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Jeff Sentell / AJC
The next two weekends in Athens are going to be packed with recruits.

Sentell’s Intel: The latest on a pair of 4-star targets UGA has to sign in 2017

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.
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It appears that 4-star receiver Jeremiah Holloman has reached the point in his recruiting when he is going to focus more on his upcoming decision rather than fielding interview requests.

The U.S. Army All-American hosted Georgia receivers coach James Coley and head coach Kirby Smart for an in-home visit on Monday.  The Hollomans also hosted Nebraska on Tuesday.

That visit with Coley and Smart went well.

“They feel I can be that guy who can come in and step up and make plays early on,” Holloman said. “They feel I can make a name for myself at Georgia.”

Holloman is rated as the nation's No. 19 WR for the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Holloman is rated as the nation’s No. 19 WR for the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

There have been a few recent developments with Holloman. He now plans to take an official visit to LSU this weekend. The current plan is for him to use his last official visit before the dead period on a trip to UGA.

“We just started talking about that like two weeks ago,” Holloman said. “I was talking to the guys and all the people who have been and keep trying to recruit me to Georgia are going to be up there. Those guys want me to come up one last time on (Dec. 9) and the coaches at Georgia do, too. So that’s the day we picked out.”

Holloman is a December graduate. He will enroll early at the school of his choice in January. He’s also planning to compete at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Texas.

He’s not sure when he might make a decision.

“As of right now I am trying to just hang out with the coaches that come in this week and see how I feel about everything,” Holloman said. “Just trying to find the right and that comfortable feeling.”

He said that Georgia is now recruiting him the hardest of late. That distinction had been held by Tennessee for the longest time, but the 4-star receiver said that it feels like that program has backed off a little bit.

The Newton High senior also said he is no longer talking to Tennessee coach Butch Jones as much as he used to.

That said, I still feel like the Volunteers are right in the thick of it with Auburn, UGA, LSU, Miami and Nebraska.

Quick update on 4-star DE Malik Herring

Mary Persons senior DE Malik Herring told DawgNation that he plans to have an in-home visit Wednesday night with UGA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. Herring and his Bulldogs are alive in the Class AAAA state playoffs this week against Cartersville.

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Yeah, that Cartersville. Herring will have to pin his ears back and harass 5-star junior QB (and major UGA target) Trevor Lawrence to give his Bulldogs a chance at reaching the state finals.

The 4-star defensive end also told DawgNation that Alabama has made quite a charge in his mind of late. The Crimson Tide seem to want to add Herring to their star-studded class. Alabama has regained the top spot in the latest team recruiting rankings.

LSU has also increased its push for Herring since the new coaching staff has settled in. DawgNation learned on Tuesday that Herring now plans to take an official visit to LSU in January.

What December will look like 

There are two official visit windows for UGA this month before the NCAA-mandated dead period kicks in.

It looks like the weekend of Dec. 9 will be the major one. There will be a host of elite targets in town (Cam Akers, Herring, Holloman, Stanford Samuels III, etc.) and there are going to be a host of 2017 commits in town to roll out the red carpet.

That’s going to include the likes of Jake Fromm and Richard LeCounte III, among others. Look for that to be the biggest recruiting weekend by far for the Class of 2017 in Athens.

The Bulldogs hosted very few official visitors (four by my count) during the season. That’s just another way that the program operates differently under the new coaching staff.

Quick word about a popular email and social media topic

The subject of UGA and E.J. Price comes up a lot.

Price was once committed to Mark Richt at Georgia, then de-committed and shocked some when he chose USC over Georgia back in February.

Georgia desperately needed tackles in that class and it was a significant recruiting miss. We’ll cut to the chase with the Price narrative and quickly summarize that he’s transferring from USC after leaving the football program back in September. He will have to sit out the 2017 season and then will likely have three years to play three seasons when he finally returns to the field.

Every indication that I have gotten over the last couple of months still holds true today. Georgia will focus on other offensive tackles. I’d be absolutely shocked if he winds up in Athens now.

The Bulldogs have moved on.

Family lines and O-line offers, Part I 

Georgia recently offered a pair of huge OL prospects in the Classes of 2019 and 2020. Those names will be quite familiar.

Let’s start with Class of 2019 offer Warren McClendon. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has looked like a SEC prospect to me from the jump. I first saw him last September when I made the trip to Brunswick High School to check out 2017 UGA commit D’Antne Demery.

He was a freshman then. Yet he looked better than some of the top juniors in the state of Georgia that already held SEC offers at that time.

