UGA recruiting: What’s the latest on the chase for a 2019 QB?
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Tuesday calls for a quick run-through of a few names in the discussion for the quarterback spot in the 2019 class.
Quarterbacks. Georgia is definitely the program that skipped leg day when it comes to that.
Jake Fromm and Justin Fields make the top of the depth chart look like Venice Beach. The rest? Not so much.
The recent transfer of preferred walk-on Stetson Bennett IV to Jones Community College in Mississippi still leaves the Bulldogs with just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Bennett was the scout team quarterback last fall and created a following among the leaders in the program for his performance in that area.
Can the Bulldogs sign two quarterbacks in the 2019 class to rectify that? Should they? It seems as if the Bulldogs will have to add at least one scholarship arm to the quarterback room this cycle.
Joey Yellen, a 4-star quarterback from Mission Viejo, Calif., was at G-Day and came away more than impressed by what he saw. He’s also in Athens now throwing at a 7-on-7 camp.
Yellen recently told Greg Biggins of 247Sports that he was down to Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia and Oregon State. Biggins also reported that Yellen could make his decision by the end of the month.
He rates as the nation’s No. 13 pro-style passer on the 247Sports composite standard. That places him as the nation’s No. 303 overall recruit for 2019.
Based on what Yellen has told DawgNation in the past, he’s someone to really start thinking about as the possible quarterback for the Bulldogs in this class. There are a lot of factors to consider.
- He’s already seen Athens and was blown away by his G-Day trip. He was looking forward to the trip and the chance to throw for the staff.
- Yellen looks at the fact he could quickly claim the No. 3 spot on the depth chart as a good thing.
- He wants to move away from the West Coast to go to school. That’s what his brothers did with their college experiences.
- Yellen already has established a bond with UGA quarterbacks coach James Coley.
- Arizona State already has one quarterback committed in the class of 2019.
- This visit to Athens also matters because Yellen has told DawgNation that it is the only trip he has planned this month with a decision on the horizon.
Why did Jayden Daniels place UGA in his top 8?
Jayden Daniels, the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat QB prospect for 2019, recently placed the Bulldogs among his top 8 schools.
Happy early birthday momma, I love you!✍🏽💖🌎 pic.twitter.com/hxphUs3z8c
— JD5 (@JayD__5) May 22, 2018
The California resident ranks as the nation’s No. 78 overall prospect. UCLA is seen by many as the team to beat. Daniels also was named to the Elite 11 for 2019 after his workout in California over the weekend.
Where do the Bulldogs stand with him?
“Still the same,” Daniels told SEC Country. “I mean obviously they are in the top 8. I have the same interest and I am just trying to get out there for a visit soon.”
Why did UGA crack his top group? He quickly rattled off the reasons.
“Georgia is a prestigious school,” he said. “Seeing what they did [last year] and their history. The quarterbacks that they have put out and my relationship with Coach Coley.”
Daniels recently met Fromm at the Steve Clarkson QB camp.
“I asked him a couple of questions last week about how Coach Coley was,” Daniels said. “It is a very good relationship between us. He’s been recruiting me from the beginning and has been showing me interest and showing me love.”
Fromm gave him the intel on the UGA quarterback situation.
“He says it is a good spot,” Daniels said. “He’s from Georgia. I’m from Cali. It would be a different feel just to go out there. He said just to come out and visit and see it for yourself.”
He said he would have to talk to his parents about whether the Bulldogs would get an official or an unofficial visit.
“I’m trying to get out there soon,” he said.
He wants to get a sense of the atmosphere in Athens.
“The main thing is when you think of Georgia you think of Atlanta,” Daniels said. “So I mean Athens is like 45 minutes away. Just want to go out there and see it for myself and see how it really is.”
Daniels said that all the schools in his top 8 are recruiting him fairly hard. He could not distinguish the hard charger of that group.
The two major factors that will power his decision are the fit within the program and the feeling he gets living there. He doesn’t have a recruiting timeline in mind.
“Probably during the season,” he said.
How does Graham Mertz feel about UGA?
Kansas native Graham Mertz excelled at the Elite 11 quarterback competition last weekend. He ranks as the nation’s No. 5 quarterback prospect for 2019.
Mertz made the final Elite 11 cut and will be throwing at The Opening Finals later this month in Texas. He told SEC Country that his commitment to Wisconsin was “very strong.”
He couldn’t come up with an example of what would cause him to change that status. He’s been committed to the Badgers since October. He said he was just living the “committed life” at this time. Still, schools are pursuing him.
“There are a couple [of schools] coming pretty hard,” he said. “Ohio State. Notre Dame. Stanford and Texas A&M. Those are coming pretty … and Georgia.”
He visited UGA in March and caught a spring practice. That was also when he was in town for The Opening Atlanta regional.
“They came by the school a couple of times,” Mertz said. “It is always good to talk to Coach Coley and Coach [Jay] Johnson. … I’ve known him for a while. It is always good to see him and talk to him. But honestly, I haven’t made a trip back down and I haven’t even considered it.”
“I’m committed,” Mertz said. “That’s honestly why.”
Mertz said he continues to feel that Jake Fromm plus Justin Fields at UGA is a good thing and not a deterrent for a quarterback.
“Competition is what makes teams thrive,” he said. “That’s a great situation of competition to go into and it would be great to get in there and learn. That’s what college is all about. Learning. That doesn’t mean you have to go and get thrown in as a freshman. You should go and develop over a year or two years.”
A few quick hits from the beat
- Texas 4-star safety Lewis Cine told me recently that he has not set up any June official visits. DawgNation deems Cine to be one of the top remaining priorities for UGA in the Class of 2019. Expect a very tough fight with Penn State, but I do feel the Bulldogs have positioned themselves nicely on several fronts (read: Shilo Sanders in 2019 and E.J. Smith in 2020) to garner strong consideration. Cine said a UGA official visit is only a matter of when, not if, and is now just working on a date.
Cine said Georgia and Penn State continue to recruit him the hardest. That’s been the case for a few months now. He also said that Michigan and Texas now have gotten a lot more involved in recruiting him, too. The nation’s No. 43 overall prospect moved from Massachusetts to Texas to play for Trinity Christian and rates as the nation’s No. 3 recruit for his position.
- Tucker (Ga.) 4-star defensive end Derrick McLendon shared a few insights with me recently regarding his recruiting. He slots in as the nation’s No. 23 weakside DE on the 247Sports composite rankings and that also places him No. 307 overall. He said he still likes Georgia and is aware of the success that players from Tucker High have had there. He said Florida State and N.C. State are the schools currently the highest on his board. He said the Bulldogs have so many outside linebackers in the program and 5-star prospect Nolan Smith on the way. McLendon said he feels the Bulldogs basically are recruiting him just enough to keep the fires warm, so to speak. It was a mature conversation, for sure, and I was impressed with how McLendon understood college recruiting on so many levels.
- Archer 3-star Jalyn Phillips recently dropped a top-5 list that did not include UGA. The Bulldogs came with a late offer to Phillips in this cycle, and it is clear that the nation’s No. 31 safety prospect has others in mind. Phillips, a teammate of 5-star cornerback Andrew Booth, placed Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and Tennessee in his top 5.
- Georgia recently offered Peach County 2021 offensive lineman Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson already shows great potential at tackle and made several trips to UGA last season. He’s close with 2020 linebacker prospect Sergio Allen at that. It was a significant offer to Ferguson. He has the potential to be a top-10 tackle in his class. At least. He made the offer his pinned tweet.
— TJ®6️⃣9️⃣ (@tjferguson2021) June 2, 2018
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