UGA recruiting: Perspective will always be key in June under Kirby Smart

Georgia Bulldogs-football recruiting-2019 commitments
UGA and Kirby Smart's work with the 2018 recruiting class shows that June momentum matters little in high-stakes college football recruiting.

Psst. Want to know a secret that should not be a secret by now for UGA recruiting? Kirby Smart has shown through three years he plays the long game with recruiting classes.

Georgia ranks No. 9 nationally on the 247Sports team composite rankings for 2019. That spot is also good for No. 4 in the SEC.

This is the time of year when spring drills are over, camp season is under way and fans are tapping their fingers on their desks at work waiting for fall camp to arrive. The “Dog Days” of summer aren’t even here and they want a commitment. Any commitment.

Just a bit of a break from the norm. Just a little somethin’ to break the monotony.

Florida just reeled in a commit from Georgia. South Carolina got another blue-chip, too. Those Gamecocks are up to No. 4 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC.

This is DawgNation’s new definition of summer madness. 

To offset that, let’s do a memory jog back to what the UGA recruiting landscape looked a year ago:

  • Justin Fields, the 5-star UGA fab freshman quarterback, just de-committed from Penn State this week.
  • The Bulldogs were about to miss out on 3-star running back Master Teague III (Ohio State). Georgia managed to get by with 5-star prospect Zamir White and the nation’s No. 3 RB, James Cook.
  • Cook would not de-commit from Florida State until July 4.
  • Luke Ford, the nation’s No. 3 tight end, was committed to Arkansas. He would soon de-commit, visit UGA and make a note to himself and to his loved ones, to never forget how much he loved Athens on his initial stop. That was even before he got to know Fields at the Nike Opening in late June.
  • The names Matt Corral, Jaevon Becton, Trey Dean, Marquez Ezzard, Emmit Gooden, Tyreke Johnson, Caleb Tannor and Josh Vann were readily on the minds of UGA fans who plug into recruiting.
  • When 3-star Oklahoma tackle Owen Condon committed to UGA on June 10, he became the sixth commitment for 2018. That tally had zero 5 stars. The Bulldogs wound up signing seven 5-stars, and that would include 23 players with a higher composite rating than Condon.
  • White would not commit until June 27. He became the first of those 5-stars of 2018 and the first top 10, top 50 and top 100 recruit on the board.
  • Despite his pledge, the Bulldogs had just the nation’s No. 55 recruiting class and seven total commits when The Opening began in late June. The Bulldogs only sent one senior commit to The Opening last year.
  • Georgia currently has eight commitments, a trio of 5-star prospects and four prospects that rate among the nation’s top-100 players at this time. They will send at least four this time.

Summer. Summer. Summertime. Time to sit back and unwind. 

Want a speed read on the week? These were the major DawgNation recruiting storylines over the last seven days:

What’s going on right now with UGA recruiting

We’ll take on five pressing topics and gave them a rep in three sentences or less.

  • Four-star RB target John Emery Jr., a big UGA target, is expected to commit on July 7. It sounds like the decision will come down to Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State. The Bulldogs from the SEC West have picked up some momentum here.
  • Look for 4-star California QB target Joey Yellen to decide by the end of the month. He just camped at UGA. It appears like the Bulldogs will wait until they have had all the QBs they like on their radar in town to camp and work out for the coaches before they decide which ones to pursue.
  • Four-star inside linebacker pledge Trezmen Marshall continues to take his visits. That’s what he said he would do. He will be on an official visit to Tennessee this weekend.
  • Five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood continues to do what he said he would when he committed to the Bulldogs in the spring of 2017. He’s going to visit schools and take his officials, too. Keep in mind that this is the same young man who ran out of his house screaming at the top of his lungs when Georgia toppled Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma on the first day of 2018.
  • North Carolina 4-star defensive tackle C.J. Clark announced this week he will make his decision on June 18. Georgia appears to be a strong contender here for the nation’s No. 17 DT prospect for 2019.

Where UGA recruiting ranks in 2019

Georgia currently has eight commitments. Marshall, the 4-star athlete, was the most recent on April 27. Marshall, the nation’s No. 6 athlete and No. 98 overall prospect, silently pledged to the program a few weeks prior to the public reveal.

UGA sits at No. 9 nationally in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings. That said, the Bulldogs are the only team in the nation’s top 20 with no more than eight commitments. Every other program inside the top 20 has at least nine.

Georgia has an average rating of 95.78 per commit. That’s the highest average per pledge in the nation.

Alabama has 14 pledges and continues to hold the top spot. Texas A&M and its 13 pledges rank No. 2 in the SEC and chart at No. 3 nationally.

Haselwood, the 5-star wide receiver (Cedar Grove H.S./Ellenwood, Ga.), is the highest-rated Georgia commit. He is the No. 5 overall player in the nation, according to the composite. Haselwood is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 receiver prospect for 2019.

The program has not signed a 5-star receiver since A.J. Green and Marlon Brown in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. The Bulldogs are expected to sign two in this class with Haselwood and 5-star Walton receiver Dominick Blaylock.

UGA also has two pledges for 2020. The latest is tackle Broderick JonesHe committed to the Bulldogs twice earlier this year. The 4-star prospect has 5-star potential and rates on 247Sports as the nation’s No. 36 prospect for 2020.

Jones slots as the nation’s No. 6 tackle in his class, according to 247Sports.

If you’d like to see the big picture on UGA recruiting each week, please join me on Facebook Live. That’s where we stream our Wednesday Night Live recruiting special every week.

