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5-star Jadon Haselwood ranks as the nation's No. 1 overall receiver for 2019. He has been committed to UGA since March of 2017.

The non-recruiting reason why UGA commit Jadon Haselwood has taken recent visits

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a chance for folks to get another altogether view on why he’s always on the road visiting a college campus somewhere while at the same time he also still sounds strongly committed to Georgia.

FRISCO, Texas – Jadon Haselwood has taken several unofficial visits to Auburn of late.

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Jadon Haselwood came into the Nike Opening with bruised ribs. He said he’s basically not even 80 percent out there this week. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The 5-star has also made an official visit to Oklahoma. That program has a considerable in-family tug for the nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2019.

Haselwood will take all five of his official visits. That’s something he said he was going to do both before and after he committed to UGA in March of 2017.

Nothing has changed.

He’s following a plan established long ago. The Cedar Grove standout feels he’s earned that right to take all five of his officials if he wanted to. He discussed that plan with me both before and after he committed to the Bulldogs in March of 2017.

The short recipe for Georgia to retain him?

  • Win games to show 2017 was just the start of something big
  • Recruit him like a priority
  • Throw the ball around a little more
  • The extra topper would be getting the chance to see his close friend Justin Fields hit the field. But only if he’s good enough in his first season to merit that.

He’s mentioned those hopes so often it seems like they belong in the same introductory paragraphs with “5-star” and “nation’s top receiver” when writing about him.

And yet those ratings are not mere projections. Not for a guy with Haselwood’s size and skills. The nation’s No. 6 overall prospect is talented enough to step in and play for the Bulldogs in 2018 or 2019.

He’s just that competitive and physical and talented. So when he visits another campus, the news of that will get out.

It attracts attention in the hyperfast news cycle of the recruiting industry.

Why Jadon Haselwood wanted to get away in June

When he takes those visits, he’s not trying to generate page views, headlines and opposing levels of worry and glee for big-time coaching staffs. (He also spent three days at UGA with Fields recently, too. )

It wasn’t just hearing what Auburn has to say. Again.

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5-star UGA commit Jadon Haselwood is the nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2019. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Those trips sound like they were made for more than just his recruiting. Haselwood’s example is that not everything an elite prospect does should be directly associated with his recruiting.

“I really just do it to get away,” Haselwood said, right before opening up this week to talk about those most trying time of his life.

Cedar Grove lost one of its senior football players from the 2018 class to a tragedy that deeply affected the school and its community. His name was Trevon Richardson.

Haselwood will likely always just call him “Trey.”

“Losing Trey kind of made me slow down a little bit,” Haselwood said. “Just thinking about him here while I am at the Opening makes me sad. It is hard just thinking about it. We’ve got pictures of him in our locker room now.”

“Every time we all go out and practice or play we are going to think about him.”

There’s another way to look at any recent college visit.

“I try to do that and just get away to help heal and get my mind through all that stuff,” he said. “He was always on my mind for awhile and the trips could be a distraction for me.”

Darrin Hood, a close friend and mentor to Haselwood, feels the trips are necessary.

“If Jadon is just sitting around the house the loss of his friend will weigh on his mind heavy,” Hood told DawgNation. “The best way to get over it in Jadon’s mind — and to a sense, I agree  — is to keep active. Losing a friend is tough, but if you sit around and think about it it can pull you down to a very low place.”

Instead of staying in a shell Jadon is living his life as his friend is living through him. So everything he does is for him and his friend.”

A life lost far too soon 

Trevon Richardson was murdered. That sentence seems just so tough to type in a story about a 5-star football recruit. It took place just days after his graduation outside an Atlanta-area apartment complex.

Published reports said his graduation money was missing.

Jadon Haselwood makes an over-the-shoulder catch on Day 1 of the Nike Opening finals in Texas on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He was just 18 years old. Richardson, a receiver just like Haselwood, has signed a football scholarship to play for Valdosta State in the class of 2018.

Richardson was going somewhere. Haselwood feels this loss is the toughest of his life, too.

“It was all so tough for me,” Haselwood said. “I was crying about ‘Trey’ for about two weeks after that. I was a pallbearer at the funeral. It kind of hurt me in a deep way.”

Haselwood said losing Richardson was like losing a brother.

“We used to hang out all the time,” Haselwood said. “We used to always hang out with each other at one another’s houses after games and we’d always go to Waffle House together. Ride in the same car.”

Cedar Grove will honor Richardson this fall. It might be a patch on every jersey.

“This has taught me to keep my brothers close,” Haselwood said. “Make sure they are on top of their stuff and not making any poor decisions.”

Police have made an arrest in Richardson’s case. 

Check out the shoes of the 5-star UGA pledge

Nike aims for the ultimate showcase and prospect experience at the signature recruiting exposure event on the recruiting landscape.

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Jadon Haselwood designed his custom Nike cleats with a special message that honored the life of his former Cedar Grove High School teammate Trevon Richardson. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation.com)

The Opening goes hard in the paint with all the bells and whistles it can. Antonio Brown showed up Saturday. Todd Gurley and Rob Gronkowski were on hand on Sunday.

A new feature for this year gave all 162 athletes on hand the chance to make their own unique cleats.

Haselwood customized his with the phrase “EAZ6LLT.”

The matter that the message is cast in a certain school’s color seems wildly trivial in the context of a life lost far too soon.

The first part of the script is for East Atlanta Zone 6. That’s a nod to the specific part of Atlanta where Haselwood grew up. It is important for him to make sure he never forgets where he came from.

That last “LLT” is for Long Live Trevon.

“It was special putting those on,” Haselwood said. “I made them that way on purpose. I think I have another pair of shoes coming in with some more stuff for ‘Trey’ but I don’t think I’m even going to wear those. I’m just going to put those up on the shelf.”

He wore those shoes when he ran the 40. Haselwood wasn’t exactly sure of his time but estimated that it was in the 4.56 range.

Haselwood wasn’t pleased with his other efforts.

“My vertical was trash,” he said. “Everything else was trash. I’m worn out. I just came here from the (Rivals) Five Star Challenge.”

His ribs are bothering him.

“My ribs are still kind of banged up,” Haselwood said. “I’m not even 90 (percent) healthy here. Probably like 75.”

5 less important things to note about Jadon Haselwood

  • He hasn’t planned any of his official visits. It sounds like that is something that he is in no hurry to do so at this time.
  • His family has accompanied him on his other visits, including his mother. But Haselwood told DawgNation UGA is still her favorite. He said his mother would still probably slap him if he chose to go anywhere else other than UGA.
  • Haselwood will still take those five officials, including one to UGA. He’s not sure when that one will take place. He did say he would like to do so for a rivalry game.
  • When he thinks back to the time he knew that Georgia was the place for him more than 15 months ago, it goes back to an unofficial visit with 5-star freshman OLB Brenton Cox. That was the visit which really defined the structure of his college recruitment.
  • There’s a lot written about his connection to Justin Fields. That’s obvious and clear. But I think what doesn’t get noticed enough is his connection to Cox. When I asked Cox about the freshman signee he thinks will make the biggest impact on defense this fall, his answer was Cox. It took him about half the time it takes to hiccup for him to come up with that one.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.