Kojo Antwi: Georgia and Ohio State are making a charge in a loaded top 8
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry will offer the first DawgNation.com dive into the story of a prized state of Georgia WR Kojo Antwi of Lambert High in Gwinnett County. The Bulldogs show up strong here amid an impressive top 8.
That’s a name (Phonetics rep: Ko-Jo An-Twee) that belongs in college football box scores, right? As it turns out, that’s the preamble to note here in a pretty good story.
“Actually my parents are from a tribe in Ghana,” Antwi said. “So each day has a set name. I was born on Monday. So I got the name Kojo.”
The attempted Wikipedia definition for “Kojo” hits close to that mark here: An Akan masculine given name originating from the Akan people, meaning born on a Monday.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior from Lambert High ranks as the nation’s No. 19 WR and as the No. 162 overall national recruit on the 247Sports Composite rankings.
As it turns out, Kojo was moved by Julio. Antwi says he’s been inspired by the path laid down by Atlanta Falcons All-Pro WR Julio Jones.
“I love the game of football,” Antwi said. “I’ve been watching football since I was, you know, a toddler. I fell in love with the Atlanta Falcons and I fell in love with Julio Jones.”
“I didn’t really start playing football until seventh grade, but you know watching Julio Jones on TV and seeing what he could do on the field really just inspired me to go try out football and I’ve loved it to this day. I will forever love it.”
His game isn’t pure Julio. There’s a blend of Antonio Brown and Golden Tate to his game, too. The first rep on his junior tape reflects a guy with the short-space quicks and separation and an affinity for torching off-man coverage. He can turn a bubble screen into six points with the same efficiency as a ‘”9″ route.
Antwi shows a pattern of shredding big cushions against over-the-top coverage. He had 44 catches for 795 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games in 2020. That’s a gaudy 18.1 yards per catch.
Kojo Antwi: Settled on a loaded top 8
Antwi has one of those tapes with gold coins along a path to the treasure trove. The first play on his reel can be made by a top 250 overall receiver recruit most years.
The second play is the stuff that maybe 10-to-12 receivers can replicate in any given year. It is film gold. Antwi loses his balance coming off the ball. He’s jammed. His quarterback has such trust in him he’s not really looking his way.
If he was, he would’ve noticed Antwi fell. The play was seemingly done. He’s on all fours but recovers for a play that even the great Jones never made too many of during his time at Foley High in South Alabama.
Kojo recovers. Then stretches out across his body with a receiver draped on like a Tom Ford suit. He snags the ball, turns on the speed and weaves through traffic with his best “Sport Mode” impression. Kojo shows he can really go.
It is a fun watch amid a reel of fine plays. His Lambert teammates provide some downfield blocks but he still makes three would-be tacklers miss amid a 69-yard scoring romp. He actually caught that ball at the scrimmage line. Still housed it.
He’s assembled a 4:31 junior reel with no empty calories. Just playmaker protein. The third clip is a deep ball. He has to slow down for it, but he still turns into an 89-yard score. He’s even showing off some big plays as a kickoff returner.
Antwi creates about as much separation with his speed as an old episode of “Divorce Court” that used to air on television. There’s a reason why he’s set a Top 8 which will include the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas A&M and USC.
What did all those programs do right here in this recruitment?
“I have great relationships with all of them,” Antwi said. “Every single coach that I have talked to at each of those schools have shown me they really want me. That means a lot.”
He was ready to drop those top schools in this stalled COVID-19 recruiting phase because he’d gotten an early jump on it all. He’s moving quicker than a lot of his 2022 class peers with his process.
That top 8 release came on December 30, 2020.
“I really started getting recruited in March,” he said. “I’ve been having a lot of conversations and phone calls you know with coaches and all that. So I feel like it was the best time to narrow down the schools that I need to really like focus on.”
He’s already thinking about his next steps. With that, he’s going to need the NCAA to turn on that green light for on-campus visits.
“Once that dead period is over, I’m planning on taking my visits in April until then in July,” Antwi said. “July is really that month where I will commit before my senior season.”
That’s a good plan for now. Let’s all hope that the state of the virus allows the NCAA to permit schools to allow on-campus recruiting by May.
Georgia and Ohio State are starting to break from the pack
He likes the Bulldogs.
