KENNESAW, Ga. — Justin Fields prays.
Head bowed. Hands clasped. The nation’s No. 1 player for 2018 — and an enormous UGA target — searches for the slightest hint of where he should play college football.
“I think about it every day,” Fields said. “I pray every night. Just for God to give me a sign of where he wants me to go. I just ask him for a sign. I want him to tell me right now, but his timing is always right. So I am just going to wait patiently on him.”
DawgNation had a wide-ranging discussion with Fields on Tuesday evening. It came after the first official sweat-soaked day of fall practice for Georgia High School Association member schools.
Harrison High, which will be led by Fields, is prepping for a big season. The Hoyas open with East Paulding and will then amp up their season on the road against defending state champion Rome the following week. There’s also an ESPN-televised clash with Dalton set for this fall.
Let’s tackle the question on everyone’s mind first.
“I don’t have a set date when I am committing,” Fields said. “Literally. When I know I am going to commit, I’m going to hit the people up on a video and ask them to film it. But there are all of these rumors that I’m going to commit on a certain date. I’m not going to be like that. I’m not that guy that is going to say ‘My Top 10 is dropping in two weeks’ or ‘I’m committing in a certain number of days’ because I’m not really ever going to have, like, a set date. I am going to sort of post it on Twitter and go from there.”
That seems like a good kickoff for the conversation. We’ve got a lot of questions and answers to get through with the 5-star quarterback, who also has a 3.9 grade-point average and scored a 29 on his ACT. He’s also darn good with the school book, too.
Lightning round for a few meaty topics with Justin Fields.
- Fields said he has not eliminated any of his core schools. Not even a Florida team that just picked up 5-star QB Matt Corral. The schools on his mind: Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Penn State.
- He’s not sure about enrolling early anymore. He might. That depends on the depth chart at his favored school.
- He considers playing college baseball, too. “My dad really wants me to do it so bad. But I am kind of distant from baseball. My love
for the game is all in football. But I guess my dad is talking about not closing any doors, because I’m pretty good at baseball. I probably won’t play, like, for the team in college. Maybe I will probably get like a few swings in or maybe practice with the team. I realize how hard it is to be fighting for a job. You can’t go play baseball. You have to be all in with football until you have the job secured.”
- He really doesn’t know right now. “When I know, I will commit. Because I want to commit and start building that class with me. Because I want great players to come along and play with me.”
- When asked, Fields said he thinks his decision could be a tipping point for several players to follow him. “I’ve been talking to guys,” he said. “Probably like eight. These are receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and running backs. Pretty much all of those positions.”
- When they met up at The Opening, Fields thought that Corral was about to commit to Georgia. Corral chose Florida over the weekend during his first visit there.
The bigger questions that pertain to Justin Fields
Q. How do you do this and focus on your senior season? Do you have any semblance of a leader in mind? Even privately?
A. I would say there are two schools. There are two that are like tied.
Q. How do you figure that out between those two?
A. Just the on-field play and how the season goes for them.
Q. What does your family want you to do?
A. My stepmom wants me to go to Georgia. My dad, he doesn’t care. He likes Georgia a lot. Just because of the distance. Florida State is also there with him. He likes what they have done with the recent quarterbacks. My mom she just really wants the best for me. My sister [Jaiden] I would say she wants me to go to Georgia. Just to go to school with her. That’s kind of her take on it.
Q. What are you thinking now about playing high school baseball or enrolling early?
A. It depends on which college I go to. It depends on that college and what that quarterback situation is at that certain college. If I commit to a college where I could play freshman year or have a chance to, then I am probably going to graduate early to get the offense down. I might play a little bit of college baseball my second or third year just to kind of keep my skill set up for baseball.
Q. Do you then have schools that you identify as an enroll early or a non-enroll early option?
A. Those would be Auburn and Florida State. Jarrett [Stidham] at Auburn and Deondre [Francois] at Florida State are potential draft picks if they have a great year this year. I can see them both going out for the draft if they have big years. But Georgia is a little iffy. That depends on how well Jacob [Eason] does this year.
Q. Does that seem like you might take a long time then to decide? To see how all those guys do?
A. No. I don’t think I am going to wait. Not a long time. I think I will probably commit after my five official visits. Well, you know, actually I wouldn’t even say that. I will just say that I will commit when I know. I will just say that really.
What else is Justin Fields looking for?
Q. In the past, we’ve discussed a 3-pronged formula for you. That’s academics, family input and relationships with your future coaches and teammates. Is that still it? Is there anything new or missing there?
A. I would say at the end of the day that family matters. But you also have to look at what is best for you. You have to make some sacrifices. My dad and I were talking about this yesterday. It may sound hard, but at the end of the day [his family] will be fine if I go to Auburn, Georgia or Florida State. They will be fine with whatever school. They just want what is best for me. I would say it is kind of a mutual thing with me. You want to do what’s best for your family here but they want you to do what is best for you.
Q. Some of this will weigh on your brain and your heart, and you just probably also want to go somewhere fun. I hear this with elite players and a tough decision. There are a lot of players you would have a lot of fun with in this class. It seems like you know a lot of guys that have a high interest in Georgia. … Does it seem like Georgia would be the most relationship-based school that you are considering?
A. Yeah, I think that Georgia is definitely on top with the relationship base there. That’s the players around me and the coaches. I feel like I have the best relationships with them.
Q: The players on the current team also reach out to you on Twitter.
A. Yeah, they do. That’s Richard [LeCounte III] and Jeremiah [Holloman] and those guys. But I would say Florida State here, too. I feel like I have a better relationship with the current players now at Florida State. But then at Georgia, I feel like I have a better relationship with the guys that could potentially go there.
Q. What’s the balance there? How much of that is having to look at that as what is best for you and then balancing that with the tug to go play with all of your boys?
A. I don’t think it would determine where I go. I mean it is not that hard to make friends. If you go in there and work hard and stay humble, I feel like you are going to be liked by the team. I think I have a better relationship with all the players who could potentially go to Georgia just because we all live in the same state and we see each other a little bit more. I guess that’s why I have a better relationship with those guys.
That’s just the first half of the DawgNation sit down with 5-star QB Justin Fields. We’ll return Thursday with the second half of our conversation.