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Sentell’s Intel: The 5 vital remaining recruiting targets for UGA

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.

Georgia currently has the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class for 2017. It is nothing less than a bountiful haul for Kirby Smart and company’s first full recruiting season up to this point.

Let’s look to the sky at the current 2017 constellation:

  • 5-stars: 1
  • 4-stars: 12
  • 3-stars: 3

The Bulldogs will not (repeat will not) catch Ohio State or Alabama for the nation’s top recruiting class this year, but that No. 3 showing is worth a fist bump or five.

If that position holds, the Bulldogs will finish with their highest-rated recruiting class since 2006. The crop that year brought future NFL greats in DL Geno Atkins, S ReShad Jones, RB Knowshon Moreno and QB Matthew Stafford to Athens.

There are a few commitments in place with that potential. That’s QB Jake Fromm, OLB Walter Grant, OL Netori Johnson, RB D’Andre Swift and OT Andrew Thomas, in particular.

Yet there are several more luminaries who can still sign with Georgia. That’s why DawgNation produces a monthly update of the Top 5 remaining “must-have” undecided recruits. That evolves from month-to-month as the top targets make their decision to “commit to the G” at UGA or look elsewhere.

There’s at least one update at the outset. Grant was No. 4 on the most important remaining recruits list a month ago but chose UGA over Alabama last Friday night.

The new Top 5 for November follows below.

Top 5 remaining undecided targets for UGA

(1) 4-star DT Aubrey Solomon (Lee County / Leesburg, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-3/305

Aubrey Solomon (right) had made it clear that his mother Sabrina Caldwell (left) will play an integral role in shaping his college decision. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Aubrey Solomon (right) had made it clear that his mother Sabrina Caldwell (left) will play an integral role in shaping his college decision. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Recruiting rankings: No. 4 in the nation at DT and No. 60 overall (Up from No. 5 at DT and No. 77 overall last month)

October DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 1

Biggest contenders: Alabama, Auburn and Michigan

Why: Every analyst has their preferences. I’ll be very transparent here. The number of big and mobile defensive linemen are what separates the SEC from every other conference. It has been that way for awhile and that trend will likely never change. I place more value on the impact players on the D-line compared to their peers at every other position save for quarterback.

My two quick takes on Solomon are: 1) He’s not expected to make a decision on National Signing Day because of a busy family schedule in early February. Look for that extend 1-2 months. 2) I do feel UGA is the team to beat here even though Solomon just took a recent trip to Michigan.

His mother Sabrina Caldwell continues to be the major engine powering his decision. 247Sports recently reported she gave a detailed 31-item questionnaire to the Wolverines to help shape the way he looks at Michigan. He was formerly committed to that school.

The report also stated to look for Alabama and UGA to get exhaustive surveys of their own.


(2) 4-star S DeAngelo Gibbs (Grayson / Loganville, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-2/205

Gibbs was clearly having a good time on his Georgia unofficial visit for the Tennessee game. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Gibbs (white shirt in the center of the frame) was clearly having a good time on his Georgia unofficial visit for the Tennessee game. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Recruiting rankings: No. 3 in the nation at S and No. 41 overall (No changes)

Last month’s DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 2

Biggest contenders: Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee

Why: The senior could be an impact player at cornerback, receiver or safety at UGA. I feel his likely landing spot will be at safety because that’s his featured position for the No. 1 team in Georgia’s largest classification.

Gibbs took his first official visit to Alabama last month. It went well and the Tide are a contender for his decision.  He’ll take a few more, but none likely to UGA or Tennessee. That’s because he is very familiar with his options at both schools. Gibbs has been to UGA more than any other school. I’d venture to say he’s visited the program 15-20 times this year alone.

I still feel this will be a decision between UGA and Tennessee here. Everyone else is trying to creep into that short list. Gibbs will enroll early in January. That will place a great importance on his recruiting moves in December after Grayson’s likely extended run through the Georgia state playoffs.

He recently took an unofficial visit to South Carolina with his Grayson teammate Jamyest Williams. Williams is committed to South Carolina and that school could also crack the final Top 5 for Gibbs.

(3) 4-star ILB Nate McBride (Vidalia / Vidalia, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-1/230

Recruiting rankings: No. 1 ILB in the nation and No. 87 overall (Down from No. 77 overall last month)

Last month’s DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 3

Biggest contenders: Alabama and Oregon

Why: McBride — the son of a long-time high school coach — is a rare blend of speed and power and instincts. His father Jason McBride is a well-respected longtime defensive assistant coach and then the 4-star prospect simply has elite speed for any position on the field. His high school track times project him to beat just about every skill guy at UGA in the 100 or 200 meters.

