The 5 things to know regarding 5-star Jadon Haselwood and his decison
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. This undertaking is an effort to try to frame up the big picture regarding the decision which will be made by 5-star receiver Jadon Haselwood.
Jadon Haselwood de-committed from Georgia back on Oct. 2. DawgNation has had the chance to collect his thoughts a couple of times since then on where things stand with his recruiting.
If one feels they might some background to get up to speed here, consider the following:
- WATCH: Jadon Haselwood on UGA just prior to his de-commitment (Oct. 3)
- Jadon Haselwood shares several new elements to his final decision (Oct. 20)
- Haselwood changes up his official visit plan with UGA (Oct. 30)
The intent here is to frame up the matter for the DawgNation readership about how things look right now regarding the nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2019.Haselwood, an All-American Bowl participant, also ranks as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite for 2019.
This guy is really good.
The big picture with 5-star Jadon Haselwood
Haselwood will make his third official visit (Oklahoma and Miami so far) to Auburn this weekend. With that, it is necessary to bring the many moving parts of his decision into focus.
Or at least try to.
It seems the biggest thing the Bulldogs still need to do is to define how they plan to use Haselwood in their offense. He’s stated before that he has basically only been told he will be an outside or an “X” receiver in Athens.
That leads me to believe there is an information gap with what he’s heard from the Bulldogs compared to what the recruiters from his other options have presented to him.
Item #1: He will sign with the program he feels will best deploy his skill set
Reason: He wants to play on Sundays. Which team will give him the best NFL resume in three years? That is where all of this begins and ends.
Haselwood is the nation’s No. 1 receiver in the class. 247Sports has a feature where it lists the all-time highest rated recruits at every position since 2000. That is detailed within their library of archived and published ratings.
The Cedar Grove All-American (and 2016 state champion) rates as the 16th-highest rated receiver since the inception of those rankings in 2000. That places him behind the likes of luminaries such as A.J. Green (15th), Percy Harvin (4th), Julio Jones (2nd) and Dorial Green-Beckham (1st) over the years.
The GHSA state champion hurdler rates higher than current NFL standouts such as Stefon Diggs (17th), Calvin Ridley (31st) and Jarvis Landry (40th) in that time span. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect is the highest-rated receiver in those rankings since 2012.
That’s the simplest way to illustrate he is a very rare talent.
Haselwood is also a recruit who, in my estimation, is also the best player in Georgia for this cycle. Not just the top prospect. He catches both of those evaluations.
Georgia all-time great Terrence Edwards told DawgNation that Haselwood is the best prospect at receiver he has seen out of the high school ranks since Green.
Is he being picky to try and line up the best possible program fit for his future?
The feeling here is he has earned that right. Especially since he displays absolutely zero behavior that takes away from his Cedar Grove team.
Haselwood will occupy press man double teams at the line and returns kicks and play safety. He’s the type of athlete that if he decided he would rather hit people on Saturdays, then he’d be a 5-star safety, too.
Item #2: He wants to see “the ball in the air”
Haselwood’s father went to school at Oklahoma. That’s a prolific passing offense. When we look at the schools that are in his final group that roll call should go: Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma and even FSU and USC to some extent.
Those last two schools are vying to get his final official visit.
Auburn hasn’t been a stable team this year. Georgia was beaten soundly at LSU. The Bulldogs are a physical program which ranks as the No. 9 rushing offense nationally at 258 yards per game.
Miami has seen a few losses pile up. FSU and USC are clearly in rebuilding mode right now. Oklahoma lost to Texas. Every contender has a blemish or two.
He will look at wins and losses, but they will not be the ultimate factor. He recently brought up how Cedar Grove did in the won-loss column when he was in middle school. That was prior to the ascent of several talented players in their 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 classes.
When Haselwood signs with a school, he realizes his playing time will not be up to him. He can only contribute his effort and attitude toward that decision. He does not want to be handed the starting job. When a school tells him that, he knows they are lying.
If they do, he has described how that causes his immediate disinterest in going to that school to play for that coach. That PT will be the coach’s decision. He cannot control that. But the last thing he can control will be trying to find the best fit for him prior to his enrollment in January of 2019.
Haselwood also has a strong inner circle group of advisors. He is being made aware of how much schools are throwing the ball week-to-week in their game plans.
His decision may come down to a gut feeling about where he feels at home and where he has the greatest chance of being successful while contributing to his team’s overall success.
Does he want to be featured? Does he want the offense to call his number? Of course.
I bet a large majority of those receivers on those previously linked all-time prospects lists hoped to see that same work rate in college, too.
Item #3: He is a dedicated and willing blocker
This will be the shortest entry. Just pull up any Cedar Grove game film. He is very physical and is a willing and able blocker. Haselwood celebrates when the coverage is rolled his way and the run game slices up a defense on the other side of the field.
He exults when he forces his will on a cornerback to spring a back for a big gain. He knows that’s where the highlights of his reel can come from, too. The NFL watches that.
