Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry gives an in-depth preview of the big Malaki Starks decision that is coming down the track this coming Thursday on March 25.
CUMMING — Malaki Starks said on Sunday at the Under Armour All-American Bowl Atlanta camp that he does not yet know what he is going to do. He has got the balance of about four-plus days to come to a decision about his college commitment.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It has been a long journey. It is kind of a crazy ride for me.”
First and foremost, that is the day he picked to honor his father, Larry, on his birthday. He will gift the freedom of the burden to support the Class of 2022 5-star ATH with his college education.
That’s a present that enables his son’s future. It could add up to six figures and upward of higher education at an Alabama, Clemson or a Georgia. It will set him up for the 40-year dash that decides the course of his life.
Those are his three finalists. Starks said on Sunday afternoon at Denmark High he is really down to two schools, but preferred to keep the name of those two schools private.
The Jefferson High standout will reveal his decision at 6:30 PM on Thursday at the Jefferson Civic Center. He was able to pinpoint what his latest and strongest feelings are right now about each school:
- Alabama: “Alabama, they just know how to win. They have a great history of developing players and I want to be one of those players that get developed. That’s that.”
- Clemson: “I feel like a priority. I also feel like I am a really good fit for what they do. I like their culture. I feel like I am a really good fit.”
- Georgia: “I feel great about Georgia. It is right down the road. That feels like family. I feel like a really good fit.”
He’s been going back and forth among those three. Did he ever have a good idea of which one yet?
“I thought I did,” he said. “Then I thought I didn’t. I am really close, but to say I have a school right now I really would not know.”
What’s the real puzzle?
“Probably finding my place,” he said. “With those two schools, I feel like I am a good fit for both of those two schools. I just don’t know where I would be the best fit.”
He hasn’t been overwhelmed by those three finalists over the last week. He said it was a little bit of pressure and a little bit of space.
“I haven’t taken any virtual visits,” he said. “I have been on the phone with a couple of people, but they have also been kind of been keeping their distance a little bit. So I can’t complain.”
He does have a time frame of when he would like to be at peace with his commitment decision.
“I want to know before I walk up those steps and pick up that hat,” he said. “That’s what I want.”
This is a blessing, but it can also be stressful and hard.
“It is one of the most important decisions of my life because it is going to carry me through the rest of my life,” he said. “It is a really big thing.”
Starks did tell DawgNation on Saturday he has been to visit all three of his finalists. He visited Alabama and Georgia prior to the pandemic and has also now taken a recent visit to Clemson, too.
It was a self-guided independent visit. He took a road trip with his family to Clemson and they toured the campus on their own.
For those that study those matters, he did sport an Alabama cap on Sunday he was recognized for his Under Armour All-American Bowl game commitment. Starks did not work out at the Under Armour camp. He is still not cleared for a lot of contact coming off the hand surgery he had after his junior season.
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Malaki Starks is a 5-star prospect in the Class of 2022 from Northeast Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Malaki Starks: Why he has kept his March 25 decision date
When Starks made his commitment day known, he was one of five highly-rated UGA targets set to make a decision over a six-week span.
There have been two postponements in that quintet. Those two All-Americans wanted to take visits before their commitments. They have their hopes set on the NCAA removing the dead period in June.
He remains steadfast in his march to his March 25 finish line. Starks said it was a family thing.
“My Dad means a lot to me and my family,” Starks said. “He’s a hard-working man. He works to keep the food on our table and I definitely want to honor him. So to honor him in that way, because it is a big deal to him and my family, he works hard and I am the person I am because of my Dad. So just to have that even for him means a lot to me.”
Starks will still have three hats on the table. He does know how he will share his choice.
“I’m just going to pick the hats,” Starks said. “I’ve always dreamed of picking a hat when I was a kid. Just to be in that position means a lot.”
Starks would still like to take visits once those are permitted when the dead period does lift. It will not matter where he commits to this week. He’d still like to use his official visits this summer.
Whatever decision comes to him this week, he expects it will be final.
“I feel like once I commit, I am committed and I am 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t feel like there is going to be any flipping.”
Malaki Starks ranks as the nation’s No. 4 ATH and No. 29 overall prospect for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Check out the entire Malaki Starks DawgNation conversation
Starks is rated as the nation’s No. 4 ATH for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite standard. He is a 5-star recruit who slot in No. 29 overall nationally.
He spoke at length with DawgNation from the Under Armour camp on Sunday. Check out his entire DawgNation conversation embedded above and below.
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