Do you want to know who the UGA football recruiting info blog hasn’t written enough about? That would be 4-star commit John Rhys Plumlee. Plumlee committed to just play QB for the Bulldogs in the class of 2019. The daily Intel has been tardy in sharing his story. Let’s remedy that today.
Georgia has two really good quarterbacks. We all know that.
But do you know the honest way John Rhys Plumlee was recruited by the University of Georgia? That’s a good leadoff story about the kid with a middle name like “rice” when it is pronounced correctly.
It narrowly beats out the fact he’s played catch with Brett Favre and also reminds folks of a current Bulldog, too.
The 2019 recruiting cycle for quarterbacks was always going to be interesting. There’s this Jake Fromm fella with that Justin Fields dude on his heels.
They compete every day for a job which looks to be in very good hands until January of 2021. At least.
It allowed the Bulldogs to be selective about their next QB recruit. They had to find one really. Georgia will dress just two scholarship signal callers this fall.
It set the Bulldogs along a derby to find the next guy. This hit on two fronts.
- The next QB had to be able to play at the highest levels of college football. Kirby Smart doesn’t do clipboard models.
- Georgia also needed to find a Plumlee. He saw that depth chart and did not flash his personal-best 4.39 (hand time) in the 40 to distance himself from that 10-star depth chart. We’re talking about the mindset, but his wheels didn’t hurt either.
The transparency of the John Rhys Plumlee recruitment
When Georgia first offered the Oak Grove (Miss.) standout on Feb. 14 of this year, it was really an opening line.
“They told me up front that and they were very honest with me,” Plumlee said. “Which I appreciated.”
Plumlee was looking around. Georgia really was. The Bulldogs would eventually offer 18 QBs for this cycle before they found their Plumlee.
That offer, like most these days for the elite program, was a conversation starter. If this was modern dating, this is “the slide into the DMs” phase.
He would not visit Georgia until May. That was for the team’s well-received “Scavenger Hunt” weekend. The kid from Mississippi went on to win that thing in an event attended by several future pledges.
It was a good sign of things to come.
“They offered me but they offered me an opportunity,” Plumlee said. “They had not offered me like a committable scholarship yet.”
Lesson #1: An offer is not what it used to be. Not all of those are created equal.
“They said like ‘Hey, we’ve got you and there’s probably like 10 other guys we are looking at. We’re trying to figure out which one is the best one we can get or the best two that we can get or something’ so they said we want you to come [to] throw for us,” he said.
Plumlee came to one of the vital evaluation camps in June. He timed an approximate 4.42 in the 40. It is believed to be the best mark at UGA this summer for a QB, if not all campers.
It wasn’t his best day. Yet it was a good reflection of what he could do spinning it around.
“After that, they said there were some more guys coming in about a week and so after that week and when we evaluate everybody we’ll get back to you and let you know whether we are going in a different direction or if you are the guy.”
While he waited, he decided he would Georgia over North Carolina. That was, if he could.
As it turns out, he was that guy.
“Coach Kirby [Smart] called me and says ‘Hey you are the guy and we’re ready to give you a committable offer’ and so at that point I was ready to commit when they were ready to commit to me,” Plumlee said.
Why that honesty mattered to John Rhys Plumlee
If this blog reflects anything about Plumlee, it should be his faith. He is a devout follower of Jesus Christ.
His priorities: 1) Faith; 2) Family; 3) Sports
“If I was going to display something about me, I would really want everybody to know that I’m a Christian,” Plumlee said. “That’s really one of the things I really want to display. To really give the glory to God. He’s blessed me with these abilities and put me on this platform in front of others.”
He wanted to find a Christian-loving coaching staff. Georgia checked that box for him, too.
The way Georgia went about its business during the selection process also stood out. The way the Bulldogs only mentioned quarterback when noting his potential value would also matter.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect is actually rated as a 4-star ATH on the 247Sports composite scale.
His speed and running ability lend itself to that category. Plumlee also started as a prep freshman in an OLB/S role at Oak Grove.
But to a quarterback that admires Aaron Rodgers, the athlete mark ranks south of the “dual-threat” passer label.
“When you are labeled as a dual-threat then you are seen as a guy who can’t throw the ball as well,” he said. “But really I want to be seen as [a guy] who [can] hurt the defense with my legs and my arm.”
Some programs saw him as a potential slot receiver or kick returner or defensive back.
“There really hasn’t been any other talk besides quarterback from Georgia and that’s kind of what made them so attractive to me,” Plumlee said. “Some other schools were like ‘Hey you could come try quarterback but if that doesn’t work you have this’ and it kind of made me think that I don’t think you are going to give me a legitimate shot at quarterback because you are already seeing me as this [and] as seeing me as failing.”
Plumlee still hears other schools. How will he handle the visit question this season?
