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Four-star RB James Cook ranks as the nation's No. 3 RB for the Class of 2018. He has already taken his official visit to UGA.

UGA recruiting: Will the RB depth ultimately affect things with James Cook?

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget for Tuesday calls for a James Cook update. That D’Andre Swift sure looks good. Five-star Zamir White is also on the way. Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien also could start for a few SEC teams. 

Could that ultimately work against UGA with Cook? 


Dell McGee has top-5 problems. That’s a college football equivalent of the “first-world problems” tagline that forces American households to realize their problems are nothing compared to rest of the world.

That’s because the Georgia running backs coach has a serious set of “Show Dogs.” That’s the term DawgNation uses to describe his running back room.

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are the elder statesmen, but that duo will exhaust their eligibility this fall.

James Cook-UGA recruiting
James Cook rates as the nation’s No. 3 RB and the No. 35 overall prospect per the 247Sports composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The aptly-named D’Andre Swift will be back in 2018, but Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield also flash often enough to make folks wonder if they could start for several other SEC teams.

Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 RB for this cycle, also has already committed to UGA. White just rambled for 244 and 6 (repeat: 6) scores in the first half of his game last week. 

The UGA depth chart has so much “Best in Show” talent that it would make the raised-pinky sippers at the Westminster Kennel Club dizzy.

Wouldn’t that preclude the Bulldogs from adding another special talent like James Cook? Could every Swift and White highlight hurt the chances there?

Will recruiters use that against UGA?

They can try, but that pitch will not fly.

Cook and his family already know how he’d potentially fit into that talented backfield.

“We are [talking about] playing in the SEC,” his mother Varondria Burnett said. “I’m okay with that. We need that and I know how they want to use him. I love Zamir [White]. I love the fact that they do have those other backs there to carry that load. It is a plus-plus-plus for us with all of that.”

James has a dream to play in the NFL one day. If he were to sign with UGA, he knows he won’t see his body punished with repeated 30-to-35-carry games in the rigid SEC.

That already mirrors the way Cook shares the load now for Miami Central. He rotates with 3-4 other quality backs. It keeps him fresh and ensures that his gas tank is usually full when he tries to gash a big-time defense.

The Bulldogs also would use him to attack the edges early in his career. When he’s packed on another 10-15 pounds of armor through the strength program, then he can take on more of those inside runs.

“I love it,” his mother said. “We love it. I think Georgia has the perfect plan with how they want to use James in their offense.”

Negative recruiting won’t work with James Cook and family

Burnett told me something that also seems worthwhile to bring up. She said her older son Dalvin gave his younger brother a very good piece of advice regarding the recruiting process.

It was to watch out for other schools trying to take down the competition.

“The one thing he told James was to listen,” Burnett said. “He said if you go to a school and that school bashes another school, then that means they have nothing to offer you. He said to listen to a school that just speaks about what they have to offer you and if you feel that is also a school that speaks to your heart about where you need to be, then that is the school you need to go to.”

Dalvin Cook, who became FSU’s all-time leading rusher in just three years, was selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He got off to a great start but unfortunately suffered a season-ending left knee injury last weekend.

Burnett said Dalvin had an interesting prediction about where he saw his younger brother ending up.

“Dalvin used to tell me all the time that James is not going to go to Florida State,” his mother said. “He would always tell me that he honestly believed that James would not follow him and go to Florida State.

“He saw him doing his own thing and creating his own path somewhere else.”

2 quick bits of Intel regarding 5-star QB Justin Fields

Justin Fields took the second of his official visits to Alabama this past weekend. He was seated in the front row for the Tide’s demolition derby with Ole Miss and got a lot of special attention.

The student section at Harrison High School represents for Justin Fields at a recent game. (Nate Gettleman/SEC Country)

My SEC Country colleague Chris Kirschner provided some details to his Alabama readers about that visit.

There was one very interesting takeaway. Kirschner pointed out that there were already two very capable dual-threat quarterbacks getting good reps at Alabama.

“According to two sources close to the Alabama program, both believe that while Fields did enjoy himself this weekend, they do not think he is interested in competing with Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa for the starting quarterback job next year in Tuscaloosa. With the way Hurts and Tagovailoa have played this season, it’s highly unlikely a true freshman — although Fields is incredibly gifted — could unseat both on the depth chart.

Both sources believe that Alabama is a long shot, at best, for the 5-star prospect from Harrison High School (Kennesaw, Ga.), even though he used one of his five official visits at the school.”

That’s something to consider. But there’s also another nugget in regard to that other SEC West program with Fields. That would be Auburn.

I’m continuing to hear the Tigers are just not in it with Fields. It has gotten to the point where they might not even register one of his five official visits. Fields has three more officials to go. I’d wager FSU gets one of those this week for the rescheduled game with Miami. Or that one could come for the Louisville game on Oct. 21.

USC seems in good shape to land the fourth. If not, that one could go to the Tigers.

I do think, even though it might not be necessary, that Fields will reserve his fifth and final official visit to UGA in December.

Georgia aims to steer its commits and prime targets to an official visit weekend in December. That’s when the staff is not encumbered with so many responsibilities on game day and it can then give all the recruits much more personal attention.

New offer out for Christian Barmore

The interwebs got busy late Monday night with word that the Bulldogs offered 2-star Pennsylvania DT Christian Barmore.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound prospect is committed to Temple, but he does have some new film out from this fall.

It seems a lot of folks like to speculate wildly when these things happen. They wonder if a midseason offer such as this means that the Bulldogs are now on the outside looking in with other targets like Robert Cooper, Rick Sandidge and Trevor Trout.

I would think that UGA’s start and defensive performance this fall would preclude that from being the most logical first read there.

I’m watching his film and it is clear that — granted, he is not facing the best competition — he has size, speed and can play the position at a high level. I’m thinking Barmore will get quite a few new major Power 5 offers off this tape and that his recruiting stock will rise considerably north of its current 2-star station.

Will this offer lead to strong mutual interest from both parties? We shall see. Georgia has done quite well recruiting Philadelphia as of late.

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.

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