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Devonte Wyatt just got back from his official visit to Georgia. The much-needed 4-star DT prospect had spent the previous official visit weekend at South Carolina.
If the high-stakes world of recruiting was neat and tidy, those back-to-back visits would’ve allowed the Towers High (Decatur, Ga.) standout to make concrete evaluations about each school.
Georgia? South Carolina? Flip? Stay home?
Wyatt doesn’t have those answers. The only thing he seems certain of right now is he likely will take an official to Florida this coming weekend.
“I’m thinking about it,” Wyatt said about that. “I probably will, though.”
He’ll likely be in Gainesville but said his decision should still be Georgia or South Carolina. The nation’s No. 273 overall prospect also knows he should arrive at his decision on the day before National Signing Day.
Everything else? That will take more time.
The ultimate arbiter for that point came when he was asked what he would do if National Signing Day was this week.
“If I didn’t know by then and I had the hats sitting in front of me I would just play eeny meeny miny mo I guess to decide that,” Wyatt said.
How close is it right now?
“That’s hard to say,” Wyatt said. “It really is still 50-50. Just because South Carolina has shown me more attention than Georgia doesn’t mean that I’m going to go there. They are telling me they need me more than Georgia because they are struggling for D-linemen, too. It is still 50-50 for me.”
An interesting paradox
Wyatt’s favorite part of his official visit to Georgia was a definite eye-opener.
“When I met one of the football players,” Wyatt said. “I met one of the recruits. He was committed to South Carolina, too. The cornerback.”
He was talking about 4-star CB target Jamyest Williams. Williams is the South Carolina commit who is taking a good, hard look at Georgia.
That’s basically the mirror image of what Wyatt is sorting through.
“He said he didn’t know where he was going either,” Wyatt said. “Both of us are like in the same predicament right now.”
He felt that Williams was just as undecided as he was.
“I can’t speak to him really right now,” Wyatt said. “It just feels like we are both in the same boat right now. We don’t know what we are doing. We don’t know yet. There is so much to look at here.”
Reviewing the official visit
How did Wyatt’s official visit go in Athens?
“It went well,” Wyatt said. “Good stuff. The same things. I feel comfortable about my commitment and stuff like that.”
Wyatt said the decision was very close heading into the visit and gave a clear example why.
“South Carolina was showing me more attention,” Wyatt said. “South Carolina told me I was their No. 1 prospect. South Carolina was showing me so much attention so I thought I wouldn’t get the same things from Georgia.”
He said the Bulldogs were also showing him attention but not like the coaches at South Carolina. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp even fixed a plate of food for Wyatt on a recent visit.
Wyatt said that no Georgia coach did anything that resembled that on his official visit.
“I don’t feel different about Georgia and South Carolina after this last official,” Wyatt said. “They are still equal to me. South Carolina is giving me all this attention but this is a business thing here. I understand how it goes.”
He made that point because he feels starting opportunities at Florida and South Carolina would come faster than playing time at Georgia.
What “50-50” looks like
Did Georgia do anything to strengthen or solidify his commitment this weekend?
“No, sir,” Wyatt said.
Did it get weaker?
“No, sir,” Wyatt said. “It is still the same.”
What is the status of his commitment after back-to-back visits to the schools that likely will be his finalists?
“It is still 50-50 basically,” Wyatt said. “I only say that it is 50-50 because anywhere I go I’m going to show out. I’m going to show my talent. I am different from a lot of football players.”
Background on Wyatt
This is the part where his No. 14 national ranking at defensive tackle should be brought up, but with an asterisk. Wyatt didn’t do the evaluation camp circuit, and that rating likely would be higher if he did. He’s a raw prospect but has elite speed for a defensive tackle.
Or defensive end. Or tight end.
The high school coaches at Towers High report he can run a 40-yard dash in the 4.6 to 4.7-second range. Wyatt lined up at tailback this year in order to showcase that speed.
