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Jeff Sentell / AJC
Georgia would surely love to have Nico Collins under the tree at Christmas to add to the Class of 2017.

Sentell’s Intel: Does UGA have a long-time ally in the race for 4-star WR Nico Collins?

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.

It is a good thing the NCAA cannot legislate friendships between two adult men.

That’s a neat little wrinkle in the recruiting story of 4-star receiver Nico Collins. Collins, who rates as the nation’s No. 13 receiver, is a major Georgia target for the Class of 2017.

James Coley wants him at Georgia. Jim Chaney wants him at Georgia. Kirby Smart wants him at Georgia.

That’s not news there. That’s recruiting. They better want to add a 6-foot-5 receiver with 40 high school touchdowns and gobs of state playoff production on his highlight tape.

But how about Tony Eason wants him at Georgia? Hmm. That’s the truth. Collins told DawgNation this week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game check-in that Jacob Eason’s father has been talking to his family since his junior year.

That’s when Eason was still in high school.

Collins is rated as the nation's No. 13 receiver for the Class of 2017. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)
Collins is rated as the nation’s No. 13 receiver for the Class of 2017. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)

“He’s been talking to my Dad for about two years now,” Nico Collins said. “A lot. More than I expected. He needs some big tall receivers to come to Georgia and play with his son.”

Collins said that the relationship is unique. There aren’t any other family members of future teammates that have wanted him to come make plays with their son.

“When I first heard about that I was like ‘Wow’ and that this guy really wants me to come play with his son,” Nico Collins said.

Don Collins, his father, said that Eason’s father is hilarious and he enjoys their friendship.

“I talk to Jacob’s dad all the time,” Don Collins said. “He’s been recruiting us for a couple of years now to come join him at Georgia. That’s been basically since his son committed to Georgia. He’s hilarious and really wants to see Nico at Georgia. He wants his kid to have great receivers around him. As a Dad, I can understand where he’s coming from.”

That relationship started back in 2014.

The quarterback lure for Georgia will be big because it will take a tremendous effort to sign Collins. Michigan is perceived as the leader. Collins and his family have family ties to the state, but the 6-foot-5 receiver said he has no leader at this time.

UGA has also secured the last official visit that Collins will take before he makes up his mind in January.

Collins and his family are well aware of the quarterback depth chart at Georgia. They use the term “The Two Jakes” to describe the riches of quarterback depth the Bulldogs will have with Eason and 2017 4-star signee Jake Fromm on the team.

“I saw Jake Fromm at one of our visits earlier this year and that guy is also a really great kid,” Don Collins said. “He can really work the room. I saw him go from one end of the room to the other talking to guys at Georgia. But the thing is it seemed like the real thing. He’s a genuine guy who can get along with everybody. You really see why so many people like him. He’s a real recruiter for Georgia all by himself. I was impressed with him and really like him as a person. He worked that room like he was running for President.”

Can Jim Harbaugh can match that? Does he have a time machine to connect the parents of his quarterbacks to his potential receiver recruits? Can Doc Brown help him hold a satellite camp in North Birmingham in the year 2014?

I’m joking. Sorta.



Holloman’s top target for UGA

Who are you going after now to join you?

Holloman and fellow 4-star Malik Herring are the 17th and 18th commitments to UGA for the Class of 2017. (DawgNation staff photo)
Holloman (right) and fellow 4-star Malik Herring are the 17th and 18th commitments to UGA for the Class of 2017. (DawgNation staff photo)

That line is a common follow-up question after a prospect makes the decision to commit. I asked Jeremiah Holloman that very thing last week and he had an interesting reply.

Collins was the first name he brought up.

“I know right now we all want Nico Collins, Holloman said. “I believe that Georgia has a really good chance with that. Nico really enjoyed himself when he came down on his last visit to Georgia.”

Holloman felt Collins was a perfect example of what the Georgia staff is looking for at their position.

“They are looking for physical receivers that can move up and down the field and that can move defends around as well,” he said. “They want guys who will not get pushed around in the SEC. The coaches want guys that are at least 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 in height with a strong build.”

A potential mess in Texas? 

Toneil Carter has been nothing but steadfast in his commitment to Georgia. When he made his decision back in July at Nike’s “The Opening” it basically shut down his recruitment.

What does commitment look like in the modern era? Carter’s example has been about as good as it gets for Georgia. The 4-star RB never took any more visits to LSU or Texas A&M after that decision. He has only taken on an official visit and that one was to Georgia for the Auburn game.

But he was going to take an official visit to Texas. Was.

247Sports reported Tuesday night that Carter has canceled the Texas official visit. Georgia coach Kirby Smart and running backs coach Dell McGee are also both now expected to make in-home visits with Carter.

Can UGA take second place? 

Georgia’s recruiting class continues to stack up nicely. The latest development with the pursuit of junior college cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. will only add to a stacked official visit weekend up ahead.

The Bulldogs currently have the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class and now have the potential to go up one rung higher than that in the end. I don’t see them catching Alabama, but they can now eventually climb over Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have a tremendous class this year. That’s the only program that has a higher average rating per commitments than Georgia does this year.

But they don’t have a lot of room at the inn. Ohio State has just six seniors and that includes just two senior starters on special teams. The Buckeyes were one of the nation’s youngest teams this year. My colleague Jeremy Birmingham at Landof10.com tells me that Ohio State can only sign about 23 guys this year.

That figure takes into account the graduation of those six seniors plus six-to-seven early entries to the NFL Draft along with the dreaded “processing” of 6-7 more sophomores and juniors that just aren’t going to see the field in a big game.

Look for Georgia to sign about 28 guys this year and that might be enough to slide by the Buckeyes for second place.

Just how good are these guys? 

There a segment of folks out there that don’t really trust the team recruiting rankings. Or at least not totally.

Those that might look for other readily-available criteria can find solace in the notion that the current Class of 2017 of Georgia stacks up very nicely by two other measures.

Let’s just go to the numbers:

  • 10: Georgia has that many commitments that are currently slated to appear in the Under Armour or U.S. Army All-American games. I’d expect the final tally to be somewhere around 14 or 15.
  • 8 of 15: That’s how many of the Top 15 prospects in the state of Georgia that are currently committed to play at UGA. That number could even eventually rise to 12 of the state’s Top 15 and 14 of the state’s Top 30.

The latest on Monty Rice

Major ILB target Monty Rice did not take his official visit to UGA last weekend. The reason? Details are limited on that front. DawgNation has confirmed that he did opt to take an official visit to LSU this week.

Rice is a crucial get for UGA at linebacker for 2017. The 3-star standout is projected to join the eventual 2017 class in Athens.

He was supposed to be in Athens last weekend and that left an official visit to Auburn for this weekend. Has that changed? There is not any new information out there to report on that situation.

Rice is expected to make his final decision known at a school ceremony on Dec. 12. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Rice is expected to make his final decision known at a school ceremony on Dec. 12. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder graduates in December. He’s still expected to make his public decision on Dec. 12 at a recognition ceremony at James Clemens High School.

Look past those three stars. This guy can play. Here’s the favorite quote I’ve heard about Rice.

“There are a lot of great athletes out there playing football and a lot of guys at the next level who are just tremendous athletes that anybody would want in their program,” Waldrop said. “But that’s not Monty. He’s a football player. He’s a football player that is a great athlete. I think that’s his biggest attribute. This is not a guy that’s coming from another sport trying to convert. This guy’s instincts are all football. He’s tough, intelligent and driven. He’s why I love coaching. I’d love to continue coaching him. He’s just the type of guy who makes it easy to come work, coach and teach football because he just loves it and eats it up.”






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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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