The recruiting for key Georgia LB target Monty Rice is in its final stretch.
A conversation with James Clemens (Huntsville, Ala.) head coach Wade Waldrop offered up a few choice nuggets in quick-hit fashion. Short. Sweet. To the point. That’s kind of like the way the 3-star LB flies downhill, takes on blocks, shed that man and then finds the football.
- Rice will take his official visit to UGA on Dec. 2. That’s the date he was steered to visit by the coaching staff. “I think they have something big going on that weekend and they want him there,” Waldrop said.
- The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder will take his official visit to Auburn on Dec. 9. That will his second and final official visit. That’s the date the coaches at Auburn wanted him to be in town.
- The senior will then announce his decision at the very latest in a school recognition ceremony set for 11:25 a.m. on Dec. 12. Rice will graduate on Dec. 16 and enroll at the school of his choice in January.
- Rice could choose to commit to his school on social media after that Auburn official visit. Or he might want to let the world know at the recognition ceremony on Dec. 12.
- The perceived leader in Georgia. That appears to be “public knowledge” around the James Clemens program and school community.
Waldrop has been impressed by how Georgia has recruited Rice.
“I think they’ve done a great job,” Waldrop said. “I think Monty has a great job with the coaches over there. The new Georgia staff has done a great job recruiting our school and what looks like our entire state since they’ve been there since coach (Kirby) Smart’s arrival in Athens.”
Rice said he feels no pressure to make a commitment at this time. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
He noted how well he felt that UGA inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann has done in his first year as an on-the-field coach. Schumann had previously been an off-the-field analyst on the support staff at Alabama.
“I like him a lot,” Waldrop said. “He does a great job representing Georgia when he’s in here to see Monty. He seems to be a very up-front and honest guy. It has been a good experience working with him. He’s been a guy that picks his phone up when you have got questions. He answers it and gets back to you quickly. Great communicator. From a professional standpoint as a high school guy, that’s all you can ask for.”
Auburn earned that only other official visit based on relationships. Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and linebackers coach Travis Williams have led the recruiting charge on that front.
Rice said he has been told by UGA that he could commit at any time. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)
“Coach Williams and coach Steele did a good job back in the spring evaluating him but also getting to know him,” Waldrop said. “They’ve formed a relationship with him. I think at the end of it the schools that have been able to form the best relationships with these guys have done the best recruiting them.”
What does Waldrop think?
“I think he may make his mind up after he goes to Georgia,” Waldrop said. “I’d say right now that’s his favorite. His mind may already be made up. I don’t know that for sure, but I have got to think on that Monday after he comes back (from that Auburn visit) he may put something out on social media. He may even do that on that Sunday after he comes back from that last official visit.”
He believes that it will just come down to Auburn and Georgia. LSU was always a big contender for Rice. Waldrop has also been impressed by the way that LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has gone about recruiting him.
The coaching unrest there is an issue. There does not appear to be any other mystery schools at this point.
Waldrop also made it clear that he feels that Rice is a lot better prospect than the rankings deem him to be. He’s deemed to be the nation’s No. 21 ILB prospect and rated at No. 599 overall for 2017.
If he chooses Georgia, he’d become the second lowest-rated commitment on the board for the 2017 class. The Bulldogs currently have the nation’s third-rated overall class for this year’s cycle.
“There are a lot of great athletes out there playing football and a lot of guys at the next level who are just tremendous athletes that anybody would want in their program,” Waldrop said. “But that’s not Monty. He’s a football player. He’s a football player that is a great athlete. I think that’s his biggest attribute. This is not a guy that’s coming from another sport trying to convert. This guy’s instincts are all football. He’s tough, intelligent and driven. He’s why I love coaching. I’d love to continue coaching him. He’s just the type of guy who makes it easy to come work, coach and teach football because he just loves it and eats it up.”
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
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