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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
What's going on with the state's top prospects for 2018?

UGA recruiting: An interesting in-state trend with the 2018 class

Want a daily lap through UGA recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We focus on the state of Georgia’s top prospects as a whole to get an overview of which way all those 4-star and 5-star prospects might be leaning. 

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Step back. Take a good look at the big picture.

The current snapshot of Georgia’s in-state recruiting of the Class of 2018 shows something very interesting. According to the splendid online database maintained by 247Sports, the Bulldogs have offered 46 Georgia football players this year.

It is fascinating to see that 35 of those blue-chip targets already have made a commitment. It’s unique to see 76 percent of those in-state targets already committed by September.

How does that break down?

  • UGA: 7
  • Clemson: 4
  • FSU: 4
  • Tennessee: 4
  • Auburn: 3
  • Michigan: 2
  • Ohio State: 2
  • South Carolina: 2
  • Alabama: 1
  • Florida: 1
  • Kentucky: 1
  • Louisville: 1
  • Notre Dame: 1
  • Oregon: 1
  • Vanderbilt: 1

That list shows that the Bulldogs are getting flanked on all sides by Clemson, Florida State and Tennessee. Alabama and Auburn even have combined for four pledges.

But that is not new. Clemson and Florida State are doing better than in previous years. Tennessee also has dropped committable offers on a few prospects who Georgia just wasn’t fully sold on at this point of their senior seasons.

What does seem out of the box for this cycle is the Big 10. Both Michigan and Ohio State have nabbed two prospects. We also can’t help but see that Kentucky and Vanderbilt also each have snatched away one prospect.

That leads to the natural question: What’s up with the other 11?

Where does UGA stand with the other 11?

  • 4-star OLB Adam Anderson: The nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker likes Alabama, Clemson, UGA and Tennessee. The Bulldogs are doing some good work here to gain his re-commitment.
  • 5-star QB Justin Fields: Auburn, Florida State and UGA are digging in.
  • 3-star ATH James Graham: The Bulldogs are not pursuing him heavily at this time. Georgia Tech, Miami and Michigan are the big contenders.
  • 4-star OG Trey Hill: The nation’s No. 2 offensive guard prospect likes UGA, but he also likes Auburn, Clemson and Florida State.
  • 4-star OT James Ohonba: UGA likes him more as a guard. The Bulldogs are set on other options at tackle at this time.
  • 4-star OLB J.J. Peterson: The Colquitt County standout has had Alabama on top for quite some time.
  • 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer: UGA is after him heavily. Clemson, Notre Dame and Stanford also loom large.
  • 4-star CB Christian Tutt: The Bulldogs are not pursuing him heavily. They have other options and higher-priority targets at his position.
  • 3-star TE Tommy Tremble: The UGA legacy has Fresno State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee and UCLA on his list of contenders.
  • 3-star DT Tramel Walthour: He visited UGA on Saturday. The Bulldogs lead and Auburn is also in the running.
  • 4-star OT Dylann Wonnum: UGA likes him more as a guard. It has not pursued him as heavily as other schools such as Auburn and South Carolina have.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bulldogs add four or five more of these guys, and maybe a couple of flips, from those 46 in-state targets this year.

There’s one more thing to keep in mind. That’s how UGA performs in reeling in the state’s top 30 recruits. That’s a go-to stat every cycle, but this year it is skewed.

The Bulldogs never really prioritized at least 11 of those top 30 in-state prospects. There are maybe just 15 players on that list who the Bulldogs either have accepted a commitment from or would even accept a pledge from at this time.

That’s what DawgNation predicted from the beginning with this class. It was clear early on that the Bulldogs were going out of state at key positions such as defensive back and running back.

UGA has just two commitments from the state’s Top 30 prospects at this time, but that isn’t quite as alarming as it reads.  There are only eight prospects from among those 30 who have yet to make their commitment. UGA is seen as one of the strongest contenders for four of those targets.

