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Jake Camarda/Special to DawgNation
Norcross rising senior Jake Camarda (left) ranks as one of the nation's Top 5 kickers and punters in the class of 2018.

UGA recruiting: Getting to know Jake Camarda, the Bulldogs’ latest commit

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 which way an elite prospect like Jake Camarda might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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Jake Camarda is the type that would rather let his foot do the talking.

Camarda, the most recent UGA commitment, chose the Bulldogs on G-Day. The rising senior at Norcross High in Metro Atlanta also preferred to lay low over the last few months after he picked up the Georgia offer.

That’s where he feels most comfortable these days, too. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect is also quite busy as a two-sport athlete for the Blue Devils. He saw time on the diamond this spring in center field and at relief pitcher.

But he’s most comfortable sending footballs into orbit. Camarda has an impressive list of rankings from the various scouting services:

  • Nation’s No. 2 kicker by 247Sports composite
  • Nation’s No. 3 kicker by 247Sports
  • Nation’s No. 1 kicker by Rivals
  • 5-star kicker and punter by Kohl’s Kicking
  • Nation’s No. 1 punter and No. 4 kicker by Kohl’s Kicking
  • 5-star kicker by Chris Sailer Kicking
  • Nation’s No. 1 punter and No. 3 kicker by Chris Sailer Kicking

Kohl’s Kicking, considered a national authority on kickers and punters, has a greater degree of specialization in its rankings and analysis compared to the mainstream recruiting sites.

That’s just their lane. The mainstream sites only regard even elite kickers as 2-star and 3-star prospects while sites like Kohl’s and Chris Sailer Kicking provide much more detail on the evaluation front.

Jake Camara-UGA recruiting
Camarda was quickly summed up by the headlines as the nation’s top kicker when he chose UGA, but his immediate impact might be at punter. (Jake Camarda/Special)

Kohl’s summed up Camarda’s ability with this assessment:

“Camarda had a dominant performance at the 2017 Underclassman Challenge. He is impressive in his refinement and his ability. He can directional punt with power and has great confidence in his punting mechanics. One of the most impressive punters we have seen at the high school level. He is ready to start at a Power 5 school right now.

“He has Division-1 ability in his field goals and kickoffs as well, cleaning up contact will help him maximize his leg speed and power. His leg is flat-out superior to most kids in his class. Camarda attended the 2016 NSC in Wisconsin. Once again Jake showed why he is the No. 1 punter in the nation for the 2018 class with an average of 55-plus yards from the charting portions of camp. His leg speed up and through the football is unmatched in his class.”

Chris Sailer Kicking also supported the thinking that his best bet to contribute early also might be at punter.

“Jake is clearly one of the most talented combo prospects (K/P) in the nation. A tremendous athlete with a big-time leg. Field goals are excellent off the ground. Kickoffs are outstanding, D1 ready.

“He is also the No. 1 Punter in the nation without a doubt. He will dominate D1 football as a punter. Jake is a competitor that does his best under pressure. A fine young man with a bright future. I expect Jake to pick up multiple offers sooner than later. Big-time prospect. Do not wait, OFFER NOW!!! Huge pickup for Georgia.”

Camarda’s Maxpreps.com stats credited him with 14 touchbacks among his 57 kickoffs last fall with an average boot of 59.7 yards. The new Bulldogs commit also averaged 39.8 yards on his 34 punts as a junior. Camarda dropped 14 of those tries inside the 20 with a long kick of 57 yards.

He made 7 of his 8 extra-point attempts, was good on 3 of his 7 field goal tries and made a season-high from 48 yards out in 2016.

Going beyond the ratings

Camarda has had a busy spring because of baseball. That meant Sundays were usually his only days to work on football with his kicking coach.

Why did he choose Georgia?

“It is a school close to home,” Camarda said. “[I] really love the coaching staff and everything they have going on there. It is a great opportunity for me and it great for my family because it is close and it has always been a dream of mine to play SEC football. It just made sense and felt right.”

The location was a factor. His only full offers came from Rutgers and Kentucky. But he said that Georgia was not his dream school growing up.

Jake Camarda-UGA recruiting
Jake Camarda has a little of Clemson and Georgia in his household. His father was a pole vaulter at Clemson while his mother graduated from UGA. (Jake Camarda/Special)

“I never really had one,” he said. “I was a big Clemson fan because my Dad was a pole vaulter there so I cheered for them in everything, but my Mom was a UGA grad.”

Camarda’s national rankings create some intrigue about what position he was actually offered for. Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said in the past that he only plans to offer specialists that have elite talent and the ability to make a big impact in the SEC.

Camarda qualifies. At both. Where does he think his best opportunity will be in Athens? Will it be at punter, kicker or maybe as an early kickoff specialist?

“Big for punting and competing for all three,” he said. “I’m going to go in and try to win every job.”

He’ll have at least one guy to hang out with when he arrives in Athens. He said he considered 2017 Georgia 4-star DE signee Robert Beal Jr. as a friend.

“Robert is one of my bros,” Camarda told DawgNation. “He’s a baller.”