Jeff Sentell/AJC
5-star S Richard LeCounte III, left, and 4-star QB Jake Fromm are now part of the team at UGA.

What does UGA do now that two of its top recruiters are off the trail?

Jeff Sentell

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Jake Fromm and Richard LeCounte III are no longer on the commitment board or even the signee tally for 2017.

They are on campus. Enrolled. Part of the team. Ready to be de-recruited and all that.

What does that mean for the team’s top two recruiters for 2017? I asked LeCounte about that on Saturday after he’d played his last snap as a high school player.

“It feels good,” LeCounte said. “I think it has been a heck of a ride for me with all of this. It is now time to keep it moving. The move for me is to now go join my team.”

UGA 5-star signee Richard LeCounte III posed for a lot of photos after the U.S. Army All-American game in Texas. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
UGA 5-star signee Richard LeCounte III posed for a lot of photos after the U.S. Army All-American game in Texas. (Jeff Sentell/AJC)

These guys played Santa in two commitment videos for their peers. Santa Rich and Santa Jake showed up for the commitments of Malik Herring and Jeremiah Holloman.

They resumed those roles for the Christmas Day pledge from Vidalia 4-star linebacker Nate McBride.

LeCounte — by my count — drove about eight hours to be a part of those events. Fromm spent about three hours on the road in his own right.

There’s a natural question here: Who takes over for them? They are no longer on the trail. They now have college classes and college workouts to prepare for.

Mom and Dad are no longer around. They now have to manage their own daily lives and choices. They won’t have the extra time that they used to reel in the final 4-5 guys for the class.

LeCounte had his answer. It was a football player’s answer.

Next man up. He felt that 4-stars Malik Herring and Netori Johnson can more than pick up the slack. They will not enroll until the summer and can handle the reins for the rest of the recruiting stretch run.

Fromm and LeCounte will be on campus next weekend for the first of three official visit weekends that will close out the class. The majority of Georgia’s 2017 commitments that have yet to take their official visit will be in town. Most plan to make that their only official visit.

“But I don’t know about the 2018 class yet honestly,” LeCounte said.

When you film a video with these guys, they sometimes find your cell phone lying about and leave a selfie or two. (Santa Rich and Santa Fromm for DawgNation)

When LeCounte looked back on his role as the team’s first and top recruiter, he said the commitment from Fromm and the recent decision by DeAngelo Gibbs stood out as significant to him.

He had one final message for all the Georgia faithful before he reported to the team.

“It has been a great recruiting year for us and everything,” LeCounte said. “But now it is time for me to get to work.”

Fromm listened to a question about him as a key recruiter but then responded honestly.

He said he didn’t see it that way.

“At the end of the day for me and Richie it wasn’t really about recruiting,” Fromm said. “It was about building a relationship with guys. Getting to know and getting to see if the really top players were also guys you wanted to play with. I can see why some folks might call it recruiting but for us, that just doesn’t sound right. It was more about getting to know guys on a personal level. That might have been someone we really wanted playing with us in Athens on Saturdays. But it was also just getting to know some really good guys.”

LeCounte described his pitches to other talented guys as “smooth” on purpose. Fromm’s approach was just simple and direct.

“I’d be like ‘Look, man we really need you and really want you’ with it,” Fromm said. “Then I’d say ‘The coaches want you and I want to play football with you because you can help us’ and that’s basically it.”

He had no idea on Saturday evening what his classes were. He had to sign with his UGA I.D. and check it out.

Fromm expected a team workout on Monday. He said that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday he planned to go to the rec center and play some basketball.

“Just try to to get in real shape and have fun with it,” Fromm said.

Which one of his future teammates impressed him during the U.S. Army All-American week? The nation’s No. 3 pro-style QB named one of his soon-to-be offensive tackles.

Fromm posed for photo after photo and signed countless autographs after the U.S. Army All-American game on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Fromm posed for photo after photo and signed countless autographs after the U.S. Army All-American game on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

“I think Andrew (Thomas) really had a great week,” Fromm said. “I always knew he was a great football player but he really took it to a whole another level. Man, that guy really owned some of the big boys with the big rankings this week.”

He also pointed to some candidates in the class to carry “SICEM17” the rest of the way to Signing Day. It was funny that his first two suggestions mirrored what LeCounte thought.

“Netori needs to,” Fromm said. “Malik needs to. Jaden (Hunter) can really step up and lead the class with the rest of the guys. They need to bring it on home because we all only want to be playing for Georgia with the best of the best.”