The Bulldogs also have five commitments from the state’s Top 40.

Two interesting official visitors at Notre Dame

When Georgia plays against Notre Dame on Saturday, it won’t be a home game. Still, it will offer another showcase opportunity for the Bulldogs to play well in front of major 5-star offensive guard target Jamaree Salyer.

The Pace Academy (Atlanta) standout attended the season opener last Saturday, and he and his party looked to have a very good time. The Georgia coaches smothered Team Salyer with attention, and he even wore all UGA gear to the game.

Georgia’s current commits made sure to come over and chat with Salyer. But Salyer will take his first official visit to Notre Dame this weekend. He likely also will take official visits to Ohio State and Stanford.

Jamaree Salyer-UGA recruiting
Pace Academy 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer was an unofficial visitor at UGA this weekend for the Appalachian State game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He’s mentioned in the past that he doesn’t know what an official visit would mean to UGA because he’s been there so much. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at UGA for the Mississippi State and South Carolina games later this year, too.

Clemson is the other school in the running. My best guess is that it is between Clemson and Georgia for Salyer. The Bulldogs appear to be in a good position`.

The second UGA-Notre Dame official visitor of note will be 4-star Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) DB Derrik Allen.

Allen ranks as the nation’s No. 6 safety and No. 71 overall prospect by the 247Sports composite. He’s been committed to Notre Dame since Feb. 13.

That said, UGA continues its pursuit of the 6-foot-2, 211-pound safety. But I think it will take another poor season from the Fighting Irish for much to change here.

If wholesale coaching changes take place on that staff, the new contenders for Allen likely would be Georgia and Michigan. That would be worth watching.

Allen is off to a fine start for Lassiter this fall. A strong UGA showing behind enemy lines at Notre Dame only could help matters down the road is Allen ever decided it was necessary to open his recruiting process again.

An interesting scouting nugget about 5-star QB Justin Fields

Justin Fields ran a 4.51 laser time in the 40-yard dash in February at the Nike’s The Opening Orlando regional. That’s when some of the first buzz began to really build for a young man who is now rated as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2018, per the 247Sports composite.

That’s the same kind of speed that Fields flashed when he worked out for Penn State last year. How did he get that fast? Well, I’ve been told that it was a matter of training and applying a little science to his speed.

Fields has always been a fast-twitch athlete, but he needed to eventually find the right stride to clock that blazing time in the 40. His legs fired fast, but he needed to apply some science to his gait.

He needed to lengthen his stride to cover ground much more efficiently.

Justin Fields-UGA recruiting
Justin Fields now has 14 TDs (run or pass) in his three games this year. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

When he did, he dropped his time in the 40 from a 4.8 to a 4.5 in less than a month.

Fields still works on his speed.  I’ve been told he can clock a sub-4.4 hand time in the 40 right now.

The Harrison (Kenesaw, Ga.) standout also received his Under Armour All-American jersey Wednesday morning. His Hoyas fell 45-42 to North Cobb last Friday night. Harrison is 1-2 so far in 2017.

But Fields put up big numbers in the defeat. He ran for 208 yards and 4 touchdowns in dreary and wet conditions on 20 carries. There wasn’t much to be found through the air, but he completed 7 of his 14 passes for 96 yards and another score.

He’s completed 39 of his 62 attempts (63 percent) for 553 yards and 7 touchdowns and 1 interception. His numbers on the ground continue to flash every bit of that aforementioned speed.

Fields has 434 rushing yards on 52 carries and 7 more rushing touchdowns on the year.

If he stays healthy,  a 2,500-yard passing season with at least 1,200 rushing yards is possible. He’s capable of putting up at least 50 total touchdowns in 2017.

Miss a day of Intel? Well, the DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to Mecole Hardman speed before your tailgate crew can worry anymore about all the freshman offensive linemen who will have to play this fall.

 

 

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