The program has been going strong for more than two years on Facebook.

How the 2019 UGA recruiting class is being built

June 11, 2016: 4-star tackle Luke Griffin (North Murray/Chatsworth, Ga.) commits to UGA

Jan. 29, 2017: 5-star DE Nolan Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) commits to UGA

Feb. 18, 2017: 4-star DT Rashad Cheney Jr. (Washington High/Atlanta) commits to UGA

March 16, 2017: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood commits to UGA

July 15, 2017: 4-star LB J.D. Bertrand (Blessed Trinity/Roswell, Ga.) commits to UGA

July 16, 2017: 5-star WR Dominick Blaylock (Walton/Marietta, Ga.) commits to UGA

Oct. 30, 2017: 4-star CB Jalen Perry (Dacula/Dacula, Ga.) commits to UGA

Jan. 25, 2018: Rashad Cheney Jr. de-commits from UGA

Feb. 7, 2018: 4-star TE Ryland Goede (Kennesaw Mountain/Kennesaw, Ga.) commits to UGA

March 18, 2018: 4-star DE Bill Norton (Christian Brothers/Memphis, Tenn.) commits to UGA

April 1, 2018: Luke Griffin de-commits from UGA

April 27, 2018: 4-star ATH Trezman Marshall commits to UGA

Which players are 2019 misses for UGA recruiting?

Owen Pappoe chose Auburn on May 1. That was a rare miss of late of a highly sought in-state prospect.

But no college program goes 100 percent with its top-tier targets. Which 2019 priorities have the Bulldogs have missed on? Pappoe tops the list, but he wasn’t the only one UGA would’ve liked to have seen join its 2019 class.

Owen Pappoe, 5-star OLB, Grayson High/Loganville, Ga.: Pappoe committed to Auburn. The Bulldogs recruited him to play ILB and that’s a better fit for him than on the edges of an SEC defense. Auburn hopes to see him play a role at the Star or Money position in its defense. That’s probably the best position fit for a 6-foot, 209-pound athlete with rare acceleration and explosiveness.

Chris Hinton, a rising senior at Greater Atlanta Christian, is a 5-star defensive lineman prospect in the 2019 cycle. He has been committed to Michigan for almost a full year now. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Chris Hinton, 5-star SDE, Greater Atlanta Christian/Norcross, Ga.: Hinton chose Michigan last August. The 5-star defensive end is the son of former NFL great Chris Hinton. He ranks as the nation’s No. 16 overall prospect in 2019. Hinton and his family stress academics. UGA will continue to recruit him until he signs. But things could get interesting if the Wolverines have another average season.

Kyle Hamilton, 3-star S, Marist/Atlanta: Hamilton chose Notre Dame right after G-Day. Don’t let his 3-star rating fool you. The 6-4, 188-pound prospect starred as an all-state performer for a state finalist team last season. We’re told Smart only needed to see the first two or three plays of his tape to offer. Hamilton spent a lot of time with UGA freshman Justin Fields on his unofficial visit for G-Day. He also values the academic fit, having scored a 30 on his ACT.

OTHERS TO CONSIDER: Four-star DL Antonio Alfano (Alabama); 4-star OLB Stephen Herron Jr. (Michigan); 4-star tackle Amari Kight (Alabama)

UGA recruiting by position in 2019

Which positions are the major priorities for 2019? The receiver spot was one, but that has been checked off by a pair of 5-stars who rate as the nation’s top-2 receivers.

Here’s a look at the cupboards left to stock in terms of positional priorities for the class:

  • Defensive tackle (2-3 more)
  • Tackle (2)
  • Cornerback (2)
  • Safety (2)
  • Inside LB (at least 1 more)
  • Quarterback (1)

 

2019 UGA recruiting offers by the numbers

(as published by 247Sports)

  • Reported offers: 263 (+4 since our last update two weeks ago)
  • 5-star offers: 31
  • Florida recruits offered: 59
  • In-state recruits offered: 44 (+2)
  • Texas recruits offered: 38 (+1)
  • Mississippi recruits offered: 13
  • California recruits offered: 16
  • Louisiana recruits offered: 13
  • Receivers offered: 33
  • Cornerbacks offered: 29 (+1)
  • Tackles offered: 25 (+1)
  • Safeties offered: 21
  • Defensive tackles offered: 23 (+1)
  • Quarterbacks offered: 18
  • Running backs offered: 13
  • Inside linebackers offered: 3
  • Athletes offered: 21 (+2)

2019 UGA recruiting position breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected to be signed:

  • QB: 0/1
  • RB: 0/1
  • TE: 1/1 (Goede)
  • WR: 2/2 (Blaylock, Haselwood)
  • OL: 0/2
  • DE: 1/2 (Norton)
  • DT: 0/3
  • ILB: 2/3 (Bertrand, Marshall)
  • OLB: 1/2 (Smith)
  • CB: 1/3 (Perry)
  • S: 0/2
  • Totals: 8/22
  • Possible variants: 1 or 2 QBs; 1 or 2 RBs; 2 or 3 WRs

Geographical UGA recruiting breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of the current UGA commits by state:

  • Georgia: 6 (Bertrand, Blaylock, Goede, Haselwood, Marshall, Perry)
  • Florida: 1 (Smith*)
  • Tennessee: 1 (Norton)

*-Nolan Smith is a Georgia native who plays for IMG Academy in Florida.

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