Sentell’s Intel: Major UGA target Walter Grant is now on commitment watch for Friday
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.
This week has suddenly become quite active on the recruiting front. DawgNation has been tracking multiple storylines of late and the biggest news at this time is the likely scenario that UGA adds a key member of the 2017 class on Friday evening.
Cairo High School OLB Walter Grant told DawgNation Wednesday evening he will announce his decision on Friday after his game. Grant, a 6-foot-4, 237-pounder, has had Alabama and Georgia as his Top 2 schools dating back to this spring.
He’s made multiple trips to Georgia over the last several months and hasn’t been to Tuscaloosa with the same frequency. That’s why I still project him to become part of Georgia’s #SICEM17 signing class when he makes that decision Friday night.
The timeline for his decision has only been slightly altered. Grant told DawgNation back in August that he planned to commit during his senior season but that it wouldn’t be in September. When reached Tuesday night, Grant said that he hasn’t taken any of his official visits yet.
“But I know I’m ready,” Grant said.
Grant rates as a 4-star prospect and as the nation’s No. 15 OLB in this year’s signing class. He has the ability to play both inside linebacker and outside linebacker with very little drop-off and also line up at defensive end. That’s why DawgNation has consistently rated him as one of Georgia’s Top 5 recruiting targets for the 2107 class the last several months.
The news on Grant was first reported by Scout.com’s Chad Simmons.
Grant’s decision continues a suddenly steady trickle of elite LB prospects making their commitment over the last week. Kenney “K.J.” Britt chose Auburn over Georgia on Monday.
The Bulldogs are expected to sign up to six linebackers for 2017. Jaden Hunter is the only current commitment on the board and Grant will make two. That leaves room for four more prospects of note and that’s not counting 4-star DE Robert Beal Jr. who will also start out at linebacker for Georgia.
Big day ahead for UGA QB commit Jake Fromm
Houston County senior QB Jake Fromm will receive his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey at a school ceremony on Wednesday. The long-time UGA commitment will also announce the signing of his financial aid papers with Georgia at another school event.
Fromm will be a December graduate and those documents will bind UGA to reserve a scholarship for him. That’s seen as a mere formality as his recruitment has been over for quite some time. The U.S. Army All-American was once committed to Alabama, but his recruiting decision swung radically when Kirby Smart left his post as defensive coordinator at Alabama to take the Georgia job.
Those documents will also allow for unlimited contact between Georgia and Fromm going forward.
It will be a busy week for Fromm. The 4-star QB prospect totaled up 652 yards last week in a 45-35 win against No. 2 Northside to stave off playoff elimination. That was only the program’s second win in the all-time series against their rival.
Houston County (7-2) must also beat No. 1 Valdosta on Friday night to qualify for the playoffs. The nearly 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback prospect for 2017.
The latest on 5-star Trevor Lawrence
The news cycle this week has been quite active or the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect over the last few days. Cartersville 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence had kept the reports to a minimum by asking that media respect a request for no interviews during his junior season.
Lawrence — as most will recall — had settled on a Top 2 of Clemson and Georgia over the summer but then backed away from that timeline. He took an unofficial visit to Clemson for the Louisville game earlier this year.
He’s got more visits planned now. Multiple outlets have reported that Lawrence will visit LSU this weekend and Alabama for the Iron Bowl against Auburn. That’s in addition to a planned visit to Georgia for the Auburn game on Nov. 12.
It appears Lawrence, a 6-foot-6 junior of the defending state champion, needs more time to see what else is out there for him aside from just Clemson and Georgia. Some have speculated that he will not make his decision until 2017 given all these schools he has in mind.
My perception of his decision is that Lawrence no longer has any strong feeling about when he will decide and will no longer conform to the pressures of any expected timelines.
Georgia sends out an interesting 2017 offer
UGA wants to add some speed to its secondary for next season. That’s evident after the Bulldogs offered Eastside (Covington, Ga.) speedster Eric Stokes, Jr. on Tuesday to play cornerback.
