Happy Hump Day, DawgNation! Only a few more days stand in the way of a certain outdoor party that happens annually in Jacksonville. And while I too am counting down the hours until that 3:30 p.m. kickoff, there is plenty of exciting recruiting news to pass along. UGA received some great news from a couple of different prospects, and we asked some of the top commits and targets what their predictions were for Saturday’s game.
Now, let’s get to that great news.
1. UGA commit signs financial aid papers
Julian Rochester, a 4-star defensive tackle and one of UGA’s top commits, shared some news on Tuesday that is sure to excite fans. At his official visit for the Missouri game on Oct. 16, Rochester signed his financial aid papers with UGA.
This is huge because it allows UGA to have unlimited contact with the 6-foot-6, 320-pounder. UGA could have the makings of a very good defensive line class. Rochester and fellow 4-star Tyler Clark are already committed, and 5-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown, the state’s No. 1 prospect, is considered by some to have UGA at the top of his list.
Although he signed his financial aid agreement, Rochester explained what would keep him from enrolling at UGA. He also answered several other questions in a video interview with DawgNation on Tuesday. Did you see what he said about Mecole Hardman, Jr. in that video? You might want to check that out and read between the lines a little bit.
2. Would another RB commit bother Elijah Holyfield?
UGA already has one running back prospect committed for 2016, but there are rumors that it has another silent commitment at the position. Elijah Holyfield, the 4-star recruit from Woodward Academy, explained to DawgNation how he would feel about another running back joining him at UGA.
The second running back is rumored to be Devwah Whaley, a 4-star from Texas. UGA has brought in some notable pairs in recent years: 5-star Keith Marshall and 4-star Todd Gurley in 2012, and a pair of 5-stars in Sony Michel and Nick Chubb in 2014.
Clearly UGA would like to continue that trend in 2016, but does Holyfield feel the same way?
3. 2017 WR target knows where he wants to go
4-star wide receiver Tyler Smith is one of the state’s top prospects for 2017. While Smith has plenty of options, he told DawgNation on Tuesday he is ready to make his decision soon.
The nation’s No. 26 receiver will publicly decide between UGA, Auburn and North Carolina next month, but dropped some hints as to which school he may choose.
UGA has made the receiver position a priority for this year’s recruiting class, but Smith would be an asset for the 2017 class.
4. Targets and commits predict UGA-Florida game
It’s no secret that UGA and Florida do not like each other. The two compete annually on and off the field, and Saturday’s game will be watched closely by several top recruits.
Before the game, however, DawgNation reached out to UGA’s commits and targets to get their take on how Saturday will turn out. UGA fans may not have much confidence in the team heading into the matchup, but the same can’t be said about the recruits.
5. UGA trails ACC school for 5-star
Most of UGA’s main recruiting competition comes from inside of the SEC. But in the case of 5-star cornerback William Poole, an ACC school appears to be out in front.
Poole, a 5-star 2017 prospect, according to Rivals.com’s rankings from Hapeville Charter (Atlanta), told SEC Country in a video interview on Tuesday that he was “intrigued” after recently visiting this school, but maybe he was just a fan of the school’s war-chant.
This is big news because UGA was considered by many to be the leader for the state’s No. 3 prospect for 2017, according to Rivals. In the interview, Poole explains where he currently stands with UGA and what he thinks of the in-state Bulldogs.
6. Will family ties affect the state’s No. 1 prospect
Derrick Brown, a 5-star defensive tackle from Lanier High School, is currently rated as the state’s No. 1 prospect for 2016. He is considered a strong lean to UGA — so much so that 247sports.com’s Crystal Ball has Brown at 100 percent to the in-state school — but family could come into play.
Brown will take his final three official visits to UGA, Tennessee and Auburn in January, and also plans to take official visits to Alabama and Mississippi State, although those dates have yet to be determined. While UGA is the favorite, Mississippi State has a unique advantage for the nation’s No. 8 prospect.
The 6-foot-4, 318-pounder spoke with SEC Country on Tuesday and explained what sets Mississippi State apart from the other schools on his list.
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.