The nation’s No. 7 RB prospect completed his official visit to UGA on Sunday afternoon. There are several bullet points from that visit which will hit UGA recruiting die-hards like a ton of bricks this morning.
- Cain said UGA was third prior to the visit, but the Bulldogs made up like “50 yards” on Penn State and Texas. Cain said that chase is now a dead heat.
- The Bulldogs got his last official. He will take no more visits prior to his announcement on Dec. 19.
- If he signs with Georgia, he could wear Nick Chubb’s No. 27. Dell McGee said he could wear that number. He would for one season and would feel honored to do so.
- Why just the one season? That’s because Cain believes his familiar No. 7 will be freed up by the departure of D’Andre Swift to the NFL after the 2019 season. Cain feels Swift is that good and that he could be the first RB taken in the 2020 Draft.
- He expects some attrition for the Bulldogs at RB after this season. It could be Brian Herrien or Elijah Holyfield. He already feels strongly about UGA. If that happens, that extra room on the depth chart would make the Bulldogs even more attractive to Cain.
- The decision will come down to Georgia, Texas and Penn State. Of those three, he feels that the Bulldogs have the best offensive line in that group.
- He’s not sure if Georgia is the best fit for him. Not yet. He has some thinking to do. But he does feel the UGA program, its RB tradition and the future of the offensive line room has the best possible situation for any RB among his final three options.
- He’s a competitor. It will not matter to him that the Bulldogs have a commitment from 4-star RB Kenny McIntosh in this class.
- When he watched the Bulldogs, he was thrilled by what he saw. “Just the pro-style offense and how much they loved running the ball on first, second and third down. That was big. That was very big. Then they way they used Swift. He is slippery. They love their running backs at Georgia. Even when I was out with Zamir White. Just seeing the love they give their players. I liked that a lot.”
- The staff made jokes about how Cain looks a lot like Chubb based on their facial features and expressions. “They say my running style reminds them of Chubb,” Cain said. “Downhill. Coming in though I would be more versatile. They said our running styles are the same, we look alike and we are built the same as well. That’s who they compare me to.”
If that’s not enough to grab the attention on the program’s momentum with Cain, then read on.
The Kirby Smart sitdown with Noah Cain and his family
Noah Cain and his mother Tonya Cain (right) were part of the family in town for his official visit this past weekend. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
The 4-star RB feels he will have all the information he needs to make a decision shortly after the SEC championship game. He will have maybe two weeks.
That’s when he should be able to feel out if the Bulldogs will bid adieu to at least one member of their current RB room. The piece will be helpful, but not essential, to this decision. He also plans to let those schools know what his decision will be in advance of his Dec. 19 decision date.
That’s interesting, but not any more than the long talks he had with UGA offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and then head coach Kirby Smart.
Cain said he thought the meeting with Smart lasted 45 minutes. At least.
“He really put everything on the line,” Cain said. “We had one of the most up-front conversations I’ve ever had with a head coach. Really just talking with him going back to when they had John [Emery] committed and why they were still recruiting me. Why when the other kid was committed. Everything was up front and personal and he didn’t beat around the bush on anything.”
Smart gave him the business end of Georgia’s interest: He’s a running back. Running backs want to go to a place with a really good offensive line to help them strive.
Cain appreciated how candid Smart was. Cain said he was told the program needs to find a real game-changing back to be ready to take over once Swift leaves.
“They honestly described my value to the team already and I’m not even committed to them yet,” he said. “I’m a guy with a fresh pair of legs. Very productive my senior year but injury free. Not too many bumps and bruises on my body. I’m graduating early and I’ll be able to come in learn the playbook and get a head start on the rest of the freshmen.”
Noah Cain said he appreciated Kirby Smart’s honesty on his official visit. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
The IMG Academy senior then deemed his chat with Chaney to be his favorite part of the trip. They went over his film. Discussed his strengths and value. Chaney shared what he needs to work on to be a first-round NFL back.
“The biggest thing with me coming in is I really wanted to understand what my purpose at Georgia would be,” he said. “They have all these other backs. What is my purpose of coming here? Why are ya’ll still recruiting me? They have got a guy committed.”
“… I would kind of have that role simply of what Swift had his freshman year. Very productive but still learning from the upperclassmen. So once they told me that and really put that out on the whiteboard and really brought that to light, I definitely started to understand the picture they have for me coming in.”
If his eyes weren’t opened by the Bulldogs then, they were after that session on Sunday.
“That’s when I really said this could be a real contender for me,” he said.
Cain said that UGA was running last among those three schools prior to the visit.
“Now they are even,” he said. “All my top schools are even now. They made it very interesting for this final stretch. I thought I would have the decision made by now but you know how things play out. They made it hard for my parents and I with this decision.”
“That’s because of the O-line they have in place and how well-rounded their entire team is. It is not going to be easy coming down the stretch.”
What this visit came down to for Noah Cain
Cain caught the game. Heard the cheers. Took in the fan support. Saw the facilities. Sized up the new locker room and west end zone experience.
