Did everyone hunker down around here on Tuesday at DawgNation or what? The AJC debuted its new website for UGA coverage on the same day that fall camp opened up with Media Day. The three-headed QB race began and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt even briefed the media. The second-year DC even flashed a smile or three.
What happened in recruiting? Just another day where a receiver said they were interested in Georgia, somebody trashed the recruiting rankings and a talented 2017 kid made their commitment. Just a regular Tuesday around DawgNation.
Here are the 10 need-to-know stories
1. Is it better to give than receive?
The good book says so. That’s the gospel, but it is nice to be a receiver with at least three stars by your name these days. Chances are UGA receivers coach Bryan McClendon has your cell phone number if you do.
McEachern 4-star Tyler Simmons said UGA is his leader and he’s about to commit soon. If he does that would make at least four committed receivers in the Class of 2016. That’s even while counting 6-foot-5 hybrid Charlie Woerner as a tight end. This has been a popular topic this week already on DawgNation.
Why is that a bad thing? Well, UGA would still all but certainly take a commitment from Kyle Davis and probably even Demetris Robertson before McClendon puts a lid on it.
2. De-commit releases his Top 8
Archer offensive tackle E.J. Price de-committed from UGA back in June, but still holds the program in high regard. Price released his Top 8 on Tuesday and UGA was right in the thick of it. There were five other SEC teams in the mix (Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee) along with Florida State, Michigan and Oklahoma.
Where did UGA sit in that pack?
“A lot of people are thinking that because I de-committed that something happened, but I’ve been very clear that it’s not like that,” Price said. “Georgia has always been one of the top schools for me.”
3. UGA 5-star commit not a fan of recruiting rankings
Julian Rochester is a big guy. The mammoth 6-foot-5 defensive tackle also delivered a super-sized opinion on Tuesday.
His topic? Recruiting rankings. That’s likely because his stock has taken a dip. What was his reaction to that?
“I laughed,” he told DawgNation. “Why am I going to let some 5-foot-2 (recruiting analyst) bother me? Why am I going to let that affect what I got going on at McEachern? Why am I going to let that affect what I got going on at the University of Georgia? Don’t quote me when I get to the NFL. Don’t quote me when I get successful. I’m not letting that bother me at all.”
That might have been sparked by the notion that Rochester didn’t fare too well at Nike’s “The Opening” propsect combine back in July. He weighed in about 20 pounds above an optimal playing weight and was also on the mend from a slight injury.
He’s dropped from around the nation’s Top 15 players to the Top 25 mark because of that performance.
There’s something called the Parade All-American team. When Rochester learns about that, he’ll have another goal in mind for his senior year along with first-team All-Cobb County and first-team All-State, too.
The bear has been poked. Let’s sit back and watch him take it out on those poor guards and centers.
4. Mystery team in the mix for Rashan Gary
Who does UGA have to beat out for 5-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary? Well, there’s likely Alabama, Auburn and Michigan for sure. Gary’s mother told DawgNation this week that she was concerned about the defensive scheme at UGA.
That’s one thing. DawgNation also learned that there’s a new team in the race for the nation’s top overall prospect. The thinking in the Gary camp right now is that he will use one of his official visits for a trip to USC. They are talking about the one of the left coast with all those Heisman Trophies in the building.
5. Sad news out of Thompson
Elite 2018 cornerback prospect Christian Tutt was scheduled to visit UGA last Friday, but was stunned by tragedy. Tutt — like the rest of McDuffie County — was shaken up by the drowning death of one of his childhood friends.
“When I first found out, I didn’t believe it,” Tutt told the AJC. “But when my brother and I first went out there and saw everybody crying, hurt, that brought our tears out.”
Tutt will be a very major player for UGA recruiting going forward. Pruitt was recruiting him from the jump and he earned an offer his freshman year. He’s already been rated as a five-star prospect, the nation’s No. 1 cornerback and the overall No. 11 prospect for 2018.
6. Bama gets a 2017 commitment from a UGA RB target
Cam Akers said UGA finished third in his recruiting derby on Tuesday night. Akers committed to Alabama on an official visit. The 2017 prospect is the top player in Mississippi for his signing class and has been rated as the nation’s No. 5 RB for that same cycle.
He ran a blistering 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at Dawg Night this summer to earn a UGA offer. Alabama had already offered him by that point and he also told the AJC that Tennessee was his No. 2 school.
He’s put on some 20 pounds over the last year and is right at the 6-foot mark. He’s also rated among the nation’s Top 25 players for 2017.
7. Speaking of 2017 RBs
Keep an eye on Newton 2017 RB Kurt Taylor. He’s already built like he belongs an Under Armour ad and has told the AJC he really likes UGA and head coach Mark Richt. Taylor is just a three-star recruit at this point, but that should change.
The young man just gets it. Unsurpassed work ethic plus natural talent wins out. Everyday.
Taylor has SEC offers from Kentucky and Vanderbilt, but recently picked up an offer from Michigan. That has reportedly vaulted the Harbaughs into the leader spot. He’s also already took the time to speak to youth players in his community about the value of hard work.
He already looks and sounds like a UGA guy, right? Does the 5-foot-9, 205-pounder play like one?
Taylor was working among the Top 6-7 RBs consistently at Dawg Night in a grouping that basically resembled a position group at The Opening.
8. Elite 2016 DB trims list
4-star CB Trayvon Mullen was also at Dawg Night back in July. The Coconut Creek, Fla., prospect came along with an ensemble of recruits from his high school, That included 4-star receiver target Binjimin Victor and 2016 UGA DB commitment Malek Young.
UGA had to make up ground, but it proved to be too much ground to cover. Mullen told the AJC this summer UGA was in his “Top 6 or 7” but that proved too much of a gap to close. Mullen released his Top 3 yesterday and that lot included Clemson, FSU and LSU.
Mullen’s a bright and philosophical guy who nailed a 24 on his ACT. He’ll lock down both the student and athlete roles at his preferred school. Put your money on the one of those three schools that has the best nearby fishing holes, too.
9. 5-star Kyle Davis gets a famous follow
Who’s the one receiver that’s on everyone’s mind regardless of all the other chatter at that position? That would be Archer’s Kyle Davis. The 5-star senior recently told the AJC that his father’s perception of UGA would not shape his recruiting decision.
Davis showed his “fan” side yesterday while reacting to former UGA RB Todd Gurley following him on Twitter.
10. UGA still trails for Cedar Grove DT
Cedar Grove senior defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson would get a lot of votes as the best defensive tackle in Georgia high school football this year. He spoke with 247sports.com’s Keith Niebuhr on Monday and reiterated his co-leaders were Auburn and Ohio State. That’s no change from the list of leaders he tweeted out over the summer, too.
Jackson’s thinking lends itself to belief that UGA’s “Fearsome Foursome” or even “Fearsome Fivesome” on the D-line for the Class of 2016 might need to include another name like Alabama DE Marlon Davidson or even Gary now. That said, Jackson told the AJC this summer that UGA would be in it until the end with his recruiting.
The four-star rates highly on all the boards: No. 6 player in Georgia; No. 8 DT nationally; No. 47 player overall.
Jeff Sentell covers 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.