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Jeff Sentell / AJC
What's the latest with several key UGA recruiting targets?

Sentell’s Intel: What I’m hearing right now on 4 very important recruits

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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National Signing Day falls on the first Wednesday in February every year. That’s something everyone can count on.

Well, that and a lot of December and January drama on the recruiting trail. I’ve got five quick-hit updates in mind this morning that should set the stage for what might happen down the stretch for the Class of 2017.

 

Tray Bishop: The nation’s No. 4 ATH for 2017 has been committed to Auburn since July, but I don’t see that holding up right now. I think that his decision is far from over.

The chatter on Bishop is that he’s taking a strong look at both Florida and Georgia. He’s visited both schools over the last six weeks. That includes two trips to Georgia.

If the Terrell County standout flipped to Georgia, then it would be to a program that sees his long-term future at safety. The 6-foot-3, 193-pounder has great speed and size. He also has very strong relationships in place with several key Georgia commits.

Bishop recently told Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports that the strength of his commitment to Auburn was in the 85-to-90 percent range. When a prospect starts throwing that out there and it dips below 90 percent, that’s usually never a good thing for the committed school.

Walker Little: I’ve learned from a couple of sources that things went much better with 5-star OT Walker Little than even most would have expected. His official visit for the Auburn game went about as well as could have been expected. The turmoil at Texas can also work in Georgia’s favor.

I’m going to be clear and express the opinion I think there’s a much bigger chance of Georgia challenging Stanford and Texas than I did previously. I still think Stanford here, but I’ve learned that Georgia really gave Little and his family a lot to think about.

If he came to Georgia and worked like he was ready to claim a starting spot, he could play right away for a program that’s on the rise with a lot of talented young players on the offensive side of the ball.

Stanford Samuels III: The nation’s No. 3 cornerback should not be projected to play anywhere else other than Florida State. The only chances that Georgia or any other school might have would be if Jimbo Fisher bolts for the LSU job. The relationships that Samuels would then have in place with the coaches at UGA would then be a major factor.

Samuels will enroll early and an FSU coaching change would complicate his December timeline. That looks to me like the only sliver of a chance the Bulldogs would have there. He does plan to take his official visit to UGA in December.

Tyler Taylor: I had a recent conversation about Taylor that leads me to believe that Georgia’s chances with the 4-star ILB have decreased. Taylor rates as the nation’s No. 12 ILB for the Class of 2017 and he took a recent official visit to Oklahoma State.

Taylor was a part of my last projected 2017 signing class at UGA, but I’m not so sure I’d put him in there if I had to create a new one to publish on Thanksgiving Day. It seems that other programs have been consistently recruiting Taylor harder than the interest he’s received from Georgia.

Georgia needs to sign up to 6-7 linebackers in this cycle. Taylor was expected to be a part of that group. I know everyone likes to read quick-hit hot takes on these key recruits, but I’m simply not as sure as I once was that he will eventually be in Athens.

The current situation reminds me of something Taylor told me over the summer.

“Georgia is the home state,” Taylor said this summer. “I really like Georgia but sometimes I can’t tell if they are recruiting me hard. Some weeks they are recruiting me hard but other weeks they take off. So I really don’t know how to read them right now.”

Taylor said then that other schools were just contacting him more than the Bulldogs were.

“Georgia is the home state school,” Taylor said at the time. “They are always going to have that advantage. If Georgia recruited me like how the other schools have recruited me, I’d probably have committed already.”

Gibbs gets ready for a big final push

We’ve been told for a few weeks to be on the look out for a Top 5 announcement from DeAngelo Gibbs. DawgNation reported last week that the list should be completed by the middle of this week.

Look for that to possibly happen by Wednesday. Gibbs told DawgNation he might even drop it today.

4-star recruit DeAngelo Gibbs is rated as the nation's No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He's an impact player for top-ranked Grasyon High School. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
4-star recruit DeAngelo Gibbs is rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He’s an impact player for top-ranked Grayson High School. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

The nation’s No. 3 safety has taken just one official visit to Alabama and has four more to go with four weeks left to complete them. He’s in the middle of some impeccable timing.

Gibbs is a part of top-ranked Grayson’s state championship run. The Rams are in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals.

Grayson goes on the road this week to face defending state champion Colquitt County in Moultrie.  The state finals will be on Dec. 9-10 at the Georgia Dome. That’s also the final weekend before the dead period kicks in.

The fact that Gibbs will take part in the Under Armour All-American Game before enrolling early in January only exasperates the process. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was in Athens last weekend for another unofficial visit.

Deon Gibbs, his father, told DawgNation last week that Georgia might actually get one of those last four official visits. Gibbs has repeatedly said there’s nothing else that UGA can show him, but he continues to return to Athens for unofficial visits.

Southern California, along with a school like FSU or Florida, also seem like prime contenders to get one of those four official visits.  Kipp Adams of 247Sports reported on Monday that Gibbs plans to take an official visit to Oklahoma on Dec. 3.

Another big OL takes a closer look at UGA

Stephenson 4-star OG Jalil Irvin took an unofficial visit to UGA for the Louisiana-Lafayette. His story is another example of what the offensive line coaches at Georgia can do when a recruit catches their eye.

When I spoke to Irvin last month, it appeared that he recognized UGA as a good school and a program on the rise but that the fit just wasn’t going to be for him. The one-time Michigan commit backed off that pledge and he sounded much more likely to eventually wind up at Florida or Tennessee.

Irvin is rated as the nation's No. 15 OG for the Class of 2017.
Irvin is rated as the nation’s No. 15 OG for the Class of 2017.

He’d heard the most from Auburn, Florida, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee during his junior season. Not Georgia. The Volunteers have really been hitting him hard with a consistently strong all-around pitch.

The Volunteers have really been hitting him hard with a consistently strong all-around pitch.

“I talk to coach Butch Jones almost every other day,” Irvin said. “We have good little conversations and stuff. And I talk to (Tennessee offensive line coach) coach (Don) Mahoney every day. I honestly don’t know how Coach Jones goes about talking to me the way he does. I can’t say he hits me up at certain times. It seems like I just pop into his head or something, but coach Mahoney and I talk all throughout the day. We talk about football but also life in general. I am real comfortable with him.”

Irvin has a cousin that’s currently playing for the Volunteers and that program was chasing after him hard. The Michigan native also has another cousin that’s playing for Oregon so it is clear that he’s from another family.

But it seems his recent trip to Georgia made an impact.

“I like UGA a lot,” Irvin said. “(I) will definitely be trying to get back up there. Got a lot of attention from coach (Sam) Pittman and (UGA offensive line analyst D.J.) Looney. I really appreciated it.”

Irvin plays tackle for Stephenson, but projects to be at guard or maybe even center at the next level. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 15 OG and at No. 279 overall for the 2017 cycle.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder plans to enroll early. He also wants to make his decision early into his senior year. He plans to take all of his official visits and will look at lot harder at Georgia over the next six months.

“I’m way more interested in them now,” Irvin said. “That visit changed my perspective on them definitely.”

Where would Irvin fit in? It seems Georgia is in very good-to-great shape with 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer and 4-star OG Deontrey Hill. Those two guys are rated as the nation’s top two guards in the Class of 2018.

 

 

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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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