Wyatt said he put on some official visit weight prior to getting on the scales at Georgia.
He was measured at 6 feet, 2 inches and at 301 pounds. That’s about 15-20 pounds up from his ideal playing weight.
He knows he can play.
“Anywhere I go I’m going to get my shine,” Wyatt said. “So I can’t just go off of what coaches say or I don’t care how many defensive linemen that Georgia has. I don’t care about how many defensive lineman South Carolina or Florida have. Wherever I go I am going to start. That’s just me. I’ve got the mentality that I am going to ball out, work hard and make plays.”
Why Wyatt matters so much to UGA now
Could Georgia miss on both Aubrey Solomon and Wyatt for this cycle? Towers coach Brian Montgomery said Georgia coach Kirby Smart told him earlier this year that Solomon and Wyatt were the best two defensive tackles in Georgia this year.
Solomon seems bound for Alabama or Michigan at this time. That makes Wyatt vital to provide a quality defensive tackle option in this class. Georgia signed a horde of impact defensive tackles last year (Michail Carter, Tyler Clark, David Marshall, Julian Rochester) but they need to bring in 2-3 talents just like those guys in every recruiting class.
That’s what Alabama was built on. Elite trench players. That allows the defensive coordinator and line coach to roll out a large rotation of athletic big men in a tight game.
“The Georgia coaches were telling me this weekend that even though they have a lot of defensive tackles that I am way more athletic than most of them,” Wyatt said. “I’m faster and quicker, so they got a feeling that I can play both defensive end and tackle. They feel like I can be in their first eight (in their defensive line rotation) or in the first lineup.”
Wyatt thinks South Carolina offers the best chance to play out of all his options.
“I would play faster at South Carolina because they have fewer defensive linemen,” Wyatt said. “Well, maybe South Carolina and Florida, too. Florida is struggling for (defensive linemen) right now.”
He said the official visit to South Carolina went better than the Georgia visit.
“I would say South Carolina and that’s because of my momma and all,” Wyatt said. “My parents liked South Carolina because they showed more love and showed more attention. But I do like Georgia and South Carolina. Because I like both of the schools and all of the coaches. I can’t even really say who I like the best there.”
How close is it? Wyatt said he couldn’t say if he had more fun on the Georgia or the South Carolina visit.
The situation with Solomon doesn’t appear to be strong for Georgia.
Fans might hope that is a big smoke screen, but Wyatt said that the Georgia coaches didn’t let him know how big of a priority he was in regard to the other defensive tackles on the board.
The Bulldogs also extended an offer to junior college DT Larrell Murchison over the weekend. The Ole Miss commit is now a major target at defensive tackle.
The nature of both Solomon’s interest and Wyatt’s process likely mandated that offer. But Murchison said the staff feels he will play right away and he has the skill set to play all three downs.
Wyatt said he didn’t feel like the Bulldogs showed him any more attention than usual this weekend. He did not indicate that it would matter to him if he was the No. 1 target for the Bulldogs at DT. He’s simply that confident in his ability to play no matter which school he eventually signs with.
Kirby Smart’s message to Wyatt
Wyatt said Georgia coach Kirby Smart spoke about South Carolina coach Will Muschamp with the utmost respect. According to Wyatt, Smart said they were practically best friends.
But then he set the record straight about his value to the Bulldogs.
“He said we need you the same amount as they need you,” Wyatt said in reference to South Carolina and Muschamp. “He said the media was going crazy that I was pushing away from them. He was just reminding me why they needed me.”
South Carolina might have the jersey he wants to wear right away. Wyatt said he tried on the No. 17 jersey at UGA this weekend.
That’s the number he wants to wear, but that’s held by rising senior OLB Davin Bellamy for the 2017 season. It means he might suit up in No. 9 or No. 16 for his freshman year.
The Towers High standout said he could wear No. 17 right away at South Carolina.
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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.