DawgNation was at Westlake High School in Metro Atlanta on Saturday morning. That was the stop to check out the talent trying out for the next #True19 game. The purpose of the trip was not to talk about Georgia’s chances of signing 5-star QB Justin Fields.
But that just seems to be the buzz these days.
His name came up at a tryout to figure out Georgia’s teams for the #True19 all-star games next January in Texas. There will be two games in 2018. Georgia’s top 2019 prospects will take on Florida. Another squad of the Peach State’s finest will line up against a Canadian team, too.
5-star commit Jadon Haselwood and his trademark UGA backpack were there. His fellow 2019 commit Rashad Cheney Jr. also was there.
Cheney has transferred to Cedar Grove. Those two will be teammates this fall and plan to play together on Saturdays. My first thought: Do I need to talk to those guys again?
I asked Haselwood if he knew a good question to ask Cheney. The 4-star DT continues to be tugged toward South Carolina by coach Will Muschamp and company.
They wound up talking about a certain 5-star QB in the Class of 2018.
5-star Jadon Haselwood asked the questions this time
Haselwood’s first thought was to ask Cheney about his commitment to Georgia. That only happened back in February. The look on big defensive tackle’s face said don’t bring that weak stuff into this kitchen.
“C’mon bro,” Cheney said. “Naw, man. That don’t even make sense with me anymore.”
Haselwood regrouped. He was soon 5-star fast on his feet in the interview game, too.
“I got you,” he said.
The highest-rated receiver commitment the Bulldogs have had in a decade whipped the conversation around. He had it going down the road anyone wearing a red Georgia “Power G” backpack would want to chat about right now.
“What are your thoughts on the decision Justin Fields will be making with his schools,” Haselwood said. “What decision will he be making between Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia?”
Cheney liked that. He flashed a big grin. Like a greedy grin that Mr. Burns would break out in The Simpsons as he was counting up his stacks.
“He’s coming to Georgia,” Cheney said. “When we get him, he’s going to be a big-time outlet for the 2018 class. The 2018 class will then jump on board. If we get Fields, then we are going to get all the big receivers. Fields can bring a whole team of big-time players in.”
Haselwood had more.
“If Fields comes, do you think Georgia has a chance at getting Kearis Jackson?” he said.
“Yes,” Cheney replied. “They played on the same 7-on-7 team. That makes sense.”
“Oh, you think they have got that chemistry then,” Haselwood said with just a tad of irony. “OK. I got you.”
The receiver was digging this reporter stuff.
“You are a defensive player and all,” Haselwood said. “But how do you think the offense at Georgia is going to look this year?”
“We are going to be looking good with that 2017 offensive line class we just signed,” Cheney said. “Those guys are giants. Justin (Shaffer), Netori (Johnson) and Isaiah (Wilson) up there. Some of them might not start but they are going to contribute. Those are going to be some big dudes to run the ball behind. I feel great about those guys. Those guys work hard. Things are going to be great for Georgia running the ball this year. I can already see it.”
That was it. Haselwood concluded the interview and thanked him for his time.
The guy who gets paid to ask questions for a living had a few topics. He asked Cheney what sort of impact that Fields choosing Georgia would have on Haselwood.
The reporter-for-a-day also plays on the same Cam Newton 7-on-7 team with Justin Fields. That’s why that “chemistry” comment he made while he was quizzing his teammate was a tad ironic.
“This dude loves talking about Justin Fields,” Chaney said. “He says all the time, ‘If Justin Fields comes,’ he is going to do this and this. If you get Justin, then you for sure get Jadon.”
If you’ve been on summer vacation the last two weeks, you might not know Fields is the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect for 2018. He’d be the third All-American QB that the Bulldogs would sign over the last three years.
He recently de-committed from Penn State and the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat prospect is a very hot topic these days.
A quick reset on the situation at hand
It was a fun conversation, but let’s ground it in reality. When asked about the percentages of Fields choosing Georgia, both guys put it at “about 60 percent” right now. They didn’t think a decision would be imminent.
Jadon Haselwood felt Justin Fields might decide sometime in September. They sounded more worried about Florida right now than any other school. They feel Florida needs a quarterback. Florida State somehow doesn’t seem to be that big of a threat.
They felt Fields to UGA would influence other players. They felt the 5-star’s decision could impact “four or five players” to see UGA in a different light.
“He could bring like five guys to Georgia,” Cheney said. “A lot of big targets are close with him. I play on defense and he plays on offense. But he can bring offensive guys and then their homeboys might play on defense. They would want to come to Georgia and play with all of them, too.”
What’s the latest with Rashad Cheney?
Cheney, on the other hand, does still feel a genuine tug from South Carolina.
“They are trying but it is going to be hard to take me away from Georgia,” Cheney said.
While he mentioned he still had two years of high school to go, he said he was currently “100 percent” committed to Georgia.
“My commitment to Georgia has always been strong,” he said.
He said he’s already benefitted from his move to play with Haselwood at Cedar Grove.
“The workouts were different when I got to Cedar Grove,” Chaney said. “The coaching felt different. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know that helped me in the long run. When I told the college coaches that I was going to Cedar Grove, every one of those coaches said that was the best move that I could make. They said that every player that comes out of Cedar Grove is a dog. They get to college and are prepared to do their thing. I’ve gotten good compliments ever since I’ve made that move.”
What’s something refreshing about college football and the recruiting world? Cheney said he never hears negative recruiting from any schools toward the competition.
“They all want me to explore my options and make the best possible decision,” Cheney said. “Nobody is talking down on anyone because they said they wouldn’t want any school to talk down on their program or anything like that, too.”
Cheney plans to visit Florida next month. Jadon Haselwood and Cheney both said they will visit Ohio State for their “Friday Night Lights” event in July. Haselwood said he will probably bring that Georgia backpack, too.
“I probably will,” Haselwood said. “I got to let them know where I stand.”