UGA quarterback commit Bailey Hockman saw his junior year of high school end with an emotional loss in the state playoffs this past weekend. The junior left-hander made some highlight-reel throws and completed several clutch passes in a back-and-forth game.
The near 6-foot-3 quarterback looked the part of an SEC signal caller on the field, but perhaps the most impressive thing he did was after the game. Hockman quickly composed himself, and he went from one McEachern High School teammate to another with encouraging words.
It was something he felt led to do.
“Everybody fought for me and fought for brotherhood,” Hockman said. “I mean that’s what it is.”
UGA has a commitment from quarterback Jacob Eason for the Class of 2016. The 5-star senior from Lake Stevens, Wash., has stayed on the minds of fans this season. Hockman, a 4-star prospect, is rated as the nation’s No. 3 pro-style passer for 2017.
What was on his mind as he met with every teammate?
“Just the guys who don’t get that scholarship and huge opportunities,” Hockman said. “Those guys that are down in the trenches that nobody really notices. They are everything for the team. Like guys who are preaching faith and everything. I mean it keeps me in line. It keeps my faith in line. It keeps who I am in line. Those are the people I need in my life and everybody needs in their life and on the team.”
All the 4-star arms can make the throws. Very few have leadership skills on that level. It wasn’t a quick act, either. He then waited in front of the fieldhouse to catch every teammate. It was a chance to see what he was like when things did not go his way.
The coach’s son was uncommon in every way.
Hockman knelt down to console big-play receiver Tyler Simmons, the senior who had made a ton of plays. McEachern wouldn’t have been in the game without his two touchdowns, but Simmons wasn’t able to make a play on a late Hockman pass he knows he should have had.
“Bailey is honestly the best quarterback I’ve ever played with,” Simmons said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but that’s part of the game. After the game he told me I was one of the best receivers he has ever played with and if I ever needed anything to let him know.”
Hockman went to UGA the following day for the Georgia Southern game. He’s mindful of his status as quarterback commitment for the program.
“It is a lot of fun having that opportunity,” Hockman said. “I just want to use it in the right way if you know what I mean.”
The 4-star prospect committed to UGA in June but recently took an unofficial visit to North Carolina. His close friend and classmate Tyler Smith has committed there, but Hockman went to see that campus without him.
“Tyler and (I )have always had dreams of playing together, and I just kind of wanted to go experience other things,” Hockman said. “Everybody does it, but I love Georgia. I’m in love with the school. I mean it is a really great place and I am just going to go where I have the best opportunity.”
McEachern lost to Archer, and Hockman mentioned Archer senior receiver Kyle Davis as a player he hoped would choose UGA. He was also effusive in his praise for another Archer standout: 4-star athlete Jamyest Williams, who made the game-saving tackle on the final play of the game.
“Jamyest is playing both ways,” Hockman said. “He works harder than anybody I have met in my entire life and I think he’s the best running back and cornerback in the state or in the country honestly.”
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.