Leonard Warner III’s decision will be fascinating to track over the next 10 days.
He is one of Georgia’s major final targets left for 2017.
According to his father, the nation’s No. 7 ILB plans one last official to Georgia Tech this weekend. His decision should come shortly after that visit. Leonard Warner Jr., his father, deemed the sometime during the following week as an appropriate timeline.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect just got back from his long-awaited official to Stanford. That sounded like a grand slam visit if there ever was one.
Virtual Reality studies. How to build a better football helmet. Self-driving cars.
All of those concepts and potential fields of study captured his full attention. He learned that Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice could be a potential professor.
But Georgia still hopes to convince him to join the Class of 2017 in Athens. Warner should still be seen as a definite take.
That was evident by the visit from UGA coach Glenn Schumann prior to his official visit to Stanford last week. Georgia coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker are also set to have an in-home visit with Warner on Tuesday night.
That sounds necessary to counter a paradox of sorts for his recruiting. His father listed all those remarkable aspects of that Stanford visit that clearly engaged his son’s thirst for knowledge and a top-tier education.
Warner has been told by that staff he’d be the only ILB they plan to sign this year.
“It is an incredible place,” his father said. “I just feel that having the opportunity to go to a Stanford is life-changing. I think it is a great opportunity.”
The way he described it, it sounds hard for him to go anywhere but Stanford. He did also cite that distance was still a factor in the back of his family’s mind regarding playing for the Cardinal.
But then he expanded on that by stating something significant regarding Georgia’s chances.
“There is more to this equation,” his father said. “Leonard really likes Georgia. I don’t think people really understand that. He is really in touch with the coaching staff.”
His father also made one very telling comment as a follow-up point.
“My message to him is he has to look at the academic side of all of this,” Leonard Warner Jr. said. “But at the same time he wants to win. For example, the both of us expect Georgia to play for the national championship in two years. We really do.”
He ticked off the reasons why they both feel that way.
“Look at the class that Georgia is building and receiving this year,” Leonard Warner Jr. said. ‘We know all those boys. They are going to make some things happen. But at the same time, he just cannot make that his sole reason for going to these schools.”
Why Stanford made a big impression
This Stanford visit was different. There were no questions needed to ask on the academic side. The family went to breakfast on the second day of the official visit and were surrounded by Deans of the respective schools at every table.
Those faculty members will also teach freshman classes, too.
“The first guy stood up and said ‘Hey when all of you guys go back home there’s a part in that jet that allows it to run as long as it did and I created that’ and over there you get a chance to work with a guy that helps make sure those planes run as long as they do,” Leonard Warner Jr. said. “So that was incredible.”
The self-driving cars orientation caught Warner’s attention. So did the theories shared about building a better football helmet to reduce concussions by dispersing the blunt force impact around the helmet rather than seeing it absorbed into a single spot.
“That’s the most I’ve seen Leonard engaged (academically on a visit) in this process,” his father said.
They attended a seminar about Virtual Reality. When the session leader asked for help from the crowd, the nation’s No. 7 ILB prospect was among the first volunteers.
“The floor fell out from underneath him in that seminar,” his father said. “The cameras and all that stuff in there simulated like he fell two stories. From then he was sold, after that, it was all about everything else. That really opened his eyes to where he really was.”
Warner said he was very impressed to see his son have those conversations with academic minds of that level on an official visit.
The 4-star linebacker is a math and science guy. So the chance to pick the brains of those Stanford minds was something for his family to behold.
“Right now he wants to study electrical engineering,” Leonard Warner Jr. said. “He also wants to have an M.B.A. in Business Finance.”
What about the academics at Georgia?
Warner said his family knows their son “can get what he needs” at Georgia. He brought up the relationships that they have developed with the faculty that pertain to his degree pursuit in Athens.
It was clear that extensive discussions have been held. The Warners feel comfortable with how UGA can prepare their son on the academic front.
He said that his son would be fine with wherever he goes. The Georgia Tech visit this weekend will be intriguing. When Warner was growing up, the only team gear he bought for himself was in navy blue and gold.
That’s Georgia Tech stuff.
“For me, I want to see him make the best decision for himself,” his father said. “Not because this university offers maybe the best ‘A’ and ‘B’ but I want to see him find the best fit. He has to fit there and live there and feel great about his choice while he is there.”
Warner also said that Georgia has done a great job keeping them informed about his value in the class.
“So when Monty Rice flipped and then Nate McBride committed we knew exactly what was going on,” Leonard Warner Jr. said. “They have told us from the start that those two guys were the top guys they were looking at to just play inside linebacker.”
The Bulldogs have let them know that each commitment does not affect them. Warner Jr. said that UGA had told him that they plan to bring in legimate ILBs and OLBs for this class.
Warner is one of those prospects that Georgia feels can play both positions, he said.
The Solomon saga continues
The tea leaves are all now seemingly starting to line for Aubrey Solomon with Michigan. There was a Sunday night report that he was done with his visits.
The weekend official visit to USC was said to be the last.
Michigan then wowed the Solomon family with what his mother Sabrina Caldwell told Scout.com as “the best visit ever.” Scout.com’s Sam Webb reported that Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh brought his daughter along on the trip.
Harbaugh and two other Michigan assistants seemingly found a way to turn an in-home visit into a spectacle that included bowling and go-kart racing.
There has also been a run of crystal balls pointing Solomon to Michigan of late.
It wouldn’t shock me if we’re not chronicling another school hitting in-home visit home runs with Solomon on another day.