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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Chief Borders, a 2021 prospect, already has an offer from Georgia.

Summer offer to 2021 OLB target Chief Borders seems like one to watch

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. The play sheet today calls for a look at a summer camp offer made by Georgia to rising McEachern High junior Chief Borders in the 2021 class. 

Chief Borders collected a sweaty offer from Georgia over the summer. When that happened, it signaled the real recruiting race for the McEachern High product had kickstarted into a higher gear.

It seemed almost inevitable the in-state school would offer the talented athlete. When Borders goes to the various prospect camps, he works out at both outside linebacker and receiver.

He’s been at safety and other spots around the defense in the past.

But this one – at least in the eyes of UGA – was to play at OLB. That is the natural position for Borders.

It was what defensive coordinator Dan Lanning felt, too. I’ve been led to believe Lanning was so psyched after working out Borders at an early June camp he rushed over to his father, Mil, and gave him a big hug.

It was Lanning style. That meant all the sweat and joy and exclamations and hoarse words the first-year defensive coordinator could muster to convey excitement.

When that offer dropped, things became a lot more real. First and foremost, Borders moved to the Atlanta area after growing up in Chicago.

I’ve also been told he has more than 40 offers. When you watch him cover ground at his size and length and speed, it makes sense.

Borders will measure in at camps at 6 feet, 4 inches and approximately 223 pounds.

In short, that is pretty much the prototype for an OLB in Athens these days. Oregon is a “dream school” type offer here for Borders as well.

That said, it appears that UGA is poised to be the center of this recruitment for several reasons.

  • Borders now lives in the state of Georgia. He was in Athens for home games on at least four occasions last fall and is already friends with a few players on the Georgia team
  • Lanning intends to have the reins of this recruitment and will build a relationship. Since he joined the staff prior to spring drills in 2018, he’s been one of the program’s most effective recruiters.
  • The previous statements held weight, but the real measure with Borders is this: He grew up with 2020 Georgia CB commit Jalen Kimber. Those two are cousins and have a bond that is a true family relationship. Perhaps even more so.

This adds a lot of intrigue to that summer offer from UGA. The program is sending a lot of those to elite targets in the 2021 cycle. If this was a pure recruiting update, the above items would frame up this story quite nicely.

But there is a lot more than just the recruiting stuff to consider here. Every time I see him and think of him, I don’t think college football. Or the NFL.

The projection of him is in a doctor’s office one day. He has a stethoscope around his neck.

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Chief Borders and 2020 Georgia commit Jalen Kimber are practically family. That’s the way they both describe it. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Paging Dr. Malik Borders

Borders has an easy charisma. He smiles. A lot. He jokes and has fun. A lot.

At every interaction, it appears genuine. It is not the type of athlete marketing that some do very well when reporters are around.

It was heartfelt when he first brought up what he plans to do when the air goes out of his career. Even the “G.O.A.T.” player will face that. That ball goes flat for everyone. Eventually.

He aims to be a pediatrician. And that fits. It does. That’s not just because at times it looks like he’s the grown man surrounded by kids who are actually his grade level at a camp.

It seems like he is made for that. Not just to sack quarterbacks and play on many Saturdays and Sundays over the next 12-15 years of his life. If there is a way those words could express that without dimming the marquee on his bright football career, that is the clear intent here.

His mother is now a pharmacist. It added another seed to what was already germinating in his mind.

“Then there’s my uncle,” he said. “He is one of the top 50 doctors in his field in the country. So it all just wore on me. Then I always grew up loving being around babies and young kids. I always wanted to help them be as healthy as they could be. I have three nephews and I have three newborns that I just fell in love with as soon as I laid eyes on them.”

“It is really just that I love the kids, man. It grew and grew on me. Being a pediatrician wasn’t really influenced there by anyone else. I just wanted to do that. It is a job but how can you not like it? You watch and take care of a person and a little kid in your care and watch them grow up. You’re helping that person every step of the way to be healthy and grow up strong. That’s just the ultimate for me, man.”

The work to become a physician is already happening in the classroom. His weighted grade-point average was a 3.76 after this spring. That was after his sophomore year.

How Chief Borders feels about Georgia

Borders visited a lot of schools this summer. The most recent swing included a trip to Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue. The Buckeyes also delivered an offer. He has recently committed to play in the 2021 Under Armour All-American Game.

He plans a return to UGA this fall. Quite a lot. He was there frequently a year ago, too.

“You are going to see me later down the road almost at every game,” he said. “For real.”

