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Here are the 10 need-to-know stories
1. Analysis: What are UGA’s chances with Isaac Nauta?
Former Buford tight end Isaac Nauta is now at IMG Academy in Florida. He has revealed over the last few days he’s got four of his five official visits in mind. Those schools are Michigan, Southern Cal, TCU and UGA.
He has reopened his recruitment and he’s got one remaining official visit slot left to give. Will it go to Oregon or Oklahoma? Could Alabama be a contender? DawgNation took a moment yesterday to assess every single tea leaf when it comes to Nauta’s chances of signing at UGA.
Quick conclusion: There’s a lot of red and black among those tea leaves. Yet there’s also enough history and family ties with his interest in Michigan and TCU to not count him as a commitment before he puts a cap on at the Army All-American game on Jan. 9.
2. Another Nauta nugget
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the visits Nauta has selected was there was nary a mention of Florida State. He was only committed to that program for about 8.5 months.
IMG Academy held a Media Day yesterday and Nauta was available for interviews. Nauta told ESPN’s Derek Tyson the Seminoles were no longer one of his top schools. That’s the same opinion he expressed to Josh Newberg of 247sports. He told Newberg he’s still in contact with the coaching staff, but they no longer occupy prime real estate on his leaderboard.
Florida State is just no longer one of his top schools. He’s considering others right now and not making any public comments that might be seen in a negative light toward FSU. There are two clear takeaways from this information:
- FSU has some serious catch-up to do. There’s a strong possibility he will never seriously consider that program again
- That’s also a very mature way to handle that situation.When he de-committed five days ago, he didn’t want to visit other schools and have to clear it with FSU’s coaches all the time. He’s also moving on without detailing why. He’s simply looking forward. No ill will. No burnt bridge. They broke up. It just didn’t work out. That’s the way high school break-ups should go, but seldom do.
3. Which SEC schools are cleaning up in recruiting?
Do those recruiting ranking stars matter? Opinions vary. Remember what McEachern’s Julian Rochester said this week?
The better topic is how do SEC schools reel in those stars compared to their league rivals. That’s a different measure of the aptitude of the recruiting machines at each school. How is UGA doing with the Class of 2016? Its right about halftime in the recruiting timeline for this year’s class and UGA currently rates around the median of the SEC. That can all change quickly with a few big names.
Mark Richt and his staff have locked down 15 prospects so far. UGA’s two 5-star pledges rank second in the SEC, but they don’t have nearly as many 4-star recruits committed as others do. Alabama has 11 4-stars in its stable compared to just four for UGA.
4. Confession: Elijah Holyfield likes at least one chick movie
Elijah Holyfield is HUGE for UGA this year when it comes to recruiting at the running back position. The Woodward Academy senior decides on Sept. 4 between Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina, UGA and Tennessee.
You want to know the answer to that question. We all do. But do you know what he thinks about that whole Mike Tyson ear-chomping incident with his 4-time World Heavyweight Champion of the World Dad? Do you know who he’d let punch HIM in the face? Do you why he’d watch Leonardo DiCaprio act out anything? Including a monologue about the stretch play?
Here’s a promise: Our recruiting coverage at DawgNation won’t always be about leaders and stars and rankings and visits. We’ll make sure to tell you what a recruit thinks a penguin would say to them if they walked onto the practice field wearing a sombrero.
5. Talented in-state junior squashes rumor
McEachern junior receiver Tyler Smith caught 20 touchdown passes last year from the arm of UGA commitment Bailey Hockman. There were rumors swirling that he’d already all but settled his recruiting and was trending toward following Hockman to UGA.
Not so fast, friends. The 4-star recruit told the AJC this week that those whispers were premature and he’s got a a ways to go before he’s ready to settle on a school.
6. Should UGA rent a studio or loft near McEachern?
3-star OL Tremayne Anchrum tells DawgNation he has 22 scholarship offers. That may also be the same number of McEachern who are being recruited by UGA. Almost. Hockman and Rochester are commitments. They’ve already made an appearance in today’s Rewind.
There’s also 4-star receivers Tyler Simmons (2016) and Tyler Smith (2017) on the roster who hold significant UGA interest.
Anchrum told the AJC’s Chris Kirschner that UGA was his leader out of all the offers. He’ll visit soon for the South Carolina game and then have a much clearer heading on whether he needs to explore any other recruiting options.
7. IMG’s 5-star DE sets up visits
IMG’s virtual All-Star team Media Day offered up more than just Nauta news on Wednesday. 5-star DE Shavar Manuel told the reporters on hand that he’s also set up four of his five official visits.
Those lucky teams are: Auburn, Clemson, Florida and LSU. According to reports, Florida State would be the team best positioned right now to land that fifth official visit.
8. Gators get commit No. 20
First-year Florida coach Jim McElwain parlayed some of his old Alabama recruiting ties to land another commitment on Wednesday. The Gators picked up their 20th commitment for the Class of 2016 with the commitment of 3-star Jeawon Taylor. The 3-star hails from Montgomery and it continues the Florida trend so far with this class.
He’s the 17th 3-star commitment. The Gators are getting the good, but not great players. Kentucky is the only other school in the SEC with more 3-stars on the commitment board than that. Good luck, Jim. The rebuilding effort might take a few years.
9. Who’s the best RB in Georgia this year?
Elijah Holyfield has his share of votes as the top back in Georgia this fall, but there would be other names that pop up in that discussion. Charlton County also has a player who would merit consideration in that best in the state debate. The AJC College Recruiting Blog offered up a profile yesterday on Andrew Lee.
He needs to do some extra work in the classroom to boost his grades, but he’s clearly got the game. If he was already an NCAA qualifier, you would have already read a whole lot more about the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Lee by now.
10. Nation’s top ILB looking around
IMG Academy’s Rahshaun Smith showed up at Dawg Night last month. The Clemson commitment is regarded as the nation’s top-rated inside linebacker, but then reportedly showed up at Auburn the next day.
The 6-foot-3, 239-pounder was also at IMG Media Day yesterday and told ESPN’s Gerry Hamilton he will visit LSU on Oct. 17 and Auburn on Nov. 14. He will also take official visits to Clemson and Miami, but those dates have not been set yet. It looks like his Dawg Night trip was not enough to get UGA up among those leaders.
Smith plans to be an early enrollee and told Hamilton his commitment to Clemson was solid.
ONE MO’ REP: Did you want to wait till the end of the Rewind to check out that Holyfield video? I bet you did. If that was your plan, here you go:
Thanks as always for stopping by. Missed a day or two? Check out this week’s previous installments:
Jeff Sentell covers 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.