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Jeff Sentell/SEC Country
Tucker WR Josh Vann is a big target for both Georgia and South Carolina.

UGA recruiting: Josh Vann sounds torn between two SEC East rivals

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 a 4-star like Josh Vann might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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Josh Vann is very good at changing directions. He’s best at it on the football field. The 5-foot-10.5 rising senior and approximate 180-pound prospect can zig and zag through defenders with style.

That helps him fit into his open window to snatch a football. But Tucker’s star receiver is doing a pretty sporty job of changing direction on the recruiting trail, too.

Vann has significant back-and-forth of late, but the one constant has been his strong interest in Georgia and South Carolina. He also took a recent visit to Alabama. That was his first visit that didn’t take place at one of those aforementioned SEC East schools.

The go-to-guy at Tucker then visited South Carolina on Saturday after the Corky Kell Classic. He told GamecockCentral.com the Gamecocks were back on top. Georgia had held the slight edge for a time prior to that.

The 4-star receiver has centered on Georgia and South Carolina because those were the only programs he had taken unofficial visits to prior to that Alabama visit.

Josh Vann
Josh Vann rates as a 4-star prospect and the nation’s No. 38 WR in 2018 by the 247SportsComposite.

His process has gone from pretty tight to a South Carolina lead for about a month. That was before Georgia edged ahead. For maybe about a month.

When I chatted with Vann on Friday he had this to say about the Bulldogs.

“I’m leaning toward the home-town favorite,” he said. “It is the home team for me. I’ve been going up there lately for a lot of visits and working out with the coaches. I’ve been liking it more and more. They’ve been treating me well.”

He felt the Bulldogs had been recruiting him “better” than South Carolina. Georgia had once pegged him as a slot receiver. South Carolina gained favor by saying it wanted to deploy him all over the play sheet.

UGA has changed up its pitch. It worked. When Vann met with reporters, he’d been calling the Bulldogs his leader. He didn’t deviate from those thoughts last Friday.

“They have been telling me they would play me exactly like South Carolina has been saying it,” Vann said. “If they are men of their word and will play me all over that is a plus and then again Georgia is the hometown team. The home state favorite. It will be hard to turn them down in the end.”

That’s now old news.

Something new with the Josh Vann decision

Tucker coach Bryan Lamar is a man of few subtleties. He tells it how it is. Lamar told DawgNation he wants his 2018 prospects to be committed by the end of July.

He’s doing this for several admirable reasons and ticked them off: 1) Focus on their academic work; 2) Player safety and a guarantee they’ll be locked into a school in the event of an injury; 3) Focus on the senior season of football with fewer distractions.

Lamar might possibly allow them to spill over into the first week of August, but it sounded like that was about all the leeway he would allow.

Josh Vann
What does Georgia like about Tucker WR Josh Vann? Kirby Smart told him he really liked his hands. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com)

That means Vann will have a big month up ahead. That same approach will apply for 4-star ILB Michael Harris and 4-star OL Dylan Wonnum.

Those guys are both rated among the nation’s Top 250 players by the 247SportsComposite.

Wonnum checks in as the nation’s No. 9 OT and the No. 79 player overall. Harris rates as the nation’s No. 11 ILB recruit and as the nation’s No. 248 overall prospect.

Where does Josh Vann fit in for UGA? 

Vann rates as one of Georgia’s top three options at receiver for 2018. DawgNation has culled the intel from various sources and the top of the board offers three in-state options that show significant interest:

  • Peach County WR Kearis Jackson (4-star)
  • Stockbridge WR Marquez Ezzard (4-star)
  • Tucker WR Josh Vann (4-star)

Would the Bulldogs take all three? That’s possible. It might hinge on how the targets at other positions pan out. Who are the top 2? That’s a tough call. But I do think Jackson might be slightly favored over his peers for the fact he’s been to UGA more than the other two.

Jackson has been a UGA priority for at least the last 16 months.

What do those players all have in common? They fit the criteria of being dynamic athletes and playmakers in space with the ball in their hands.

There is also significant mutual interest. There are a few higher-rated receivers for this cycle the Bulldogs would take. I could drop a lot of names, but there’s really no need with these options in the state of Georgia. Georgia has not advanced its cause with those higher-rated guys as well as it has with this trio.

Ezzard recently took another trip to UGA over the weekend and said it was another very good visit. But it was nothing that altered a timeline that should stretch into his senior season.

What separates UGA from South Carolina and vice versa

DawgNation asked Vann two simple questions last Friday. His answers were highly interesting.

The first: How does Georgia hold off South Carolina in the end?

“I get to talk to more players at Georgia,” Vann said referencing a pair of Tucker alums at UGA. “The more and more we get to talk the main thing they tell me is how nicely I will be treated down there. (They tell me) how good it will be for a player at UGA. All I have to do is work hard and I will be able to play and get on the field.”

The latter: How does South Carolina wrestle him away?

“I don’t know how they can catch Georgia to me,” Vann said. “I don’t know a couple of the players over there so I really can’t talk to anyone and ask them how things will go and don’t really know anybody down there.”

Josh Vann
Josh Vann said that Georgia was his dream school growing up. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com)

Tucker alums Jonathan Ledbetter and Dominick Sanders are that sounding board for him in Athens. Vann can only name Aaron Sterling as a contact that could provide that same insight about the Gamecocks.

“Sterling just moved in there,” Vann said. “He just got there. He won’t be able to tell me what it will be like to go through a season there.”

What would be his choice if he had to make that decision last Friday?

“I think it would most likely be Georgia,” Vann said, shortly before putting the Gamecocks on top 24 hours later.

Vann also enjoyed a question about what 5-star QB Justin Fields could do for the Bulldogs.

“I’d love to see him go to Georgia,” Vann said. “It would mean a lot to me. I just found out I am on his team at the Nike Opening finals in Oregon this month. It would be nice to have Justin Fields on your side. He would change things a lot for Georgia. From what I have seen, he would be like a ‘Baby Cam (Newton)’ in college. He’s big. He can run and move and throw it. Georgia would probably come out of that Pro-Set and have him in some quarterback reads in the spread. There would be a lot that could change about Georgia.”

Don’t discount distance and location as a factor. Vann said that was a big plus for UGA. He also said both of his parents have very positive impressions of his opportunity to play for the Bulldogs.

This waffling back and forth only seems natural. He hasn’t been to a lot of schools and experienced the same things his 2018 peers have. It is logical he’s going to really like a school fresh off a visit.

Check the film below. Vann is definitely worth the tug-of-war that both schools are engaged in for his services.

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