Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean and add a dab of perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — We will start off today’s edition with a few disclaimers.
Perhaps the biggest thread left exploring this week would be if Georgia’s nine-man recruiting pack could sway of their fellow U.S. Army All-Americans to join them in Athens.
The boys have kicked the tires on Ohio State DE commit Chase Young and the nation’s top-ranked cornerback in Jeffrey Okudah. Okudah took an official visit to UGA this year, but still seems bound to Ohio State.
And yet a new name has popped up.
That’s American Heritage (Fla.) guard Tedarrell “T.D.” Slaton. Slaton is rated as the nation’s No. 3 OG and the No. 65 overall prospect for 2017. (The undecided 6-foot-5, 350-pounder has also picked up a lot of 247 Crystal Balls to Florida of late.)
That’s the first of a few disclaimers about any link to Slaton and UGA. He also fancies himself as a power forward in basketball and even as a defensive tackle in college.
Georgia already has commitments from six highly-rated offensive linemen, including two guards they are quite happy with in 4-star Netori Johnson and 3-star Justin Shaffer.
That’s something to consider. But so is the fact that Slaton has looked very good in practices this week. He could also play the guard or tackle spots on Saturdays.
Slaton has also been hanging around all the UGA guys this week. The traveling party has mostly been the nine UGA commits plus Slaton and Aubrey Solomon this week.
“I’ve built a really good relationship with all the Georgia boys,” Slaton said. “They all actually really want me to go play with them there.”
There are two other variables regarding a potential Slaton link to UGA. The first is he’s looked so strong in drills this week that Johnson and the other Bulldogs have asked him about coming to play with them
They told him that but also checked into it.
“I’ve told (UGA offensive line coach) Sam Pittman about him and about how good he was,” Johnson said. “We could use him in Athens and I’ve asked him if we could make room for another offensive lineman in the class.”
Pittman’s reply back to Johnson: He had to check with head coach Kirby Smart.
The other variable is room in the class. Especially on the offensive line. The Bulldogs can’t take them all and the class needs another offensive lineman like it needs two more guys that would be willing to wear a Santa suit in order to secure a top commit.
These are the right talking points to bring up about Slaton, but he is clearly the type of player that makes a difference among the trenches in the SEC. Any scholarship used for him could yield a guard or tackle and maybe that defensive tackle that Slaton aspires to be.
That versatility could add to his value.
But then Slaton mentioned another UGA connection.
He said he wouldn’t mind getting the chance to block for Sony Michel again. He hails from the same prep program that produced Michel and the recently departed Isaiah McKenzie.
Slaton’s offer from UGA came from former receivers analyst Kevin Beard. Beard has now left the program for an on-the-field job.
What would happen if the Bulldogs came knocking with some genuine new interest?
“It would be good to go up there and block for my old running back,” Slaton said.
Does UGA have a chance?
“Yeah there might be,” Slaton said. “I’ve already built a good relationship with these guys in three days. Wherever they go, I follow them. They just want me to hang around them. Now if I get around and the chance to talk to one of the coaches at Georgia, then we will see what might happen.”
He said he would accept an offer to take an official visit to Georgia. To fill in any blanks.
“I would accept to go up there and see how it looks,” Slaton said. “I would call Sony and let him know that Georgia was really recruiting me and get that give and take from him about Georgia.”
Slaton has worked at tackle a lot this week. He’s also shown a lot of ability at guard. The young man also plays power forward and center for the varsity hoops team at American Heritage.
“I’m going to shed a lot of weight by the time I go to college,” Slaton said. “My goal weight would be 290.”
Johnson said Slaton was good enough to play any position he wants on the line at Georgia.
“That boy is a baller,” Johnson said. “Just a great player. I hope we can see if we can add him.”
Slaton confirmed the interest in Florida is very real but also said he’s only locked in one official visit this month. That was to Florida. He said that school should be viewed as his current leader.
Here’s the last word: It will be very hard for UGA to add another offensive lineman to this class. That might require taking one less LB or WR in order to make that work. Slaton is a guy that would definitely make any team took a long look at their board.
