UGA recruiting: How good is 5-star WR commit Jadon Haselwood?
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 the latest on 5-star commit Jadon Haselwood plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
On to the next one. That’s the mentality for fans and most of the reporters who cover college football recruiting.
There’s not as much buzz at the prospect camps and 7-on-7 events for players who have made their decisions known and are not backing away from it.
DawgNation is thinking long and hard about Z-Day for Zamir White on the 27th of this month.
There’s also the quickening of pulses whenever the name Justin Fields comes up. The 5-star prospect and nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB, according to the 247Sports composite rank, is on the minds of the Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Penn State fan bases right now.
We’re going to hit the brakes on all that today to do something our grandparents and parents always wanted us to do: appreciate what Georgia already has committed to the program. A 5-star on the board is worth three that are not yet in the fold.
The recruit who fits that bill for DawgNation is 5-star wide-receiver Jadon Haselwood. 247Sports ranks him the nation’s No. 1 WR prospect for 2019. The rising junior at Cedar Grove in Dekalb County has been called the next A.J. Green for Georgia.
Well, that’s some back-buckling pressure to play up to. Yet I’m of the opinion that Haselwood can shoulder those parallels. That’s because of something that’s a lot less subjective.
Haselwood stands to be the highest-rated receiver UGA has signed since Green in 2008. He’s also a state track champion in the 110 hurdles. That illustrated just how rare an athlete he is.
A fan could use a fidget spinner to buzz around any of the reporters or analysts who cover UGA football and its recruiting efforts right now. They would get the same evaluation.
The opinion on Haselwood is pretty much universal. He’ll be a No. 1 receiver in the SEC.
Did you see any of the highlight catches he made at the Cam Newton 7-on-7 Classic last month? Did you see what Haselwood did at the Rivals 5-star Challenge last weekend?
The 6-foot-2.5, 185-pound player is rated the nation’s No. 1 receiver for 2019. If he continues to perfect his game and grind, I don’t really see anyone challenging him for the top spot.
What would that mean in terms of Georgia recruiting history? Quite a lot.
How rare was Jadon Haselwood’s commitment to UGA?
The younger UGA fan might need to call on Google to get the picture for the name “Theron Sapp,” when it comes to team history. Sapp was christened by UGA legend Dan Magill as the “Drought Breaker” because he scored the winning touchdown that snapped an eight-game losing streak to Georgia Tech in 1957.
He wore No. 40 and that was enough to get his jersey retired back in that day.
Haselwood seems like a Sapp to me in the short-term attention span of college recruiting.
He stands to be the first Top 10 nationally rated receiver the Bulldogs have signed since Marlon Brown was rated No. 3 overall in 2009.
That’s an eternity. Alabama signed four receivers who ranked among the nation’s Top 12 just last year. Clemson also signed two players from the Top 15. Ohio State has signed three players at that level in the last two years.
That’s the competition. The offensive line and wide receiver are the two positions the previous UGA staff never owned in recruiting. It showed.
DawgNation covered the OL issues extensively last year as the Bulldogs rectified those ills with the nation’s No. 3 overall class. But receiver? That’s a long drought.
UGA’s highest-rated receivers since 2008
These are all from the 247Sports composite. We’re also only listing prospects who were rated as a receiver when they signed. That takes out athlete types such as Terry Godwin in 2015 or Mecole Hardman, Jr. in 2016.
Both of those guys were rated as the nation’s No. 1 athlete because they did not fit the pure No. 1 receiver mold.
- 2019 commit: Jadon Haselwood (Rated nation’s No. 1 receiver overall)
- 2018: None as of yet
- 2017: J.J. Holloman (Rated No. 18 overall)
- 2016: Charlie Woerner (Rated No. 25 overall, now a tight end)
- 2015: Jayson Stanley (Rated No. 25 overall)
- 2014: Shakenneth Williams (Rated No. 40 overall)
- 2013: Tramel Terry (Rated No. 13 overall but never made an impact)
- 2012: Blake Tibbs (Rated No. 57 overall)
- 2011: Justin Scott-Wesley (Rated No. 34 overall)
- 2010: Michael Bennett (Rated No. 81 overall)
- 2009: Marlon Brown (Rated No. 3 overall)
- 2008: A.J. Green (Rated No. 2 overall)
Something about Jadon Haselwood you might not know
Haselwood was a catalyst for Cedar Grove state championship efforts in football and overall team track during his sophomore year.
“Hurdles in track helps me in football more than most might think,” he said. “It loosens my hips up and my stride up. I can use that in a game. That helps me come in and out of my breaks with very loose hips.”
Haselwood is a natural athlete. He only started running the hurdles in high school and is already a state champion.
Ohio State still comes after him to try to pry him away from Georgia, but he often tells me he’s just too stubborn to let them.
He believes in Georgia, what receivers coach James Coley can do for him and the fit there. He’s not going to let anyone change his mind no matter what recruiting pitch comes his way, he says.
Haselwood always has his red UGA backpack and has been known to recruit for Georgia, too. What did he tell 4-star 2018 target Kearis Jackson about jumping on board and getting into the receiver room with him at UGA?
“If he doesn’t join the family, then he’s going to get something playing for another team [from Georgia] he is not going to like,” Haselwood said.
Jadon Haselwood can be an old soul, too
When you get the chance to interact with him, he can come off as a fun-loving kid who likes to laugh but also as an old soul.
He’s very connected to his family. His collection of body art is a reflection of that.
“I’ve got a Nefertiti here for my great-grandmother and my aunt,” Haselwood said. “They both passed away when I was in the eighth grade. The same year.”
His aunt’s name was Jean Cousar. That great-grandmother’s name was Ophelia Cousar. Those women clearly mattered to him.
“The loss of those two ladies broke my heart in two,” he said. “It made me heartbroken. I spent months getting over that. They meant a lot. That’s why every time I score I make a gesture with a cross over my heart with my knee down. I do that every time for them.”
The 5-star also has images of a wolf and an Indian “Dreamcatcher” totem on his physique.
“The wolf is brave and loyal and strong and aggressive,” he said. “Then ‘The Dreamcatcher’ is inspiring. It moves people to go out and chase their dreams.”
There’s also an image on his chest that can easily be seen under a tank top.
“It just says timeless,” Haselwood said. “It just says for me to live my life to the fullest basically.”
His Twitter avatar is “Sensei.” That’s what he goes by on social media.
“That’s what I do to defensive backs,” he said. “That’s what I do to them. I just slice them up.”
He realizes what he has done already is pretty rare. Three-time state champion. Scholarship offers aplenty. A 5-star recruit. The nation’s No. 1 receiver. A U.S. Army All-American.
“It is all a tremendous blessing,” he said. “I just give all my thanks to the man above. That is who has made all this happen for me. He’s blessed me with talent, but I make sure to work to deserve those blessings by working hard every day I possibly can.”
I think of that every time I’m around all the prospects. The best player Georgia is recruiting at a lot of these events is already one of them.
Nobody is asking him where he’s going to school. The interview requests are not as constant.
That’s also reminiscent of the way A.J. Green came to Georgia. Green committed in October 2006 but did not sign his letter of intent for another 16 months.
“Sensei” was out of the way very early.
“I’m 110 percent with the G,” Haselwood said. “I’m not flipping. I know everybody might think that because I am young, but when I say something I really mean it.”