Maze, mess or mystery? What does Georgia’s QB recruiting look like for 2018?
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We focus today on how Georgia’s QB recruiting is going with the likes of Gerry Bohanon, James Foster, Emory Jones and Adrian Martinez, adding some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
The recruiting at the quarterback spot for 2018 rests at an interesting intersection.
The Bulldogs have only two scholarship quarterbacks. It behooves the team to sign at least two signal callers for 2018.
According to 247Sports, UGA has sent out 12 QB offers for this cycle, and nine of those have gone to dual-threat QBs.
Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm are pro-style passers. Very good ones at that. So that seems logical.
DawgNation has spoken to a lot of the 2018 options at that position over the last week, and the feedback is perplexing. The quick conclusion: The Bulldogs are not recruiting those guys with the intensity necessary to garner a commitment.
It seems the Bulldogs are just doing enough to remain contenders. While other teams are rolling up their sleeves, the Bulldogs appear to be waiting on their guy to emerge. Eason and Fromm allow them that time.
The strategy makes perfect sense if UGA plans to flip Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence or Penn State pledge Justin Fields down the line. Those chances appear to be as stout as Dustin Johnson’s back this week.
Perhaps the Bulldogs plan to line up all those arms at camp over the summer, see who wins and prioritize that guy. That feels like risky business to stake rival programs a big lead, especially since the Bulldogs can’t dangle legit immediate playing time outside of a specific package.
That covers one side of our intersection. Let’s look at this from the other direction.
Georgia is recruiting QBs that are not expected to get major reps until 2020. At least. That’s based off Eason’s present and Fromm’s future. Preferred walk-on Stetson Bennett IV also seems to have a future as bright as many of the 2018 QBs the Bulldogs have offered.
Bennett is smart as a whip, runs well and can sling it. It makes me wonder what the fuss is about for likely fourth and fifth-teamers for 2018. But football is a violent game. The possibility of a major injury to Eason or Fromm requires signing quality QB depth.
This intersection feels like one of those traffic circles in Hilton Head. Let’s look at how the Bulldogs stack up with four of their most logical options.
A quick initial disclaimer
We’ve covered a few of these names. Louisiana QB Justin Rogers has a Georgia offer, but he didn’t have the program in his latest top 5. The same can be said for Bishop Gorman dual-threat Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
South Carolina dual threat Dakereon Joyner has UGA in his top 5, but South Carolina seems to be the team to beat.
California pro-style QB Tanner McKee recently took a trip to UGA on a southern swing, but he plans to fulfill his Mormon mission. That makes him a prospect for the Class of 2020. That does fall in line with Georgia’s likely QB succession plan with Eason and Fromm, but it does nothing to remedy Georgia’s QB depth for 2018 and 2019.
Florida big arm Joe Milton has recently visited Georgia twice. He’s had a third party speak out positively regarding Georgia’s chances. That seems like a feint according to my sources. Look for Milton to eventually pair up with his dream school Gators.
There’s another 5-star QB in the mix for Georgia recently. California 5-star Matt Corral rates as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback and the No. 8 prospect overall, but he’s been committed to Southern Cal for over a year.
Corral told Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman exactly how he felt about recent overtures from Alabama and Georgia. Huffman reports Corral will listen, but that he’s still strongly committed to USC.
Jalen Mayden, another dual threat with a UGA offer, recently released a top 5. Georgia was not a part of that edit.
TOP 5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/VSZ5crPvwE
— Moose (@mayden_5) April 4, 2017
That leaves four more names to explore regarding Georgia’s chances.
Magic 8-ball says not likely with 5-star Emory Jones
Emory Jones says Ohio State fans should not be worried. Definitely not. He’s just taking visits.
“I’m 110 percent with the Buckeyes,” he said.
The nation’s No. 2 dual-threat QB prospect from Heard County was an in-state loss for the Bulldogs.
Jones and Georgia can be chalked up as a casualty of being so entrenched in the race to win the commitment from Lawrence. The 5-star from Cartersville is the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2018. Chasing Lawrence also hurt the Bulldogs with Fields, too.
The 6-foot-3, 197-pound prospect ran a 4.77 on the laser at the Atlanta Opening regional. Jones says the Buckeyes are still recruiting him harder and better than any other school.
He’s not worried about a formidable depth chart in Columbus, Ohio. That one looks harder to crack than the one at UGA. He’ll compete for reps against other dual threats at Ohio State.
