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Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Four-star Makiya Tongue rates as the nation's No. 15 athlete for 2019, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

NFL legacy Makiya Tongue and his family have a clear opinion about UGA

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least four days each week. Need to know what is going on with UGA and its recruitment of 4-star Louisiana athlete Makiya Tongue? That’s the story for Monday. 


Makiya Tongue, an NFL legacy, rates as the nation’s No. 15 athlete and the No. 221 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Georgia views him as a wide receiver. Well, at least for starters. Makiya (Ma-Kie-Ya) is the son of former NFL veteran Reggie Tongue.

“He wants to be a wide receiver,” his father said. “He doesn’t want to be an H-back or a tight end. Makiya wants to be a wide receiver and then in this order a safety or then possibly an outside linebacker.”

Makiya Tongue-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-UGA football recruiting
Makiya Tongue rates as the nation’s No. 15 athlete for 2019 in the 247Sports composite rankings. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

He lives in Baton Rouge, La., and plays for University Lab with fellow UGA target Christian Harris. LSU has not offered Tongue.

He also did not grow up in Louisiana. His formative years were spent in Seattle. Reggie Tongue, 45, spent four seasons with both Kansas City and Seattle in his 10-year NFL career. He was a second-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 1996.

Tongue will not enroll early. Wherever he goes, the move will come next summer.

He is expected to trim his list to a top 3 very shortly, then commit before the start of his football season in September and sign in December.

Tongue took an official visit to UGA last weekend. He did not have a dream school growing up. So which schools are really in it for Tongue?

“Arizona State has really looked at him,” Reggie Tongue said. “That’s one of the schools that he really likes. Texas is another school he really likes. Georgia. He loves Georgia. Alabama, Utah, Mississippi State and Tennessee would also be in there.”

An NFL dad breaks down the position fit for Makiya Tongue 

When the father watches the son, he already knows there is “no doubt about it” that Makiya is better than he is. He doesn’t even think he was faster than Makiya was at this same age. If he’s trying to hold onto anything, then maybe he was a little more elusive.

That seems right. Makiya is already about 10 pounds heavier than his father’s NFL playing weight.

“I used to think safety was one of his better positions, but he has kind of proven me wrong,” Reggie Tongue said. “The more I see him play receiver, the better he gets at it. With his size and speed-wise, it would be like a no-brainer at outside linebacker, but just because of his size, he is going to be competing against smaller and quicker guys [at WR] to get open so it will be more of a challenge for him, but he is up for it. He’s shown me that he can do it. He’s shown a lot of people he can do it actually.”

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Makiya Tongue plans to make his college decision prior to the start of his senior season in September. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

That’s something that a lot of NFL fathers won’t easily give up.

“He’s a leader and not a follower,” Reggie Tongue said. “I’m not just saying this because he is my kid. He kind of just walks to his own beat. He is also very competitive. Let’s say he’s playing receiver and there is a guy covering him and he gets jammed up three or four times in a row, it does nothing but make him want to get better. It would discourage some kids, but with Makiya it motivates him to figure out how to stop this from happening. His drive is really, really high.”

He is right at 6-foot-2 and weighs 215 pounds. When Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney tells the family that the Bulldogs really don’t have anything like him in this class or on the roster, he’s right.

“They are just honest about it with us,” Reggie Tongue said. “They tell us where they want to use him and he can come in and play multiple spots. Kirby [Smart] liked the fact that he can come in and play more than one thing. He can play receiver, safety or outside linebacker. He can turn into a tight end. Kirby just wants him on their team because Makiya makes them better at whatever position he wants to be.

“He’s chosen receiver so it is like ‘Go out there and make it fit’ and if that doesn’t work out then come on over to defense and make a fit. Wherever. He just likes his versatility pretty much.”

When those two visit colleges, the father is impressed by how the son steps front and center. He doesn’t want his father to block or share the burden of attention. He’s ready to meet every question and interaction head-on. Reggie Tongue kind of drifts off to the side.

It very much looks like the son wants to take personal ownership of this time. His time. Reggie actually didn’t want Makiya to play football. The health concerns are always there these days.

“Just seeing him just become his own person and grow and evolve is what I’m proud of,” his father said. “It is not just one thing I am proud of. He’s truly a great kid from a little boy to a young man.”

How well did that UGA visit go for Makiya Tongue?

Reggie Tongue doesn’t sugarcoat much about this recruiting stuff. He said that his son “felt at home” in Athens and that he could really grow in the competitive environment at UGA.

“I think it went great,” Reggie Tongue said. “I loved it. I’m going to just be honest with you. … I may say something that I should not, but I am just going to shoot it straight for the most part.”

Georgia now has four predictions for Makiya Tongue on the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” feature. That includes three recent predictions from Texas-based recruiting analysts.

Where did all that buzz for the Bulldogs come from?

“Maybe the interview they saw after his official visit at the (Pylon) 7-on-7s,” Reggie Tongue said. “He was asked about the Georgia official and he said that he loved it and he loved this and that. I think that talking about that school in that manner gave some folks the impression that [Georgia] is going to be where he ends up.”

His father has given him some simple advice.

“I think Georgia is a great spot,” Reggie Tongue said. “Like I told Makiya, he can’t make a wrong choice. He has so many great options. This is a great problem to have. This is not anything to stress over with it. Whenever he chooses is going to be the right choice because it is his choice and he’s going to work to make it the right one for him.”

His son’s goal is to make it to the NFL. With a degree in hand.

“I’ve told him that wherever he goes the NFL will find him,” Reggie Tongue said. “I don’t care if he goes to East Chattanooga State or St. Charles, if he is good enough, the NFL will find you whatever situation you put yourself in.”

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Makiya Tongue will drop his top 3 schools very soon. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

What does Reggie Tongue like the best about Georgia?

“There were a few things,” he said. “I don’t know if I can just focus on one. But one thing was their attention to detail. They don’t let anything fall through the cracks. Everything is accounted for. What’s that big guy? [director of player development] Jonas [Jennings]? He’s the one that seems like he is the right guy for all the players.

“Then the fact that they tend to really use their resources a little better than most. Whereas on staff at some other schools, you will have 10 tutors in the tutoring building. Where at Georgia, they will have 18 or so. Then they have three guys that are specifically there to make sure they get to class. If they miss a meal, they will have a guy there to bring them a meal after they get out of class because the campus is so big. All the things that kind of fall through the cracks sometimes and the kids have to just figure it out, they don’t really have to figure it out over there. They just make it extremely easy. You have to try really hard to fail at any Power 5 school but it seems like Georgia makes is especially hard to go astray over there.”

Tongue was also impressed with the honesty of the coaching staff. He said the staff answered several very pressing questions he had and answered them directly.

“Georgia was always honest,” Tongue said. “I could tell that they answered the questions the way they felt and not how they thought what a recruit’s family would like to hear.”

The players made a good impression on Makiya, too. He already plans to return to UGA for another visit.

“Then to top it all off, he liked his chances of playing for a national championship there, too,” Reggie Tongue said.

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