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Jeff Sentell/SEC Country
Five-star OLB KJ Henry will be at UGA on Saturday.

How does 5-star KJ Henry feel about UGA as his official visit approaches?

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We kick off this Wednesday with a quick preview of the KJ Henry official visit and what the chances look like for the Bulldogs.  _______________________________________________________

KJ Henry will make his first official visit this weekend. It will be to Georgia.

The 5-star prospect from West Forsyth High in Clemmons, N.C., ranks as the nation’s No. 16 overall prospect for 2018, per the 247Sports composite. He’s the highest-rated prospect on the visitors list (for now) who has confirmed that he will be in Athens for the clash with Mississippi State.

Henry also has the Bulldogs in his top 5.

KJ Henry-UGA recruiting
KJ Henry, a 5-star OLB hybrid, will be in Athens for at least the third time this year this weekend. (Jeff Sentell/SEC Country)

How does he feel about Georgia? We’ll have at least one other Henry story on DawgNation this week, but we wanted to preview where the Bulldogs sit heading into the visit.

He’s been to Athens several times and has a clear idea of what this scholarship opportunity brings to the table.

“I think what sticks out the most about them is the town and stuff, [and] the academics are really good,” Henry told SEC Country. “They just have a really good system for getting guys their degrees as fast as possible, in a very professional way. They keep everything in order and I like that. I think the football team is taking a step up every single year.”

There is a specific scheme fit.

“I think they run a base 3-4, so a ‘Buck’ or ‘Jack’ – everybody has a different title for it, just pretty much outside linebacker is where they see me,” said Henry, who ranks as the nation’s No. 2 weakside defensive end.

The major contenders for KJ Henry

Can Georgia pull an Isaiah Wilson here? To refresh the memories, Wilson was a 5-star recruit who was seen as a sure thing for Michigan or maybe even Alabama but wound up wearing Georgia red.

In this case, the contenders for Henry are Alabama and Clemson. Could the same plot twist happen?

KJ Henry-UGA recruiting
KJ Henry is rated as the nation’s No. 2 weakside DE for 2018. (Jeff Sentell / SECCountry)

If that takes place, there is still a lot of work left to be done. Henry has a few strong connections to UGA, but he’s always wanted to see the Bulldogs take the next step.

That means winning the big games. The Bulldogs (3-0) are off to a good start on that front this season. Things could progress even further with a convincing win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

He has always liked Clemson. A lot. Alabama is also Alabama. Henry can go on and on about how he feels about the Crimson Tide and their well-deserved reputation.

Georgia’s best chance to really get into that mix comes this weekend.

The Bulldogs are trending with Adam Anderson as well. From Rome, Ga., he’s the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker for 2018.

If UGA could add Anderson and Henry to a class that already includes 4-stars Azeez Ojulari and Caleb Tannor, then there would not be much debate about which program signed the nation’s best pass rushers in 2018.

Who’s left at TE for UGA in 2018?

Georgia has a commitment from 6-foot-7 tight end John FitzPatrick for 2018. Look for the Bulldogs to take at least one more. Especially if it is one of the program’s top targets.

Luke Ford, a 4-star from Illinois, should be seen as the main target. Bulldog legacy Tommy Tremble, a 3-star from Metro Atlanta, is also a strong option.

But there’s another name to keep on the back burner, too.

That’s Mustapha Muhammad, a 4-star prospect from Texas, who ranks as the nation’s No. 5 tight end, per the 247Sports composite. All 24 of the 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions have Muhammad choosing Michigan.

He’s already seen UGA at its best. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect was in Athens last November when Georgia beat Auburn, 13-7.

What’s the latest with Muhammad? The rangy Texan shared a few quick things this week:

  • He still swaps text messages with UGA tight ends coach Shane Beamer daily.
  • He is “still very interested” in the Bulldogs and might take an official visit.
  • He has just one scheduled official so far — to UCLA on Sept. 30.
  • His top 5, in no order, looks like Clemson, Michigan, LSU, Texas and UCLA. The Bulldogs are outside that top 5, but said, “I guess you could say top 6.”

Hurry-up Intel: A few quick points

  • Did you hear about the major UGA recruiting target who played the first four games of his season with a fractured collarbone? Luke Ford has to be without a doubt tougher than a truck-stop steak.
  • Four-star quarterback Gerry Bohanon from Earle, Ark., tells me he is “possibly” thinking about getting to UGA for a game. Bohanon is the highest-ranked QB target (at least in the dual-threat realm) for the Bulldogs this year beyond Justin Fields. The Bulldogs did not make him a priority contact over the summer.
  • Three-star defensive tackle Jackson Cravens picked up an offer from UGA on Aug. 6. The Utah resident ranks as the nation’s No. 48 defensive tackle prospect for 2018. He tells me he is planning a visit, but it will probably be late in the year.
  • Four-star outside linebacker Kevin Swint will make his first college visit Saturday to UGA for the Mississippi State game. The Class of 2020 prospect is a special athlete. The Carrollton, Ga., standout has 5-star potential, and he said he doesn’t anticipate announcing his commitment. He’ll just make his choice and sign on National Signing Day.

A Justin Fields story that might matter only to media types

Justin Fields, the 5-star QB from Harrison High in Kenesaw, Ga., is an everyday topic for Georgia football recruiting. He’s not conducting interviews this fall related to his eventual college decision.

That comes after handling more interview requests than any prospect in the country over the summer. Fields became a major story in June after he backed away from his commitment to Penn State.

He was very gracious with his time at camps and also during 7-on-7 events, but he turned silent on that topic once his senior football season really got underway.

Justin Fields-UGA recruiting
5-star QB Justin Fields was hard to miss last Saturday inside Sanford Stadium for the Samford game.
(Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation)

Fields shared why in a rare radio interview a few weeks ago for 680 The Fan’s “The Official Visit” Show with Doug Konkel and Rusty Mansell of 247Sports.

“I just really tried to knock things out with reporters and stuff with those people asking about me,” Fields told Mansell. “I just really tried to help them out because I know that is their livelihood and I just tried to answer those questions, but now I’m just trying to focus on my team.”

Fields elevated his worth considerably at the Elite 11 and Nike’s The Opening this summer.

He didn’t sleep in his own bed much at all. But when it was all over, he was rated as the No. 1 overall player in the country per the 247Sports composite.

Give him credit for realizing the imbalance there. That “TEAM me” stuff is not just a cool T-shirt.

“I mean because most of the summer I wasn’t there for them,” he said. “I was at camps, and I was at the Rivals 5-star Challenge and all of those things. So really I am now just trying to dedicate my time now to my teammates so we can be the best that we can be.”

That quote does not convey a single thing about his recruiting, but it says something to me about what type of person Fields is beyond this recruiting stuff. We make sure to write about that, too.

I’ve come to know very few players of his caliber that understand the role of the media the way he does. He was gracious in the summer with his time, but his availability also helped build the buzz behind his decision.

The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect understands the need for reporters and their questions. But he also understands he’s not just talking to them. He’s connecting with every future potential fan who might cheer for him on Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays.

Those fans might one day purchase a jersey with his name and number on it, too.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-American candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap. 

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