The sun came up on Sunday. It did. Well, somewhere it did.
UGA got buried Saturday afternoon underneath a downpour of Alabama points and yet recruits are still thinking about playing football in Athens.
The AJC’s DawgNation.com contacted enough big-time recruits to fill up a Top 10 signing class over the weekend. We listened to what they had to say about their confidence level in the program going forward.
Believe it or not, most of them still had fun despite everything that didn’t add up to a postcard October Saturday in Athens.
1. Recruits remain positive despite humbling defeat
“We had a lot of key recruits here today. I wonder how many that performance cost us.”
That thought had to no doubt been swirling around the heads of DawgNation as it exited Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Whether it was the third quarter, fourth quarter or at the game’s conclusion, that was something to think out.
As it turns out, the aftermath wasn’t that bad. DawgNation contacted several recruits after the loss and UGA’s chances were still intact. A general consensus was the pregame atmosphere and stadium environment prior to that second quarter were exactly what recruits want to see. Several were also impressed by how the crowd supported the team in those dreary conditions.
Ima DAWG no matter what!! ?⚫️⚪️???
— Tyler Clark (@TylerClark50) October 5, 2015
2. UGA commits and targets have another great week of games
DawgNation’s Honor Roll feature continues to go heavy on the big-game hunters. There were several recruits who had great games on Friday night, but perhaps the best two moments came from a pair of Florida recruits.
UGA priority target Brian Burns of American Heritage continued his assault on opposing quarterbacks with three sacks to go along with another five or six quarterback pressures. Stop and think about that for a second? That was at least eight plays where Burns totally disrupted the other team’s play call. Consider the fact that most teams get about 50-60 snaps in a game. UGA defensive back commitment Malek Young also had four touchdowns in his team’s victory last week.
Burns got to the quarterback on a least a fifth of the other team’s snaps. He was also in Athens on Saturday for an unofficial visit for the Alabama game. Where does UGA stand now? How did he feel about the game? Burns told DawgNation.com UGA was in his top group with two other SEC programs.
The long-and-rangy Burns has the perfect body type to play a Leonard Floyd role beginning next season at UGA. In fact, that was UGA’s pitch from the start that really captured his attention. He also plays for an American Heritage program that’s established a history of sending players to Athens like Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie and Marshall Morgan.
3. State’s No.1 prospect still enjoyed his UGA visit
What did Lanier defensive tackle Derrick Brown think about the Alabama loss? He told DawgNation.com that he still had fun in Athens this weekend. He’s a priority recruit as not only the state’s top-rated player for 2016, but also a valuable commodity who has arguably had as fine a start to his season as any recruit that UGA is actively recruiting.
Brown is still thinking about reshuffling his list of official visits and also said that he’d be up in Tennessee to check out Rocky Top next weekend. That’s a good thing. UGA can go a long way to wiping out that bad day against Alabama with a convincing win against a struggling Tennessee team.
That’s crucial. If another bad day occurs, then that will definitely plant the wrong seed in Brown’s mind.
4. Jacob Eason shows off a new skill along another impressive night
Jacob Eason punted last Friday night. That in itself is a little bit of news. The 5-star UGA quarterback commitment has led his team to so many touchdowns over the last three weeks that nobody got a chance to see that he can swing a big leg on fourth down.
Eason played in a deluge on Friday night in Washington, but that’s a given considering he plays in the Pacific Northwest. He’s used to it. That’s an interesting contrast considering the weather that UGA played in on Saturday.
The next big thing at quarterback is used to it. DawgNation.com has an exclusive video of his performance amid a backdrop of rain that Forrest Gump would have to come up with a few new lines to describe.
Something like “Football rain that leaves puddles on the ball and even shows up in pictures” would fit.
Eason’s high school squad is also 5-0 this season.
5. Priority receiver target on UGA-Alabama: “Every team has bad games”
Viera, Fla., receiver Tre’ Nixon’s opinion was an important perspective to seek out this weekend. Why? Because he’s on a very short list of UGA targets likely to commit this month. Nixon wasn’t at the game, but he has UGA high among his leaders. He was actually at the Florida game for an unofficial visit on Saturday.
How did he feel about the UGA result? He said the lackluster showing by UGA “did not affect him one bit” in terms of his decision. UGA is one of six schools in the running for the speedy Nixon. He recently told DawgNation.com that he’s accelerating his timetable and will make his commitment this month and perhaps in the next two-to-three weeks.
6. Elite junior defensive end includes UGA in his Top 10
Norcross junior defensive end Robert Beal is good. Very good. He’s so good that both UGA and Notre Dame have sent him more than 100 recruiting letters in a single day. He’s talented enough for Norcross head coach Keith Maloof to point out that he could be another Lorenzo Carter because he’s already performing at the level the UGA sophomore standout did during his junior year playing for the same high school team.
The 4-star defensive end released his Top 10 on Sunday night and included UGA among his leaders. He told DawgNation.com on Friday night that UGA was recruiting him harder than any other school right now. Beal wasn’t in Athens this weekend. He chose to attend the Clemson-Notre Dame game instead. He’s also very interested in Notre Dame, too.
Random side note: The U.S. Postal Service will be kept afloat over the next 3-4 years by Power 5 football programs. 100 letters in a day? That does appear to be the benchmark to “show love” to a recruit these days. It gets attention. Can you imagine being the postal service employee on the day that a big-time program designates as mail “max day” for their most wanted recruits?
Better bring the weight belt, hoss.
7. 5-star RB says UGA is his leader “by quite a lot”
5-star sophomore running back Zamir White was determined to be at the UGA-Alabama game on Saturday. He wasn’t going to let trivial things like the weather or no vacancies at hotels around Athens stop him. Despite considering the Clemson-Notre Dame for a time, he still found his room in Athens.
White told DawgNation.com that UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown appreciated his determination to see that game. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder said that UGA was his leader and even clarified by just how much. Some recruits wish to make their decisions sounds complicated. That’s not the case with White. He said UGA has a significant edge on the Volunteers.
“Georgia is my leader now by quite a lot,” White said, who’s also the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect for 2018. “I’m just a serious person with all of this. I just know what I want.”
DawgNation knows what it wants to. That’s to hear as many 5-star running backs say that as possible.
8. One of the nation’s Top 10 sophomores predicts UGA will bounce back
Sophomore cornerback Christian Tutt was in Athens this weekend. He’s rated as the nation’s top cornerback for the Class of 2018 so it is important to get him on campus as much as possible regardless of the game’s outcome.
He said that UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt made a point on Saturday to remind him that he was the first coach to extend him a scholarship offer. What did Tutt have to say about that? How does he feel about UGA going forward? Tutt shared a couple of very interesting thoughts that UGA fans will like to read.
He also made a huge play on Friday night taking this kickoff back to the house.
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.