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VIDALIA, Ga. — It was supposed to be a trip to Oregon to simplify things.
Major UGA target Nate McBride and his family were supposed to take an official visit to Oregon and it could have made his process a little easier. Jason McBride — Nate’s father — said the nation’s No. 1 ILB prospect enjoyed every bit of the trip.
“I think it made it a little more complicated,” Jason McBride said. “You knew Oregon had all the stuff with gear but that place is different with all the atmosphere around that town. It was different than what I thought and what he thought it would be. More of a home-type feel. He didn’t feel out of place or anything like that. He could be a fit there.”
Nate McBride told DawgNation on Wednesday morning that UGA and Oregon are now tied at the top.
Let’s cover a few things as quickly as McBride can a 40-yard dash with his elite speed.
- Was it too far away? Nope. It was only about 5 hours worth of flight time.
- Oregon is swimming in Nike swag. Did it turn McBride’s head? Of course.
- Was he able to see how an Oregon degree would help him after football? Yep.
- Could a South Georgia boy fit in all the way out there? Well, he did.
- Did it keep the Ducks in the running for McBride? They are now his co-leaders.
- How did Oregon let him know he’d fit in? The Ducks said he’d be one of their fastest players.
- Were they able to pitch a unique role? He’d never leave the field and could play linebacker spots and as a nickel safety at 230 pounds.
That’s the speed round for a 4-star prospect with misprint speed at inside linebacker. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder has been timed in the 100 meters in the 10.5-10.6 range. That’s as fast as any home run tailback or stretch-the-field receivers are on the field.
Where do things stand? McBride described Georgia and Oregon as his co-leaders. If those schools were running a 40-yard dash for his services, that Bulldog and Duck are nose-to-nose at the 38-yard mark.
His father still felt Georgia was the team to beat for his son’s decision. That’s how close things are at this time.
“He was a fit there but that’s the same thing with Georgia,” Jason McBride said. “He knows a lot of the players there so he’s a fit there. He’s been over to Georgia so many times. He doesn’t get to do that by going out West so many times, but he was able to pick up on a vibe.”
But now here comes Oregon.
“One of the biggest questions (for us) was if there would be a fit (for Nate) there,” Jason McBride said. “There was because there are people (at Oregon) from everywhere. They don’t have cliques of guys. Everybody is from everywhere. They are all in the same boat there together from all over the country.”
Alabama is also a contender but it appears Georgia, Auburn and Oregon are pressing for his services just a little harder than the Crimson Tide at this time.
Jason McBride said there had been an expectation that the trip would allow his son to see what he needed and that would be it. McBride is set to receive his U.S. Army All-American jersey at a ceremony at the school gymnasium on Wednesday.
The plan had been for a time that the occasion was also going to be perfect timing to announce his commitment. That is no longer the case.
“I was telling him to get everything in place so when they present him his jersey that he could do that all at the same time because they have everybody there in place for that and it is all set up but he said he’s not ready to do it yet,” McBride said.
That official visit did complicate things.
“At first, I was just thinking that he has got to go see it,” his father Jason McBride said. “Go out and see it. Then he was going to find out how far away it is from Momma and his family and all that kind of stuff. Then probably it would be the end of that. But it wasn’t that way. We’ll make do one way or another if that’s where he decides that’s where he wants to go. He’s still going to think about it. I think Georgia is still No. 1 on his list but Oregon is now definitely right there behind them.”
McBride saw that the school’s marketing relationships with Nike could also pay a dividend later on. He plays to study sports marketing and sports management. McBride would like to try his hand in equipment and uniform design. He’s already got experience designing the uniforms for Vidalia High.
“The school has built-up relationships with Nike that could help him with that,” Jason McBride said. “When Nike has anything new, the football team at Oregon are basically test subjects for that gear to see how it works out before everyone else get to try it out.”
McBride said that Oregon linebackers coach Don Pellum flew out to Georgia to see him at practice on Tuesday. He described their relationship as the best one he has with any coach that is recruiting him at this time. Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann also knows him very well.
“He’s a lot like me,” Nate McBride said. “We really don’t have a whole lot to say sometimes.”
Decision timeline might have been altered
McBride said that he can’t see his son waiting until National Signing Day to announce his commitment. He can picture him waiting until the U.S. Army All-American Game in Texas during the first week of January.
It could be toward the end of the season at Vidalia. It could also be after the season. Look for him to not make any decision until after official visits have also been taken to both Auburn and Georgia.
“I do think it will be before signing day,” Jason McBride said.
But his son said it could take that long. He’s not going to decide until he’s thought about it enough and prayed about it enough and he’s ready.
Jason McBride noticed that some reports had stated that Oregon had reached its commitment quota for the 2017 class and was not expected to sign any more linebackers. He noted that his family got every reassurance from the coaching staff in Oregon along their trip that they would definitely make room for McBride in this year’s class if he wanted to be a part of it.
What’s helping Georgia?
McBride’s case is a great example of how being the state’s flagship program helps. Every day.
“It is a pretty tough choice,” McBride said. “Nathan is so close to the Georgia people. That’s the coaches and the staff and the players. That’s a big draw.”
But it is also the everyday recruiting or the appreciation he gets from the Georgia fans. At all times.
“It seems like all he hears is ‘Commit to the G’ all the time,” Jason McBride said. “That’s from people he doesn’t even know. People just see him and say it everywhere we go. Well, except in Oregon. They didn’t say that when he was in Oregon.”
He estimated his son has made at least 2-3 trips to Athens every year since he got an offer from Georgia when he was a freshman way back in 2014. He’s been a frequent visitor to spring practices and to games.
“When we go to Athens there are people up in the stands yelling his name and saying ‘Commit to the G’ and all that stuff and we hear ‘We gotta have you’ walking around and it makes me proud being his Daddy,” Jason McBride said. “I know it makes him feel good that people know him by seeing him and care about where he goes to play in college. Everybody around here it doesn’t matter what town we are in across Georgia there is somebody even if we’re just in a gas station who will walk by and say something. It is kind of cool to be around stuff like that.”
A name that continues to be big for 2018
We chronicled just how well Class of 2018 OL Trey Hill did last Friday night against Aubrey Solomon. Solomon told DawgNation that the reps with Hill felt like a quality SEC battle.
Hill felt the same way about his reps against Solomon.
“It felt like great competition going against another SEC-type prospect,” Solomon said.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder recently took an official visit to UGA for the Tennessee game.
“It was a great visit,” Hill said. “That was my first game there. It was an exciting time.”
Houston County teammate Jake Fromm is committed to play quarterback at Georgia. Fromm has made it clear that he’s going to make sure that the Bulldogs are always in the race to sign Hill.
“He just wants me at Georgia really bad,” Hill said. “That’s about it.”
Hill said not to count on him making a quick decision. He said that decision will come sometime during his senior year. He felt that Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Michigan were recruiting him the hardest right now.
“I have a lot of great relationships with schools right now,” Hill said. “But I just don’t have a top school right now.”
He was grateful for all of his offers but stated that he’d like to get offers from Ohio State and Oklahoma, too.
Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman has already made a strong impression on Hill.
“He’s just a great guy and he already wants me at Georgia,” Hill said. “He said that he has got to have me at Georgia. He’s a fun guy to be around and I guess a great offensive line coach. He puts people in the league.”
The junior stated that his main criteria that will enable him to make a decision will be the school’s academics, how he feels at home and how much he likes the overall football program.
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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.