UGA has placed an emphasis on keeping the state’s top prospects home over the years, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with 4-star Trey Sermon. Sermon, the state of Georgia’s No. 1 running back prospect for 2017, has seen increased interest from several top programs, but said on Tuesday he hasn’t heard from UGA in a while.
“Not recently,” the Sprayberry High School product said when asked if he’d been contacted by UGA. “They haven’t really reached out to me.”
Earlier in the fall, Sermon told DawgNation he had talked to UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown and that they were “building a relationship.”
So what changed?
Well, 4-star running back Elijah Holyfield publicly announced his commitment to UGA early in September. Holyfield, the state’s top running back prospect in this year’s class, was a big priority for UGA. There are also rumors Texas 4-star running back Devwah Whaley has secretly committed and will join Holyfield at UGA.
If UGA does have another elite running back duo, it may no longer view Sermon as a priority. While that may have caused UGA to back off, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder doesn’t seem worried by the potential competition.
“I haven’t paid attention to it and I don’t really think it will affect (my recruitment) in any way, because I don’t shy away from competition,” Sermon said. “I think it would be pretty cool to compete against a guy like (Holyfield).”
Another possible factor in dwindling communication could be an injury Sermon sustained during his team’s second game. While trying to catch a pass, Sermon was hit in the back by a defender. He later learned he had fractured a bone in his back.
“It hurt him, and we thought at the time, both us, our trainer and the doctors thought it was a bruised muscle in his back,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “He kind of limped around and hobbled around for a few weeks, and the medical team advised us to just take it easy on him and that he’d be able to play based on how he’d handle the pain. To tell you a little about his toughness, he played the next two games with a broken back.”
After discovering the true extent of the injury, Sermon was sidelined for the remainder of his junior season and began physical therapy. There were no obvious signs of the injury on Tuesday, however, and Sermon insisted that his recovery was going well.
UGA will face stiff competition for Sermon. Some of the top programs in college football have expressed interest in the nation’s No. 4 running back prospect for 2017.
“I’m still hearing from Ohio State, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Notre Dame, they started reaching out to me, and Oregon,” Sermon said.
Sermon indicated that Ohio State had made a good impression earlier this year. After Tuesday’s conversation, it appears that’s still the case.
“I still like them a lot,” Sermon said grinning.
Another school appears to have come on strong lately.
“I think the school that really started to show a lot of interest was Oklahoma,” Sermon said. “They offered me earlier in the season, but as it went on they were reaching out to me more and I get a lot of mail and talk to the coaches.”
He added: “The school that sends me the most mail would probably have to be Oklahoma.”
Sermon isn’t ready to release a Top 5, or even an updated Top 10, but did provide some clues.
“Well, I know for a fact that Tennessee and Ohio State and Alabama, they’re interested in me,” Sermon said. “I’m still really re-evaluating all of the schools so that I can make sure that, if I was to release my Top 5 it would be right for me.”
He also revealed his upcoming travel plans.
“I may visit Tennessee this weekend, but I know for a fact that on Nov. 28 I’m visiting Florida for the Florida-Florida State game.”
The 4-star junior has been rated as No. 5 prospect in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2017.
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.