We kicked off a brand new feature at DawgNation last week with the debut of the UGA Mailbag for Recruiting.
We relied on social media to ask for your questions this week. You asked. We answered. We’re back to blog about it. The first question is about 5-star quarterback commitment Jacob Eason out of Lake Stevens, Wash.
Q: [I] have been seeing all the numbers Eason has been putting up. I watched Friday night. Again he had numbers against a “very bad” team. What are the records of these teams he has been putting all these numbers up on? Apparently, there must be better teams than what I saw. Sure hope so! (Phyllis Schultz Ginn) A: Phyllis is on the right track. His high school team is 8-0, but its opponents are a combined 31-42. Eason is a true talent, but he’s not facing the competition a big-time metro Atlanta team would on a weekly basis. Numerous folks who scout that area feel there aren’t 10 players in the state of Washington that are good enough to start in the SEC. The 247 recruiting rankings for 2016 back that up. Eason is the only 5-star. There are two other 4-stars and just 24 players with a 3-star rating. By comparison, there are 26 Georgia 4-star prospects this year. Let’s be clear on this point: I think Eason would be a star on any high school field he steps upon in any state and in any part of America. Period. He can’t help the teams he faces each week. He’s made some throws this year that no other prep quarterback is capable of making.
Q: Do the Dawgs stand a chance to land [Mecole] Hardman, Jr., [Derrick] Brown or [Kyle] Davis? (Stan S./ @Scarbro10) A: I’d say they have a great chance with all three. The chances of Hardman are pretty much 50-50 as I feel it comes down to UGA and Tennessee, maybe a 60-40 edge to UGA. Brown seems like the most confident pick of the three. I’d peg UGA’s chances at about 65 percent. Davis is a wild card. I’d say UGA has a 40 percent chance at signing him right now.
Q: Are they recruiting bigger [defensive] linemen? I see where that can be very beneficial [in] run support. (Kevin Wood) A: Yes, UGA is after the “beef” as defensive tackle Julian Rochester told me lately. Rochester is 6 feet 6 inches and about 320 pounds. As stated above, 5-star Derrick Brown is a priority target. He’ll hit the growth chart at 6 feet 4 inches and another 315 pounds or so. Tyler Clark, another commitment, is 6 feet 3 inches and 295 pounds.
Q: What’s the deal with Kyle Davis? (John Thomas Adkerson) A: The talented Archer High product is a popular topic this week. He’s really just facing a life-changing decision and needed more time. He was set to make his decision on Oct. 23, but backed off of that. He has yet to set a new date. His decision will come down to UGA, Auburn and Tennessee. I’m hearing mostly UGA and Auburn, but that’s not coming directly from Davis. He grants very few interviews. I can see him signing with either program, but he’s such a hard-to-read recruit it really wouldn’t shock me at all if he eventually sang Rocky Top.
Q: Is Georgia recruiting any kickers or punters? (Mark Gray) A: That’s a great question. UGA was recruiting a pair of the nation’s finest at each position during the summer, but those guys both committed to Penn State. The action at those positions has been tepid ever since. I foresee UGA being in a tight numbers crunch with a lot of big-time prospects. I’m betting that the kicker and punter positions might not be addressed with a scholarship in this class.
Q: What’s the latest on Kyle Davis and his decision? (Stan S. /@Scarbro10) A: Another Kyle Davis question. So let me tackle this a different way. The 5-star receiver will enroll early in January. He’s also looking for a place to play right away. UGA certainly qualifies there. He’s extremely close with his mother and staying close to home will factor in his decision. Davis also de-committed from South Carolina earlier this year. UGA is also recruiting other receivers just as heavily. I wrote earlier this year that I expect a talent like Davis to catch about 150 balls at UGA and make a ton of big plays. That said, I feel there are a few comparable talents (Grant Holloway, Tre’ Nixon) that UGA is recruiting hard who could also make the same type of impact. They don’t have the stars that Davis does, but trust me when I say those guys will also be highlight machines.
Q: What’s your take on the UGA’s staff when it comes to recruiting? A: The current staff recruits as well as any staff that UGA has had in the Mark Richt era, especially out-of-state. The Bulldogs should sign at least two players from Texas this year. The last Texan to sign with UGA was Matthew Stafford almost a decade ago. They can also add a top target from Louisiana and are grinding hard after the No. 1 player in Alabama.
Q: What are the biggest positions of need for UGA in this class? A: Receiver and offensive line; there’s little debate about that. UGA already has three commitments on the offensive line and would probably take two more if the right pair said they will commit to the G. UGA already has four commitments at receiver and I could see them taking at least two more. The Bulldogs look to sign 25 players in this class and up to 11 of them could come from those two spots.
Q: What position do you feel UGA is not focusing on with this year’s class? A: UGA appears set at inside linebacker. It has a commitment from Oconee County’s Jaleel Laguins (a 4-star recruit) at that spot. That said, the staff is going hard after 5-star Ben Davis from Alabama, but that would be a winning lotto ticket there. Truth be told, I think the quarterback spot is underserved. Eason is doing everything he can to convince DawgNation he can walk on water, but if UGA signs just one quarterback this year they’ll have to sign two passers in 2017 and perhaps another two more in 2018 to build depth at that position. Faton Bauta, Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert will all likely be gone by 2017. It would be great to see some variance in the skill sets, too. The chances of three or more 4-star pro-style passers signing with UGA aren’t very good. The odds at landing a 4-star dual-threat quarterback would be much better.
Thanks for all the questions again this week. We’ll do it again after the Cocktail Party wraps for another year.
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.