What has changed is when he will make that decision.
Bishop has told DawgNation and multiple outlets his commitment date will now be on July 25. That’s a significant change as he’s moved up the time he had in mind back in May some two months. He had hoped to make his college choice known at an early home game for his Terrell County High School football team in Southwest Georgia.
The reason? Bishop said it was simple.
“I didn’t want the distraction,” he said.
He recently told DawgNation he felt he still had a spot in UGA’s class despite the Bulldogs taking their third commitment at receiver earlier this month. The school has only told its top targets that it plans to take four receivers for this year’s signing class.
The nation’s No. 4 athlete and No. 139 overall prospect is now making his decision in less than a month. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is rated as the No. 19 player in Georgia for the Class of 2017.
Auburn offers the ability to play multiple positions. There is the ability to play receiver there, but Auburn’s unique offense also affords his sub 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash a chance to play quarterback. Bishop has played quarterback extensively for his high school team.
He said that Auburn feels like “home” earlier this month.
Auburn wants him as a quarterback, receiver or safety. Bishop, of course, is very career-focused: He knows his best shot at playing on Sundays is not likely under center. The only way he could succeed at quarterback would be in Auburn’s offense.
“Gus Malzahn told me I am still coming here to Auburn as an athlete,” Bishop said. “But I’m going to get my shot at quarterback if I come here.”
Bishop plays quarterback among many positions for his high school team. But he’s not looking to do that on Saturdays. Except at Auburn. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Florida brings the opportunity to play defensive back. That’s at safety. He likes the mentality the Gators bring on that side of the ball. If he went to Florida, he would try to become a part of that.
The chance to play at Georgia would be at receiver. UGA is jammed up with receivers right now. The school has three commitments for the Class of 2017 and only plans to take four. Might that be a reason why Bishop has moved up his timetable?
He wasn’t surprised by the fact another receiver wanted to play at Georgia.
“You can expect that with a man like (Jacob) Eason playing quarterback,” Bishop said. “You will most definitely see a lot of guys want to come to Georgia to play catch with him.”
Bishop has planned another trip to UGA in July.
He said earlier this month at Big Cat Weekend that he can’t tell a difference anywhere in which school is recruiting him the hardest. UGA assistants Kevin Sherrer and Auburn assistant Scott Fountain are the two recruiters with whom he has the best relationships.
He also still knows the commitments at Georgia better than his future teammates at any other school.
“I would have to say that because I probably played with more than half of them at the Rising Seniors game,” Bishop said earlier this month. “We all exchanged numbers and we communicate more often that I do with the players going to any other school.”
Bishop admitted earlier this month that he was a part of that “SicEm17” group message chat even though he is not a public UGA commitment. Is he a silent commitment? Bishop didn’t seem like a fan of that strategy at all.
“I might just be all open with it when I make my commitment,” he said. “Because believe me when I make my commitment I will want the whole world to know. That will be a big thing. Everybody has got to know when I make my commitment. I don’t see why I would keep it a secret. That seems like something I’d want to let the whole world know about. That will be a fun day.”
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. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.