UGA recruiting: 5-star QB Justin Fields is making his rounds
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 where Justin Fields is visiting plus add some perspective on guys like Juan Wallace to help fans figure out what it all means.
Justin Fields is treating his recruiting process like a Cover 4 defense this week. He’s dissecting his options at a hurry-up clip that would make Gus Malzahn buckle up.
Let’s call the Rivals 5-Star Challenge in Indianapolis this past weekend the bread. We’ll do the same for the IMG National 7-on-7 Championships this weekend, too. The trips he’s stuffed in between those recruiting showcases reads like a Dagwood sandwich: Athens. Auburn. Tallahassee.
He goes from FSU to IMG on Thursday. Fields even plans to check out Gainesville after his work at the 7-on-7 event in Bradenton.
Not many Georgia residents can match that travel pace. It has been an interesting week in what will be an interesting month for Fields.
He started the month in California for the Elite 11 event and will end it in Oregon at the Nike Opening national finals.
The Harrison standout has elevated his stock to the point where he’s now the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect (247SportsComposite) for 2018. He also rates as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB and No. 2 overall prospect at that position.
That’s a pretty deep “9” route away from his first offer from North Carolina back on May 5, 2016. Most QB phenoms of this stature have been found and overloaded with offers by their sophomore seasons.
I think two things are happening here. The first is his public de-commit from Penn State has allowed him the freedom he needs to research his decision with a measure of finality.
The second is it seems like he’s working to figure out what he wants sooner rather than later. This is the type of whirlwind tour that puts him in the position to make his decision prior to his senior season.
That’s very likely what all these schools that are chasing him would want him to do, too. If he’s not the guy, these power programs would then need to find the guy who is.
I don’t betray confidences and try to stay out of the predictions business other than the mock classes we put up on DawgNation from time to time. But I will say Georgia fans do have reason to get their hopes up here.
The UGA staff can recruit. The dual-threat desk at QB in Athens is empty, too.
The first visit after a de-commitment also says something publicly. Especially when Auburn was close enough to the Metro Atlanta, too.
The visits he takes after this first cramming session of his options will be very interesting. But he might not even need to take another round of those.
Understanding Justin Fields a little better
I’m not ready to write his biography yet by but I do think this public de-commitment has everyone jumping to a few hasty conclusions about Fields.
He’s always seemed very grounded when I’ve had to chance to spend any time with him. When I first met him, he told me that he secretly wouldn’t mind being an offensive lineman. At least for a day. That’s because he’d like to be that big and do what they do. He values their role.
His favorite player growing up? That was Cam Newton. That’s why he wears No. 1 for his Hoyas.
Fields also has a ritual after every touchdown. He points to the sky as an example of his faith. That always sounds like a go-to thing most athletes like to say, but then he doubles back down on that by often saying he needs to pray about his college decision, too.
That’s because he has a sense of how tough this eventual choice is going to be.
He has told me he grew up a Georgia fan. His sister, Jaiden, is also committed to play softball in Athens in 2019. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound prospect has said that family will be very important to his decision.
He’s also a guy that has always been looking for the same things. I can go back to conversations with him from last October and then in December, January, February, March, May and now June.
When he visited UGA this week, the new facilities and construction plans in place likely didn’t wow him. His priorities have always been the same. Whether it was a conversation from last October or last week or this week.
- Relationships with the coaching staff
- How he fits into the offense
- The academic side of things (He has a 3.9 GPA and a 29 on his ACT. He will pursue a business degree)
I can also go back to what he told me back in February at the Orlando Opening.
“My base decision is what my family wants for me,” Fields said. “That and how that also blends in with what I want to see, too.”
Big visitors for Day 2 of the 7-on-7 Kirby Smart Camp
FitzPatrick is a guy that fits the mold of the classic big tight end the Bulldogs are looking for. He rates as a 3-star recruit and as the nation’s No. 30 tight end by the 247Sports Composite.
He’s looking for a great academic fit and he has excelled on the camp circuit this spring. He’s got a big body, a nice set of hands and knows how to get open despite playing for a triple-option offense at Marist.
UGA legacy Tommy Tremble is an example of the hybrid tight end the Bulldogs seek for 2018. Tremble believes the Bulldogs will take one classic tight end and one jack-of-all-things TE in this year’s class. That’s what he’s been told by the UGA staff.
Juan Wallace, a 3-star ILB from Washington, D.C., also plans to visit today. It will be a one-day visit for the National Honor Society member. He holds a 4.02 grade-point average but has already committed to Syracuse.
He has not shut down his recruiting process. Why Georgia?
“It is a great school,” Wallace said. “Big-time football program and great academics. I will show attention to Georgia.”
Wallace plans to major in engineering.
Greater Atlanta Christian won the 7-on-7 tournament on the first day of the closed Kirby Smart camps this week in Athens. Big-time CB target Kyler McMichael was on hand and fared well.
He holds an offer from UGA and is so good of an athlete that he’s also seen as having two-way duty on offense. Georgia has mentioned to him that he could have a Champ Bailey-type role for them down the line.
UGA 7 on 7 Champs!!! pic.twitter.com/qb7WC6L2Tp
— Jackson Hardy (@jacksonhardy12) June 13, 2017