The last weekend for official visits has come and gone for the Class of 2016. The dead period now hovers over the recruiting cycle until National Signing Day on Wednesday.
Lots of folks take that term “dead period” far too literally. Coaches and players can still communicate through text messages, phone calls and direct messages. That term only applied to face-to-face contact and contact both on and off-campus.
This week the term still allows for all those unlimited phone calls and messages.
That sets up the week, but here’s what you need to know about what went down with UGA football recruiting this weekend.
Weekend UGA recruiting rewind: The biggest stories
1) David Marshall returns to the Classic City
Why this matters: Marshall is committed to Auburn, but he’s definitely conflicted thanks to some overwhelming interest from UGA. He took his official visit to UGA last weekend, but came back to Athens one more time on an unofficial visit for another look.
His relationships with UGA commits Chris Barnes and Tyler Clark will be big here. The perception of his recruiting now is he’s expected to flip on signing day and commit to UGA.
It seems pretty hard to even think of him as a commitment anywhere right now. The reality is he’s going to decide between UGA and Auburn and announce his choice at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3.
2) The nation’s No. 1 receiver did not take an official visit to Alabama
Why this matters: The plan for 5-star receiver Demetris Robertson (Savannah, Ga.) was for him to take his third official visit to Georgia Tech on Saturday and then trek to Alabama on Sunday. Well, that didn’t happen. 247sports.com’s Tom Loy and Hank South and Rivals.com’s Woody Wommack have all reported that Robertson did not make the trip to Alabama this weekend.
A trip to UGA is planned after National Signing Day. That’s expected to be this weekend. If he makes that trip, then things look very good for UGA with this prize recruit. Alabama, Notre Dame and Stanford are also very much in the mix for the Savannah Christian standout.
3) Heartwarming story for UGA
Why this matters: Javon Wims is a junior college receiver from Hinds Community College in Mississippi. He’s lived in North and South Florida and has an impressive backstory on the road he’s taken to the SEC. He committed to UGA under Mark Richt and maintained that status along the transition to Kirby Smart’s new staff.
He took his official visit to UGA this weekend and it likely cemented his decision to stick with the Bulldogs. Wims has befriended a Buford High School student with cerebral palsy who is also a budding young journalist. Wims invited the young man to dinner on his official visit and Smart took things a step further by treating him as if he was the nation’s No. 1 tight end prospect coming out of Buford.
Miami, Missouri and Oklahoma have all courted Wims, but it seems hard to fathom he would create a moment like that for the young man with the help of the coaching staff and then sign elsewhere.
4) Another impressive off-the-field story for a UGA target
Why this matters: Did you read about Archer offense tackle EJ Price and his special relationship with a group of high school students at Archer High School? You should.
Price is rated among the top-10 offensive tackles in the nation for 2016 and his decision appears to come down to UGA and Auburn. Those were his last two official visits and he’s expressed the desire to play in the SEC.
5) 5-star LB’s mother shared her thoughts on UGA vs. Alabama
Why this matters: Lyndell “Mack” Wilson is the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker prospect. He hails from Montgomery, Ala., and he has known Smart for years. UGA and Alabama are his final two as he dropped Florida last Friday.
His mother spoke with DawgNation and she shared what she was thinking about the decision. Sandra Wilson said her son was still uncertain about his decision, but also said that her son wasn’t sure that he would win at UGA the way he knew he would at Alabama.
6) Jaleel Laguins and Price both enjoy their visits
Why this matters: EJ Price was committed to UGA earlier this summer. Jaleel Laguins has been committed to UGA since August. Both took their official visits to UGA this weekend and by all accounts things went well.
It does not seem like a radical projection to think that both young men will now sign with UGA on Wednesday.
— Jaleel Laguins (@Leel_DaGreat) February 1, 2016
UGA was excellent GO Dawgs pic.twitter.com/WXp9pFmsqM
— Ej Price (@Ej_Price77) February 1, 2016
7) Metro Atlanta kicker did not get an offer from Alabama
Why this matters: Lassiter senior Mitchell Wasson told DawgNation after his official visit last week that his decision was basically down to Alabama and UGA. If Alabama did not offer a scholarship, then it made sense for him to stay in state and enroll at UGA as a preferred walk-on for the football team.
Considering that Alabama just asked an in-state 3-star linebacker to greyshirt, it seems likely that they don’t have an additional scholarship for a reserve kicker behind senior Blake Griffith.
8) Richard LeCounte III on Periscope
LeCounte, the junior 5-star safety, will go down in the history books as the first player to commit to Smart at UGA. The Liberty County (Hinesville, Ga) standout is a very visible face around UGA football and he’s quickly established himself as a vital player-recruiter for several of the team’s recent commitments.
He used the live video streaming tool known as Periscope over his weekend unofficial visit to UGA. LeCounte was in the locker room and he captured Price, among others, trying on their UGA gear for a photo session. He also tried on a black UGA No. 4 jersey himself and even got Smart to join him on camera.
Smart saw that No. 4 LeCounte was wearing and even referred to him as “Baby Champ.”
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Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
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.