Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
An out-of-state high school coach gave UGA's latest assistant coaching hire a very strong endorsement.

Prep coach trumpets new assistant Dan Lanning as ‘rock star’ hire for UGA

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. We offer a twist for this edition. Instead of a bunch of info on a hard-charging prospect, we’ll share some feedback on the only new on-field coach (so far) on the UGA staff. 

Dan Lanning won’t be the new coach on the Georgia staff for long.

When Kirby Smart tapped Lanning to fill the void created by the migration of outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer to Tennessee, it meant the former Memphis inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator was the junior member of the staff.

Dan Lanning-UGA football
New Georgia assistant coach Dan Lanning (left) got some major props from Missouri high school coach Carl Reed. (Carl Reed/Twitter)

That will change. Rapidly. The Bulldogs are still set to hire two more on-field coaches during the next few weeks.

It will make Lanning no lower than the coach with the third-most tenure on the 2018 Georgia football staff.

That’s a curious stat, but a ringing endorsement from one Missouri high school coach indicates Lanning’s career arc will trend far beyond that.

“They are getting a guy that’s in that coach [Nick] Saban and Kirby Smart mold,” said Carl Reed, the head coach at Lutheran North in St. Louis. “He was a [graduate assistant] at Alabama and has been indoctrinated in that system.”

Kirby Smart didn’t even need to interview Lanning. That’s how familiar he was with how Lanning could help the Bulldogs.

Reed shared several reasons why that interview likely wasn’t necessary.

“He is an unbelievable ball coach,” Reed said. “He’s not just a guy who is a great recruiter, even though he is a tremendous recruiter. He is a fantastic X’s and O’s ball coach. His attention to detail is great. He is going to be a rock star there as a coach and at sometime soon, you will see him as a defensive coordinator at that elite SEC level.

“He will eventually be a head coach. He’s going to come in that same form as a Kirby Smart or a Jeremy Pruitt that you will see coming through there.”

Lanning recently offered 3-star Jack Buford from Lutheran North. Buford rates as the nation’s No. 42 offensive tackle prospect for 2019, but his evaluation eventually should shift to where he is better suited at guard.

It seems as if the Lanning hire has opened up a new pipeline for the Bulldogs to players from the St. Louis area.

“Dan Lanning is my personal friend,” Reed said. “I value him like a brother. He is a very close friend of mine, and anytime that he comes into town or has a serious interest in one of my guys, he is definitely a guy that has a built-in advantage because of our personal relationship.”

Lanning recently offered a series of players from that area on a recent recruiting trip for the Bulldogs. That included a trio of players from the same high school. Reed said he’s known Lanning for about three years.

“It has just been awesome knowing him from the very beginning,” Reed said.

Ohio State jumps Georgia in the latest team rankings 

That headline explains it all. The Buckeyes, with their 23 commitments, now have an overall 247Sports Team composite rankings score of 309.58 for 2018. 

That gives them an edge of 0.58 over Georgia and its 22 commitments. The big difference between the teams is that Ohio State has a higher average score of 94.32 per each of its signees and remaining verbal commits. The Bulldogs are at 93.78 by that same standard.

It allows the Buckeyes to offset a big edge for UGA in the number of 5-stars committed or signed in the Class of 2018. The Bulldogs have a 6-2 edge in that category.

The quick breakdown is below.

Breakdown by star ranking 5-stars 4-stars 3-stars Total
Georgia 6 12 4 22
Ohio State 2 18 3 23

Can Ohio State hold on to that top spot? Let’s just say that this race still has a few more laps to go.

Kirby Smart to go in-home with Quay Walker Wednesday 

Quay Walker-UGA recruiting
Quay Walker was clad head-to-toe in UGA gear at the Rising Seniors game in December 2016. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

It sounds as if Smart will be flying over Cordele. Quay Walker told me Wednesday morning that Smart is set to use his in-home visit.

He’ll visit with the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker prospect on the 247Sports composite at school Wednesday and also later in the evening.

Is it a dice roll to use up his visit this early? I don’t think so.

Walker told DawgNation earlier this week that the Bulldogs will get his final official visit.

It also makes sense from a logistics standpoint for several reasons.

  • Spots are definitely at a premium for the 2018 class. Walker said he perceives there are two slots left in the UGA class and that one is there for his taking.
  • Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are still in play.
  • The Bulldogs weathered some 11th-hour drama last year with a highly rated prospect from Crisp County, Walker’s school. This seems like a tactical move by the Bulldogs staff to get a good read on the Walker decision and his timeline well in advance of National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
  • Smart should have a better idea about Walker coming out of that conversation. He’s too good of a player to not invest some time with at this crucial juncture. This approach seems to be a good call to best navigate what lies ahead for Walker and his upcoming final decision.

Speaking of Kirby Smart 

Ever wanted to see what the in-game antics look like for Smart? He’s beginning to become a coach who network producers keep a camera on for his antics after a big play.

Kirby Smart’s team exceeded expectations rather dramatically in his second season as Georgia’s coach. (UGA/courtesy)

They used to do that same thing for Georgia legend Vince Dooley.

We’ve seen him run along with his running backs on breakaway carries. He’s also had a “word or two of instruction” with his quarterbacks after a read or a play or a check went south.

But what about a typical play? Check out this clip I tweeted below. It is from the National Championship Game against Alabama, and it shows a minute-long time sequence of Smart before, during and after a play.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the visual evidence indicates that the Bulldogs needed about two or three more moments like that one to subdue the Tide.

The terms “constant energy” and “hummingbird” come to mind. No wonder his voice leaves him at times.

Player participation breakdown for #SICEM17

We had an item in the Intel on Tuesday where we shared the redshirt status of all the members of Georgia’s highly rated 2017 signing class. To the best of our knowledge, that will reflect which members of the 2017 class will be classified as redshirt freshmen this fall.

That shows how those big-time recruits pan out. That’s an important element to the recruiting coverage on DawgNation. The aim is to cover the recruiting process before and during their time at UGA.

That redshirt check was a good way to do that, but there’s also another good metric for that. We wanted to offer a quick glance at how much those first-year Bulldogs got on the field and lettered as a  freshman.

Nine members of that class wo saw action in the National Championship Game against Alabama.

Games played in 2017

  • 15 games: 4-star QB Jake Fromm (14 starts); 4-star OLB Walter Grant; 4-star DE Malik Herring; 4-star ILB Nate McBride; 4-star RB D’Andre Swift (1 start); 4-star OT Andrew Thomas (15 starts)
  • 14 games: 4-star WR Trey Blount (1 start); 3-star ILB Monty Rice (1 start); 4-star WR Mark Webb Jr.
  • 13 games: JUCO ATH Ahkil Crumpton
  • 11 games: 5-star S Richard LeCounte III (1 start); 3-star CB Ameer Speed
  • 8 games: 3-star OG Justin Shaffer
  • 6 games: 4-star S DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 5 games: 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman; 4-star DB William Poole III
  • 1 game: 4-star ILB Jaden Hunter (will receive a redshirt)

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.