How does the potential of a Justin Fields transfer affect this year’s recruiting class?
John Woods said his phone has already been busy this morning. The Justin Fields news is a major short-term story for Georgia football in the days ahead.
It was a mixture of coaches, reporters and one head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. The matter at hand was an issue that combines two very hot-button subjects at this time: 1) Justin Fields and 2) The 2019 recruiting class that will begin signing up to be Bulldogs in less than 24 hours.
Woods is the father of 5-star recruit WR Dominick Blaylock. Given his status on that side of the ball, he’s one recruit that needed to be contacted shortly after the Fields news leaked out.
Will the potential shift affect Blaylock? The answer is what most thought it would be. Committed is still committed. That’s the way it has always been for Blaylock.
He loves Georgia and everything about it. Blaylock just completed a great official visit this past weekend. It all but completed the recruiting circle for the 5-star. The only thing left for him to do is sign on Wednesday.
Blaylock was the rare recruit who chose Georgia and then (kindly) told the coaches at other schools to not waste their time.
Once he committed in July of 2017, he only visited UGA from that point on.
How can the Justin Fields news affect this year’s class?
Blaylock is one thing. The other 5-star target in this year’s class is another matter entirely. That would be Cedar Grove senior Jadon Haselwood.
Hasewlood, a close friend to Fields, is a former UGA commit. Fields would host him when he came to Athens for unofficial visits.
When the Fields news broke last night, I reached out to a source close to the nation’s top receiver prospect for this cycle. That source indicated they had not spoken yet about what a move for Fields would mean to his decision.
The eventual chance to play with Fields is without a doubt one of the many reasons for Haselwood to sign with UGA this week. Haselwood will sign this week, but not release his choice until the All-American Bowl in Texas on January 5.
My opinion here is that it will affect Haselwood and his decision. It would be nigh-impossible for it not to.
That’s the potential of the Dan Wolken report eventually proving accurate and Justin Fields following through to leave UGA after his true freshman season.
Blaylock will not be affected by the potential of any Fields transfer. Haselwood, if we’re being honest here, will very likely be affected by this move.
As it stands now, Blaylock stands to be the first 5-star receiver (from the 247Sports composite rankings) that the Bulldogs have signed since Marlon Brown in 2009. (5-star Terry Godwin also signed in 2015, but he was rated as an athlete at that time.)
DawgNation has reached out to several members of the 2019 recruiting class for the opinions of whether or not the Fields news will affect their decision this week.
Fields is a bonafide talent. He’s the type of player that can influence others to come to play with him. Ryland Goede, a 4-star TE commit from Kennesaw Mountain, was one of the first to respond.
“No, sir,” Goede shared in a text message with DawgNation. “Still solid for sure.”
Travon Walker, a 5-star DT in the class, also told DawgNation the Fields storyline will have no impact on his decision this week.
The Bulldogs have 19 commitments in their class at this time. That group currently holds the No. 2 spot i the 247Sports Team composite ratings for 2019.
That said, there are only seven pledges from that group slated to play offense for the Bulldogs. Those are the targets who had most likely associated their future at UGA with playing alongside the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB prospect in the 2018 class.
Makiya Tongue, another 4-star pledge who expects to start out at receiver in Athens, was not able to immediately return a message seeking comment on what the potential Fields news might mean to his pledge to the Bulldogs.
Aside from that trio, the class on the offensive side of the ball consists of three OL prospects and a 4-star RB prospect in South Florida star Kenny McIntosh.
Another thing to consider with the potential Fields transfer
There’s another topic to discuss here. That’s the timing of it all.
The fact that Fields is deeply considering a transfer at all has to create at least some indecision in key recruits.
His status as the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit in 2018 definitely enhances the horizon for Georgia football. That’s something every recruit had in mind when looking at the UGA depth chart at the game’s most important position.
Prior to this news, the program had as enviable a future at that position as any program in America.
If he decides to leave now, then that will leave the program with just one QB on scholarship in Athens.
John Rhys Plumlee, a 4-star QB recruit from Mississippi, is still currently committed to UGA in this class.
But he told DawgNation over the last few days that the program has asked him to take a “Blueshirt” with the team. Why? That’s because the Bulldogs didn’t have enough scholarship room to accommodate all the players hoping to sign with UGA in the 2019 class.
The lure of what lies ahead for Fields definitely creates the need to secure Plumlee and at least one more quarterback prospect for the 2019 class.
That’s how big of an impact the Fields news can possibly be. If he leaves, it can definitely re-prioritize how the Bulldogs view the QB position with the remaining spots in the 2019 class. It just might be too hard for the Bulldogs to get back in with an elite QB target in this class.
Zach Calzada, a 4-star in-state QB who is currently committed to Texas A&M, is a potential last-minute target. An ESPN report even named him as a candidate in the wake of the Fields news.
If Fields does leave, there’s a positive angle for QB recruiting that could play out for the 2020 class. But that matter is still yet to be determined.