G-Day. Junior Days. The annual May Scavenger Hunt. The summer gathering before fall camp. The Georgia football program hasn’t been able to host any of its signature recruiting events during the 2021 cycle due to the global pandemic.
The latest NCAA mandates continue to prevent recruits from taking official and unofficial visits to campus until at least the end of September.
The closest thing to one of those missed signature Georgia recruiting events may have indeed happened over the weekend. DawgNation got word on early Friday afternoon that a gathering of major Georgia targets for the 2021 class was set to take place over the weekend and we shared a subtle hint about that with readers of the DawgNation forum.
But it could not go down under the watchful eyes of the UGA staff. That’s not permissible under the NCAA definition of the “dead period” for contact that the NCAA recruiting cycle is currently under.
It was going to have to be recruit-led and driven by the potential members of the 2021 class. It was a chance to see if maybe the chance to meet and bond at the same school with all the potential teammates in this cycle is as big a factor as trying on the jerseys, checking out the facilities and walking around the stadium together.
It was as simple as starting to figure out if those were the kind of guys everyone could bleed and sweat and grind with for the next three-to-four years. That chance to see if they all could ride together as future teammates did go down this weekend.
Who made it to Athens? Well, how about a major representation of the latest “top targets” list that shows up on DawgNation’s weekly “Before the Hedges” every Wednesday.
The potential guest list included:
Smith was in town for what was believed to be a wedding. Foreman had also been planning to take an unofficial visit on his to UGA for the last couple of weeks. At least. The details of those visits were also detailed by Dawgs247 and UgaSports.com as well on Sunday evening.
The entire event remains shrouded in secrecy. There are usually pictures and social media posts that pour out of these events. That has not been the case so far. This looks to be one of those meetings that required four zipped-up emojis for this one.
DawgNation was able to confirm all of those names on that list. But we cannot state with great clarity that the list of attendees did not include even more targets for the 2021 class beyond that.
We’re thinking the latter on that one.
Georgia football recruiting: Is this a UGA thing here?
Was a gathering like this a Georgia-only thing so far during this very different non-season on the recruiting trail for the 2021 class? That wasn’t the case as another 5-star QB commit in Oklahoma-bound Caleb Williams organized an even larger gathering in Norman.
According to published reports, Williams was able to help organize a gathering of at least 14 Oklahoma targets to all descend on the campus from the 2021 and 2022 classes. Those potential Sooners all linked up and spent the majority of the day and weekend together, including dining together on top of a rooftop restaurant.
Bowers, now a Georgia commit, also took an independent trip on his own of a similar nature to UGA over the first full weekend back in July. He hung out with Vandagriff and fellow 2021 commit Chaz Chambliss and even spent some time at the Vandagriff home in nearby Bogart.
It worked. Bowers committed to Georgia about a month after that visit.
Time will tell if the Bulldogs will net a similar result from those clandestine activities over the past weekend.
This wasn’t the first time that Vandagriff had played like he was an official member of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau on behalf of the 2021 class. It likely won’t be the last either.
It is interesting to see the two 5-star QBs in the class (Vandagriff and Williams) working on their own to build the best possible classes for each of their future team during these unprecedented times.
Even if it means moving in secret.
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)