Good morning, DawgNation! Monday turned out to be a busy day for recruiting. I mean, Holy Herschel it was busy. By our count, UGA extended nine offers over the weekend, and the real number is probably higher.
Why was this weekend so busy? Playing a noon game against Kentucky gave the coaches plenty of time for recruiting after Saturday’s win. It also didn’t hurt that there weren’t many recruits in town for the coaches to entertain. Plus, the high school season has ended for some prospects, giving them the chance to send colleges a full-season highlight reel.
It’s likely that the UGA coaches spent time over the weekend reviewing film and making decisions. There were a variety of positions covered: three defensive tackles, two offensive tackles, a running back, a tight end, a wide receiver and a linebacker. The offers also went to multiple recruiting classes. A few were sent to juniors, a couple to sophomores and, to paraphrase the legendary Larry Munson: by God, one went to a freshman.
So get ready, because we are going to cover all of that and more.
Jeremy Pruitt reached out to commits last week
Rumors were flying as last week wore on, but UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt wanted to make sure the school’s commits heard the true story. Chad Clay, a 3-star defensive back from Georgia’s Peachtree Ridge High School, told DawgNation Pruitt called him to clear some things up.
That was a smart move. Last week could have been disastrous on the recruiting front, but Pruitt made sure the commits were informed. That’s why he is regarded as an excellent recruiter and why prospects love him.
Clay’s comments about his discussion with Pruitt and where he stands with UGA should make fans breathe a little easier.
Is UGA in the Top 3 for the nation’s No. 1 athlete?
At one point, UGA was named a co-leader with Tennessee for 5-star Mecole Hardman, Jr. After his visit to Alabama for its game against LSU, however, one of those schools may not even be in his Top 3.
Hardman told SEC Country on Monday that after his visit Alabama is now in his Top 3. He wasn’t the school’s only top target in town for the Alabama-LSU game, which isn’t good for UGA. The nation’s top athlete was secretive when it came to where those two schools stood after his visit, but he did give some clues.
UGA won’t get an official visit from Hardman, either. The Elbert County High School (Elberton, Ga.) product has said he won’t take an official visit to UGA because of his proximity to the school. He has visited both UGA and Tennessee many times and wants to save his official visits for long-distance visits like Oregon and TCU.
A pair of 4-star linemen received offers
Jedrick Willis, Jr., No. 1 prospect in Kentucky for the Class of 2017, tweeted on Monday he received an offer from UGA. The 4-star lineman is listed as the nation’s No. 9 offensive tackle on the 247composite rankings for his signing class. He has 13 reported offers, including UGA, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio State and Notre Dame. I’m not kidding when I say he is massive.
Another 4-star offensive lineman also tweeted out an offer on Monday. UGA became the fifth school to offer Richard Gouraige, the No. 6-rated offensive tackle for 2018, according to 247Sports. Gouraige plays defensive end and offensive tackle for Cambridge Christian School (Tampa, Fla.), but the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder has a frame that translates best to the offensive line at the next level.
UGA is keeping pace with the other schools right now for Willis, but is the most notable offer for Gouraige. The coaching staff must like what they see with both players. UGA is getting involved early in the process, which will help down the road. Bear in mind that some of these guys might be protecting 5-star QB Jacob Eason’s blindside one day.
— jedypoo® (@JWills73) November 9, 2015
— Richard Gouraige (@richardg813) November 10, 2015
UGA liked what it saw in three DT prospects
The defensive line was also a priority on Monday, as three out-of-state defensive tackles received an offer.
Cory Durden, a 3-star prospect out of Florida’s Newberry High School, now has a UGA offer. The 6-foot-4, 283-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 25 defensive tackle for 2017. UGA isn’t late to the party with Durden, but some other SEC schools got to him first.
UGA also offered one of the top defensive tackles in 2018, according 247Sports’ Alex Gleitman. Matthew Jones, listed as the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle and the No. 15 player overall by 247Sports, received his sixth offer from UGA. It was the first SEC school to offer the 6-foot-4, 285-pound prospect from Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, NY) whose most notable offer outside of UGA is Nebraska. That’s worth watching.
UGA became the fourth school to offer 2019 defensive tackle Trevis Hopper, according to Rivals.com’s Woody Womack. Only a freshman, Hopper is already 6-foot-3, 265 pounds. The other three schools to have already offered the Memphis, Tenn. product are Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee. The coaching staff must have liked what it saw out of Hopper, and it is making a greater effort to offer younger prospects.
Blessed to receive a offer from UGA ??? pic.twitter.com/o9WkR7Jkqn
— The prophet (@king_durden35) November 9, 2015
Don’t forget about the skill guys
UGA offered a two-way prospect who is located in the University of Michigan’s backyard. Junior Antjuan Simmons is listed as the nation’s No. 33 outside linebacker for the Class of 2017. But UGA didn’t offer the 3-star from Ann Arbor to play linebacker. Shortly after announcing his offer on Twitter, Simmons told DawgNation what UGA has in mind for him.
Mannie Netherly, a 3-star receiver from Crosby High in Texas, also got a UGA offer on Monday. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder is listed as the No. 50 WR for 2017, but says he already holds 17 offers. Netherly gives the program a chance to continue its success at recruiting the position in Texas.
UGA is still focused on 5-star tight end Isaac Nauta, but also extended an offer at the position for 2017. Colby Parkinson, a 4-star from Oaks Christian (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), announced the offer via Twitter on Monday. UGA became the seventh school to offer the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder. That’s simply elite size at that position. He’ll be a red-zone favorite on Saturdays.
— Colby Parkinson (@CJ51) November 10, 2015
UGA in an SEC race for 4-star LB
UGA became the latest SEC school to offer 4-star linebacker Willie Gay. Gay tweeted the announcement on Monday, saying UGA was his fifth SEC offer.
The other schools to offer the 6-foot-2, 208-pound junior from Mississippi are Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss and his hometown school, Mississippi State. Gay is rated as the No. 4 prospect from the state of Mississippi, and the No. 6 outside linebacker for 2017.
— WILLIE GAY JR. (@WillieYRN) November 9, 2015
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.