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 feel about new line coach Tray Scott plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott was hired on Feb. 10. He was briefly at Ole Miss after two seasons at North Carolina.
Scott, an Arkansas native, played at Arkansas Tech and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from that institution. His career path took flight as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 2009 and included stops at Arkansas State (assistant coach), Ole Miss (graduate assistant) and UT-Martin (defensive line coach) before his time on the D-line in Chapel Hill.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart chose him to replace Tracy Rocker. Rocker was well-respected. The Georgia native dominated in the SEC at Auburn and then played in the NFL after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He also went to coach in both the NFL and the SEC.
Everyone laments about big-time prospects like Derrick Brown and Aubrey Solomon leaving the state to play ball, but Rocker also played a large part is signing the nation’s top overall prospect (Trenton Thompson) in 2015.
That’s the role Scott will fill. He’s got to find more gems for the trenches like Thompson.
“Tray is considered one of the very best up-and-coming defensive line coaches in the country,” said Smart. “He’s going to be an immediate asset as we begin planning for spring practice. Tray will complement our current coaching staff and will be excellent in the development of our defensive linemen.”
Tray Scott on the trail
The above quote capsulizes what Smart hired him to do. Scott has already shared his own specific message with recruits.
“He told me that it was his job to keep the best (defensive linemen) in the state of Georgia,” UGA defensive line commit Rashad Cheney Jr. said. “So he told me when I committed that he did his job that day.”
Cheney Jr. became Scott’s first commitment in Athens. He came on board for the Class of 2019 on Feb. 18. That was just eight days after he was hired.
“I fell in love with him,” Cheney said. “It is going to be hard to pull me away from Georgia.”
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound prospect offered up the following assessment of Scott.
“He likes to joke and he’s real laid-back and he’s all about his business,” Cheney said. “You can tell he is all about his business.”
DawgNation has learned through multiple sources that the Bulldogs plan to sign three defensive tackles in 2018. That will be Scott’s shopping list for his first full recruiting cycle at UGA.
More Intel on Tray Scott
Scott’s makeup is also evident from talking to one of his recent offers. Independence Community College (Kan.) 3-star prospect Emmit Gooden rates as the nation’s No. 6 overall JUCO prospect for 2018. That would be his 247Sports rating.
He picked up an offer from UGA on March 1.
“I think he is an up-front guy and a man of God,” Gooden said. “Very energetic. You can tell he is one of the up-and-coming best in the game.”
The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder was an academic hardship coming out of high school in 2016. He was rated as a 4-star DE back then.
If his grades were in line back then, he said he’d have likely signed with Alabama or LSU.
“All I am looking for with Georgia is just a second chance,” Gooden said. “I feel like I am one of the top defensive linemen in the country coming out this year. All that I am looking for is a second chance to make the most of my next opportunity.”
Gooden’s top offers at this time are Memphis, UAB and now Georgia. He plans to take a visit to Athens when spring practices start up.
“Most definitely,” he said. “I want to be down on the 21st. I think that’s the first Tuesday when Georgia opens up with its spring practice.”
He has a redshirt year left. So he’ll have three years to play two seasons at his next stop. The nation’s No. 2 junior college DT will be a mid-year enrollee in January of 2018.
The Tennessee native feels cozy lining up in the “3” technique but Georgia’s odd front would allow him to line up on the nose or at defensive tackle.
“But I am a versatile guy with a slim upper body so I can play the ‘5’ technique outside a little more at some times on third-down packages,” he said.
How Tray Scott works the recruiting trail
Gooden is a good example of how a modern offer goes down. Twitter was the middle ground. He’d already followed Scott from recruiting days long ago.
He grew up around Memphis and said he got to know Scott when he was coaching at UT-Martin. Scott had been working a camp at Ole Miss.
That little story reflects just how big relationships are in college football.
But all of sudden he got a notification that Scott had followed him back. Then came a DM.
“He followed me and then he hit me up,” Gooden said. “He was like ‘Call me ASAP’ and so I did. When he extended the offer, I was very shocked. Very happy but also very shocked.”
Those events came just after he finished a workout. He had specifically been doing off-season gassers.
Scott told him that he remembered him from those UT-Martin days. That’s when Gooden was a slim defensive end back in 2016.
“When I called him he knew my area code,” Gooden said. “He was like ‘This must be Mr. Gooden’ and asked how I was doing. He said it had been a long time and extended the offer. I think he was out getting something to eat. Man, I was fired up when he extended that offer.”
That specific conversation sounded like this: Man, I am just going to keep it real. We really need you at Georgia, man. You are a beast. I saw your film. You’ve put on weight since I’ve seen you in high school.
That approach — along with that razor-sharp memory — will serve him well chasing the nation’s best to join him in Athens.
Gooden, 20, does not plan to decide anytime soon.
“The recruiting process is kind of slow,” Gooden said. “I would say that I’d make my decision after the football season. My plan was to have a school in mind by the summertime but I think now after the season.”
That could always change.
“I mean if a school really needed a D-tackle and needed somebody to solidify the class then the school which recruits me hard enough will probably get me.”
One of his nicknames will create a chuckle and reflect his maturity.
“The girls I know call me ‘Uncle E’ as a nickname,” Gooden said. “That’s because they say that I look like somebody’s uncle.”
Who’s Georgia’s most likely commit at DT so far?
IMG rising senior TK Chimedza measured in at 6 feet, 2 inches and 294 pounds at the Nike Orlando Opening regional last month.
He ran a 5.2 on the laser in the 40. The Georgia native said he’s usually right around five seconds flat in the 40.
Duke, Florida State and UGA have been the mainstay contenders for Chimedza.
There’s already a host of contenders for those three defensive tackle slots that make up Scott’s shopping list at this time.
The most likely projections so far? That would have to be Chimedza and Newton High standout Darnell Jefferies at this time.
He rates as the nation’s No. 14 DT and the No. 151 overall prospect at this time. Chimedza has also already heard from Scott.
“I’ve heard from him,” Chimedza said. “He’s a real cool guy. He wants to get to know everything about his players.”
Georgia has been pursuing Chimedza consistently over the last year.