He had a June workout with Lanning while McEachern was there for a 7-on-7 event. To say it quite simply, he did his thing. Both at that workout and in the 7-on-7 tournament.

The offer came. His mother and father were there for it. The whole family was there.

“He brought me over with my Mom and Dad and said I had an offer from UGA and I haven’t stopped smiling since then,” Borders said several days after the offer on June 12. “Just was great. It was really great. A blessing.”

Will the offer stand out from a pack of more than 40?

“Just look at the schools that always make it to the big bowls,” he said this summer. “The top. The national everything. That’s Clemson, Georgia and Alabama. Georgia, Clemson and Alabama. ‘Bama, Clemson and Georgia. Whatever order you want. Those are the top three schools in college right now. I mean just to get one of them is a blessing. Georgia, you already know. I moved here from Chicago. For me to get this offer, it is just a blessing.”

It kept him smiling into the next week. The offer served as validation he could play for UGA. Borders had already been to UGA so many times he feels comfortable there.

“I feel like it is every last one of them,” he said. “All those reasons right there. I’ve put a lot of hard work in. I’ve been working hard for that moment right here to be offered by Georgia.”

“Then I’ve been to a lot of the games at UGA. I love the feeling. That whole vibe. The brotherhood. The alumni system is great. You will get a great education there and of course, they win games.”

Borders feels he has been to Georgia to more than any other school. At least 10 times. He counts former McEachern players like Julian Rochester and Tyler Simmons as friends. He said the same things about Georgia freshman Nolan Smith and junior Jake Fromm.

Borders was in the stands for at least four games last fall. He was back again for G-Day in April.

Then there’s the Kimber factor.

“My cousin is always leaning on me,” Borders said. “We’ve wanted to play with each other since we were like three years old when we started playing football. Ever since back then.”

It was one of the first things which went through his mind when he got the UGA offer.

“I’ve been loving my cousin for the longest,” he said. “We have always wanted to play with each other and now I have the opportunity and the chance to play with my cousin. That is what we always wanted and UGA, man, it is just UGA. It is what it is. The powerhouse. Going to get a dope education. You are going to get the whole package when you go to UGA. A brotherhood. People that you can remember a long way down the road of your life and then a great coaching staff. Great academics. Meeting great people every day. Just an overall love for the program.”

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Chief Borders will be one of the top players in the state of Georgia for the 2021 class. He was one fo the clear top performers at the Atlanta MVP camp earlier this year. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The clear “why” for Chief Borders

He says the word “blessed” a lot. That comes from growing up rough in Chicago. He said his family was fortunate to move down to Atlanta after those days. That move came after his mother finished pharmacy school.

“It was God blessing us with an opportunity of a whole another level,” he said. “We moved the whole family down to Georgia and now she’s a medical doctor. But I don’t want her to struggle or to work another day if I can do that one day.”

Then there’s also his father. Everyone knows him as “Coach Mil” Borders. He’s done a lot of good work training and advising young prospects over the years. Not just working with his son.

“I just want to fulfill all their dreams,” Borders said. “Their dreams for me. … Putting on that gold suit. Being in the NFL Hall of Fame. Taking care of my family more than anything. Just being the No. 1 pediatrician in the world. That’s the aim that I shoot for there. That’s my dreams there.”

“That day is going to come when my Mom and Dad don’t have to work no more and I will retire them.”

He’s also working on those.

“If people only knew the work my Dad and I put in for this,” he said. “We don’t get no sleep. It really is always just the grind and grind time, man. My Dad will be over here. I’m tired. We’re tired. Just dog-tired and we keep going and we go the next morning.”

Borders will not be too quick on the hop with his process. Look for him to put out a top schools list maybe in the middle of his junior year. It might take longer. Or it could take less. He’s already done a lot of research on the front end of his recruiting story.

His father, Mil, is quite connected when it comes to the recruiting circle. He knows a lot of coaches and decision-makers at the next level.

Borders was also impressed by Lanning.

“We connected as soon as we started talking out on that field,” Borders said. “I really could connect with him.”

He sees his game as portions of what NFL greats Kam Chancellor, Khalil Mack, Von Miller and Bobby Wagner have done on Saturdays and Sundays, too.

“The real dogs man,” he said. “The nasty dogs. Do you know what I mean? The guys who can get after the ball and rush the pocket but also cover down the field and down the line.”

When that dream is over, he will have that stethoscope around his neck. Dr. Borders will be his 45-year plan. That is one we haven’t written up all that often.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.

 

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