UGA recruiting: After another elite commitment, who’s next for Bulldogs?

Kirby Smart-UGA recruiting
Adam Anderson is now on the board. Who does Kirby Smart hope to see commit to the Bulldogs next?

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget this Friday calls for a reset on the remaining priorities for Georgia’s 2018 class after Thursday’s big news from Adam Anderson. 

Adam Anderson chose Georgia on Thursday. That recommitment to the Bulldogs continued a trend that likely will continue. That’s the reshuffling of the top-rated recruits on the board for 2018.

Adam Anderson is now the third-highest rated commit for UGA in 2018. He’s the highest-ranked 4-star for the Bulldogs in the class. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

When Anderson chose UGA, it continued a sequence that goes back over the last 11 commitments to the class. Within that span, there were eight times in which the newest pledge became one of the top 3 commits in the 2018 class.

In short, the Bulldogs have continued to add one of their highest-valued targets with each successive commitment.

Georgia has a pair of 5-star prospects on the board, as rated by the 247Sports composite. How many can it possibly add?

The guess is that a final evaluation for Anderson should push him to that 5-star ranking. That would make a lot of sense.

There are also big 5-star prospects such as KJ Henry and Jamaree Salyer on the most-wanted list for 2018. Can the Bulldogs scoop up one or two of those players to end up with three or maybe four prospects with that 5-star ranking for 2018?

What does that big board look like now? That seems like the most appropriate topic for the Friday Intel.

The new top-5 targets for UGA going forward

Justin Fields was on this list a few weeks ago. So was Adam Anderson. Kirby Smart and his staff crossed those huge targets off the board in succinct fashion this month.

So what does the new top 5 look like? Well, it all starts with a very familiar name at the top.

Jamaree Salyer is the nation’s highest-rated offensive line prospect in the Class of 2018 (Fred Assaf/Pace Academy)

Jamaree Salyer, the Pace Academy senior, ranks as the nation’s top offensive line prospect in this cycle. He’s a likely Saturday guard but DawgNation also projects his best Sunday position to be at center.

The U.S. Army All-American is a close lifelong friend to promising UGA freshman OT Andrew Thomas.

Salyer, the highest-rated interior line prospect by the 247Sports composite since 2006, will take his first official visit to Ohio State for the Penn State game.

He already has taken two unofficial visits to UGA this season.

Clemson is the primary contender for the Bulldogs. Salyer also has said that Ohio State would be a good “safety net” school. Florida will still get an official visit. He has said he will announce his college decision on Dec. 15.

DawgNation still believes no signee is more important to the 2018 class than Salyer. Fields and Zamir White might be shoulder-to-shoulder with him in terms of long-term value, but that would be fodder for a very healthy debate.

The belief here is Salyer will start right away anywhere he goes in college football. He will be an instant-impact recruit. The same can be said of White and Fields, but the Bulldogs do have elite freshmen in Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift already excelling at those positions this season.

To me, Salyer is what a future 12-year NFL veteran looks like when he is in high school. That’s a bold statement. But his all-around makeup backs that up every time I see him go to work.

Campbell attends American Heritage in South Florida. That program has sent several big-name players (Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel, Marshall Morgan) to UGA over the years. Campbell has said that UGA will get an official visit and it appears Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State are really standing out to him right now. 

Trey Hill ranks as the nation’s No. 2 guard for 2018. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

This big guy seems like an example of Georgia’s priority: to stack as many elite players up front as mathematically permissible by the 85-man scholarship cap.

Trey Hill, a former teammate of UGA freshman Jake Fromm at Houston County, rates as the nation’s No. 2 prospect at guard.

The 6-foot-3, 340-pound Hill has been told by UGA line coach Sam Pittman that he can contend for a spot at center right away. He also ranks as the nation’s No. 34 overall prospect for 2018.

I bet we will never hear Hill establish a public list of top school or final contenders. At least not for another few weeks. But I do see this coming down to a steel cage match between Auburn and Georgia.

KJ Henry took his first official visit to UGA for the Mississippi State game on Sept. 23. Virginia Tech will be the next official visit on his list.

KJ Henry will make his college decision known on Dec. 20. He’s another 5-star recruit whom the Bulldogs are chasing. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The 6-foot-5 1/2, 235-pounder got to see UGA win big. That’s a stark contrast to the last time he saw the Bulldogs in 2016. That was a tough loss to Vanderbilt.

Henry’s five finalists are: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia Tech and South Carolina.

He appeared to look very chummy with many current and potential future Georgia commits on the sidelines last month.

Look for his decision to come on Dec. 20 on the first day of the new early signing period. Henry rates as the nation’s No. 16 overall prospect for 2018.

I’ll be honest here. I needed a tie-breaker to separate this pick. The cases could easily be chopped up in three paragraphs for a number of players. The Otis Reese flip from Michigan. The pursuit of elite TE Luke Ford. Ford now looms very large for Georgia.

Let’s not forget about 4-star running back James Cook from South Florida.

Robert Cooper was at UGA on Oct. 14. He rates as the nation’s No. 5 DT prospect for 2018. He is currently committed to FSU. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

All of those names matter. The pick here went to another 4-star who plays a premium position that the Bulldogs did not stock up on in 2017. The tie-breaker came down to the fact that Robert Cooper is elite as the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle prospect for this year, but that he also is a Georgia native.

The Bulldogs must own the state of Georgia and bring in the in-state top prospects if they want to put together a string of seasons just like this one. Cooper is committed to Florida State, but his final contenders include Alabama and Georgia.

Cooper told me earlier this month that Florida State led and that Georgia was barely ahead of Alabama in that chase. He will take all three of those official visits as a Seminoles commit and then make his final decision sometime after that.

The South Gwinnett standout visited UGA for the Missouri game on Oct. 14. He said he had enjoyed it. Look for him to return for his official visit later this year.

He also ranks as the No. 77 overall prospect for 2017 on the 247Sports composite. But there’s more here beyond that. There just aren’t many 355-pounders with his massive strength (430-plus bench press) and cat-quick reflexes over his first three to four steps.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-American candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.

NextWATCH: Live chat with new UGA commit Adam Anderson
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