Must-sign UGA target on his potential coach: ‘I have a ton of respect for that man’

E.J. Price already feels a strong connection with UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — E.J. Price met with UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman on Friday.

It was an important visit. UGA is down to two commitments on the offensive line for 2016, and signing Price would cause cartwheels in Athens. That’s why Pittman wanted to see him before he took an official visit to Auburn on Friday.

It sounds like Pittman has made a lot of inroads with the Archer High School standout.

“He feels like I am a good overall player and he really feels he can help me improve even more to be a first-round draft pick,” said Price. “He said he really only goes after first-round draft picks. He believes that I could be that. That was one of the highest compliments I could receive coming from a man who definitely has the experience of putting top o-linemen in the league.”

The 4-star offensive tackle even summed up how he feels about Pittman to this point with one powerful statement.

“I have a ton of respect for that man,” Price said, who de-committed from UGA back in June.

He also described why he already feels that way.

“He is a joy to be around,” Price said. “He is definitely a character. He has a smile on his face joking all the time. That’s what I like. It’s not that straight Xs and Os. We can have a conversation about food or football or family or whatever. That’s what I enjoy about him. He’s a personality like myself. Just very outgoing.”

The nation’s No. 8 offensive tackle has done some thinking since he was at the Under Armour All-America game this month. Price feels that he no longer has a Top 3.

“I am just open right now,” Price said. “There has been a lot of things going on.”

It sounds like his old Top 3 of UGA, Oklahoma and USC is no longer valid. He enjoyed his recent official visit to LSU. The Tigers also came by to see him this week at school.

“I probably look forward to being in an SEC school,” Price said. “I like LSU. I like Auburn. I like Georgia, a lot. I’m considering some other schools. Michigan. I gave USC a look as well. I am definitely considering a lot of schools so right now I wouldn’t say I had a definite leader.

Price has been to Michigan State, USC and LSU. Auburn will be his fourth official visit. He plans to decide between Alabama, Georgia and Michigan for his final official visit.

It sounds like UGA will get that visit.

“I definitely feel like I need to go see Georgia again only because there have been so many changes with the coaching staff,” said Price, who said Mark Richt was the head coach the last time he was at UGA.

The 6-foot-6, 311-pounder said Georgia coach Kirby Smart plans to come see him for an in-home visit before his official to UGA on Jan. 29.

“He wants to come see me the last week so he’s kind of a closer as he would say,” Price said. “I just look forward to getting that really good face-to-face time and chatting with him some more.”

Check out the video interview above for his thoughts on the following:

  • What sort of late attention is he getting from Alabama?
  • What happened with his interest in Oklahoma?
  • How does Michigan feel about him? Is his offer legitimate?
  • Why would he choose UGA?
  • What’s his relationship with the current staff like compared to what he had at UGA?
  • How quickly has Sam Pittman been able to earn his respect?

 

Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.

Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.

Follow @JeffSentell_

 

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