Nobody can sign them all. But not many teams have so much value in their class that they pass on a kid like Slaton.
The latest on Jamyest Williams
Several outlets confirmed yesterday that South Carolina commitment Jamyest Williams would be taking an official visit to UGA. That’s not really stop-the-world news because Williams has hinted at that for some time and took at least a couple of official visits to UGA during the past season.
He also hasn’t set a date, but he told DawgNation that he would likely only take that one official visit beyond an official to South Carolina this month.
“The official visit to UGA is a go,” Williams told DawgNation. “Working on a date but I know it is going be prior to the South Carolina official visit.”
That was interesting. Williams also made sure to point out that he was still 100 percent committed to South Carolina.
Georgia recently picked up a major commitment from his close friend and Grayson High teammate DeAngelo Gibbs. Does that now play a factor in his consideration of UGA?
“Of course,” Williams said. “He’s my teammate and a brother but at the end of the day he wants me to do the best (thing) for me.”
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 6 cornerback prospect for this cycle and also comes in at No. 54 nationally. He’s also the No. 6 prospect in Georgia for 2017.
He said that Georgia has never stopped chasing him.
“I pretty much always knew at the end of the day UGA was gonna get an OV,” he said. “I grew up a Dawg fan. Had to.”
He’s also noticed the amount of talent that the program has stacked up in his class.
“I mean I would be crazy not to look at all these guys staying home and not get intrigued.”
Williams would also be a tremendous asset on special teams and for spot plays on offense. He could easily do a lot of things that Isaiah McKenzie did on offense at Georgia. He’s flashed that level of ability in high school while competing at the highest levels of Georgia high school football.
He said that Georgia and South Carolina have mentioned that a little. The primary role would be at a nickel cornerback in the slot and in the return game. South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson has identified a clear role for him in Columbia.
“‘T-Rob’ is going to use me like (former LSU All-American and NFL standout Tyrann) Mathieu as will (UGA defensive coordinator) Mel (Tucker) if I went to UGA.”
Williams is a special player. He’s easily among the Top 20 I’ve covered in my career. For so many varied reasons.
Netori Johnson on Aubrey Solomon
Georgia 4-star OG Netori Johnson has been impressed by 5-star UGA target Aubrey Solomon this week. The nation’s No. 2 DT prospect is the top remaining target on the board for UGA for the Class of 2017.
“I think Aubrey Solomon is a great player man,” Johnson said. “I’ve been going against him all week. We’ve been going both and forth getting reps. He’s beaten him. I’ve beaten him. He’s got to work on pass rush a little bit more, but when it comes down to run stopping the kid is amazing.”
Solomon has split a lot of double teams in drills this week.
“He’s somewhat unblockable,” Johnson said. “I think he’s taken turns beating every one of us on the offensive line this week at something. We’re definitely coming at him to see how good he is. We run a lot at him.”
What does he think of the program’s chances with Solomon?
“I know he has said that Bama is leading him but we feel like we can sway him,” he said.
Johnson also maintained that he — like most of the Bulldog commits in Texas this week — will not take any other official visits other than their one to Georgia.
“We are all for the G,” Johnson said. “We made that statement to commit to the G and that’s what we have done. There are no other decisions. All of us are not doing anything else.”
3 other items to know from this week
- If UGA signee Jake Fromm doesn’t start this week, then there’s something amiss with having these practices this at all. He’s clearly shown himself to be the most capable and competent quarterback in practices this week.
- 4-star Georgia RB commit D’Andre Swift is a big Fromm fan. He’s told the coaches he only wants to be in the game when Fromm is at quarterback. “That’s my guy right there,” Swift said. “That’s my quarterback.”
- 5-star Richard LeCounte III came up with the week’s most viral play yesterday when he jammed former Georgia WR commit Devonta Smith coming off the line and bulled him off the field, through the sidelines and toppled the benches. The scene was so intense that it even caused the linemen to notice during their 1-on-1 drills on the other side of the field. I’ve added another look at it below.
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) January 4, 2017