DawgNation’s Recruiting Rewind is meant to give you a snapshot of what’s going on with UGA recruiting right now. What are the big stories? What happened over the weekend?
Jump right in. We’ll catch you up.
1. 5-star ILB leaves Athens happy
Ben Davis, the nation’s No. 1 ILB, really enjoyed his UGA visit. He tweeted out two stamps of approval on Sunday that validated that. The 5-star recruit from Gordo, Ala. will be an extremely tough pull out of Alabama, though. The good news is that UGA will likely only have to beat out Alabama and Auburn for him, though. That’s it, right?
The bad news is that his father, Wayne Davis, is still Alabama’s all-time leader in tackles. That said, these tweets sure make it sound like a solid foundation was laid for what would have to be an all-time great recruiting pull.
— Mr. UNO™〽️ (@bendavis_1) October 19, 2015
Athens I will be back ❗️❗️?
— Mr. UNO™〽️ (@bendavis_1) October 19, 2015
— Mr. UNO™〽️ (@bendavis_1) October 19, 2015
2. Star Lord really likes this UGA 5-star
Well, that Jacob Eason fella had himself another big game on Friday night. He had incredible throws, a 59-yard punt and even signed two UGA helmets and posed for pictures for two more junior members of DawgNation.
He also got a show of support from a Hollywood star who played the hero “Star Lord” in a recent film.
Chris Pratt was cast as the action hero in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World” of late and those movies have made some serious bank. He’s also a Lake Stevens, Wash. native and showed his support for Eason with a tweet of approval.
3. The week ahead: 5-star receiver commits on Friday
Archer High School senior Kyle Davis is one of the most wanted uncommitted recruits in the state of Georgia. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 1 receiver and he plans to make his college commitment at his school’s homecoming game against Central Gwinnett on Friday.
UGA, Auburn and Tennessee appear to be the best bets for his commitment but he’s been tight-lipped about his thought process for the last couple of months. What’s my prediction? I think Auburn has made a late charge at him, but I think in the end that location plus UGA’s depth issues at the receiver spot will be enough to land his commitment. He also plans to enroll early. That is another huge draw to earn immediate playing time at UGA.
Davis would then become the fifth receiver commitment of the 2016 class with talented undecided targets like 4-star Tre’ Nixon and the seriously underrated Grant Holloway of Virginia still very high on UGA’s board.
Both plan to make their commitments within the next two months. Can UGA sign that many receivers? That is a very good question. My answer is no.
4. UGA Honor roll: Sophomore sets school records with 451 yards and 5 TDs
Taylor County sophomore RB Lyn-J Dixon broke his own school records on Friday night with a 451-yard performance on the ground highlighted by five touchdowns. Those wiped out his previous school records of 414 yards and four touchdowns in a single game. He did that as a freshman.
He’s the first player in Taylor County football history to get an SEC offer. Tennessee was first and UGA came along with an offer earlier this season. Dixon visited UGA first this year, but that trip was partially spoiled by rain. He also traveled to Knoxville, Tenn. for the UGA-Tennessee game and the Volunteers treated him and his promising classmate, Gunnar Watson, like they were 5-star seniors.
It is still way early with him, but it appears UGA needs to get him back on campus for a good impression that matches his recent trip to Tennessee.
5. Check out who made it to UGA-Missouri
Dawgnation produced a photo gallery of recruits who made it the UGA-Missouri game on Saturday night. One takeaway from that feature is it was good to see a big smile on Ben Cleveland‘s face. He’s recently endured an out-of-school suspension at Stephens County High School but was cleared last Wednesday to return to school and to the field.
His father Derek Cleveland told Dawgnation that his son had the full support of the UGA coaching staff during his unspecified suspension.
6. A few no-shows limit a high-profile weekend
Davis was at UGA-Missouri. So were uncommitted 5-stars Derrick Brown and Mecole Hardman, Jr and a host of UGA commitments like Cleveland and Tyrique McGhee.
Yet the turnout — much like the game — could have been better. Alabama 5-star Marlon Davidson is an Auburn commitment but has continually put UGA among his Top 3 schools over the last several months of his recruitment. He was planning to make it, but will now have to reschedule his official visit.
The same goes for a vital unofficial visit from the nation’s No. 2 athlete. Savannah Christian’s Demetris Robertson was also hoping to make it to UGA for a family visit, but his mother couldn’t make it because of a work conflict. Chauncey Manac, one of the longest tenured commitments of the 2016 class, also planned his official visit but will now have to reschedule.
7. UGA commitment took an official visit to Ohio State
I’ve always felt that UGA commitment Malek Young had been underrated by the recruiting analysts. One coach told me that if he played in Metro Atlanta instead of talent-rich South Florida, that he’d be a four-star prospect without question. Well, some rivals recruiters are ponying up with interest to support that theory.
Ohio State invited him up on an official visit and he’ll return to South Florida later today. He didn’t have an offer, but his head coach at Coconut Creek High School told DawgNation that this will be Young’s third trip to see the Ohio State campus. Those parties are very familiar with one another.
Auburn has also jumped into the mix. Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson visited the school recently and offered Young. Reid said that Auburn is very serious about Young and that he will also take an official visit to that campus.
He also still believed Young would stick with UGA barring any coaching changes.
8. Elite Alabama junior CB continues to support UGA
Malcolm Askew, a 4-star cornerback prospect, continues to show a strong lean toward UGA. He almost committed to UGA this summer but wanted to back off to make sure. That said, he continually makes the three-and-a-half hour trip from McCalla, Ala. to support UGA.
He’s probably at UGA more often for big games than some commitments are despite that distance.
He has a great relationship with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and lead recruiter Kevin Sherrer and has kept UGA as his leader despite growing up less than 45 miles from the Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. He’s been offered by all the major SEC programs, but continues to trend toward UGA.
Askew’s recruitment is a clear sign of the recruiting muscle of the UGA staff going forward. Pruitt and Sherrer used to coach high school football in Alabama and are well-connected among the coaches in that state. That’s a reason why the staff has created a chance with 5-star ILB Ben Davis who was mentioned above.
That said, check out this tweet. That pic is probably worth at least 300 rewind words when it comes to how much Askew likes UGA.
— Malcolm Askew™✨ (@MacAskew4) October 18, 2015
9. High school teammates made a friendly wager for UGA-Missouri
Mays High School teammates Randrecous Davis and Tobias Little shared an interesting story last Friday night. Davis is committed to UGA and Little has made the same pledge to Missouri.
The two SEC commitments made a bet on who would win the UGA-Missouri game this week. The loser had to change the background on their Twitter account.
Davis also told DawgNation on Friday that he plans to take no other official visits. He didn’t feel that would be right.
10. UGA de-commitment makes a terrific catch
North Carolina tight end Garrett Walston committed to UGA over the summer, but recently de-committed and flipped to North Carolina. Does that have anything to do with UGA’s pursuit of 5-star tight end Isaac Nauta? It probably does, but the bigger factor would likely be location.
UGA barely won out over UNC in the first place, but Walston felt so strongly about playing there that he immediately signed his financial aid papers with the program.
That doesn’t make him any less of a player. He needed to add bulk to play a lot of downs in the SEC, but there’s no denying his ability to make a play on the football. Check out this tweeted clip from New Hanover High School.
Many have seen this, but you have to see it again! This is an exciting time to be a Wildcat. Our best is yet to come pic.twitter.com/bf5dXgeAEZ
— NEW HANOVER FOOTBALL (@NHHSFootball15) October 19, 2015
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.