Want a daily lap through Georgia recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Will everyone need a new F5 button after this week?
The new DawgNation.com message board is crawling with questions about Georgia recruiting with less than 40 hours to go until National Signing Day. Rightfully so.
There is simply too much information and speculation going on right now for even an accomplished juggler to track everything posted under anonymous handles on message boards.
So, let’s simplify. Those names and targets and questions really all boil down to simpler and more focused questions. Let’s take them on step-by-step.
How many spots does Georgia recruiting have left?
That’s the best starting point. The majority of fans out there seem to be counting up all those potential targets and making up their own wish list. Most rate them in terms of talent and or need.
According to DawgNation.com’s latest information, that number is three spots left for 2017. To be clear, we’re also discussing them in the realm of the “public commitment” category.
That falls in line with what we’ve been projecting for some time. The class cap has always hovered around the 26-to-27 mark given what UGA signed last year.
That number was influenced by Davin Bellamy, Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning for their senior seasons but the recent roster migrations have been able to off-set that.
What will happen on Feb. 1 with those three scholarships left to fill? Great question. But that’s actually not the next question to get to.
The Aubrey Solomon question
Let’s go ahead and get this biggie out of the way. It simplifies things.
Is there room for him? He’s so talented the class would make like clowns fitting into an old Geo Tracker at the circus for him. UGA doesn’t have an interior defender quite like him in the program. He’s not the instant starter this late recruiting hype makes him out to be, but he has at least one ALL-SEC or All-Big 10 season in him. Easily. The skills are there.
Solomon seems like he’ll need time to develop. He’s raw and the pad level is too high. Like most All-American tackles.
He relies on power moves at this stage of his skills advancement. That’s because he hasn’t had to sharpen up anything else. Those have worked. (Yet his slap-and-score strip of UGA freshman Jake Fromm is one of the all-time best plays I’ve seen from a defensive tackle.)
The recruiting buzz about him is fueled by a perfect storm scenario. He’s an uncommitted 5-star at a position where the talent is rare. He also has some power programs chasing him.
He should not be expected to win a primary starting job at the schools he’s considering during his freshman season. That — despite what most think — is not a knock. He’s just not an otherworldly starter that can come in and do something very few players are able to do. He might’ve been able to do that at Georgia if he was in last year’s class, but not for 2017.
That’s enough of that. For the purposes of this class, I don’t think he’s going to go to Georgia. I don’t even think this decision is close enough to rattle on about. Alabama and Michigan are the likely suspects here.
Could this be a gambit pulled by a certain staff to “shock the world” on National Signing Day? It could. I’ve said this many times: Anything is possible in the unstable hearts and minds of 17 and 18-year-old boys.
But the Solomon-to-Georgia scenario doesn’t have any momentum. The program didn’t get a late in-home visit this week and there are other factors which project him elsewhere.
I scan up to the previous graphs. Gulp. That took too long, but that’s pretty much the norm with the Aubrey Solomon recruiting narrative. Apologies to all.
But is it really three?
That’s another question to take on at the jump here. There’s the underlying narrative Georgia might lose one of its commits that would really complicate National Signing Day.
That “three spots left” talk then gets railroaded into hypotheticals that would tie up an octopus. I’m just not seeing it.
The buzz trends to 4-star DE Robert Beal, 4-star CB Tray Bishop and 4-star DT Devonte Wyatt.
It would be a tremendous surprise in my book if any of those guys flipped anywhere. Bishop only took one official visit and he’s been locked to UGA for several months.
Beal and Wyatt took official visits to South Carolina recently and those have been buzz flips for the fans and insiders of that program to crow about.
These are also two entirely different prospects to read. Beal has been a hot 4-to-5-star prospect candidate for years. He made his mind up a long time ago.
Wyatt wasn’t even rated by the major services at this time last year. He’s a vastly underexposed recruit that by my count has still been on a college campus for an unofficial or an official visit less than seven times. Most 4-star prospects of his stature do that every summer. I’ve seen him twice in the last week and the tea leaves there still seem largely red and black.
There was lesser concern about 4-star WR Mark Webb. That resembled silly talk considering the program’s limited depth at receiver, his package deal ties to first cousin D’Andre Swift plus the fact Georgia offered an ideal career development scenario for both.
I’m not trying to give reassuring statements here, but that’s what all the information I’ve been getting for months and weeks and the last few days leads me to believe.
Let’s cut to the three guys
Eliminating Solomon whittles down the focus. The way I also read things is the program retains all of its current commits.
Which three? Now, that’s when these questions turn into a labyrinth. The following non-Solomon scenarios all seem worthy of further discussion.
