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Jeff Sentell / AJC
4-star DB DeAngelo Gibbs was a very happy young man after his Grayson team won the GHSA Class 7A state title earlier this month.

Why does the term ‘un-Georgia’ matter in the race for elite target DeAngelo Gibbs?

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 this 4-star or 5-star might lean and add a dab of perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.

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It all started with a simple line in a conversation with Deon Gibbs.

That’s the father of 4-star safety DeAngelo Gibbs out of Grayson High School.

Gibbs called Sunday morning's state title victory the best day of his life. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Gibbs called Grayson’s early morning state title victory the best day of his life. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

I asked him if his family noticed what Georgia did on the recruiting trail last week.

The Bulldogs celebrated a massive recruiting victory in garnering a commitment from 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson.

Wilson hails from Brooklyn. The Bulldogs don’t typically land 5-star tackles. Much less three All-American tackles in the same recruiting class.

Georgia never reels in gems like that from New York. Yet the Bulldogs now have commitments from the top player in New York and Pennsylvania.

The term “un-Georgia” was born out of that exchange.

Gibbs is rated as the nation's No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He is a huge Georgia target. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Gibbs is rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He is a huge Georgia target. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

“It was a very ‘un-Georgia’ thing to do,” Deon Gibbs said. “Everything that is going on right now at Georgia is a very ‘un-Georgia’ thing to do. That’s the reason our interest in Georgia is where it is right now.”

He summed that up pretty clearly.

“We watch everything that goes on,” Deon Gibbs said. “We don’t get out and tweet and post and do all that other stuff. That’s just not us. But we watch everything that goes on. We watch when kids get into trouble to see how all these schools handle that. We’re not fans. We have a son that we have to finish raising regardless of where he goes to school so all of that stuff makes a big difference to me and my wife.”

Answering the obvious question

Georgia’s roster management situation is a hot topic this week. The Bulldogs did not have enough room in the class to allow 4-star Texas RB Toneil Carter to enroll early in January.

DeAngelo Gibbs-Georgia-Georgia football
Gibbs will make his public decision known on Jan. 1 at the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

That had been the plan all along.

I can bet what everyone is thinking: Is there room at the inn for Gibbs?

Deon Gibbs said he has been given all assurances by Georgia that the program has room to take Gibbs in early.

“From what I understand there is room for him at Georgia,” Deon Gibbs said. “Unless they pick up the phone and call us tonight or the next day or so. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen but if it does we will just have to re-group and we have other options.”

That seems to be a priority play. Carter would have been at best the No. 5 RB on the depth chart when he arrived in January. That’s a tough call to make if Georgia is bumping its head on the 85-man scholarship cap set by the NCAA.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Gibbs would likely crack the 2-deep at every position in the secondary after just a few months in the program, if not immediately upon arrival.

He could also develop into a top wideout in the SEC.

Why that last-minute official visit mattered 

Gibbs finished up his high school career at the Georgia Dome at 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning. He was in Athens with his family less than 12 hours later on his third and final official visit.

It would’ve been easy to decline that last trip. Gibbs had been to Georgia numerous times and was clearly drained by playing in the state championship game that morning.

But that allowed his father the chance to take his first intimate look at Georgia. His wife and son had previously taken many many trips to Athens.

“We are very glad we made that trip,” he said. “To be honest and candid, that was my first time doing an in-depth visit to UGA. I had been to several games but I had not sat down and gone into the education buildings before. We sat down and went over the academics and met with the business department to see the inner workings of UGA. We met with several people including the strength and conditioning coach. We went over to the new facilities and I got the chance to meet a lot of people that I personally had not met before. I had not been down as many times as DeAngelo and my wife. It was more than worth it.”

It made an impact.

“We like and I personally like what (Georgia coach) Kirby (Smart) is doing changing the landscape at the University of Georgia,” Deon Gibbs said. “I see the changes that he is bringing. I see the class that he is recruiting. We like the changes that are going on over there.”

He rated each of the three official visits his family went on equally.

“The universities academically were all about the same but you have the different levels of their football programs,” he said. “That’s going to be the difference.”

UGA commits share their wish list

I asked most all of the UGA commits to submit the name of the one undecided recruit that would top their Christmas list for the Class of 2017.

Where would Gibbs rank? See for yourself.

