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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Georgia receivers coach James Coley (right) has stacked up a lot of wins on the recruiting trail for Kirby Smart's program.

UGA recruiting: Receivers coach James Coley has been a force on the trail

Want a daily lap through UGA football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We take a look in this edition at the strong track record for UGA receivers coach James Coley on the recruiting trail, plus we update the visit chances for 4-star RB James Cook and 3-star DT Tramel Walthour for this weekend. 

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James Coley. Dell McGee. Sam Pittman. Kevin Sherrer.

Which one would hold the title belt for Georgia’s most effective assistant on the recruiting trail under Kirby Smart?

Hmm. That’s like trying to figure out which newcomer on the offensive line ate the biggest breakfast.

Pittman signed at least four to five future starters in 2017 and also plucked 3-star find Solomon Kindley from under the radar in 2016. Kindley and 2017 signee Andrew Thomas are expected to start Saturday for the Bulldogs in the season opener against Appalachian State.

James Coley - Georgia football
Georgia receivers coach James Coley has connected on a lot of scores for the Bulldogs on the recruiting trail. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

McGee is attracting elite running backs to the team in the same way Madden NFL 18 is sucking up the free time of high school and college football players right now.

Sherrer continues to pile up the wins in South Georgia across his territories. Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, a 4-star Metro Atlanta prospect, also cited Sherrer as a key ingredient in his decision.

What about Coley? Well, he’s already reeled in both of his receivers for the 2018 class (Kearis Jackson and Elijah Moore) and also has the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 wideouts for 2019 (Dominick Blaylock, Jadon Hazelwood) pledged to play for Georgia.

My unofficial count shows only two prospects that Georgia had prioritized at receiver that Coley wasn’t able to reel in.

The first of those was Demetris Robertson in 2016. Robertson wound up choosing Cal. Nico Collins, the 6-foot-5 stalwart from Alabama, eventually chose Michigan in 2017.

Coley’s wins here far outweigh the misses.

How James Coley helps UGA football recruiting

High school coaches tell me often that Coley is a natural recruiter. He’s a blender. Coley’s personality and life experiences allow him to fit into the demographics of any living room.

James Coley-UGA recruiting
James Coley has extensive ties recruiting in South Florida. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The other thing I hear often is that Coley enjoys recruiting. He enjoys building the relationships with the young men and their families but goes about it in a genuine way that few of his peers can replicate.

He’s able to relate to the high school players effectively because he spent a few seasons coaching on the high school varsity level before he moved on.

Coley was hired to recruit and to be a heavy hitter in South Florida. He has recruited that region extensively for either Florida State or Miami going back to 2010. He also was the recruiting coordinator for the Seminoles in 2008 and 2009.

Dennis Marroquin, the coach at Champagnat Catholic, made that very clear.

“Coach Coley is Miami,” Marroquin said earlier this year. “He’s got the trust of every coach and player in South Florida. Because he’s been here and lived here and recruited here. We know him, and he knows us.”

James Coley’s reputation recruiting for UGA

When UGA picked up the commitment from 4-star South Florida speedster Elijah Moore earlier this month, Coley was a big factor. Roger Harriott, Moore’s coach at St. Thomas Aquinas, said Coley moved quickly after Moore.

“Coach Coley has a well-established reputation in South Florida,” Harriott said. “He and I spoke about Elijah at length, and he cultivated a meaningful relationship with him and the rest was history. Coach Coley does a great job recruiting.

James Coley-UGA recruiting
UGA wide receivers coach James Coley gives direction during drills at practice Tuesday. (Joshua L. Jones/special)

“He is a genuine and an authentic person, so it doesn’t really take long for high school coaches and players to develop a strong personal relationship with coach Coley.”

Moore only needed about a month of building that relationship with UGA before he was ready to make his commitment to play for Coley. Harriott said Coley sees the tape but then digs deeper to discover the positives or negatives about a prospect’s academics, character, community involvement, integrity and personal discipline.

“Coach Coley does a good job of identifying those kids and as a result, the ‘Dogs should have a substantial amount of success moving forward,” Harriott said.

Kearis Jackson, the 4-star commit from Peach County High School in Fort Valley, Ga., offered a similar perspective.

“Coach Coley is like my father,” Jackson said on the day he committed. “I can talk to coach Coley about anything. Honestly. He’s a cool guy but when he gets on that field then he has a real enthusiasm about himself.”

His resume on Georgiadogs.com speaks for itself. His bio sheet lists his experiences working with future NFL receivers like Kelvin Benjamin, Dwayne Bowe, future Hall of Famer Andre Johnson and Roscoe Parrish, among many others.

Haselwood, the nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2019, saw the benefits of learning from Coley up close. The 5-star from Cedar Grove called him “the smartest coach I have ever been around” during his process.

Visit plan update for Florida 4-star RB James Cook

James Cook-UGA recruiting
James Cook is the nation’s No. 3 running back for 2018. (Nike Football/special)

James Cook, the nation’s no. 3 RB for 2018, will no longer be in Athens this weekend for the Appalachian State game. DawgNation learned that status update from a source very close to that situation.

The 5-foot-11 1/2, 181-pound player comes from a strong Miami Central (Fla.) program and is the brother of former Florida State great and NFL rookie Dalvin Cook. The brothers have different styles, and my information has had Cook trending to Georgia since late winter.

Cook ranks as the nation’s No. 35 overall prospect this year. There are a few working timelines for Cook that have been reported. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes an official visit later this month for the Mississippi State game or returns later in the year for South Carolina.

He could commit during one of those visits, but there is also the notion that he would make his decision at a school ceremony after his senior season.

The 4-star prospect has indicated he plans to enroll early in January 2018.

Cook might not be in town, but DawgNation reported last week that 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer would indeed be in Athens for the opener against Appalachian State.

3-star DT Tramel Walthour still plans a visit 

Liberty County (Hinesville, Ga.) defensive tackle Tramel Walthour also could be at Georgia this weekend.

Tramel Walthour-UGA recruiting
Tramel Walthour had a solid showing at the Rising Seniors All-Star event in December. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

That’s the plan, according to a member of the Liberty County coaching staff, but that’s not a certainty. The 6-foot-4, 277-pound player rates as a 3-star prospect, but he also has picked up some big offers to go along with his ranking as the nation’s No. 46 DT for 2018.

Arkansas, Auburn, Ohio State, Tennessee and Georgia are among the bigger programs to have offered Walthour.

Walthour is one of the state’s best interior defensive line prospects in a down year for the position. He is seen by many as one of the prospects most likely to commit next to Georgia in the 2018 class. Georgia has all nine of the predictions for Walthour on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.


Miss any of our recent Intel? Well, the DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to Mecole Hardman speed before your tailgate crew can worry anymore about all the freshman offensive linemen who will have to play this fall.

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