The ideal three: Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant, Nico Collins and Jamyest Williams.
The cloudiest three: Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant, Nico Collins and Jamyest Williams.
Another “no-complaints” three: Larrell Murchison, Ameer Speed and Jamyest Williams.
The three most likely to go elsewhere: Tedarrell “TD” Slaton, 3-star CB Eric Stokes and 4-star ILB Leonard Warner III.
The “double down” scenario”: 1) Markaviest Bryant or Larrell Murchison; 2) Ameer Speed or Jamyest Williams; 3) Another one out of those four potential prospects plus Nico Collins.
Where are the predictions? Relax folks. It is only Monday.
The latest on Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant
It seems things continue to get cloudier for Bryant. Dawgnation’s interview with his head coach Shelton Felton seems to indicate Georgia still has a slight lead.
“Seems” is a dirty word around this time of year. Bryant’s decision will come down at 11:15 a.m on National Signing Day.
The many “sources” that arise this time of year either indicates there is either a pretty good smokescreen being laid down or that Bryant is a lot closer to attending Auburn and LSU than most think.
What do I do in this situation? I’ve got a rule to live by: The most recent things heard and shared in the days before National Signing Day tend to be the least accurate. This is the time of year when a recruit’s mind rambles, but he typically comes back to the decision he has felt good about for the longest time.
Most recruits are simply not talking to reporters on or off-the-record at this time either. They’ve shut it down.
The stories still flow forth, though. Indecision or doubt actually helps the business model. That’s another thing to keep in mind this week.
The latest on Jamyest Williams
James “JJ” Williams told DawgNation Georgia would be the pick heading into his son’s official visit this weekend at South Carolina.
He made it clear the decision is close, but it also appeared to be a very shrewd message. It was calculated. He said the Gamecocks could very well shift things and it was likely going to be “South Carolina’s race to lose” when it comes to the mercurial 4-star cornerback from Grayson High School.
After this visit, Williams told Phil Kornblunt of The State that things were “50-50” between the two SEC East rivals.
The fact he felt the two schools were still that close after could be viewed two ways: 1) It makes sense to drum up interest swirling around his 2:15 p.m. announcement from Grayson High School; 2) Nobody expected them to name the final decision this weekend. But Georgia is still very much in it.
Williams told DawgNation last Thursday he and his son planned to make their decision early this week and then let the schools know a day before “out of respect” to what they needed to do to lock down the rest of their classes.
It is not clear if that has changed.
The latest on Larrell Murchison
Murchison is back from his visit to Ole Miss. That decision — as reported by DawgNation last week — is down to Georgia and Ole Miss.
He expects to make that decision today.
It sure feels like the location to his North Carolina roots will be a factor. There’s also the cloud of what Ole Miss might face in future NCAA penalties. Murchison needed to hear some credible answers from Hugh Freeze on that subject during his official visit.
It doesn’t seem logical he could choose the Rebels given it is a 10-hour road trip from his home. Athens is just a five-hour trek away and it appears the programs are recruiting in opposite directions. UGA is also a good fit for his intended communications major. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder also just committed to Ole Miss earlier this month.
The dots all seem to connect for Georgia. But there’s a question about how much he’s wanted in Athens? Is he a Plan B option in those class with just those three spots left?
Murchison told me something very interesting about that over the weekend. He indicated the Georgia staff has led him to believe he is a “take” under any circumstances.
The 3-star JUCO defensive tackle might even be a take for Georgia as a fourth member of the class even if all the ideal targets say yes.
Is there a worst-case scenario?
Let’s run it down: Bryant chooses to catch more fish at Auburn. Collins opts to chill and catch fades at Michigan. Murchison sticks with Ole Miss. Speed finds a late connection with Oregon. Williams keeps his pledge to South Carolina. Wyatt also flips to Columbia to play with him.
Georgia then scrambles to guys like Brini, Slaton, Stokes and Warner because there is suddenly a lot of room in the class. I don’t think anyone is sure what happens there. I honestly don’t know what happens next if all those guys say no to the Bulldogs.
Is that really a worst-case scenario? The reality here is Georgia will still have its best class since 2006 and still possibly perhaps ever in the modern recruiting era.
Rodrigo Blankenship (or Georgia’s starting kicker at the end of 2017) would likely net a scholarship if all those things came to pass. The Bulldogs probably wouldn’t use all three scholarships if all of those top remaining targets opt out of the class.
That said, there’s is a better chance of Ludacris having an encore at G-Day this spring than even six or seven of those nine guys signing elsewhere.