When DawgNation spoke with the fun-loving Netori Johnson last week, it allowed us the chance to tell the offensive tackle’s recruiting story.
We covered a lot of stuff. His time at Prime Prep Academy in Texas. How and where that hair comes about. We also learned about his upcoming prom. Johnson also delivered another nugget: He knows of two other silent commitments to the program at this time.
That’s not the sort of topic to pry about. Every recruit needs to take their own time and figure out their announcement decision. That is to be expected. Johnson did not specify names, and no reporter worth their steno pads or voice recorder should pry in asking him to.
We asked another plugged-in UGA signee how many silent commits he knew of and he could think of only one. Then came the bombshell: Yet another very plugged-in UGA commitment stated there were seven silent commits to the program right now. Yes, that’s right. Seven.
That’s the Prince (RIP) song. Fans of the TV classic “Sanford and Son” just might have grabbed their hearts like Fred G. Sanford right there.
So who could they be? Thursday means the weekend is upon us and there’s nothing wrong with pondering just which recruits might already feel that close to committing to UGA. And with that, we can throw out a few likely names that have some semblance of logic to them.
Here’s fair warning: There are some big names up ahead.
Recruits who already could be a silent commit to UGA
(presented in alphabetical order)
Trey Blount, Pace Academy (Atlanta): The 4-star junior receiver is pushing the 6-foot-3-mark. The nation’s No. 39 receiver competes better than that in my book because he’s such a fluid and polished prospect who understands the all-around aspects of his position at a young age. The capable and willing blocker told DawgNation last week UGA was his “slight leader” after G-Day.
D’Antne Demery, Brunswick (Brunswick, Ga.): The nation’s No. 20 offensive tackle did not make it to G-Day. He was at A-Day in Tuscaloosa instead, but he’s had strong feelings for UGA dating to last summer. He told DawgNation at the Nike regional in Buford last month he planned to make his decision sometime in May during spring practice. Yet a recent report said he was going to wait longer than that. He’s part of UGA line coach Sam Pittman’s dream offensive line in Athens.
(Class of 2016) Brian Herrien, New Manchester (Douglasville, Ga.): There was big news on the Herrien front last week. The unrated senior running back nailed his qualifying score on his ACT to qualify to receive a scholarship. He now only needs to finish with an A-average in his spring semester. He told DawgNation he has the 90 average he needs in his core classes save for one. He’s just two points shy with an 88 in that course at this time. His four-point checklist: 1) Get the ACT; 2) Get the 4.0; 3) Get the offer; 4) Commit and sign.
Malik Herring, Mary Persons (Forsyth, Ga.): The nation’s No. 6 weak-side defensive end is seemingly around the UGA commits at all times at camps and during all-star games. He was once seen as a package deal with his good friend and UGA LB commit Jaden Hunter. Herring has told DawgNation he has a very special relationship with Kirby Smart. Looks for Herring to go through his process. He only gets to do it once, but I’d be stunned if he wasn’t a UGA signee in the end. Does he commit sooner than that? Maybe. He said that UGA caught up with Clemson after G-Day.
Jeremiah Holloman, Newton (Covington, Ga.): His recruiting rankings, much like Blount’s, should spike the next time an evaluation comes out. He’s surged over the last couple of months. The nation’s No. 28 receiver is still a four-star prospect, but with vast athleticism and very good speed. The 6-foot-2, 191-pounder receiver named UGA his new leader coming out of G-Day.
(Class of 2016) Mykelle McDaniel, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.): The three-star defensive end is waiting on the approval of some high school courses he took while he was being home schooled in the eighth grade. Those came from an association with high marks with a great reputation. It should just be a waiting game before those credits are approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. When that happens, there are several factors that point to him signing with UGA. He’ll add depth to the defensive line and was so adept at timing snaps last fall that he forced three fumbles inside the 1-yard line. Yeah, that’s is uncommon.
(Class of 2016) Demetris Robertson, Savannah Christian (Savannah, Ga.): Heard about this guy? The nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2016 is set to make his decision on Sunday. Will it be UGA, Cal, Georgia Tech or Notre Dame? No one really knows for sure, but despite recent chatter, the projection here is still to UGA.
JaCoby Stevens, Oakland HS (Murfreesboro, Tenn.): The nation’s No. 1 athlete might take longer than a lot of the guys on this list to decide, but he came out with UGA as his leader earlier this year and has yet to re-rack his schools. The five-star prospect and future safety really likes UGA and already has weekly communication set up with Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
D’Andre Swift, St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, Pa. ): The nation’s No. 1 all-purpose back has swiftly emerged as a hot UGA option. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder made two trips in three weeks this month and already can see himself playing at UGA. He released his Top 10 the day before G-Day but told DawgNation last week he already needs to trim those options down. That sounds like G-Day sure made a big impression on him, doesn’t it?
(Class of 2018) Christian Tutt, Thomson (Thomson, Ga.) : He did transfer to IMG Academy in January, but he already has transferred back to Thomson High near Augusta. Tutt is tight with UGA four-star commitment and uber-recruiter Richard LeCounte III. He’s told DawgNation that he plans to make his public commitment after his junior season, but it might be even sooner than that. Former Bulldog Danny Verdun is also his uncle. Tutt has made several trips to Athens since Smart was hired, too.
Leonard Warner III, Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.): The four-star linebacker has been to UGA more than any other school and he recently told DawgNation that no other school was recruiting him harder than the Bulldogs. Warner hopes to find a great academic and athletic fit, and UGA definitely can offer him that. Warner is also among a host of top linebackers in the Southeast for the Class of 2017.
Jamyest Williams, Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.): The Athens native took another trip to UGA for G-Day and came away impressed. He’s really warming to the idea of playing with the type of talent that UGA is lining up in the secondary for the Class of 2017. Williams also told DawgNation he’s been up to see UGA practice multiple times for spring practice.
Other names to consider: 3-star DE/OLB Michael Allen (Lanier High / Buford, Ga.); 4-star DE Robert Beal (Norcross High / Norcross, Ga.); 4-star DE/OLB Markaviest Bryant (Crisp County / Cordele, Ga.); 3-star OLB Walter Grant (Cairo / Cairo, Ga.); 4-star OL Tony Gray (Central Gwinnett / Lawrenceville, Ga.); 4-star WR Nico Collins (Clay-Chalkville / Pinson, Ala.); 5-star CB DeAngelo Gibbs (Grayson / Loganville, Ga.); 4-star LB Nate McBride (Vidalia / Vidalia, Ga.); 3-star LB Tyler Taylor (Lanier / Buford, Ga.); 4-star OT Andrew Thomas (Pace Academy / Atlanta, Ga.)
Silent commits are perhaps the most inexact of things to analyze in the world of big-time recruiting. The very meanings of the words “silent” and “commitment” seem like they do not belong in the same sentence. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that a couple of names on the “most likely” list are better off swapping spots with a few of the top prospects in that “other names to consider” batch.
Study those names. There’s no doubt the bulk of the next recruiting class at UGA will include several of those athletes.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him 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.
NextWatch: UGA football recruiting chat with Jeff Sentell