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 that 5-star might be leaning and sprinkle in a dab of perspective to help folks figure out what it all means.
Robert Beal is going to take all five of his official visits. When we discussed that on Wednesday, the 4-star defensive end at IMG Academy shared the reasons for that attitude change.
It was an interesting conversation because that’s a departure from his previous mindset.
But he said something that should keep UGA fans calm about the nation’s No. 38 overall prospect remaining in the #SICEM17 class in Athens.
Beal offered up the most engaging and descriptive responses of our interview as he discussed how he’s probably talked IMG roommate Joshua Kaindoh into taking an official visit to Georgia. That’s been on his to-do list since he arrived at IMG.
Those two would take their official visits at the same time. Kaindoh, a Maryland commitment, is rated as the nation’s No. 39 overall prospect and as the nation’s No. 2 overall strongside defensive end.
“I think he is going to take an official to Georgia now,” Beal said. “I’ve been trying to work my magic on him. That’s my roommate. It will be me and him together on that official to Georgia.”
Beal (No. 58 at right) is rated as the nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end prospect for 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Beal — the nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end prospect — told DawgNation on two occasions in August he was done with hearing coaches try to woo him to their school. He wasn’t keen on official visits because he didn’t want to hear any more of the recruiting pitches that come with the visits.
“I’m locked in, man,” Beal said on Aug. 3. “Really locked in. Go Dawgs!”
It doesn’t seem like that has changed.
“I guess everybody (among his officials) kind of has a shot,” Beal said this week. “But I’m still locked into Georgia. It will be hard for me to flip. … I would tell the Georgia fans not to worry too much. Tell them I’m coming home.”
It is important to note that Beal said the Georgia coaches weren’t “tripping too bad” when they learned he planned to take all five of those officials.
“They say they still want me and all that,” Beal said. “They still talk to me all the time. You know how when you commit sometimes the coaches stop talking to you as much as they used to? But that hasn’t happened to me with Georgia. They are still recruiting me very hard. Still harder than anyone else out there.”
That said, the latest news with Beal provides for an interesting turn of events.
He told UGA lead recruiter Kevin Sherrer that he didn’t have to recruit him so hard anymore after he committed. The Norcross native was sold on playing football close to “home” in Athens. His older sister also plans to attend Georgia. He wasn’t thinking about any of his official visits when his Ascenders trounced Grayson on Aug. 27.
IMG senior Robert Beal is rated as the nation’s No. 3 weak-side DE for the Class of 2017. (Photo provided by IMG Academy)
But now he’s taking his five official visits. The first one will be to Alabama this week.
“That trip will be building relationships,” Beal said. “I’ve been there about a thousand times, but this weekend is about building relationships and seeing how I like it now. Seeing how it compares to Georgia now.”
Another trip will be to Texas for the TCU game. He also plans to visit North Carolina and North Carolina State. Georgia will be his final official visit. He has not set up the weeks he will visit the ACC schools.
“I just wanted to make sure Georgia was still the right place for me,” Beal said.
Texas has been high on Beal’s list for a while. He also said Florida State probably has been recruiting him harder than anyone, but he doesn’t plan an official visit to that program. The two trips to North Carolina were ways to reward programs that have been recruiting him since he emerged as a big-time recruit. The N.C. State trip has been set for sometime in December, but he didn’t recall the exact date. He’s going to take an official visit to North Carolina, but that date has not been decided.
The Georgia trip will come after the season.
“So they will have more time to spend with me,” Beal said.
Beal’s IMG experience up to this point
The 4-star defensive end has built his career through hard work. He credits Nathan O’Neal of Georgia Sports Performance with helping him stretch his potential. The 6-foot-4, 228-pounder said he’d be “just another high school player” if not for the work he’s put in with O’Neal.
The experience for him so far at IMG has been uneven. He’s played in some big games, but the Florida boarding school’s national schedule has been daunting.
“To be honest with you, it is not going that great,” Beal said. “I guess it is what it is. I guess just trying to get used to all the traveling and stuff has been the hardest part. That’s probably the biggest thing right there.”
The Ascenders are 5-0 and are rated No. 2 nationally in the latest USA Today Super 25. They already have played games in California, Georgia, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C. There is another trip to California planned along with future games in Maryland and Virginia.
In his defense, that is significant travel. He likely won’t earn that many frequent-flier miles playing two years in the SEC.
Beal received his Under Armour All-American jersey in a ceremony with 10 (10!) other IMG teammates on Wednesday. He considered it to be a great honor.
“I remember watching that game for the first time when Lorenzo Carter was in that game,” Beal said. “I saw him playing and I told myself I wanted to play in that game one day, too.”
Carter played his high school ball at Norcross. That’s where Beal prepped up until his senior season.
A “change the game” receiver will be at UGA on Saturday
Will he or won’t he? Road trip to Georgia or Michigan?
That was the question of the week regarding the unofficial visit plans for 4-star Alabama receiver target Nico Collins. Collins has the potential to be the highest-rated receiver that Georgia likely will sign this year.
Collins likely would be the highest-rated receiver that Georgia can sign in its Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Yet, his family hails from Michigan. While Collins won’t say it, that program seems to be the team to beat for him. The in-state Crimson Tide also are making a major play for Collins. Georgia will dig in and fight tooth and nail for a player like Collins. The Bulldogs don’t have a player like him with his size and ball skills on the roster.
The 6-5, 202-pounder told me on Wednesday night he will be in Athens on Saturday for the Tennessee game. There had been some discussion among his family that he might travel to Michigan to take in a big-time clash against Wisconsin.
Collins making the trip — along with 5-star RB Cam Akers on an unofficial visit — have to be the two biggest names on the visitor list for the Tennessee game up to this point.
A few bits of Intel regarding EJ Price
E.J. Price Jr. poses with his parents at his Under Armour All-American jersey presentation on Oct. 9, 2015. (Special)
I spoke with a source close to the E.J. Price situation this week. Price was the big-time offensive tackle prospect that Georgia badly wanted for its 2016 signing class but couldn’t keep him from signing with USC.
Yet, things did not work out for him at Southern Cal.
News broke last week about his intention to transfer. USC coach Clay Helton also told reporters that Price was homesick and the program would support the 6-6, 325-pounder in his wish to transfer closer to home.
When checking in with a source close to the situation, I was able to piece a few things together regarding Price’s future going forward:
- Price came home last weekend to sort out his options. He flew back to California, and his focus now is on finishing the semester in good academic standing.
- He’ll look to transfer in January. That means he won’t be eligible for competition until the fall of 2018.
- It also looks like he’ll be able to go on scholarship, practice and work out with his new team beginning in January.
- That’s because USC is giving him a free release and also will support a waiver to play. His permission to contact other schools letter already has been sent. That’s a big hurdle that will allow him to go on scholarship and receive financial aid at his next school.
- Another source told me Price definitely will consider Georgia. South Carolina also will be a strong possibility. Wouldn’t it be unique if he transferred from USC (West Coast) to USC (right coast) in the span of about seven months?
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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.