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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Caleb Tannor rates as a 4-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

What pointed the way for Caleb Tannor to choose UGA

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, including why a 4-star pass rusher such as Caleb Tannor chose UGA, plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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LITHONIA, Ga. — Caleb Tannor celebrates his one-week “commitaversary” today.

I guess I’m adding a new entry to Webster’s dictionaries with that one, but the 4-star DE/OLB prospect from Miller Grove did commit to UGA over heavy late interest from Auburn exactly one week ago.

Caleb Tannor-UGA recruiting
When Caleb Tannor trains, he flips these 300-pound tractor trailer tires for a good workout. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Why did he choose the Bulldogs? Well, the answer isn’t as complicated as anyone ever would think. Tannor told me it came down to representing the home state.

“It is home,” Tannor said. “I’m from Georgia. That’s where Georgia boys should go to play.”

He took that thinking an extra step when asked if he thinks the Bulldogs also have a chance with 4-star edge rushers Adam Anderson and Azeez Ojulari in 2018.

Tannor said he hopes those players also will choose the in-state program.

“If they are some real Georgia boys, then they will stay,” he said.

This points to a recent Rivals.com study by Patrick Garbin that tracked the number of 4-star and 5-star prospects from the state dating back to 2002.

Garbin put in some hours to produce that report. I applaud the initiative and the effort that went into that byline. The interesting conclusion he found was that 33 percent of those high-level recruits eventually went to UGA.

My hypothesis here: A lot of the blue-chip recruits among that 33 percent felt the same way as Tannor did. If all things are equal, then the home state should win out.

I started hearing that more and more from Mecole Hardman Jr. after his eventual decision. That’s the same way Richard LeCounte III felt in the 2017 recruiting cycle, too.

Check out the Caleb Tannor video 

Tannor is a thoughtful young man. When he joined DawgNation on Facebook Live, one of our viewers asked him if there was one player he wished he could bring with him to Georgia.

His reply was telling. Tannor did not name 5-star QB Justin Fields. It wasn’t even a player such as 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer.

The multi-year Miller Grove captain said he wanted to bring one of his fellow Wolverines with him to Georgia. He also said he hoped that his teammates would be able to join him on our Facebook Live chat after their weight room session, but their lift ran long.

Since that didn’t work out, the video featured above worked out as a pretty good Plan B.

Want to see the entire interview? It is embedded below.

 

2017 camp preview: One last #SICEM17 recruiting hit 

Fall camp starts up today. Kirby Smart is scheduled to meet the media at noon to kick off the preseason. Selected players also will be available at the news conference.

What about all the new players? A lot has been said and written about the Class of 2017 at UGA. The group finished third in the 247Sports composite rankings for that cycle.

Andrew Thomas-UGA recruiting
Andrew Thomas signed with UGA after a final ranking as the nation’s No. 45 overall prospect in the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The big names from this class are well-known. Everyone has heard about Jake Fromm, DeAngelo Gibbs, J.J. Holloman, Richard LeCounte III, Nate McBride, D’Andre Swift and Isaiah Wilson. Those were the highest-rated prospects in the Class of 2017.

But I’ve got five players for you who I feel are the most under-the-radar new faces in camp this fall.

  1. Freshman OT Andrew Thomas — I don’t see Wilson as the only instant-impact player on the offensive line. The discussion at tackle includes both Thomas and Wilson. If both are not in the two-deep by October, then something has not gone according to plan.
  2. Freshman OG Justin Shaffer — He was ranked as a 3-star prospect in high school, but he has all the size and aggression he needs. Plus, he is a worker. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound guard is regarded as a technician on the offensive line. His talented teammate Netori Johnson was the U.S. Army All-America selection, but Shaffer was just as effective for Cedar Grove’s state championship run last fall.
  3. Freshman DB Tray Bishop — A lot of the buzz has focused on Gibbs and LeCounte. That’s definitely warranted. Those two seem like multi-year starters in the SEC. Bishop is another player who, like Thomas, has been overshadowed a bit. The U.S. Army All-American can play at either cornerback or safety. The 195-pound defensive back also offers good size at 6-foot-3 and can race 100 meters in less than 11 seconds. Bishop was also a state track champion for Terrell County this spring.
  4. Freshman CB Ameer Speed — Speed was an unheralded 3-star recruit when he chose the Bulldogs on National Signing Day. Why? Well, he didn’t hit a lot of camps, even though he also was wanted by Nick Saban at Alabama. Some might look at Speed’s 6-foot-3 frame and peg him as an eventual safety, but those who know his game the best feel this accomplished track sprinter is a cornerback all the way.
  5. Freshman DE/OLB Walter Grant — Grant has been the under-the-radar pick on this blog for quite some time. He has great size (6-foot-3, 246 pounds) and a natural ability to play the position. He was smart enough to line his teammates up around the field at Cairo High and rarely missed a tackle. Grant eventually could play DE, ILB or OLB at Georgia.

How good is this group of freshmen? Well, when you note that quality players such as 4-stars Malik Herring, Jaden Hunter and William Poole III are just part of the overall picture and not the headlines, then this comes across as a very stout collection of players. ILB Monty Rice, WR Trey Blount and WR Mark Webb Jr. deserve honorable mention status in this class.

There’s no sense of urgency for any of them but Poole to play right away, and that’s a good thing for both the current depth on the roster and the future of the program.

 

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