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4-star OLB Rian Davis still has UGA on top and ahead of Texas after his first two official visits.

Nation’s No. 5 OLB Rian Davis still has Bulldogs on top

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a chance to catch up with Florida OLB prospect Rian Davis. Davis has made a bold ascent up the recruiting rankings this year. He’s moved up from a top 150 overall recruit to the No. 75 position nationally. 

It sounds like there is just a feeling between UGA and Rian Davis. At least for now.

The nation’s No. 5 outside linebacker prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings for 2019 continues to have Georgia out in front. His reasoning seems clear:

  • The relationship with ILB coach Glenn Schumann.
  • The fact he’s been to UGA three times, more than any other school.
  • He likes what UGA has planned for him initially at ILB and then moving to OLB on passing downs.

Davis will be busy this week. He’s in Atlanta for the Rivals.com Five Star Challenge until Friday. He will then fly to Texas the next day for Nike’s The Opening finals (June 30-July 3).

“The biggest thing for me there is to show that I have the cover skills to hang with those receivers,” Davis said. “I like to compete and to have fun and I will be able to do that out there against the best running backs and tight ends in the nation.”

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4-star LB Rian Davis held up his phone for a selfie with the UGA staff in his scavenger hunt challenge with 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean and their families in late May. (Twitter photo)

Davis has been paired with a familiar face at LB on Team Elite at The Opening. He’ll be flanked in pass sets by 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean at times. Those two were in the same competition group at UGA in late May for the scavenger hunt weekend. Georgia DL target (and FSU commit) Quashon Fuller is also on that squad in Texas.

He has taken official visits to Louisville and Texas and will hold back three. Look for Alabama and Georgia to get two of those. Auburn is also a contender for an official.

The trip to see the Longhorns was a good one for Davis. It did influence his process.

“It meant a lot,” Davis said. “It shook some things up and it was more than I expected. I liked Texas a lot.”

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect from Apopka, Fla., will take his three final officials during the season. He may have to do so as a public commit.

“Yeah, maybe,” he said with a certain tone that indicated he hasn’t really fleshed out all of that stuff. “Probably so. I would get that in then and still take those other officials to make sure to be fully committed and stuff.”

The working plan right now is to make his college decision before September rolls around and just prior his senior season.

His uncle, John Henry Mills, played college football at Wake Forest and reached the NFL. He played seven seasons of pro football and made the Pro Bowl as a special teams captain in 1996.

Davis had 94 tackles (15 for losses) as a junior in 2017. He clearly has one of the best highlight tapes of all the major targets for the Bulldogs in 2019.

He’s just different. Size. Length. Tenacity. The way he covers ground at 220-plus pounds. All of that pops on film.

Davis has the nickname “Trouble” and he clearly causes that on D. 

Why UGA is still on top for 4-star OLB Rian Davis 

As stated earlier, Davis has been to UGA more than any other school. Those three visits have worked in tandem with a level of recruiting intensity displayed by the UGA staff and lead recruiter Glenn Schumann.

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Rian Davis is the nation’s No. 5 OLB prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings for 2019. (Contributed photo)

“I would have to say that Georgia is still at the top,” Davis said when addressing how much that Texas official shook up things in his recruiting.

The Bulldogs appear to be holding on to that top spot.

“I think it is because I have developed such a great relationship with their staff,” Davis said. “I’ve been up there like three times already. That’s more than any other school.”

Louisville probably recruits him the hardest. That program also likely provides the best chance to play a lot right away. But his best relationships are with the staff in Athens.

The back-and-forth with Schumann has built up a healthy balance of mutual respect. Scott Fountain, the new special teams coach, is his area recruiter. Those two also speak weekly.

“I feel like Coach Schumann is a great dude and a great guy,” Davis said. “I feel like he can develop me as well as any inside linebackers coach in the nation. He’s maybe the best at that in the nation. When I sit down and talk to him about how he can develop me, it sounds really good. He definitely knows what he is talking about.”

The Texas visit was big. The Longhorns are now closer to UGA at the top, but they are not the clear No. 2. It is very tight with Alabama, Auburn and even Louisville.

“All the coaches at Texas are cool,” Davis said. “You get a sense of that just by sitting down for the first time to really talk to them. I also felt that about their players, too. They all seemed like cool dudes.”

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Rian Davis and Nakobe Dean posed with their families and the UGA staff inside Sanford Stadium in late May. (Twitter photo)

He was impressed with the campus, the things to do around town and the weight room. He also adored the locker room. Who would not? The Longhorns probably now have the gold standard in college football (or at least one of them) when it comes to locker rooms.

“That locker room made a very big impression,” Davis said. “Nobody has a locker room like they do.”

That’s one of the things he will compare with the next recruiting trip he has planned. That will be the one to UGA on July 28 for the unveiling of the new recruiting lounge and locker room that is part of the $65 million West End Zone expansion project.

“I will be comparing that to some of the stuff I have seen from Texas and Louisville and a couple of recent visits to Alabama and Auburn,” he said.

Be mindful of Alabama and Rian Davis

Alabama also is in the race here. The Tide have already secured the other definite official visit for Davis.

“I really like the relationship with [defensive coordinator] Coach [Tosh] Lupoi and [co-defensive coordinator] Coach [Pete] Golding and how they see me,” Davis said. “I like the chance to play early there because they are low at the inside linebacker position right now.”

He just didn’t hear that from the assistants. Nick Saban delivered that message and included a topping of historical perspective.

“Coach Saban was telling me that they are the lowest they have ever been in terms of depth and what they need for the next season with inside linebackers,” Davis said.

Davis, who hopes to wear No. 4 on Saturdays, said that the final official visit will likely go to Auburn or Clemson. That’s at least the way he looks at the matter now.

Another immovable recruit (or three) for UGA?

Did you get a chance to read about 4-star DE pledge Bill Norton this week? If tasked with rating the commits who should be seen as the most solid in the 2019 class, Norton’s name would come up very early. Dominick Blaylock as well.

Those two simply don’t visit anywhere and see zero need to. Other recruits want to take their visits. That is their right and it is the norm these days.

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Dominick Blaylock is now the nation’s No. 4 WR prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings. (Nate Gettleman/SEC Country)

Blaylock and Norton’s path seems much more uncommon in comparison. The one thing I think that folks do overreact to is when a committed recruit takes those visits. Nolan Smith has taken his share in the 17 months he has been committed, but his pledge is as strong as it has ever been.

I found it interesting when I asked Blaylock about the other 5-star in the UGA class for 2019. Does he still see himself playing with Jadon Haselwood in Athens?

“I think he’s going to stick with Georgia,” Blaylock said. “He likes to take his visits, but a lot of people do. I am 100 percent sure he will stay at Georgia and be there with me as another receiver.”

I will never forget the look on Blaylock’s face at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta meeting last January. He was still a year away, but he knew that was his future. He’s a 5-star recruit in his own right, but he gave off the sense that he was just proud to be a part of that future, too.

“I saw Georgia in summer camp one day and those guys have all gotten pretty big,” Blaylock said. “Those guys were all looking great and hopefully they will make it pretty far this year in Athens.”

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