McClendon was put through his paces last June at a satellite camp hosted by his high school that was attended by UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)
McClendon was put through his paces last June at a satellite camp hosted by his high school that was attended by UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)

McClendon’s last name will be well-known around DawgNation. His uncle Willie McClendon established that legacy in the 1970s with a great career playing RB for Vince Dooley. Current South Carolina assistant Brian McClendon is his cousin.

McClendon played receiver for Mark Richt, then joined his staff and was also the interim coach for UGA in the TaxSlayer Bowl last season.

UGA line coach Sam Pittman has seen a lot of the sophomore OT over the last 12 months but didn’t weigh in with an offer until this week. That seemed a little out of place this spring given that McClendon picked up offers from Alabama and South Carolina, among others.

McClendon told me then that wouldn’t matter. He conveyed to me that the long-time family ties to UGA would run deep.

“An offer from UGA is one that is worth waiting for,” McClendon told DawgNation back in June.

He also said that folks probably shouldn’t assume he was going to South Carolina because of that immediately family connection.

We usually don’t go too deep into the 2019s in this space because that is a long-range forecast, but McClendon and Callaway 4-star Keiondre Jones seem like clear priorities on the OL for UGA in that class.

Jones does not player a specific relative or family connection to a current or former UGA player that I am aware of. He’s simply another priority in-state OL target in McClendon’s signing class.

Jones is one of the top OLs on the board for UGA in the Class of 2019. He was at the Georgia Tech game last Saturday. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Jones is one of the top OLs on the board for UGA in the Class of 2019. He was at the Georgia Tech game last Saturday. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

I feel both of those guys will eventually end up at UGA. Jones is a frequent visitor to UGA and he told me this spring that Kirby Smart was already talking to him and recruiting him like he was already a commitment at times.

He wanted Jones to work on other prospects in his area. Jones received his offer from UGA in the summer prior to his freshman year at Callaway High School.

Jones received his offer from UGA in the summer prior to his freshman year at Callaway High School.

Check out the sophomore highlight tape for McClendon below. It is worth your time.

 
 

 

Family lines and O-Line offers, Part II

Franklin High freshman OL Jake Wray also earned a recent offer from UGA. Those have been coming in bunches recently the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder from Tennessee.

Wray — the younger brother of Georgia Class of 2018 commit Max Wray — has seen his offer list populate with the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Max Wray (right) and his younger brother Jake can basically block out half of a room in their home. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Max Wray (right) and his younger brother Jake can basically block out half of a room in their home. These two brothers have packed on even more size and weight since this picture was taken aback in April. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

The lack of a UGA offer — given that family connection — seemed just a tad out of place considering all those other SEC rivals had already jumped into the race for the big tackle.

But that’s no longer a talking point with the big freshman tackle.

“I was shocked honestly,” Wray said. “I didn’t expect it at all. It’s pretty cool. I think Georgia is a really great school and it means a lot.”

He said that Pittman touched on the timing of the Georgia offer.

“I called Coach Pittman when he was in between in-house visits,” Wray said. “He told me he wanted to offer me in person but he didn’t want to wait too long to offer.”

 

Today’s slightly off-topic final thought

It seems that a popular topic I hear from recruits, students and the 35-and-under crowd is a simple hope to improve the song choices played during in-game breaks at Sanford Stadium.

A savvy fan that goes to every game mentioned to me earlier this year that he felt that UGA has the worst in-game experience in the conference. That’s coming from a guy who owns a pair of red pants and has likely already seen one of those UGA “Star Shower” like projecting lighting devices that have popped up on Facebook recently. It really pained him to say that.

Does it hurt recruiting? Not really. The recruits tell me they feel like Sanford Stadium can get as “lit” as anywhere they visit when the fans decide to hunker down on their own and not act like they are watching a tennis match. (They didn’t say tennis match. Just taking a little creative license there.)

Yet the athletic department is missing an opportunity to add a few more exclamation points to every visit by telling the DJ to play a lot more modern music. More Meek Mill and Future. Less Bon Jovi and The Outfield.

I realize that might ruffle the feathers of a few die-hards, but would it be worth it? The topic of walk-up songs in baseball comes to mind here as another potential solution. When the football program announces its players of the week after every game, what if the team let the honorees on offense, defense and special teams pick the favorite songs to be played at the next home game?

If a radio-friendly version could be found, then that would be another neat way for the fans to connect with the players on the current team. There was a recent song choice during a “Rock Sanford” segment that really connected with the younger fan, recruits and the current team. That was during last week’s game at Georgia Tech. I remember seeing Roquan Smith point up to the sky and vibe with the music for just a mini-second while he was lining up.

That’s just two cents on a topic that deals with recruiting. Kinda sorta.

 

 

 

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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.

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