None of that really mattered to what he has called a “business decision” with his recruiting.
“I understood coming in that Georgia was a great school but it had to make sense to me,” Cain said. “I’m not about to come into a situation that doesn’t make sense to me at all.”
Noah and Tonya Cain check out the UGA game against Tech on Saturday. He was impressed by the way that UGA loves its running backs. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
He seeks a program that will use him in 2019, 2020 and 2021. That will prep him to consider a professional career after three seasons.
It does not seem out of bounds given his skills and the pedigree of the backs at UGA.
Cain said Smart told him that the program was seeking “a game changer” at running back in this class. In that sense, the visit was all about knowing he had a spot in the class if he wanted it.
When the staff started dropping those Chubb and Swift parallels, his value crystallized. He wanted to leave Athens knowing if he wants to ride with UGA on Dec. 19, the staff will be thrilled by that choice.
“No doubt,” Cain said. “All that has been pretty much answered now. The biggest thing now is how they are going to handle Brian Herrien and [Elijah] Holyfield leaving. If Holyfield decides to leave [for the NFL] and the deal with Brian. It was all honesty this weekend. There was no beating around the bush.”
He knows what his purpose at UGA looks like now.
“I left there feeling really good about what I would be able to do coming into Georgia as a freshman and have a well-developed role as well,” he said. “I’m enrolling early. Enrolling early and getting that chance to get used to the system allows the chance for me to solidify my spot on the team.”
Will attrition at the RB spot help UGA with Noah Cain?
Let’s link up a few dates. Cain said that if the Bulldogs lose a back from the team, it would enhance the program’s chances even further.
- Georgia plays Alabama in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 1.
- The draft-eligible Bulldogs would then begin exploring their NFL options after that game.
- Cain plans to let his finalists know about his choice prior to his Dec. 19 decision day.
- He would then commit and sign early on Dec. 19.
- The Under Armour All-American would then enroll early in January
Do all of those dates mesh well with the time he has to make up his mind?
“It would definitely help,” Cain said. “I would know it after this weekend coming up from coach Smart and those guys about what those dudes are going to do. After the SEC Championship Game, they will sit down with their potential draft prospects. So I will definitely have an idea what they plan on doing and what might happen to those guys.”
Noah Cain was coached by former Auburn great Carnell “Cadillac” Williams at IMG Academy. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
If that happens, will that increase the program’s chances to sign Cain?
“Oh, without a doubt,” he said. “Without a doubt.”
He feels Georgia has the best overall package of his three options right now to prepare a back for the NFL.
“From being a recruit these past two years and seeing dudes go in the first round I would probably honestly have to go with Georgia,” Cain said. “From what I’ve seen with [Todd] Gurley to Sony [Michel] to [Nick] Chubb. I’ve never seen a two-headed monster one go one spot [in the NFL Draft] and then another go four spots later right behind him. That’s unheard of.”
“Then with the O-line, they have at Georgia and then they win there as well. You can ball out at Georgia and still win. That, for me, is rare. From my time and me coming up this past two years, I would probably say the program [that has the best overall package to prepare a back for the NFL] would be Georgia.”
Checking in among Noah Cain’s three options
Which one of these three schools does Cain feel has the best offensive line?
“Georgia,” he said. “Georgia. For sure. Just the depth. Other schools have guys kind of at the same talent level, but the depth Georgia has with those guys really separates it for them.”
What edge does Texas have over Georgia and Penn State?
Noah Cain said that he feels that UGA has the best offensive line among his final three choices. (Noah Cain/Shared photo)
“I would probably say just the 2018 O-line class they recruited that is redshirting now,” he said. “Just how good they are going to be next year. That’s like a big thing Texas has coming up for them. Nobody has really seen those guys play. They are really coming up to help them win. They redshirted a fine group of 2018 O-linemen. So I think that’s a real big plus for Texas.”
He said the depth chart shakes out well in Austin. There will be an immediate shot for major carries.
“Texas is getting back to what it used to be,” Cain said. “That depth chart looks really good but at the same time I see who I’d be surrounding myself with there and who would be pushing me and challenging me.”
What edge does Penn State have over Georgia and Texas?
Noah Cain will make his college decision in the next three weeks and share that with the world on Dec. 19. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
“Just the fact in how they use the running back in every aspect of the game,” he said. “The offense is really built around the running back. Penn State is really similar to Georgia. Just the way honestly they use their running back in every package that they have.”
Which school has the most potential to give him 10-15 carries per game in 2019?
“All of them,” he said. “Now. Coming into this weekend, it was just Texas and Penn State. But after I sat down with coach McGee and coach Smart, then I would say Georgia as well.”
That visit left a great taste in his mouth.
“It felt good,” Cain said while describing what he felt as he left Athens. “It felt like family. Those people up there [at UGA] have been nothing but good to me and honest with me. I had a really good taste in my mouth after that.”
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