Georgia’s latest commitment at receiver is 77 inches tall. Note the trend.
Matt Landers (Lakewood High School / St. Petersburg, Fla.) is the third receiver to commit to UGA in the Class of 2017. He’s also the third wideout that tops the 6-foot-3 mark in the rapidly-expanding “SICEM17” class.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder is now the tallest UGA receiver commit. He was already was at the 6-foot-5 mark prior to his junior season. Mark Fox would like that type of size in the UGA backcourt.
Landers had a connection to Georgia from his relationship with current Bulldog Isaiah Wynn. Those two went to the same high school.
“He kept telling me that Georgia was a real good place and now that I committed there he knows I will be a real good Bulldog.”
He is also the son of three-year basketball letterman Toney Mack. Landers, like his pop, has some hops. He said he’s been measured with a vertical leap of 37 inches and is also a shooting guard on the varsity hoops team.
When Landers committed on Tuesday, he became the first public out-of-state commitment for the class.
“Georgia fans just need to know that I am a good person and I come to play,” he said.
Landers — just a three-star recruit rated at No. 109 nationally at his position — is now the second-lowest rated commitment among UGA’s 10 verbals. He was ranked as the No. 108 player in Florida for 2017.
Chew on those factoids but also consider the Hudl highlight film below. Watch Landers high point the ball. Note the explosive plays in which he picks up chunk yards on his way to averaging 30.8 yards per catch last fall. He told Dawgnation was clocked in as low as 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That led to 1,038 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 11 games.
That low rating doesn’t seem to wash with that size and production. Landers explained that he just started playing varsity football a sophomore. He also hasn’t been to a lot of those showcase camps. He chose Georgia over Miami and is working to enroll early. Look for him to take his official visits this fall, though. He is listed with 24 offers, including the likes of Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame.
He already plans to return to UGA on June 11.
“Georgia was the school that was in contact with me the most and I liked the coaches and wanted to be at the most,” Landers said. “There was just something about Georgia so I just committed.”
The offer from UGA came in January. It was oddly the first interaction he had with UGA’s receivers coach despite the time James Coley spent recruiting South Florida for Miami.
He visited Georgia for G-Day. That was his only visit. And while he did enjoy the big crowd, Ludacris and Jacob Eason it around, he did not leave Athens thinking that was the place for him.
That took some more recruiting.
“I just kept in contact with the coaches a lot and I had a great time so I was like I might as well seal the deal and commit,” Landers said.
He committed to Coley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. As of late Thursday night, he had still yet to speak to head coach Kirby Smart since he made that pledge. Coley and Chaney welcomed him with glee, though.
“Coach Coley was very excited,” Landers said. “I knew he had wanted me for a long time and he was saying it was great I was going to be a Dawg and he couldn’t wait to get me there. He was very excited.”
Coley told him he liked his acceleration off the line and the way he attacked the ball by snatching it from the air at its highest point. Landers said Chaney also told him “he couldn’t wait to plug him into his offense” and he would be an impact player.
The rising senior said he has six sisters and one brother in his family. Most of those are older. He feels he also owes a debt to the game.
“Football keeps my head on right,” Landers said. “Before I played football I was a bad kid. I didn’t want to do much. I didn’t want to listen to my Mom. But when I started playing football I knew then I had something I wanted to do and wanted to be in life to keep me on track. When I started playing football I began to keep my grades right. I stopped hanging out late at night. I changed my group of friends and was just better with all of that.”
The fact his father was a UGA athlete actually was not a major factor.
“The main reason I chose Georgia was the fit and relationship I had with the coaches,” Landers said. “And on my visit, I felt like I was welcomed and I had fun and a great time and they have already started building a relationship with my parents. I loved it. My Mom really loved it and my Dad (Toney Mack) was an alumni of Georgia. So I just thought Georgia was the place for me.”
Landers said he just recently beat his father in basketball. It took a lot of jump shots and blowing by him off the dribble. Mack, who left Georgia and became a second-round NBA Draft pick, was the national high school scoring champion in 1985 at 41 points per game. His father was recognized by The Orlando Sentinel as one of the top players in Florida high school history.
Mack was at Georgia from 1986-1988. There have only been five juniors that scored more points in a season at UGA than they 551 Mack tallied in 1988. Landers told DawgNation he had yet to tell his father the news yet. He lives in Tampa.
“It is a nice little side story with my father playing ball at Georgia,” he said. “But I picked Georgia because of how well the school and football program fit me.”
He will be the first member of his mother’s side of the family to attend college. That’s an opportunity his family has not lost sight of. Landers grew up a Florida fan at first, but then he quickly switched to Oregon.
He’s already been in touch with UGA linebacker commit Jaden Hunter and had heard from a few other Class of 2017 commits.
“I would say my commitment right now to Georgia is pretty solid,” Landers said.
Landers felt he would like to visit Auburn, Florida, Miami and Notre Dame over the summer or in the fall. He’s already picked up 200-something followers on Twitter since he committed.
“There’s just something about those Georgia fans,” he said. “You can tell they really love their football and the team.”
He plans to study sports management at UGA.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.