ATHENS — Any questions about where Jaleel Laguins’ recruitment by Georgia stands were answered at his Watkinsville home on Sunday night.
Laquins, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound linebacker at Oconee County High School and a longtime Bulldogs’ commitment, received an in-home visit from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart on Sunday night.
“It went pretty good,” said Laguins as he prepared for the first track practice of the season on Monday. “It’s always good when you have the head man at your house.”
Asked what was Smart’s primary message, Laguins said, “Stay true. I really can’t say much besides that.”
Smart’s visit came on the heels of a weekend in which Laguins was supposed to be returning from an official visit to Alabama. But Laguins and his family did not end up making that trip.
“It was solely because of the weather,” Laguins said. “I talked to Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt. He said it wasn’t that bad in Alabama. But I know it did snow in Alabama and in Atlanta. My dad wasn’t good with driving on the roads and I couldn’t do anything but respect that.”
Laguins said they are trying to re-schedule a visit to Alabama this week. He’s scheduled to be on UGA’s campus for his official visit this weekend.
It’s setting up to be battle between those two schools for the 4-star linebacker, who’s ranked the No. 10 inside linebacker in the country, according to 247Sports.com. The Crimson Tide is making a serious run at trying to steal him away. Last week he got an in-home visit from Bama head coach Nick Saban and Pruitt.
“It means a lot for Nick Saban to come by your house,” Laguins said with a big grin. “I’d say they’re making a hard push.”
Travis Noland, Laguins’ coach at Oconee County High, said Laguins likely would not have considered any other schools had the Bulldogs not parted ways with Mark Richt.
“I think he was very open to other schools once the Georgia coaching change happened,” Noland said. “I think if Coach Richt and that staff had stayed he probably wouldn’t have taken any other visits except maybe to see some places like Nebraska. But I still don’t think his heart’s anywhere else but Georgia. I think that’s where his family wants him to go. Jaleel’s a good kid. I think he wants to do what’s right and what’s best.”
Laguins admitted that Richt’s firing disillusioned him for a while. But at the end of the day he’s just trying to decide wherever “I can be happy and successful.”
“That’s kind of hard for any recruit, really,” Laguins said of UGA’s coaching change. “I mean, that’s the guy who recruited you ever since you got your offer. I got offered late, in my junior year. But I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like for guys who got offered during their sophomore year. Somebody ups and leave during that little short time period between the end of the season and signing day? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t change anything.”
Laguins seemed fairly torn on Monday as he got set for track practice. Alabama, coming off its fourth national championship in the last seven years, definitely has made an impression.
“They don’t have to say too much,” Laguins said. “It’s the University of Alabama. You know what you’ve got. If you know college football, it’s the University of Alabama, that’s all I can say about that.”
But asked for clarification of his recruiting status at that moment, Laguins stated, “I’m committed to Georgia right now.”