How good is Justin Fields? Major UGA target Kearis Jackson shares his view
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news on players such as Justin Fields and Kearis Jackson and add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
The Georgia football recruiting news cycle is going to have a heavy dose of 5-star QB Justin Fields for the time being.
Fields — now the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports composite — has had a meteoric recruiting rise. At one time, he sat in his room and prayed for an offer from Mercer. North Carolina finally came with that first scholarship in May 2016.
Now, he’s the No. 1 overall everything for 2018. DawgNation had an extended conversation with Fields last week that took two chapters to convey everything we learned.
The recruiting rankings are one thing, but DawgNation had a chance to ask one of Georgia’s other alpha targets — 4-star WR Kearis Jackson — just what makes Fields stand out amid a talented group of 2018 quarterbacks.
Let’s not forget about names such as Matt Corral, Emory Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Jarren Williams, among others.
Corral and Fields were both seen as options for the Bulldogs in 2018 last month.
Which one is better? Let’s preface this with what needs to be said first.
“I mean both of those guys are incredible,” Jackson said. “Both of them are very very good. Any school would be thrilled to have either one of those guys.”
But Jackson said there was some separation in his mind between those two.
Kearis Jackson on Justin Fields
What does an elite receiver think about these top-rated quarterbacks, especially Fields and Corral? Jackson said he felt there were subtle differences.
“Justin has a ball that is different,” Jackson said. “Corral has all the arm strength in the world. He just wants to zoom it in there and he can zip it. He can really zip it. Justin has a little more touch on it. It is more accurate as well. I think if I had to pick, I like Justin’s ball better.”
Jackson, the nation’s No. 25 receiver for this cycle, invented two new words for how Fields delivers the ball.
“Justin’s ball is just ‘waszoo’ in there,” Jackson said. “He just — man I don’t know — it is just ‘wooowee’ as it gets there. He throws a ball where you don’t have to turn and move as much to catch it. You can keep your stride.”
There might be some experience and loyalty there. Fields and Jackson were both on Cam Newton’s 7-on-7 team this summer.
“The ball is just like real smooth coming in there really,” Jackson said. “I don’t have to fight to like get it. It is easy and comes right on you. It sort of catches you. I guess that would be what everyone says when they say he throws dimes. He gives you a lot of tight balls to catch.”
Jackson gave the edge in arm strength to Corral. But he said Fields throws a ball that is easy to adjust to after only about one or two throwing sessions.
“Some of the other balls come in low and come in high,” Jackson said. “All these great quarterbacks are good with that, but Justin just has that touch that looks like it is coming as fast as everyone else’s ball but it is just different. Some guys throw it harder than him, but I don’t think they throw it any better or more accurately than he does.”
He said he sees Fields as a special player.
“I think the fans out there have a right to get excited about Justin,” Jackson said. “He throws the ball well. He’s a good guy and then he’s a dual threat. I know a school like Georgia hasn’t had a dual threat like him come along in awhile. Not since D.J. Shockley [2002-05].
“If Georgia can get Fields, that will really change things up in Athens.”
Jackson is scheduled to announce his decision on Aug. 19. Auburn, Alabama and Georgia are seen as the major contenders. UGA receivers coach James Coley has made Jackson a priority for quite some time.
An interesting tweet
Robert Beal, a 4-star DE prospect, is one of two UGA signees in the Class of 2017 who has yet to report.
His future has been a big topic on DawgNation’s message boards all summer long.
Will Beal qualify? When will he report? Nathan O’Neal, his longtime trainer, tweeted some words on Tuesday morning that add momentum to the recent chatter that Beal eventually will join the rest of #SICEM17 in Athens.
— Nathan O'Neal (@FeetHipsHands) August 1, 2017
New feature for DawgNation recruiting
What’s the one thing we hear from coaches all the time when they evaluate players?
There are some pretty good Cliffs Notes-like evaluations out there. The stars and the rankings are the currency that serves as the measuring stick for college football recruiting evaluation.
But there’s another big kernel of truth: The film does not lie.
That sparked the need for the new Film Don’t Lie feature on DawgNation. We kicked that off Monday with a pull-no-punches scouting report on 4-star UGA commit Warren Ericson (North Gwinnett/Suwanee, Ga.)
DawgNation put together an evaluation panel of state championship coaches, well-respected high school coaches, scouts, former SEC players and former NFL players to serve as our experts.
An interesting nugget on QB recruiting
Let’s say Fields somehow winds up choosing Auburn or Florida State. That would still leave UGA with a clear need for a quarterback in the Class of 2018. What’s the backup plan?
Gerry Bohanon, a 4-star dual-threat QB from Earle, Ark., would be seen as the highest-rated Plan B for UGA.
How much are the Bulldogs recruiting him right now? Are they still trying to keep that fire burning? Bohanon gave me a pretty clear answer.
“Not much at all,” Bohanon said.
Roswell High QB Cordel Littlejohn is a name that comes up. Littlejohn camped at Georgia this summer. Colquitt County senior Steven Krajewski also could receive some consideration. The 6-foot-4 Krajewski led the Packers on an impressive run to win a 7-on-7 team title at one of the Kirby Smart camps in June.
Krajewski rates as the nation’s No. 54 pro-style passer for 2018. Packers coach Rush Propst told me after that camp that Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was going to take a good long look at him.
But there’s another off-the-wall name that’s starting to pop up in a few scouting circles. This player is a UGA legacy of sorts. Habersham Central rising senior AJ Curry is the nephew of former UGA defensive back Kentrell Curry.
Curry is big. The 6-foot-4 Curry is a dual-threat quarterback who can sling it with some good touch on his ball, too.
Check out his film below. Curry fits the definition of a sleeper QB target in Georgia for 2018. He didn’t play exclusively at QB last season and also lined up at receiver. Curry has improved with some specialized training for the position over the last few months.
He has improved, and it seems as if he will be a player to monitor this fall.