“This is how I am looking at it, and that’s just being developed,” Jones said. “I want to get on the field but I want to get developed. I don’t want to walk in and have to play and not be developed at all.”
He’s thinking about being ready for the NFL in 2020 and 2021. Not playing fast in 2018 or 2019.
Jones is in contact with Georgia. He knows he can go up to Athens whenever he wants.
“Kirby Smart and I are real close,” Jones said. ‘We’ve been real close for a long time. They are always going to be in there.”
He’s not certain if Georgia will get an official visit, but felt there was a good chance. The Heard County standout also said Alabama, Florida and Florida State were the only schools with even a remote shot at flipping him from Ohio State.
Jones also said it seemed like to him that Alabama and Florida were the only two programs which were recruiting him like they were trying to flip him.
He stated that the Bulldogs had never been a leader at any point of his recruitment, even prior to his commitment to Urban Meyer’s program.
The Bulldogs do not appear to even have a sliver of hope here at this time.
Mizzou has moved ahead for James Foster II
There was a time when it seemed like Georgia would eventually pull ahead for 3-star Alabama QB James Foster II. Foster even said that UGA was basically a co-leader.
It doesn’t sound like that anymore. Missouri is that entrenched for the nation’s No. 17 dual-threat QB.
“I took a trip up to Missouri like two weeks ago,” Foster said. “It solidified them as my No. 1 school.”
Foster “fell in love” with everything. The Tigers are recruiting him like he’s the No. 1 prospect in their entire 2018 recruiting class, not just their No. 1 quarterback.
That’s a level of intensity where it only seems natural for the Bulldogs to fall behind. Missouri is taking a big lead.
“They rolled out the red carpet out for me and my mom, Foster said. “Mom and I went up there and she loved it, too. They were telling me I was the No. 1 recruit in their class and they wanted me to lead their recruiting class for 2018.”
He plans to make his commitment sometime in June. It seemed like that visit accelerated his timeline.
Alabama also recently offered Foster.
“They are definitely up there,” Foster said. “That was my dream school and I always wanted to go up there. I’m still weighing all my options out right now with that Alabama offer.”
Missouri still recruits Foster the hardest. He also felt the Tigers are coming at him with the best approach. Georgia and Tennessee would be next. He wasn’t able to visit UGA when he was up for the Atlanta Opening regional.
“Georgia is doing pretty well recruiting me,” Foster said. “I just have to get back up there for another visit.”
How can the Bulldogs catch Missouri?
“Just continue to recruit me hard and show me they really want me,” Foster said. “They could really show me they want me to lead their next recruiting class, too.”
Foster believes he can compete for a starting job at Missouri no later than 2019. Possibly 2018. That’s if current starter Drew Lock leaves early.
“Georgia told me the two quarterbacks they have now are drop-back quarterbacks,” Foster said. “They tell me they need a quarterback that can run. They want to change the culture there at quarterback.”
Foster said he couldn’t distinguish his No. 2 school right now behind Missouri. It would be between Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
What are the hopes with Adrian Martinez?
Martinez, a 4-star prospect has a UGA offer and is rated as the nation’s No. 11 dual-threat for 2018.
“I’ve been playing the quarterback position since I was 6 years old,” Martinez said. “I’m always trying to fine-tune it both on and off the football field. I describe my game as an athletic guy who can make all the throws out of the pocket as well as utilize my legs when needed.”
He’s from Fresno and is committed to Cal. He likes the fit there, but he made that commitment to the Sonny Dykes’ staff, and Dykes is no longer there.
That places Martinez’s pledge in some limbo. But the fact he remains committed shows how much he still loves that school. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect values that education and going to school in that area.
“The school hasn’t changed,” Martinez said. “It is just a matter of getting to know and developing relationships with the current coaches that are there now. I really didn’t want to burn a bridge and de-commit for no reason. It was time to get to know those new coaches. But at the same time, I wanted to give all these other schools a chance, too. I wouldn’t be doing myself justice with this decision if I didn’t look around after a change in the coaching staff.”
Martinez has members of his extended family which live in Metro Atlanta. He also labels himself as hyper-competitive. That would mesh well at UGA.
“I thrive in a competitive environment,” Martinez said. “Put people around other talented people and have them compete for playing time. Everyone can only get better from that. The team can only get better from that. If I see another guy getting better, it would only drive me to do the same.”
“A-Mart” has noticed that other schools like Fresno State, Rutgers, Tennessee and West Virginia are recruiting him harder than Cal at this time. The Volunteers are coming after him hard.