“I think they are really recruiting me hard,” he said. “They are at the top of the list right with Ohio State. Coach [Cortez] Hankton has been showing me a lot of love. I’ve gotten on the phone with coach [Kirby] Smart a few times and he always tells me that ‘I’m the guy’ and ‘The guy that they need’ and all.”
That’s a good thing for Georgia. Antwi might be from the state of Georgia, but Ohio State and its “Zone 6” reputation at the receiver position is substantial. The Buckeyes have seen five receivers crack the 1,000-yard mark in a single season in program history. That’s only happened once at UGA. That was the great Terrence Edwards.
Dating back to 2000, we can look to see that Ohio State has had 11 of its receivers picked in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. That includes four first-round selections. Georgia’s totals based on that criteria are five early NFL draft picks and just A.J. Green, respectively.
The Buckeyes have brought in four receivers who attained a 5-star ranking since Kirby Smart signed his first class at UGA in 2016. That pipeline includes another nine wideouts who ranked among the nation’s top 150 overall recruits on the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Georgia’s showing there is just George Pickens in the 5-star category and another seven top 150 overall recruits at receiver. The big trend to spot there would be that five of those eight Bulldogs joined the program in the 2019 and 2020 signing classes.
The Bulldog also did not sign a top 150 or top 250 overall WR prospect in the 2021 cycle.
Antwi understands he’s needed. Georgia has shown him that, too.
“I really think Georgia is recruiting different based on FaceTiming me before games and showing me around the facility,” he said.
The Lambert High star in Suwanee relayed what he hears from Hankton. The keyword there would be explosive.
“My playmaking ability is what he really preaches,” Antwi said. “That I can create separation and that’s what he loves about me.”
Does Todd Monken’s passing attack make UGA a better fit? There’s an emphasis shown with starting QB J.T. Daniels operating a vertical passing game. That’s a good fit for his skill set.
“I’m really liking this new offense,” Antwi said of Georgia. “I like how they take deep shots to Pickens and [Jermaine] Burton and stuff like that. I’m really liking this new offense.”
He’s never been to Georgia or Ohio State. Or a single one of those schools among that top 8. Georgia Tech has been his only school visit.
“It was a really hard process,” he said. “You always want that in-person contact and getting to meet your coach and your potential coach. But it was a really tough task.”
When the NCAA cranks those visits back up, where does he need to go first?
“I would go see Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas A&M and USC in LA,” he said. “The Trojans.”
Kojo Antwi: What will shape his eventual decision
Antwi said the “ultimate” would be to go to college and then play pro ball for his hometown Falcons. He’s really a die-hard fan.
“I go to sleep with my Atlanta Falcons shirt on before every game day,” he said. “So that Thursday night I wear my Atlanta Falcons shirt to sleep and I wake up. That’s the thing. That’s my thing.”
That shirt is about six years old. So when he catches those 100 balls every day to get better, he can’t help but think of being a Falcon one day.
What is his decision going to come down to?
“It will come down to academics,” he said. “It’s really going to come down really to who wants me the most and what relationships I have with the coach there at that school,” he said.
What have Georgia and Ohio State really done well here so far?
“It is not like they are bugging me 24/7,” Antwi said. “I think it is each call that I have with them is something special. If that makes sense. Every time I get on the phone with them I’m excited to catch up with them and talk ball with them. That’s what really separates them from the pack.”
The Aggies also have a connection here. He said he grew up as a Texas A&M fan because of the great Johnny Manziel. His brother now lives in Texas, too. Antwi also said USC has always been a program to watch in his recruitment, too.
“They were just the first ones to really start to recruit me,” he said. “I got on a bunch of Zoom calls with the and I got a virtual visit and stuff. They were just showing a lot of love and have been consistent with it.”
Antwi’s story is an intriguing reminder. As he said, he’s only been recruited since March of 2020. That’s right when the pandemic curtain went down.
He’s a little advanced in his thinking and his focus, but he’s like many in this 2022 class in one key aspect. The only recruiting they really have known would be FaceTime calls, virtual visits and Zoom sessions.
No locker rooms. No gamedays. No facility tours. No jersey try-on photo shoots.
“Not really any of that yet,” he said. “That will have to come later.”
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