  • 4-star WR Trey Blount: 4-star ATH Tray Bishop and 3-star ILB Monty Rice
  • 5-star S Richard LeCounte III: DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman: DeAngelo Gibbs and 4-star ILB Nate McBride
  • 4-star DE Malik Herring: DeAngelo “The Goat” Gibbs
  • 4-star LB Jaden Hunter: DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 4-star OG Netori Johnson: DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 4-star CB William Poole III: DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 3-star OG Justin Shaffer: 4-star ATH Tray Bishop and DeAngelo Gibbs
  • 4-star OT Andrew Thomas: Jamaree Salyer (A 5-star OL prospect in the class of 2018)

Those opinions made an impact on Deon Gibbs.

“I knew a few of them might say that because they always communicate at camps and on visits,” Deon Gibbs said. “They had expressed their opinion that they want him to come play with him and be a Bulldog but I didn’t realize it was that many.”

Quick hits on the upcoming Gibbs decision

Mr. Gibbs relayed a lot of information regarding what will come over the next 10 days leading up to his son’s decision.

The nation’s No. 40 overall prospect still plans to make his decision known in a ceremony from the Under Armour All-American game in Orlando on Jan. 1.

What are the other moving parts to consider?

  • The decision has not been made. Gibbs will finish up his coursework today in order to graduate early from high school. The family will then sit down and hash out everything next week.
  • The 4-star safety will have the final decision. Yet input will come from both of his parents, his siblings and also former NFL stars Dale Carter and Jake Reed. Not many 4-stars can count a pair of former NFL vets with more than 25 years of playing experience among their inner circle.
  • An NCAA-mandated dead period is in effect, but coaches can still reach recruits and their families via social media and text messages. Gibbs is under an even higher level of scrutiny. Deon Gibbs said his son has another dead period in regard to his cell phone. His parents have collected that device and held it for the last two weeks so he can focus on finishing up high school.
  • Gibbs said the family liked what Auburn has to offer. “We went down there a couple of weeks ago on an official visit,” his father said. “We like the academics. We like what they are doing as a football program and we like the small and quaint campus and the direction that program is headed in.”
  • The depth chart favors the chance for Gibbs to play right away at each of his top schools. It has been made clear to the family that the opportunity is there to come in, work hard and claim immediate playing time. Even at mighty Alabama.
  • Once Gibbs learns the defense, a few of those schools have also dangled the chance to play offense. That will factor into the eventual decision. “There’s a strong possibility to do that at Georgia and Auburn and also somewhat at Alabama,” Deon Gibbs said.
  • Look for Gibbs to start out as a business major. The 4-star defensive back is intrigued by the stock market and how money works. He’s eager to learn about the proper ways to operate a business. Another option might be history. He recently told his father he really enjoys studying history.
  • Gibbs will apply to multiple schools in order to have the flexibility to choose any of his top schools next month. “That process has already started,” Deon Gibbs said.

The push from Alabama

DeAngelo Gibbs released his Top 5 shortly after Grayson’s win in the Class 7A state title game. It was an epic clash with Roswell that will go down as one of the top title games in Georgia high school football history.

His father told DawgNation it was essentially now a 3-team race, but did not name those specific schools.

I feel that the decision will ultimately come down to Alabama and UGA. So it made sense to ask Deon Gibbs what he thought of Nick Saban’s late moves before the dead period came down and that last official visit to UGA.

Gibbs was clearly having a good time on his Georgia unofficial visit for the Tennessee game. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
Gibbs was clearly having a good time on his Georgia unofficial visit for the Tennessee game. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

Saban landed a helicopter in the middle of Grayson’s football field on the Thursday before the state championship game.

“I thought it was impressive move to show that not only they wanted DeAngelo but they needed DeAngelo,” Deon Gibbs said. “Having a coach of his caliber show up at your school to reiterate how bad they need you made a very powerful statement.”

What does the family think about the opportunity at Alabama?

“If you play football the real question is what is there not to like at Alabama,” Deon Gibbs said. “If that makes any sense to you. If you are a football player and you are of a certain caliber then Alabama is going to have to be a school you are going to take a look at. The question is if it is a good fit for you.”

4-star recruit DeAngelo Gibbs is rated as the nation's No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He's an impact player for top-ranked Grasyon High School. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
4-star recruit DeAngelo Gibbs is rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety for the Class of 2017. He’s an impact player for top-ranked Grayson High School. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

That was apparent. If the odds were calculated about which school among that Top 5 would most likely deliver a fruitful career with championship game appearances, then that answer would have to be the Crimson Tide.

There’s no other way to spin that.

“If you are a football player then the situation is kind of like if you are a basketball player and the schools you have to look at,” Deon Gibbs said. “You’re going to look the hardest at the North Carolinas and the Kentuckys and Duke. Those schools set the standard for an elite program.”

The latest highlight reel for Gibbs appears below.

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