“When I was watching other guys before myself do this process I really told myself I am going to go and see everything that I can see and everything that I need to see to make my decision,” he said. “So when I do make my decision, that I am set in it.”
“So I am good. I am not changing. That’s what the deal is right now. For sure. I’ve shut down my recruiting with every school except for Georgia. They are the only ones that I really keep in contact with.”
He’s been to Athens about “three or four” times but he’s yet to see a game in Sanford Stadium. That will change this fall.
“I told myself once I made that commitment that’s where I really want to be,” he said.
The red flag regarding John Rhys Plumlee
Plumlee will also play baseball at Georgia. His 6.3-to-6.4 times in the 60-yard dash show how well he can cover ground in center field.
But when I check his junior year stats at Oak Grove, a red flag does go up.
There are factors here: 1) He missed time last season with a broken thumb and didn’t play in every game; 2) He runs so well he piled up a 95-yard scoring run for Oak Grove; 3) There was that one game in which he threw for 292 yards and ran for 175 yards.
But he also threw 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a junior.
Big. Red. Flag.
Was that the result of other factors? Poor decisions? Bouncing back too fast from that thumb? Does he throw an accurate ball?
The film says Plumlee threw just 1.5 touchdowns for every interception last fall. It equates to one for every 22 attempts.
Per Maxpreps.com, Fromm threw 4.6 scores for each of his 25 varsity interceptions. That’s one out of every 54 attempts.
Per Maxpreps.com, Fields threw 5.1 touchdowns for every interception across his 19 varsity games. It works out to one pick for every 51 attempts.
When asked about that, Plumlee owned it.
“Sometimes I find myself trying to get greedy,” Plumlee said. “When you nickel-and-dime a defense a little bit you are kind of just getting five yards a pop and five yards a pop. You know what I mean? I try to get greedy sometimes and try to make that tough throw down the field maybe I shouldn’t make. Sometimes it will result in a big play and sometimes it will result in something that you are not looking for. A batted ball. An interception.”
He understands that.
“I would say an improvement point on me would be to try to get less greedy and if you are getting yards just [to] be good with it. Be content with nickel and diming a defense away. I think about Joe Montana. He could only throw a ball about 45 yards or something. But he would nickel and dime you to death. That’s one of the things I can try to work on. Instead of trying to fit it into that perfect window down the field. That big ball you want to make a big play on. Just be content with the small stuff. You know what I mean? It won’t result in a tip-up pick or something like that.”
Plumlee produced a 12-for-15 stat line in his first game this season. He threw for 151 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Looks like he’s working on that red flag.
Maybe he’s heard what James Coley likes to say on the practice field. Can’t go broke making a profit. Nickels and dimes add up to points.
The Jake Fromm stuff with John Rhys Plumlee
There’s one other thing about Plumlee. When I talk to him, I swear it reminds me of Jake Fromm in Warner Robins in 2015.
The “Um yeahs” and the “you know what I mean” transitions plus the “For sures” he fires off in casual conversation sound so Fromm.
He’s cut from the same All-American country boy cloth. We’re just waiting on a fishing lure incident.
“I’ve been up to Georgia probably three or four times now,” Plumlee said. “Every time I go up there somebody makes the comment that ‘He’s a lot like Jake Fromm’ and so this last time I went I got to go over and meet him. I can definitely see a lot of similarities. He’s really a cool guy. For sure. I can kind of relate to him and look forward to getting there and really making a relationship with him and Justin Fields and the whole staff and teammates.”
What else fills out the profile? He’s a fan of hard work.
“If there’s another thing to add to it then it is that I’m a competitor,” Plumlee said. “I’m a winner. I’ve always been a competitor since I was a kid. I’m really one of those guys who is going to do anything to win. You know what I mean?”
If Plumlee rolls a big black pickup with a Bulldog on the back glass into Athens next summer, this will really start to get weird. But he’s currently driving a grey Tundra.
WATCH: John Rhys Plumlee on “Before the Hedges”
Why did Plumlee choose Georgia?
“Well everywhere else I went it was like I was comparing it to Georgia,” Plumlee said. “You know what I mean? I found myself doing that. Not intentionally. So I found myself going ‘What am I doing?’ like I was comparing their head coach to Kirby Smart. I was comparing their quarterback coach to coach [Jay] Johnson and coach [James] Coley. … I felt myself trying to make another school better than Georgia.”
Plumlee would give one school an edge on Georgia on one thing. But not three other elements along with his personal criteria.
“I was comparing everything else back to Georgia and so I sat down and said that if I was doing that all the time with all the other schools I liked, then Georgia was probably where I needed to be.”
He said “opportunity” was the biggest reason he chose UGA. It was both on and off the field.
Want to see all the highlights from Plumlee and hear our interview? Check out his segment on this week’s “Before the Hedges.”
Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.