Here’s Kimberley Nash’s perspective on five of the biggest UGA recruiting stories people are talking about this week:
1. Today’s the Day, for Elijah (Holyfield) to Say, At What School He’ll Next Play
Not long after this post is published, UGA will know whether or not they’ve won the “‘Elijah Holyfield Sweepstakes.”’
There are plenty of opinions to be had and, honestly, I felt I’d be selling myself short if I didn’t throw in my own: I think he’s UGA-bound. I could always be wrong, of course, but my gut instinct rarely steers me that way.
Why do I feel they have the best shot? Most of the people around him feel that’s where he’s meant to play.
Honestly, if UGA never lost touch with him, during the coaching transition, there likely would not have been room for either Alabama or Auburn to take up residence. That said, once Thomas Brown made him a priority again, things seemed to change.
I will say this much, Holyfield has been as vague and dicey about his leanings as any prospect can be. There are just as many reasons for an Alabama or an Auburn fan to feel good about their chances. But, in the end, I think it comes down to how well UGA fostered that relationship once they got their foot back in the door. And I, for one, think they did a good enough job to land his commitment today.
2.Shyheim Carter is still keeping his options open.
When Shyheim Carter de-committed from Alabama, just weeks after he made a visit to UGA for Dawg Night, there seemed to be a lot of momentum flowing in UGA’s favor.
Is that still the case? Most signs point to the answer being “yes.”
Carter loves UGA and he’s developed a great relationship with the coaching staff. But, after having been committed to Alabama for so such a long time, only to de-commit later, he’s not looking to rush into anything just yet. He really wants to keep exploring his options and giving all the programs targeting him a fair shake.
Even so, I feel his relationship with UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is still going to play the most pivotal role. He’s obviously grown close with the Bulldogs staff and once Pruitt sets his sights on a kid, he doesn’t back off easy.
If that sort of pressure keeps up, it’s tough to imagine UGA not having a better than average shot at signing Carter—sooner rather than later.
3. Jared Mayden: Just Visiting?
When Oregon defensive back commit, Jared Mayden, announced UGA as one of his official visit destinations, there were some who raised a curious eye.
Does UGA have a legitimate shot to woo him, or is this just another case of a prospect “enjoying the process”?
I can tell you this much: it’s more the latter, than the former.
Mayden committed to the Ducks in mid-July, and he chose to do so over 40+ other offers—including that of UGA, Add that to the fact that he’s scheduled all of his officials super early, back-to-back, and gave Oregon the last of them, and you have a guy that I truly believe is just trying to enjoy himself.
Of course, anything is possible. You can’t take anything for granted with recruiting. But, with Oregon’s strict policy on commits not taking visits to other schools, you’d have to figure they wouldn’t have even allowed Mayden to schedule those visits if they truly thought any one of those schools had a chance.
4. Major Prospects in Town for the First Game
When UGA suits up to play Louisiana-Monroe this weekend, they will do so with a few high-profile prospects in attendance. One of those prospects will definitely be Mecole Hardman.
While Hardman has made it clear he won’t take an official to UGA or Tennessee, if you’re a UGA fan, you have to love how much he shows up in Athens, unofficially.
Whether he’s taking in a scrimmage, watching a practice, or just planning what game he’ll attend, he seems to feel at home around the coaching staff, the players, and the current commits.
It’s a comfort level UGA hopes to translate into a commitment.
5. Willie Allen Opting to Shut Down the Recruiting Process…for now.
Last week, Willie Allen was talking about where he will take his official visits. He wasn’t singing it from the rooftops or anything, but he told Jeff Sentell of the AJC and DawgNation that he was sure of at least one—UGA.
“I know for a fact that I will take an official to Georgia, but I have no idea about any other schools yet,” the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive tackle said to Sentell.
At the time, that was very good news for UGA. Allen is a highly-rated tackle prospect and he would fill an obvious void in this recruiting class. However, according to Allen’s high school coach, Jeff Curtis, his star offensive lineman doesn’t have any visits lined up and won’t be worried about scheduling any until after his senior season is over.
Said Curtis, to Rivals’ Trent Smallwood, “As of now, he is more worried about his teammates and his senior year, than he is about recruiting”.
Curtis did call out UGA as one of the school’s that should get a visit, along with LSU, Tulane, Alabama, and Ole Miss. But, if Allen waits until December or January to start scheduling trips, that certainly could change the approach UGA takes with a few of the other targets on their list.
Timing is everything and, in the case of the offensive line, UGA won’t pass up any of their best options, even it means not taking one in favor of waiting on another (See: Tremayne Anchrum).
Kimberley Nash has blogged about UGA’s football recruiting since 2011