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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Why did John Emery de-commit from UGA?

John Emery Jr. offered up two vivid details about his de-commitment from UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. This play sheet offers up a report on why 5-star RB prospect John Emery Jr. is no longer committed to Georgia. 


John Emery Jr. de-committed from UGA on Thursday evening. The nation’s No. 2 RB prospect (per the 247Sports Composite rankings) is now the second 5-star de-commitment from the program this month.

It makes the most sense to just be incredibly transparent and quick and to the point here. When a recruit of this nature de-commits, that’s really not the time for an extended interview.

The “No interviews” tag is expressed on Twitter a lot. But Emery did grant DawgNation a pair of responses that directly hit the hole about why he’s no longer committed to Georgia.

Was there anything that triggered it? He was asked to put his finger on the biggest reason behind his decision.

It had nothing to do with the LSU win over the Bulldogs earlier this month. Emery was quick and to the point with his reply.

“The depth chart,” Emery told DawgNation via a message.

That is now a big factor for Emery. The looming presence of seniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien coming back for the 2019 season is on his mind. So are the talents of rising junior D’Andre Swift. Then there is also first-year Bulldogs James Cook and Zamir White to think about.

White is redshirting this season after a tough preseason knee injury. He was rated as the nation’s No. 1 overall RB prospect in the 2018 class.

Those names might not have been an issue for Emery when he committed back on July 29. But they clearly are now.

That was made clear when Emery was asked if the Bulldogs will still have a shot at signing him down the stretch of his recruitment.

“If [the] depth changes, then yes,” Emery told DawgNation.

He is expected to make his decision in December during the early signing period.

Was this John Emery Jr. decision a shock to his inner circle? 

That’s the next question at hand. And that answer is yes.

Emery’s mother, Nikki Trudeaux, expressed her reaction to her son’s choice to DawgNation initially through a pair of broken-hearted emojis.

John Emery-UGA football-UGA recruiting
John Emery Jr. is no longer committed to UGA. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Maybe it is this time in our social media world where an emoji can also present like maybe 500 or even 1,000 words.

Trudeaux, an invested parent if there ever was one, was kind enough to share some detail about her son’s choice. She was already plugging into the UGA football parent culture. She had already connected with several invested mothers on the UGA football team.

His mother also said that that the decision “was not over yet.” Then she shared a statement expressing her full view of the matter.

When checking with other sources, it does appear that this decision was made largely by the young man who will be carrying the football in front of 90,000-100,000 fans every Saturday in the very near future.

That’s as it should be.

“However unexpected this decision was I’m very proud of John for being able to make this decision on his own,” Trudeaux told DawgNation. “I’ve seen so much growth in him during this recruiting process. He loves the UGA coaching staff and fans, but he wants to make sure that whatever college he chooses he doesn’t have any doubts or regrets academically or athletically.”

She then detailed her next steps supporting her son. That’s what she did when the nation’s No. 22 overall prospect chose UGA.

That is what she will continue to do now.

“Right now my primary focus as his mother is to support him by praying for him and with him,” Trudeaux continued. [It is] also to make sure that he has fun and enjoy all the blessings God has given to him. This process can be grueling. He’s still a kid.”

He’s still her kid. She made that point very clear and with a lot of emphasis on the “her kid” part.

“I take that very seriously,” she continued. “I also thank Moms like Oneida Holloman who have been through this process before and Brandy Bush (the mother of 2019 Louisiana DB prospect Devin C. Bush) who is going through this process currently, for all their support.”

Where does UGA go from here for an elite RB?

When the Emery news dropped, the reporter in this situation looks to several arcs that could possibly advance this story.

The simplest one of those is this: If John Emery is not the back that UGA needs to sign in this class, then who could it be?

To me, I don’t think that situation is 5-star RB Trey Sanders. He’s the nation’s No. 1 RB in this class and he was at G-Day back on April 21. That said, I feel like Alabama looms very large in that recruitment.

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It is not just because Sanders was once committed to play for the Crimson Tide.

Noah Cain, his teammate at IMG Academy, seems like the next best fit or at least a good potential fit to me. There was a strong mutual feeling between UGA and Cain and his inner circle prior to Emery’s decision.

Yet here is how recruiting works. It seems clear to me that Cain is looking for a spot at an elite program where he would be the elite freshman talent that will enroll in the class of 2019.

It is not likely to see him wind up where Emery signs. That’s the same case with any potential pairing for Sanders.

Cain has taken one official visit so far to Auburn. He has others tentatively planned for Texas, Penn State, Ohio State and LSU in that order. But that, like many things with college recruiting, is not set in stone.

When I reached out to his father last night, he was able to frame the foundation of whether or not they would be interested in UGA as the feature back for the 2019 class.

It seemed clear to me that Emery’s de-commitment reflected a renewed opportunity with the Bulldogs.

What was his father’s initial reaction to the news from Emery last night?

“First of all, it was very surprising of John de-committing and right now it warrants [Noah’s Mom] to take another look at Georgia and possibly have a conversation with coach [Kirby] Smart,” his father Terence Cain said. “I think that would be warranted at this point.”

He then detailed why.

“Knowing that Georgia has a long history of producing top backs is something that I talked about with my son earlier,” his father said. “He’s talked with John about things throughout the last several months. Even when John had committed, he had asked about Noah’s interest and we were just going to wait everything out and take our official visits. Just to have the assurance that this is going to be a unique place not only for football but to actually get a solid education as well.”

The plan for Cain is to take all five of his official visits and to sign on Dec. 21. That has been static for the last 18 months. That has not changed.

What might change are his top 6 schools. I will stress the term “might” here.

“When the Top 6 was released, it was nothing against Georgia being left off the Top 6,” Terence Cain said. “It was just with the family and of course Mom feeling very comfortable and confident with the schools in that Top 6. But things change. Throughout the football season.”

“With John de-committing it is not like ‘Whoa, we need to jump on this’ it is just that Mom wanted to have the assurance from coach [Kirby] Smart that this is the place where her son can come, she can lay her head down at night and feel comfortable.”

He feels that Georgia is now in the mix for his son. It is still in the mix. But the chance here has been upgraded with the move made by Emery on Thursday night.

“Georgia is still a school that is there and even talking with coach [Dell] McGee and he wasn’t concerned about the Top 6,” Terence Cain said. “We released six schools and Georgia’s name was not there and he said ‘I’m telling you guys that is nothing that is to where that is going to upset me’ and he said he wasn’t feeling any sort of way about that.”

McGee told the family he was still going to recruit Cain. He has.

That recruitment will now be worth monitoring going forward. Especially if Cain decides to give UGA one of his final official visits.

“He wants to be at a running back school that can continue helping me develop into the running back he wants to become and of course Georgia is one of those schools,” his father said. “Georgia has a long history of top backs.”

The Cain family knows that the Bulldogs have four running backs that are making a difference in today’s NFL.

“But most importantly I know that Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are college graduates are well,” he said. “They have their degrees. That’s another unique piece for Georgia as well.”


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