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 4-star Luke Ford or 5-star Justin Fields might lean, plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
No two recruiting situations are alike. That’s a tenet to follow when it comes to big-boy college football recruiting.
That’s because every prospect is wired differently. It is also why they are often coached differently.
Those who shall not believe in package deals between players willingly suspend that theory when it comes to quarterbacks and receivers. Especially 5-star prospects at the QB position.
Georgia is recruiting its 5-star QBs in pairs this year. If the Bulldogs sign either Matt Corral (Long Beach Poly/Long Beach, Calif.) or Justin Fields (Harrison/Kennesaw, Ga.), they both can bring several favored targets with them to Athens.
That list of fellas for Fields is growing by the day. Marquez Ezzard sounds like he is on that list. The same goes for Kearis Jackson and Josh Vann.
Add one more: Luke Ford.
The nation’s No. 4 tight end prospect for 2018 left The Opening convinced in what Fields can do.
Will the eventual college choice made by Fields affect Ford’s decision?
“Yes,” Ford said matter of factly. “After seeing him play and how we have this connection and how amazing of a quarterback he is, I can say this pretty easily: Wherever he goes to school, I probably will go there and follow him.
“If he goes to Alabama, I will probably go to Alabama.
“If he goes to Georgia, I will probably go to Georgia.
“He is that good of a quarterback and he is a cool guy,” Ford said. “I’ve talked with him for a little bit. He likes Georgia. He also likes all the other schools that are on his list, too. Auburn, Florida, Florida State. I don’t know about all the rest. I don’t really know where he wants to go.”
Refreshing honesty on the trail
There are some elite recruits out there who say that they won’t let another peer or top prospect influence their decision.
It goes something like this:
“I’ve got to make the best decision for me. I can’t worry about this guy going here or there.”
Most of these young men are savvy and are already very used to holding court with reporters in an interview setting. They know what that looks like and how that makes them sound in print.
Ford just cuts through all that doublespeak. As he should. He was raised in a military family. His father, Tim, flew Apache helicopters for the U.S. Army. He can rattle off more than 17 places his family has lived in the last 20-plus years.
“I am going to let some people affect my decision,” Ford said. “If they are a good player especially. I mean [Justin Fields] is a 5-star quarterback. I think he should be the No. 1 player in the nation. Why wouldn’t a guy like me who plays tight end want to go in and play with a great quarterback like that?”
The 6-foot-5.5, 245-pound prospect began to sound as if he were building his fantasy football team in career mode on the latest Madden video game.
“To play with a guy who I feel should be the No. 1 player in the nation at quarterback and then see the No. 1 RB in the nation going to Georgia?” Ford said. “If that running back goes to Georgia and then they get Justin, I mean, yeah, how can that not influence me? That’s like a check and a check there. That would be Georgia crossing off everything I need. I already liked that Georgia visit, too.”
— L U K E F O R D™ (@lukeredx97) July 7, 2017
The contenders for Luke Ford
Ford said he most likely will choose a school from within the SEC. He was committed to Arkansas and now has a strong interest in both Alabama and Georgia.
“Those schools are all good, though,” Ford said. “They are all meeting with me. The coaches are reaching out, and they are all rolling out their red carpets. I can’t say that I have had a bad visit to any SEC school.”
The only other non-SEC contender sounds to me like it could be Texas, where he likely will visit before his senior season starts at Carterville (Ill.) High School.
Ford said his decision could wait until National Signing Day because he doesn’t want to rush his next college commitment. He said he made his pledge to Arkansas before he had properly researched his choices and wants to be aware of all of his options this time.
That pledge to the Razorbacks came after his second college visit. Alabama and Georgia are seen as two very strong contenders here.
— L U K E F O R D™ (@lukeredx97) July 7, 2017
Welcome to the quiet period
Those who follow college recruiting on a daily basis probably already know what July 10 means on the calendar. That’s the NCAA-permitted date when prospects can receive written and electronic communication from recruiters and also take unofficial visits.
The recruiting calendar just shifted from a “dead period” to a “quiet period” this week. That allows for some quick definitions.
Dead period: No in-person contact between a recruit and a potential school. That’s both on and off campus. Written and digital communication (social media messaging) is still permitted.
Quiet period: No off-campus contact is allowed. Prospects are allowed to visit schools on their own. That aforementioned digital and written communication also is still allowed.
The most recent dead period window took place from June 27-July 9. That made it very convenient for The Opening to hold its prospect showcase. The current quiet period will last from July 10-31.
It is no coincidence that UGA and every other school in the country will hold big visit weekends, or cookouts, over the next few weekends in July.
SBNation also had a recent post this year that breaks down the NCAA recruiting calendar in full detail. It was written in a manner for someone other than lawyers and NCAA compliance officers to digest and comprehend.
Big visitors from Louisiana coming to UGA this weekend
Have you read anything about 4-star WR prospect Ja’Marr Chase of late?
My SEC Country colleague Sam Spiegelman has been at the forefront of the news cycle regarding Chase’s planned commitment ceremony from The Opening.
Chase, the nation’s No. 40 WR for the 2018 cycle, was supposed to announced his decision live from The Opening last week, but that didn’t happen. He was likely set to decide between LSU and TCU but that has changed.
Florida and Georgia are now contenders the 6-foot-1 target from Archbishop Rummel in Metairie, La. Spiegelman tells me that Chase will be at UGA this weekend, among a slew of unofficial visitors. (That Justin Fields fella is going to be in town, but you read that last week.)
How does Chase feel about UGA?
“They had A.J. Green,” he told Spiegelman. “I know they have developed receivers, and that’s something I really want to see.”
Chase said his visits to Florida and Georgia could reopen his recruitment to consider more teams.
Chase won’t be alone. He’ll be joined by 2020 receiver prospect Koy Moore. Moore already holds an offer from LSU. Aaron Brule’ will be the third standout from Rummel in that traveling party. Brule’ ranks as a 3-star recruit and is the nation’s No. 38 safety for 2018.
Brule’ de-committed from Kansas last month.