Alabama also recently offered, and Martinez was honored to receive it. That program sells itself. He needs to build a relationship with those coaches in Tuscaloosa. But he will look at schools pretty equally in terms of academics and football. Martinez might even lean more to his education than football.
Martinez is aware of the depth charts at Alabama and Georgia. Those odds are similar for a 2018 signee winning the job at those programs.
“That doesn’t mean that’s the end-all or be-all for me,” Martinez said. “That doesn’t mean I can or will not go to a place like Alabama or Georgia because of that. That is just another factor for me to include. It doesn’t mean it will be a huge factor that will determine my decision, but it is definitely something on my mind that they had a dominant freshman last year and a young quarterback roster behind that guy.”
How does he feel about UGA?
“I’ve been to Georgia numerous times for summers and for Christmas and I was really happy about that offer. It is the University of Georgia. That is an exciting offer.”
But he doesn’t plan to take a visit at this time.
“Coach Jim Chaney offered me and really we’ve had a few times where we have been in contact since but it really hasn’t been over the top I would say,” Martinez said. “Tennessee is kind of the exact opposite. They text me every single day. Coach Butch Jones does. Coach Mike Canales does. I kind of get the vibe from Tennessee that I am one of their main priorities at quarterback.”
What would it mean if UGA did the same?
“That’s why Tennessee is in it for me,” Martinez said. “All the effort has shown me they really deserve a shot. Or at least a consideration. If Georgia would do the same, I would definitely consider them. I mean initially just off a pure offer, Georgia would be ahead of Tennessee. But I’ve gotten to know the coaches at Tennessee and seen all the other aspects of the program. That’s why they are where they are with me right now.”
Martinez also hopes to see something materialize with UCLA. He has no plans on when he wants to make a final decision.
Checking in with 4-star Gerry Bohanon Jr.
Bohanon hails from Arkansas. The nation’s No. 13 dual-threat QB prospect took a three-day visit to Auburn last weekend.
“Auburn gave me a lot to think about,” Bohanon said. “I’ve been interested in that university for a long time. There are quite a few schools now which really utilize the dual-threat quarterback and that is one of them. I’m really looking forward to getting deeper in-depth with them.”
He feels Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are recruiting him the hardest at this time.
“I’m really open right now,” Bohanon said. “I don’t have a leader or a top school. I’m really looking around, trying to find the best school for me right now.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is being recruited by most of his options as a true quarterback. Arkansas is the lone contender that sees him as an athlete.
He felt UGA was easily one of his top 10 options.
“Coach (Jim) Chaney is recruiting me like he wants me,” Bohanon said. “He says he can’t wait for me to come down there and visit. … Georgia really wants me to come down there and play quarterback. They want to have that quarterback who can sit in the pocket and make a throw, but they also want a guy who can still make a play happen when things break down.”
Bohanon said he doesn’t hear from UGA daily. It was more like every 7-10 days. Those other SEC programs are recruiting him harder.
“I would look more to Georgia also if they started recruiting me like that,” Bohanon said. “I don’t really know if Georgia has really figured out the dual-threat quarterback they want yet.”
He hopes to visit UGA sometime this month.
“I want to go down there and see Georgia,” Bohanon said. “The Bulldogs have a great team. I’ve been watching them since Todd Gurley was there. I want to go there and see the campus and everything that entire university has to offer me there.”
He plans to study kinesiology.
Bohanon felt his greatest strength was getting out of trouble. He’s got his own brand of escape artistry, and he has the highlights to back that up.
“We’ve had a play happen three times,” Bohanon said. “My coach would change the play and I would be looking over at the sideline and my center would snap the ball. It would go off to the side or over my head. It would go 10 yards behind me and I would have to go get it. The whole defense was rushing toward me. My team was just looking at me.”
Well, except for one guy.
“I’d always get at least one receiver to take off down the field when that happened,” Bohanon said. “I’d just scoop the ball up and throw it down the field to him.”
There’s a clip where the ball is in the end zone. It looked like a certain safety, but Bohanon turned it into a 95-yard touchdown.
“That went from an ‘Oops’ to something really really good,” he said. “That happened like that three times last year for us.”
Bohanon threw for 2,734 yards and 27 touchdowns last fall. He piled up another 1,134 yards for 14 touchdowns with his legs.
“The Bulldogs would have a shot if they came at me a lot harder,” Bohanon said. “It would be good for me at a place like Georgia if I was the only dual-threat guy they had on their roster. … I would love to see Georgia really pick things up with me with my recruiting.”