Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget for Monday calls for an overview about whether Justin Fields will enroll early at Georgia with help from a very good source: his father, Ivant “Pablo” Fields.
“Pablo” thinks “J-Roc” has handled the mass media attention he’s received just like a cruise ship. (That’s Ivant Fields speaking about his son, Justin, just for clarification.)
That goes for all that football stuff, the Elite 11 buzz and all of the recruiting drama regarding the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2018.
“J-Roc” is the nickname his father gave the 5-star QB who barely slept at home this summer. Ivant Fields, known as “Pablo” to friends, compares his son to one of those expensive Disney luxury liners.
“I’ve said this before and I think maybe a coach also said that this summer at the Opening,” Pablo Fields said. “Justin is like a big cruise ship. He doesn’t get too high on the high tides and doesn’t get too low with all the lows. Is Justin excited about all this? Well, yes and no. He just kind of stays like he’s the same kid the whole time.”
“You know if he throws a pick? Well, he seems OK. Then if he throws a touchdown? He seems OK. That is the formula I think works there to make him as good as he is.”
Pablo Fields said the Alabama official visit was a catalyst for his son’s decision and his subsequent announcement on Friday.
“Alabama was a good visit, but it just didn’t wow him,” his father said. “For me, Alabama was a great, great school. Nick Saban kind of wowed me. Honestly. Just the things they value that lead to success there. It seems like they have all the bases covered.
“But Georgia just feels like home. I can go into that football facility and pull up a chair. I’m comfortable there. I’m comfortable at Georgia with anyone and everyone that may come around me. That’s just like home to me should feel.”
That pep rally at Harrison changed the tone of the Justin Fields’ hopes for DawgNation. It is no longer a concern if — or when — he will choose Georgia.
The new big question: When will he enroll at UGA?
That one sounds a little harder to unravel than it was to type.
What are the chances Justin Fields enrolls early?
Justin Fields will play for Georgia. He left just a slight sliver of a chance that he would take a visit to any school aside from UGA.
That’s what he said Friday afternoon when he met the media, but then he came back to the notion he would likely visit Georgia for every remaining home game this season.
What’s left to think about sounds like more of “rich program’s problems” for a depth chart that already has two very talented 5-star quarterbacks.
Fields and his family still have a couple of big choices ahead.
Will he sign on the first day of the early signing period on Dec. 20?
That seems likely. He can do that and wait until June to enroll in Athens if he wishes to.
Will he graduate early and enroll mid-year in January after the Under Armour All-America Game?
There are more moving parts to that one. He will have the credits to graduate early. That would give his path to playing time in Athens a head start. But there is also the matter of high school baseball and potentially professional baseball to think about.
With all of that, his father is also thinking about that cruise ship.
“We will look at that day by day,” Ivant Fields said. “We will see if he wants to enjoy the rest of his senior year. They will have a good baseball team this year. We will see if he wants to enjoy that. Maybe they can win a state title.”
Fields was on a Harrison squad that reached the state baseball semifinals in 2016.
“We will just see what the [Major League First-Year Player] draft brings,” he said. “We have seen and done some research on the NFL quarterbacks. There is a very small percentage that actually played as a true freshman. That is not a dealbreaker for us.
“I think that so many fans feel that if you don’t play as a freshman, then you are a failure. Well, no. You are not. I’d rather him develop and learn the system and things of that nature so when he hits the field he is really ready to compete.”
His father is a longtime police offer. He retired from his career beat and now serves as the school resources officer at his son’s high school, Harrison, in Kennesaw, Ga.
It was an interesting visual seeing the father escort the son down the halls on Friday. That was when Fields met up with about seven video cameras and approximately 17 media members.
“It would not break my heart if he didn’t play and get out there and play in front of 90,000 or 100,000 fans and play as a true freshman,” the elder Fields said.
He said he also wasn’t worried about Justin having an easy spring semester of just physical education classes, electives and batting cage work. That’s not the mindset that has allowed Fields to excel on and off the field. Georgia’s newest commit says he has held down a 3.9 grade-point average at Harrison and scored a 29 on his ACT.
“I may make him take calculus,” his father said. “He’s taking pre-calculus now. I may make him take that in the spring if he stays. He wants to major in business but honestly, he’s smart enough to major in anything he wants.
“I’d like for him to switch over to journalism as good as that major is at Georgia. That’s what my daughter is planning to take on.”
It sounds like those big decisions will all come in time.
“Who knows?” his father said. “We will just see. We are close to making that decision to enroll early or stay for the rest of his senior year.”
5-star Justin Fields warms up tonight with his school of choice noted by his hand towel. pic.twitter.com/6jNmQ3w1Nd
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 6, 2017
What does Justin Fields think about enrolling early?
Ivant Fields said his sone might have a different opinion about wanting to play early.
If he doesn’t enroll early and go through spring practice, then the chances of him competing for the starting position are reduced. That’s just big-time college football.
It will be hard for the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect to overcome that at the quarterback spot. If Fields were a 5-star running back or wide receiver, then those odds would be different.
“Playing early as a true freshman is not a big thing for me but I don’t know about him,” his father said. “He’s a competitor. He’s ready to compete right away and get thrown into the fire. I look at the statistics and all the data and the NFL guys with all of that.
“From the outside looking in, I think maybe that him developing for a year and seeing how things are done might probably make him better in the long run.”
Justin Fields told the assembled media on Friday that he will have to think long and hard and pray about that upcoming decision.
Justin Fields to UGA: His father’s view of that decision
Perhaps one of the most interesting facets of the decision was the notion that it was all very spontaneous. Fields made the comment in his Friday press briefing that the Oct. 6 date was seemingly plucked out at random.
His father supported that thought.
“Honestly, I think it has been Georgia a long time,” Ivant Fields said. “We were checking out others to make sure that Georgia was the right fit.”
What did a father learn about his son the most through this process?
“It is actually the humility,” his father said. “God knows who to give gifts to. I don’t know if I could handle all of this [attention] the way he does. His humility shows up here. He doesn’t read a lot of his interviews or these interviews. I hope he doesn’t read this one.
“Justin doesn’t even have a girlfriend. What guy with his so-called status doesn’t have a girlfriend? He just values other things right now. School is important. Football is important. He just takes it all day by day and continues to work hard and tends to find something new as his fuel. Whether it is an article or another high school player saying something, he finds something to motivate him to keep working hard no matter what everyone says about how good he is.”
Fields can sometimes be found throwing early in the morning on the field at Harrison. That’s part of a semi-regular 6 a.m. workout when nobody else is around to watch or snap off photo after photo of his delivery.
Georgia’s newest 5-star commit does that at least once per week, sometimes twice.
He’s talented. No doubt. But that extra effort and the will to put in that time might be a reason why he’s thrown 17 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions through six games this fall.
Justin Fields has completed 64 percent of his passes this fall and also totaled 710 yards and 12 more touchdowns on the ground.
That’s a total touchdown responsibility of 29 scores in six games. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound QB also averages 8.5 yards per rushing attempt.
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