The 5-star receiver would fit in well with any offense which requires him to block before throwing him that proverbial rock.
Item #4: He really is wide open
There are a lot of dancing conspiracies out there. Let’s see if we can cover them all:
- Auburn has the inside lane due to the fact that he played for Cam Newton’s 7-on-7 team.
- Auburn has the inside lanes due to his relationships with Auburn commits Bo Nix and George Pickens from their time together on that 7-on-7 team.
- Miami has the edge because they are an Adidas school. Haselwood is playing in an Adidas-backed All-American game and frequently wears their gear.
- Miami has an edge because that Mark Richt offense helped launch A.J. Green to the NFL. (There is some merit to this specific theory.)
- Georgia has the inside track because of his good friend Justin Fields is on campus there.
- Georgia does not have the inside track because Justin Fields is not yet the starter there.
- Oklahoma will be where he winds up because his father went to school there.
- Oklahoma will be where he winds up because the ball is in the air. The Sooners amass an average of 361 yards per game. That ranks No. 3 nationally. (This sounds far too logical to be in this list.)
- The other ratings for passing yards per game: Miami (54th); Auburn (65th); UGA (105th). (Alabama is also 91st in this category.)
There are probably more of these to chronicle, but we all have football games to get to on Saturday.
As of today, it seems logical to conclude that Auburn, Georgia, Miami and Oklahoma are viable contenders. FSU and Southern California (USC) are in the running. Especially if they get that last official visit.
Haselwood will sign during the early period but will not release his decision until the commitment ceremony at the All-American Bowl on NBC on Jan. 5.
“I just don’t know right now,” Haselwood said.
Oklahoma will not get a revisit prior to him finish up all of his officials.
“I am trying to figure out all of my officials before I go check out anybody two times,” he said.
Item #4: Who the QB is at Georgia is not a deciding factor
This, to me, does not sound like a deal breaker. If he goes to Miami, he won’t have the same quarterback-to-receiver bond he has with UGA freshman Justin Fields.
That also will not exist at FSU or Oklahoma or USC. He played on the same summer and spring 7-on-7 teams with Auburn pledge Bo Nix, but that doesn’t matter a great deal here.
Fields knows what he does best. He feels the rapport the two built up together during the 2017 season playing for Newton’s 7-on-7 team shows that.
He also knows he has no control over who will line up under center. Anywhere.
We’ll let Haselwood share his thinking on that matter at UGA for the utmost clarity.
“Because I’m not the head coach,” Haselwood said. “Obviously [the coach] knows what is going on with it on the inside. Outsiders like us don’t really know what is going on between the two during practice. We don’t watch practice. It is definitely how much the ball is in the air and not who is throwing the ball.”
An “Air Raid” team might target their No. 1 receiver 8-10 times per game. Yet then he might see more double or bracket coverage. The pro-style offense (like a Miami or a Georgia) will draw more defenders into the box to keep doubles and bracket coverage away.
The more defenders in the box, the greater the chance for single coverage out wide.
“Exactly,” Hasewlood acknowledged when noting he’s looking for a balance.
He just can’t say exactly what that would look like.
“That’s a question I can’t really answer right now,” Haselwood said. “I just want opportunities. Opportunities are not given. You have just got to earn them.”
If anything, he simply would like to see the Bulldogs take more shots downfield. If it could be quantified, it might simply be 1-2 more of those vertical shots per half, if that.
How much has he been watching UGA since his de-commitment? It is interesting to see that QB Jake Fromm has put up three consecutive 200-yard games this month. Fromm now has four of those games this year, including a high of 267 yards against Missouri.
The sophomore QB also has thrown three touchdown passes in a game four different times this year.
Haselwood said he hasn’t been watching every week.
“I haven’t been watching UGA but fans have been tweeted at me,” Haselwood said. “So I have heard they have been throwing the ball more.”
Item #5: Georgia is still a good fit in a few core areas
My reporting leads me to believe he still likes Georgia. The base offense for the Bulldogs is still a good fit for his talents and he has very few issues with that.
Haselwood has acknowledged in the past he rarely feels “at home” or smiles so freely the way he does at UGA. The belief here is that Haselwood still feels like a big game at Sanford Stadium might be the most electrifying atmosphere in college football.
That’s the program, the fans, the staff, the players on the team. All those boxes are checked by UGA.
He has built up an intimate knowledge of the roster, the players, the program and the staff since November of 2016. It will be hard for any program to match that.
He has a close circle of friends, family and loved ones. His younger brother, Peyton Baker, is a cherished part of his life. The Bulldogs do factor in very well in terms of location. Baker, 4, is one of the reasons why Haselwood grinds so hard to be the best he can be.
Haselwood also has established a good vibe with UGA receivers coach Cortez Hankton. Hankton played the position in the NFL. There is a good vibe there between the two and he has always been close to quarterbacks coach James Coley. He committed to UGA when Coley was still the receivers coach in March of 2017.
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