Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Whew. It is the day after National Signing Day. There were a few nights over the last week when I said to myself: Do I write this or add a third hour of sleep to the fuel tank?
DawgNation.com usually wins those battles, but it didn’t win all of them.
DeAngelo Gibbs said something very interesting last Thursday. That was when I asked if there was ever a home run pitch that secured his decision to sign with Georgia.
He came back with a fantastic reply, but there was always something else and another “one more thing” to do. The timing seems right today. The Bulldogs just signed the nation’s third-rated recruiting class.
Alabama was a dominant No. 1 after reeling in another six prospects which earned a 5-star rating. The Crimson Tide couldn’t snag Gibbs, though. There’s a story to that.
Gibbs is already enrolled at Georgia. He’d been a “D-Lo” Bulldog for awhile and then that late helicopter ride from Nick Saban to his high school the week of the state title game changed things.
The nation’s No. 4 safety told me Georgia basically led, but then Saban’s helicopter landing pulled Alabama even with Georgia.
How did Georgia keep him? Gibbs broke down a moment at Five in Athens. The popular restaurant was the scene of his “where they really got me” story.
“We were in that restaurant and we were with my mom and we were all sitting down and talking and coach (Kirby) Smart and coach (Mel) Tucker said ‘We don’t just need speed here. What we want are guys like you. We need to have guys like you. We have to have more guys like you. You are the prototype we want to have. If we could sign five DeAngelos, then we would recruit and sign all five DeAngelos. We’d sign as many guys as we could like you and figure out numbers and where everyone plays later’ and they said that and I could tell they meant that.”
Done. Boom. Drop the microphone. Over.
“I was just like ‘Wow’ and was really stunned by what they said with that,” Gibbs said. “That was on my official visit. That was one of the shortest official visits that anybody has ever been on.”
Gibbs said he took his decision down to the wire between Alabama and Georgia. But that was likely the end of it.
“They feel I can be a captain of the defense in the near future or even the entire team,” Gibbs said. “They feel like I am a great and vocal leader. They also feel like I will always come prepared with what I need to know and be ready for any opportunities I get to play if they come my way. They tell me they already know I’ll be ready when my time comes.”
Gibbs was pretty much a Georgia Bulldog right then and there, but he went public with it at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 1
(I’ll add one quick reality check: Alabama might have signed up five of those “DeAngelos” this year, too. Maybe even 10.)
Fitting in at UGA
What’s college life been like so far for Gibbs? Well, he said it is hard not to notice the college girls in Athens. That’s a given for any young man during their first semester in college on any campus, much less UGA.
“The best part of college for me has just getting to meet people and getting to know new people in my life,” he said. “Just seeing all the resources there and networking. But the big thing for me so far has been just getting to know and talk to people who aren’t even athletes. Just getting to know folks like that who can help me develop as a person and as a man that have nothing to do with football.”
He already loves one of his first classes. That’s an Anthropology course. He said it really opens his mind up and forces him to think.
The workouts have been tough. Gibbs, if we’re being honest, is such a tremendously talented athlete that he hasn’t really had to grind in the weight room. He’d been rated as a 5-star prospect and as one of the nation’s Top 3 prospects at athlete, cornerback and safety. He could be a very good SEC receiver, too. A case could be made that he’d be at least one of the most naturally talented receivers that Georgia signed this year.
But Georgia strength coach Scott Sinclair has already started the process of building core strength and even more explosion into what Gibbs already naturally brings to the field.
“It is literally every day,” Gibbs said last Thursday. “Matter of fact I had a workout before I came here and I literally didn’t even want to get out of the car and even come here (to Atlanta for an awards banquet) today. That’s how hard the workouts were. Those are killer workouts and we really need it. I really need it.”
William Poole III knows what he is talking about
Georgia signee William Poole III looked me straight in the face last week and told me that he expected Georgia to close the class out with three cornerbacks.
He wanted those cornerbacks to be Latavious Brini, Ameer Speed and Jamyest Williams.
The Bulldogs wound up getting two out of the three in Brini and Speed. He really got to know Speed pretty well.
“I knew after his visit that he really loved his visit and really loved Georgia,” Poole said. “We had a great time seeing Georgia and Athens and the city on his visit. As far as a scouting report goes, he’s a long lengthy guy. Got very long arms. He’s going to put his hands on you in coverage and that’s what (UGA defensive coordinator Mel) Tucker is looking for. The long lengthy guys who can put their hands on receivers and also be able to run with anybody.”
Speed is long, but he’s not quite as long as Poole. The Hapeville Charter standout has been measured with more than an 80-inch wingspan.
“I think that Georgia is definitely making a great turn in the right direction we need to go,” Poole said. “This class is going to do some great things at Georgia.”
He said the little things matter. When Smart came to see all the commits on his last round of visits last week, he encouraged them to handle their business. He wanted to see them get those faxes in early on National Signing Day.”
He wanted them to get those papers in early.
They all did. Georgia had the faxes from 25 of their commitments in by noon on National Signing Day.