Tyler Simmons might be UGA’s most buzzworthy recruit right now. There is probably more going on with the senior receiver out of McEachern High School in Metro Atlanta than any other priority on UGA’s board at this time.
His recruiting picture is very fluid. Let’s examine just how fluid:
- He’s noticed UGA has recently given him increased recruiting attention. That makes a lot of sense given what has transpired over the last week within the class at receiver.
- Simmons is considering two different recruiting timelines. Those depend on if he chooses to enroll early. If he does, he’ll take his official visit to UGA the weekend of the SEC Championship game. His official visit to Alabama would be the following week.
- If he does not enroll early, his official visit to UGA will be for the end-of-the-year awards banquet. That’s also referred to as the senior gala. High-value recruits like Willie Allen, Ben Cleveland and Jacob Eason will be there. Simmons would take his official visit to Alabama during the first week of January in that scenario.
- His commitment date will be the same no matter what he decides about graduating early. He plans to commit around Christmas Day. His birthday is on December 30. That is also a possibility. Look for a commitment somewhere around those important family dates.
- The 6-foot, 195-pounder and his family got to spend about 30 minutes with UGA coach Mark Richt during his unofficial visit for the Georgia Southern game. That made a substantial impact, he said.
- The senior also spent considerable time with receivers coach Bryan McClendon on Saturday. McClendon brought him into a conference room and laid out the depth chart at his position. What was said? McClendon said UGA now has slots for two more receivers in 2016. “He also said they need more impact players at receiver,” Simmons said. “Especially outside receivers.”
- Simmons left UGA convinced he was the No. 1 uncommitted in-state target at receiver. He said McClendon let him know he was needed, but also that he feels like he has a great relationship with him.
The flip of former commitment Davion Curtis to Texas was a factor in that increased attention. UGA also lost another potential receiver in Virginia speedster Grant Holloway, who decided to run track at Florida.
“Georgia has always let me know I was at the top of their board at receiver,” Simmons said. “But I think the decision made by the guy in Texas and the other receiver from Virginia thinned out their board a little bit. It seems like I have become even more of a priority to them now. Georgia continues to reassure me that I am at the top of their board and they would love to have me there.”
That means the top of the UGA receiver board has Simmons, 5-star Kyle Davis and 4-star Florida speedster Tre Nixon. Demetris Robertson, a 5-star athlete, is also going to loom large at receiver.
His commitment was initially planned around the championship game of the state football playoffs, but McEachern fell to Archer in the second round last Friday night.
The family was told the timeline for his commitment has been loosened. UGA let him know he can now take as much time as he needs to make his decision.
“Mark Richt has always been a stand-up and genuine guy,” his father, Shon Simmons, said. “He’s always been taking care of us and making sure Tyler understands he is a priority. Even with all those other receiver commitments he always made sure Tyler was A-OK with Georgia in the recruiting process.”
An official visit to Duke is also in the works. Simmons said UGA has been recruiting him the hardest of late, followed by Cal and Alabama. He took his first official visit to Cal this month.
UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown has been his primary recruiter. He’s also spoken with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. His two main recruiters over the last few weeks have been Brown and Richt, he said. McClendon has just now come back into the picture. Simmons said McClendon told him he wanted to allow him to focus on his senior season.
Simmons said the academic fit would be a major factor in his decision. He is planning to pursue a degree in computer science.
Jeff Sentell covers 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.