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UGA recruiting: 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer weighs in on new timeline and official visit plans

 Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and share what a 5-star target like Jamaree Salyer is thinking plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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Jamaree Salyer is trying on a new recruiting timeline right now. It seems to fit like the best set of shoulder pads at a strong Pace Academy program.

It is no longer National Signing Day or even the U.S. Army All-American Game from San Antonio in Texas.

“I hope to do it or better than that I feel like there is a really strong chance I can do it in the early signing period in December,” Salyer said. “By that time, I will have my mind made up and will just want to end it. I feel that because that last month in that late signing period now it can get really tough and really wear down on your family. I can see it even starting to take a toll on my Mom a little it. I’m just looking forward to making my decision and hopefully, it is the right one.”

Jeff Sentell-UGA recruiting
Jamaree Salyer was named the offensive line MVP at Nike’s The Opening earlier this month. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

DawgNation met with Salyer yesterday on the first official day of fall practice for Georgia High School Association member schools. The calendar seems like a mirage with that these days. Football is a year-round sport. Most elite programs have their teams in year-round fighting shape as to where they could play a game in about 15-21 days in any month of the year.

Salyer, the nation’s No. 1 offensive guard prospect for 2018, is the highest-rated interior linemen in the last 20 years according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s seen as the nation’s No. 7 overall prospect for this cycle on that scale.

The book on Jamaree Salyer

The 6-foot-4, 330-pounder takes on a different role at Pace Academy this year. Former teammates like Trey Blount (UGA), Deon Jackson (Duke) and Andrew Thomas (UGA) are all freshmen bucking for playing time on Saturdays now.

This is the first time in his four years at Pace that he hasn’t had his very good friend Andrew Thomas lining up with him and sweating it out on the first day of fall camp among the Knights.

Jamaree Salyer-UGA recruiting
Jamaree Salyer now plans to make his college decision during the early signing period. (Jeff Sentell/SEC Country)

The nation’s No. 1 guard now slides over to play left tackle now for Pace. That was Thomas territory for the last few years. He looks to be an instant impact player on Saturdays at the college level.

But Salyer now just stands out on a high school practice field. Watching him work doesn’t bring up the thought of a college prospect or even a big-time recruit. My mind wanders to this thought: This young man — if his keeps up his work ethic — has everything it takes to play 10 years in the NFL.

There’s a good debate in scouting circles about Salyer’s optimal position. The nation’s No. 1 guard for 2018 could very well make his living for that decade at center in the NFL.

Most of the schools that are recruiting him now see him as a guard at first. Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford are basically the final contenders here.

Salyer still needs to take his first trip for a game in Death Valley at Clemson. He’s been to Sanford Stadium to watch the Bulldogs play at least 4-5 times. He’s also probably taken “about 15-to-20 times” to Georgia as a recruit.

Hitting the sled fast with Jamaree Salyer

Let’s click off a few things we learned about Salyer on Tuesday.

  • Salyer didn’t discuss any specific schools but did say he has two schools that are standing out right now. “I have an idea,” Salyer said. “I don’t know if I am ready to say it yet but I feel like I have an idea of some teams that are ahead of others and maybe even a top team.”

 

  • He’s got “pretty concrete” official visits set for Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford. He has to figure out the last two officials but actually isn’t really even sure he will take them right now.

 

  • Salyer needs to go check out Clemson. He wants to see those Tigers play in Death Valley but he’s not sold yet on taking an official visit there.

 

  • He’s not sure what else an official visit would offer him at Georgia. He’s already looking to take unofficial visits to the bigger home games like Mississippi State and South Carolina this year. He’ll also see the Bulldogs play on that official visit to Notre Dame.

 

  • He’d love to play with 5-star QB Justin Fields. Salyer considers him to be an elite player, but he said that the choice made by Fields will have no major bearing on his decision. I believe that. If the life-long friendships he has established with a couple of former teammates who are now at UGA won’t be a major catalyst for his choice, then that probably also won’t be a major factor. “I have to make that decision for myself,” Salyer said.
  • He wasn’t sure how Georgia prepared its players for life after football. That was always a potential con for him in this process. He knew a lot more about the programs at Clemson and Ohio State in that regard, but his most recent visit showed him a lot about “The Georgia Way” and how the Paul Oliver Network supports former players after their playing days have ended. “That’s something I really need to feel good about,” Salyer said.

Does the Pace pipeline help Georgia in this tight race?

I’ve kind of always felt that Trey Blount and Andrew Thomas would have an effect on Salyer’s decision. Will it be a big factor? Will it just be a brick in his decision?

Salyer has gone back-and-forth on that. He’s sharp enough to choose his words carefully there. It sounds like he has a measured approach to it. Those guys being immersed into the Georgia program simply seems like more data.

Jamaree Salyer-UGA recruiting
Expect to see 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer at left tackle for Pace Academy this fall. He’s wearing a practice jersey here but will be in his customary No. 69 this fall. (Jeff Sentell/SEC Country)

If things go well for those guys, it could be a plus. If there are a few hiccups with their first-year experiences, it could trend the other way.

His words definitely matter more here.

“I kind of feel the same way about that,” Salyer said. “I’ve seen how (Andrew Thomas) has transformed within a month. The last time I went to Georgia, I saw how his body changed. I saw how his demeanor changed. He looks happy. It seems to be working out for him. I’m hearing talk that he could start this year as a freshman.”

That does have an impact. If Thomas starts at UGA this year and performs well, that reinforces every recruiting pitch he has heard over the last two years from Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman.

“When I come into Pitt’s office and he tells me ‘You can start for us as a freshman’ then I can see now that he’s not just selling you with recruiting,” Sayler said. “He can really start you as a freshman and develop you. Just seeing that is really big. Seeing that face-to-face and not just hearing that with recruiting is really big.”

 

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