WATKINSVILLE — If you want to know what school Jaleel Laguins is going to sign with Wednesday, you’re going to have to wait until dinner time that night to find out.
Laguins, a 4-star linebacker from Oconee County High School, said his plan at the moment is to reveal his choice at 5:30 p.m. that evening. It’s not that he wants to make everybody wait and build the tension.
“Got to have the family there,” said Laguins, referring to his mother Bobby Lee and father Bobby Laguins.
There has been a little tension surrounding Laguins’ recruitment. A longtime UGA commitment — he first pledged last August — Laguins did not hear a lot from Georgia immediately after the transition from coach Mark Richt to coach Kirby Smart. Then Alabama and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt — Laguins’ primary recruiter when he was at Georgia — turned up the heat. Only a winter storm prevented Laguins from making his appointment for an official visit at Alabama on Jan. 22.
Laguins said he “doesn’t really talk to Coach Pruitt much anymore,” but other schools have gotten involved. He took an official visit to LSU in December and one to Florida Jan. 15. Auburn and Tennessee have come calling as well.
But Georgia re-engaged with Laguins since Smart got on the job on Jan. 15 and the Bulldogs got the U.S. Army All-American’s last official visit this past weekend. Laguins was one of just seven top targets who were entertained Friday through Sunday.
“They’re all good,” Laguins said when asked to rate that visit. “You can’t really have a bad official visit because they’re all fun, official visits. To say you enjoyed this one and didn’t enjoy that official visit, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot.”
Laguins said the most important part of the weekend was “getting to see old faces again.” He had not been on campus since the football season and was able reacquaint with players, coaches and support personnel he has come to know.
Not the least of those meeting were with Smart, who he has now met with three times since he has settled into the UGA job.
“Most definitely,” Laguins said of getting some one-on-one time with the head coach. “I love talking to the head coach of any institution.”
Asked what was Smart’s main message to him, Laguins laughed: “Got to get you to be a Dawg.”
Most recruiting analysts think that’s exactly what’s going to happen. The “Crystal Ball Predictions” produced by 247Sports.com has him listed as 93 percent.
But in an interview before track practice at Oconee County High on Monday, Laguins wasn’t willing to offer any hints.
“Got to wait to the 3rd,” he said playfully.