and rapidly-approaching decision day
- Checking in on the four biggest Georgia football recruiting storylines at this time
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- 5-star ATH James Williams changes things up a bit with his new top 2
- Derrick LeBlanc: Georgia extends “dream school” offer to a sophomore with elite size
- HEDGES: Who’s the best QB on the board in the class of 2022?
- MJ Morris: New Georgia coordinator Todd Monken has made him a priority
- WATCH: Georgia commit Chaz Chambliss shows he has a bright future at OLB