Sentell’s Intel: 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson shares his current thoughts on Georgia
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean and add a dab of perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Isaiah Wilson is in thick of his official visit schedule this month. He goes to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl this weekend.
That’s after taking back-to-back official visits to FSU and Michigan the last two weeks. His UGA official visit has been scheduled for Dec. 9.
As far as priorities go, the Brooklyn Poly Prep (Brooklyn, NY) star would definitely help fill the gaping hole on the UGA depth chart at tackle. The 6-foot-7, 350-pounder is regarded as a 5-star prospect and ranked as the nation’s No. 7 offensive tackle for 2017.
Georgia already has solid commitments at tackle from a pair of 4-star tackles in D’Antne Demery and Andrew Thomas and is also actively trying to reel in another 5-star tackle in big Texan Walker Little.
But the quests for Little and Thomas are complicated. As they should be given the nature of recruiting prospects of their literal and figurative stature. Sign either of those guys and the jerseys for Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm catch a lot fewer grass stains.
Yet that’s what Stanford wants with Little and what Michigan and Alabama seek with Wilson. Those are the perceived favorites for both bookend tackles. The 247Sports Crystal Ball has 23 predictions for Wilson’s decision.
Bye Ann Arbor ???
— ISAIAH WILSON® (@_LayZay_) November 20, 2016
Michigan has garnered 61 percent of those predictions. Alabama follows with 30 percent. Penn State and Rutgers each have also grabbed four percent of the vote. It should also be noted that the Wolverines have picked up seven straight predictions since Sept. 28.
— ISAIAH WILSON® (@_LayZay_) August 10, 2016
??? Fab Five pic.twitter.com/2w4ZVcj47p
— ISAIAH WILSON® (@_LayZay_) October 5, 2016
Alabama had a string of five straight forecasts prior to that stretch.
That’s a lot of crimson and maize scattered among those tea leaves. So where does that leave UGA?
DawgNation asked Wilson about that this week.
Wilson’s own words on UGA
The 5-star tackle somehow grew up watching a lot of Georgia football. When DawgNation first spoke to him more than a year ago, he shared stories of watching the Bulldogs on television with his father.
Somehow a kid from Brooklyn found a way to watch Georgia. A lot. He already knew back in September that location wasn’t going to be a factor in his college decision.
“UGA was always a childhood favorite of mine, and how far I am (from home) doesn’t matter to me,” Wilson told the AJC. “I just want the best fit.”
But that was back when 67 percent of those crystal ball predictions had him going to Rutgers. Wilson told DawgNation this week the latest on his decision.
What is he looking for?
“It just needs to click and feel like home,” Wilson said. “My parents need to love it.”
Georgia’s best asset sounds like offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Wilson told DawgNation that was going to be important. Pittman has already peppered their conversations with his signature brand of humor.
“We were on the phone one time and then he went to join in and get food but he said he had a diet,” Wilson said. “But the way everything happened was funny. You kinda had to be there to get it.”
Wilson feels Pittman can make him better. He has stated many times. But the coaches at a lot of those schools can do that. Pittman would just go about it in his own type of way.
“Coach Pittman is very straight-forward and says what’s on his mind,” Wilson said. “I like that in a recruiter because I don’t have to fight through the fluff.”
Wilson’s camp made some waves two weeks ago when a couple of members of his coaching staff flew down to Georgia for the Auburn game. They were in Athens when Wilson was on his FSU visit.
What was going on there? Was this an early recon trip from members of his inner circle to really give Georgia a good look?
Maybe. Maybe not. Wilson downplayed that. His reason about why those guys were there seemed to be on the level.
“Because they wanted to go to the game,” he said. “They are grown men who make their own decisions.”
He wasn’t sure which school among his five official visits offers him the best shot at playing right away.
“Only time will tell,” he said.
He seems pretty savvy at the media game. It was clear that he’s been around the ring with his share of reporters. He made sure to decline any questions that he didn’t feel like giving an honest answer to.
That in itself is rather refreshing. I’d personally rather a prospect say “I can’t answer that one right now” with a genuine level of honesty than just make something up.
He also stepped away from any questions that would have the world thinking he had a leader at this time.
Wilson also stated that he didn’t have any real questions for his upcoming official visit that’s currently set for the weekend of Dec. 9.
“I don’t have questions,” Wilson said. “My mom will probably ask about academics. I sit back and observe everything.”
When asked what direction he thought Georgia’s program was heading in, he kept it simple.
“Upward,” he said.
His personality off-the-field seems to resemble the way he handles a reporter’s questions. He said he was “chill and happy” off the field. He even used the word “friendly.”
I wanted to know if he loved the game. Does he play football because it is a vehicle to a college education and a Sunday dream? Or does he actually love the inner workings of the sport? That’s perhaps the biggest reason why top prospects fail.
The work on the way up is not worth what’s waiting for them at the top. Wilson fired right off the ball when it came to that topic.
“My family matters to me,” Wilson said. “I play because I love the game. Every aspect of it. I play to make a better life for those after me and to make my parents proud.”
LB picture starting to get clearer
Georgia plans to sign up to 6-7 linebackers in this cycle. That’s a big haul, but what isn’t so certain is the math behind all those numbers.
For example, Robert Beal is rated as a defensive end. Yet he projects to play LB in college. That’s the “Jack” position in Georgia’s base 3-4 look.
The base defense question is a thought tree for another day in and of itself. No team operates in its 3-4 look for long given the prevalence of the spread sets that keep SEC teams in the nickel formation at least on defense for a lot of downs.
Beal could be a part of that linebacker quota. The same goes for Crisp County 4-star DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant.
So when I’m counting up the potential LB crop for 2017 in Athens, those two guys are already in the mix. That puts Georgia’s total so far at three for this cycle. That’s Beal plus long-time 4-star commit Jaden Hunter and recent 4-star pledge Walter Grant.
Who’s next? Well, we had a story last night on DawgNation that gave a pretty clear indication that Alabama 3-star LB Monty Rice would be the fourth Bulldog among the LB crop. He’s expected to make his decision by Dec. 12.
How does Georgia get to six or seven from there? I’ve seen nothing to this point to back away from my last mock signing class projection that 4-star ILB Nate McBride and the aforementioned Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant would be the other two linebackers most likely to also eventually sign with UGA.
The time frame for the McBride decision could go to the U.S. Army All-American Game in Texas during the first week of January. My latest indications regarding Bryant is he could very likely go all the way to National Signing Day before sharing his decision.
His Crisp County team is 12-0 and in the midst of a historic season this year under first-year coach Shelton Felton.
UGA basketball misses on a sure-fire lottery pick
Pace Academy senior power forward Wendell Carter made his college decision known on Wednesday. The 6-foot-10 standout with a lot of everything to his game chose Duke over Georgia, Georgia Tech and Harvard.
Carter shared his decision with a James Bond-themed video produced by Bleacher Report. The AJC’s Ken Sugiura put together a piece advancing Carter’s decision that shows just how big of a get that would’ve been for UGA basketball and coach Mark Fox.
The Bulldogs aren’t expected to win many head-to-head battles with Duke for a prospect, but Carter would’ve been big for the program. Duke signs guys like Carter every year, but he would’ve been seen as the biggest get for UGA basketball since Dominique Wilkins years ago.
Carter’s video appears below. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 4 prospect for 2017.
— Wendell Carter Jr (@wendellcarter34) November 23, 2016
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.