Bailey Hockman has done a lot of thinking since he de-committed from UGA.
The nation’s fifth-ranked pocket passer for 2017 was the first recruit of his class at UGA, but was also the first of that lot to de-commit after Mark Richt was fired.
How does the McEachern High School standout feel about UGA now?
“Everything’s open with me right now with everybody,” Hockman told DawgNation. “That’s what we told Georgia when I de-committed. We just didn’t know any of the new coaches there. There’s not one coach left there that was around that recruited me, but there’s still a chance that I could come back to play at UGA.”
He said Kyle Hockman, his father and head coach at McEachern, has gotten calls from Alabama, Arizona State and Florida State since he backed away from UGA. Bailey Hockman is also planning to take a trip to Stanford this summer. He’s flashed Stanford academic potential having already scored a 26 on his ACT.
But another program has trumped them all of late: North Carolina. Hockman took a late visit to check out the Tar Heels during his junior season while he was committed to UGA.
That’s where his close friend and junior McEachern receiver Tyler Smith has committed to play. Hockman said that the Tar Heels are recruiting him harder than anyone right now.
He already knows the depth chart there. Redshirt sophomore Mitch Trubisky appears to have the job heading into next season.
“I think it is a great school and a great place,” Hockman said. “With Mitch going in he is going to have two years so I could redshirt and start as a redshirt freshman. That’s big for me to go in and play because if I was to sit for three or four years, I might lose my whole game.”
Hockman committed to UGA with the thought of having to compete with 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason coming in the Class of 2016 and that never bothered him. That’s why the thought of landing at a place like Alabama — where 4-star Middle Georgia standout Jake Fromm has already committed for the Class of 2017 — also doesn’t faze him.
“Anywhere you go you are going to have to face top talent,” Hockman said. “That competition stuff never really bothered me. I know what I can do. I am just trying to find the place that’s the best for me and my development.”
Hockman said he’ll do things differently this time around. He’ll wait to find his best fit.
“Tim Tebow was one of the best college quarterbacks ever and he waited late until Signing Day to make his decision,” Hockman said. “That worked out okay for him.”
Hockman had two other items of interest. He feels the SEC might no longer be the best place for him and he’d wouldn’t mind settling with an offensive-minded head coach, like when he paired up with Richt.
“The SEC might not be the best place as a quarterback,” Hockman said. “You want to go to a place that throws it around a little more when the game is on the line instead of turning it around and giving it to a Derrick Henry or one of those big guys.”
The nearly 6-foot-3 Hockman was named the Offensive MVP of the Elite Junior Classic on Tuesday night.
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.