The 6-foot-1 prospect is a Georgia state track champion and he instantly becomes the fastest player that Georgia is recruiting for the Class of 2017. Stokes was the Georgia state champion in the 400 meters as a sophomore and then added a pair of sprint titles back in May.
With the offer, DawgNation now projects Stokes to be a part of the 2017 signing class at Georgia. I’ve been told for some time that Stokes would welcome a UGA offer and if one ever materialized it would become a strong option.
Stokes won Georgia Class AAAA state titles in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 10.48 and 21.58 seconds. If that’s not fast enough, he also surged to a 10.40 time in the 100 during a qualifying heat at the state meet.
It should come as no surprise that Stokes won the “Fastest Man” competition at the Nike Atlanta “The Opening” regional back in March. The UGA offer to Stokes was first reported by 247Sports.com’s Rusty Mansell.
The senior rates as a 3-star recruit and as the nation’s No. 60 cornerback prospect for 2017. The offer had to come as a result of Georgia evaluating his senior film. LSU, Ole Miss and Missouri offered Stokes back in May. Florida also came through with an offer in July but the in-state Bulldogs never followed suit.
The comparison of track times between Stokes and Georgia freshmen Mecole Hardman, Jr. and Tyler Simmons is an easy yet valid point of comparison. Simmons ran a 10.60 in the 100 at the state meet back in May. Hardman was clocked in 10.74 seconds. The new UGA offer even timed faster than Cal freshman receiver Demetris Robertson. The former 5-star prospect ran 10.51 seconds in the Class A finals.
Stokes is seen as a raw prospect but that elite speed has to be tantalizing. The move can also be seen as a counter to the de-commitment last month of 4-star CB prospect Latavious Brini.
10.4 speed pic.twitter.com/tnRIEvhVDP
— Eric Stokes Jr (@_jamane_) May 14, 2016
Take a look at his mid-year senior film below.
Interesting info regarding a JUCO target
It seems Georgia’s recruiting focus at the junior college level might shift to a different target. Especially at the offensive tackle spot.
The thought for the longest time was that Georgia’s best chance at adding a veteran big body who could be more a plug-and-play prospect for 2017 would be 4-star OT Badara Traore. The 6-foot-8, 315-pounder told 247Sports in September that UGA was in his Top 5 and would likely receive an official visit.
Traore had been rated as the nation’s No. 2 prospect among junior college offensive tackles for this year’s signing class. He was also ranked as the nation’s No. 8 overall junior college prospect for 2017.
Official offer from Georgia ? pic.twitter.com/CHWTlHY1Ij
— Badara Traore (@BadaraTraore72) August 4, 2016
While very little information is out there regarding Traore, DawgNation was able to learn a couple pieces of information that suggest he might no longer be a top option for UGA.
Traore attends ASA College in New York but does not appear on that program’s 2016 football roster. When DawgNation reached out to that program, a person with knowledge of Traore’s situation said that he was redshirting this season.
That would explain why he’s not on the team roster listed on the ASA football website. UGA’s clear need for a veteran’s presence on the offensive line would seem to require more than a player who was slated to graduate in May of 2017 that was redshirting for his junior college program this season.
ASA College holds a 2-6 record after eight games this season.
Georgia also recently offered another junior college tackle after the Florida game. That might indicate where offensive line coach Sam Pittman is looking at now for help from the junior college ranks.
Mississippi Gulf Coast offensive tackle D’Marcus Hayes tweeted out on Saturday evening that he’d received an offer from Georgia. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Hayes is rated as a 3-star prospect and as the nation’s No. 4 junior college offensive tackle for 2017.
Blessed to have received an offer from The University of Georgia ‼️??? pic.twitter.com/ly9zbILner
— D'Marcus Hayes® (@DMarcushayes78) October 30, 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.