McBride, a U.S. Army All-American, is rated as the nation's No. 1 ILB for 2017. (Special / Army All-American Games)
McBride, a U.S. Army All-American, is rated as the nation’s No. 1 ILB for 2017. (Special / Army All-American Games)

The senior took his first official visit to Oregon over the last month and it went well. It went so well he said he had co-leaders between UGA and Oregon. That was somewhat interesting given his father still felt that UGA had a slight edge.

The in-state and homegrown angle will play well with McBride, but his keen interest in sports marketing and sports promotion have turned his head a bit toward the Ducks. He’s already designed uniforms for his high school team. Oregon’s connections to Nike have definitely been taken under consideration here in regard to his post-graduate life.

That’s a nice story and a nice angle to consider, but my prediction is still UGA here. I’d be shocked if he decides to play ball that far away from home with all the opportunities that set up for him to have a splendid career in Athens.

He edges out a hard-charging receiver for the No. 3 slot simply because UGA needs to add at least 3-4 more players at LB for the Class of 2017.

(4) 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman (Newton / Covington, Ga.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-2/192

Recruiting rankings: No. 18 in the nation at WR and No. 131 overall (Up from No. 23 at WR and No. 153 overall)

Last month’s DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: No. 5

Biggest contenders: Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee

Why: Holloman can enroll early in January and use that time in the program to immediately contend for a starting spot. That’s because of his vast athleticism. That is definitely the case at UGA.

The program just doesn’t have a lot of guys with his skill set on the roster. He can put his foot in the ground and go in order to quickly gain separation from the defense. He’d also be a true home run threat to stretch the field to take those safeties away from the box in the run game.

The 4-star WR just took an official visit to Miami that went well. He’s heading to Nebraska this week and has already been on another official to Notre Dame.

Georgia is recruiting both Jeremiah Holloman and his older brother LJ (right) to join the team next year. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Georgia is recruiting both Jeremiah Holloman and his older brother LJ (right) to join the team next year. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

That said, this is a tanem decision. He plans to go to the same school with his older brother Layfeatte “LJ” Holloman. They are a package deal with Jeremiah enrolling in January and LJ arriving for the fall semester.

DawgNation learned this month that Oregon has offered his older brother a full scholarship. That was big considering the other big-time programs which are courting Jeremiah currently only see LJ as a preferred walk-on at first. (I am not shocked at all that they would all dangle that carrot in regard to this decision. They better.)

As of now, the Ducks are the only team which has offered a scholarship to both Hollomans.

There are a lot of factors to consider here. Former UGA great Leonard Floyd is his first cousin. The in-state tuition factor must be taken into account as a plus for Georgia. His older brother would initially walk-on at UGA for at least one semester. LJ projects to play defensive back or receiver at the next level.

Holloman talks to Tennessee coach Butch Jones daily and has been doing so for months now, but I feel UGA earns this commitment for another unorthodox reason. That’s his track background. The two-time Georgia state champion in the triple jump wants to continue that sport at the college level.

Georgia has — by far — recruited him in track better than any other program. The Bulldogs have also laid out a clear path where they will be no issues whatsoever with him jumping for UGA track and practicing football in the spring.

Want know more about the person? Read this profile here and you’ll feel better about all these diva recruits coming up nowadays.

(5) 4-star WR Nico Collins (Clay-Chalkville / Pinson, Ala.)

Hgt./Wgt: 6-5/202

Recruiting rankings: No. 13 in the nation at WR and No. 90 overall

Last month’s DawgNation priority recruiting ranking: Unrated

Biggest contenders: Alabama and Michigan

Why: The current state of the receiving corps at UGA makes this position a priority. Collins was also in the September assessment of the Top 5 remaining recruits for the program because Georgia does not have a player with his size and ball skills in the program.

Collins will very likely be the highest-rated receiver that Georgia can sign in its Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Collins will very likely be the highest-rated receiver that Georgia can sign in its Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

The only player parallel would be the recent emergence of Javon Wims in the Kentucky game. Collins has been a tremendous productive high school player at one of the top programs in Alabama. He’s also been a three-year starter who has played in two Alabama state championship games. If you watch his production so far during his career, he has been at his best in the state playoffs.

I feel that Collins will not choose Alabama because he wants to leave home to go to college. The Crimson Tide are also loading up on wideouts for 2017.

He just took another visit to Michigan and that went well. His family is from Michigan and that’s another strong point for that program.

Collins will be a National Signing Day decision and will take all of his official visits after the season. Georgia still offers him a great mix of location, playing big-time ball in the SEC and the chance to pair up with a pair of the nation’s top young QBs in Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm.

Collins took an unofficial visit to UGA for the Tennessee game. He has now made approximately a half-dozen trips to UGA over the last two years.

I’ve felt for a long time now that Georgia’s odds are very good here and this passage of time over the last few months has done nothing to alter that view. I’d say UGA has at least a 40-to 50 percent chance to sign Collins.

If he chose UGA, he’d be the program’s top-rated recruit at receiver for 2017. He’d also finish off a much-needed restocking of the receiver core in Athens.




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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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