Georgia line coach Sam Pittman has made IMG rising senior Daniel Faalele a priority.
That would be big. Well, because Faalele is big. Like 18-wheeler big. Faalele can be the biggest (literally) recruit Georgia has ever signed.
There is a thread on the Dawgnation.com message board which points to the “slow rolling” of recruits when it comes to Georgia and its developing 2018 recruiting class.
Fans have a right to hyper opinions. There are few teams which can keep up with the pace in how the Bulldogs won over elite in-state prospects for their 2017 recruiting class.
But when it comes to the chase for 6-foot-9 and 390-pound Faalele, nobody will accuse Pittman of parking his foot on the brakes.
“I hear from him every day,” Faalele said. “He’s always telling me every day how much he wants to coach me and how much he wants to develop me into the player that I want to be.”
“Georgia stands out for me just because I feel so comfortable there with Coach Pittman,” Faalele said.
The Australian import is new to football. He didn’t pick up the game until moving to IMG Academy in Florida.
Faalele has a brick wall’s worth of size and very good lateral movement and agility for the 400-pound club. He can even dunk a basketball.
When he tested at The Opening Orlando regional in February, he posted a 23-inch vertical leap. Faalele also got to see UGA up close earlier this year.
Faalele got to check out the new indoor football facility as part of an IMG spring break caravan tour. He came away very impressed.
Something bout them dawgs man💯 #GoDawgs 🐾🐾
— Daniel Faalele🇦🇺 (@DanielFaalele_) March 4, 2017
“Nothing much has changed for me since that trip,” Faalele said. “I still feel very strong about the connection I have there. I am still trying to find where I feel the most comfortable at.”
Decision timeline for Daniel Faalele
This is not just a UGA party. What other schools have done a good job with Faalele?
“Right now Tennessee and LSU,” Faalele said.
He said he has a couple of thoughts about when he plans to commit.
“I was thinking either after my five official visits or on my birthday,” Faalele said. “That would be on November 9 at the end of my season.”
He notes he doesn’t have any leader at the moment. Or a Top 5.
“I’m really keeping this thing open and trying to find the school that I can fit in best at,” he said. “The best fit for me.”
Faalele will not be doing any of his research over the summer. Those weeks are reserved for going back home to Austrailia.
The bulk of his school decision will come during the fall for his official visits.
Does Georgia stand a good chance to earn one of those five officials?
“At the moment yes,” Faalele said.
It has been awhile since that trip to Georgia. What still sticks out to him?
“Just feeling comfortable being with coach Pittman all day,” he said. “Just the feeling there, too. It was a great atmosphere.”
Pittman is not alone in his pursuit. Faalele said there were other schools he hears from just about every day, too.
“Just about every school that really wants me makes sure to contact me every day,” he said.
Faalele is raw, but he will be tested this fall. He gets to practice against elite competition every day at IMG Academy.
He lines up against UGA 2019 commit Nolan Smith often. Major 2018 target Stephon Wynn Jr. is also in that rotation. There’s also 5-star Clemson commit Xavier Thomas.
Faalele said all of those guys are good. Very good. It is hard to figure out which one of those guys stands out the most in practice. That’s a tough assignment every practice day, but that’s what he wanted to get out of his IMG experience.
It was hard for him to figure out which one of those guys stands out the most in practice. That’s a tough assignment every practice day, but that’s what he wanted to get out of his IMG experience.
That’s a tough assignment every practice day, but that’s what he wanted to get out of his IMG experience.
“My mom has always been supportive of me and my decision and I felt like I made the best decision for my future coming here,” Faalele said.
Check out that vertical leap below. He showed off his dunking ability earlier this year at Clemson.
— Daniel Faalele (@DanielFaalele_) March 5, 2017