Want to attack every day with the latest recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings several days each week. The play sheet today calls for a look at a trio of elite kicker recruits for Georgia football in the 2020 class.
DawgNation recently took a good look at the need which will be created on the Georgia football roster at the end of the 2019 season.
In regard to this topic, the following facts are clearly evident:
- Georgia will most definitely have a new kicker for the 2020 season
- There is currently no scholarship player on the 2019 roster ready to assume that role
- Kirby Smart has been quite thrifty (six offers total) with kickers and scholarships since he took over the Georgia program
- Smart said early in his time at Georgia that the kickers that the Bulldogs do offer a scholarship to will have rare traits at that position. The young men, in short, will be difference makers.
Smart and Georgia have offered punters far more liberally than they have kickers. The sense here is that is a nod to the weapon that an ALL-SEC kicker can be in the battle for field position and the benefits it has setting teams up way down the field. The punter is an extension of the Georgia defensive effort.
Ironically, there is a three-point plan for a kicker to earn a scholarship for the Bulldogs:
1) A rare early scholarship offer to an elite leg: Georgia has only offered two kickers over the last two cycles. The last one of those opted to commit to his dream school Stanford earlier this year in the 2020 class
2) The kickers follow the Blankenship path. They choose to attend Georgia as a preferred walk-on, then win the job, perform admirably in clutch moments and then go on scholarship. There are a couple of in-house walk-on candidates on the Bulldog team that could also possibly develop here, too.
3) The right high school target earns a scholarship via a strong camp performance at UGA: Georgia holds a select camp for elite special teams targets every summer. With Smart and the staff watching, the right man can kick his way into a UGA scholarship.
It seems necessary to note kickers have a different playing field when it comes to college football recruiting. Several of the nation’s top-rated kickers for this cycle seek their first major Power 5 offer.
The interest there seems to be pretty clear. How do three of the elite kicker recruits feel about Georgia? That is the topic at hand for the remainder of this blog.
We will start with a Peach State product. A very well-regarded one at that.
Brock Travelstead /North Paulding High School/Dallas, Ga.
Travelstead was named by MaxPreps.com as a 2018 Junior All-American. He made the second team at kicker for his consistency.
That was after converting 18 of his 19 field goal tries and delivering a touchback on 60 of his 67 kickoffs.
The offer list here includes Air Force, Chattanooga, Miami (Ohio) and South Alabama.
The 6-foot-1, 203-pound prospect is always doing something to better himself. Drills. Kicks. Weights.
He’s known to many as “Legatron” around the program. Let’s be honest here: Brock Travelstead is a great name for a kicker.
— NPHS FB PROSPECTS (@NPHSRecruiting) March 4, 2019
His primary focus is matching up his ability with a great education. The education will come first here, but he is looking for a scholarship.
This tweet shows off the trust he has developed with his holder.
— Brock Travelstead (@KP12Travelstead) October 19, 2018
How does Brock Travelstead feel about Georgia: “I feel pretty good about Georgia. Early on, I didn’t know if Georgia was going to take [a scholarship kicker] or not. So I kind of like threw it out as a possibility. But as I realized that Georgia is really looking for one now I kind of brought it back. I’ve been a Georgia fan my entire life.”
“Since I was born. It is something that I would really love to do. That’s to be able to play at a dream school of mine.”
How strongly would he consider an offer from UGA: “Very strongly. Its always been a dream of mine. Even if I get something I wanted, it is always been something I have wanted to do my whole entire life.”
Jake Seibert/LaSalle High School/Cincinnati, OH
Chris Sailer Kicking has rated him as the nation’s No. 1 kicker for 2020. Seibert has an offer from Temple.
— Chris Sailer Kicking (@Chris_Sailer) January 20, 2019
Seibert goes about 6-foot-1 on the height chart and carries some weight at 190 pounds. He is from Ohio so it must also be noted that the Ohio State Buckeyes will be looking for a kicker in their 2020 class.
What would he do if both schools offer?
“Regarding an offer from Georgia or Ohio State, I’d say it would come down to whatever coaching staff makes me feel wanted and or at home,” Seibert said. “I’ll be spending maybe the next 4 years with the coaches and I want to put myself in a situation where I know I’ll have the ability to get better.”
Louisville and Michigan State have been in touch here. He carries a mature approach about the offer cycle and timelines for the elite guys at his position.
“I understand these colleges want to take their time to make sure [that] they 100 percent got the right guy,” Seibert told DawgNation. “All I can do is keeping working to get better just like the rest of the top guys in the nation. Especially when guys from down south have much better weather to kick year round.”
How does Jake Seibert feel about Georgia: “I love the ‘Dawgs,” he told DawgNation. “Their campus is awesome and the atmosphere during games is awesome. I plan on maybe taking another visit down there soon. Anytime I can get to campus I’m going to to take advantage of it!… Hopefully, I’m the right fit for their program. Georgia is an awesome place for anyone to play football.”
His review from Chris Sailer Kicking:
“He hits a great ball off the ground on field goals. He has 60+ yard range and gets excellent lift on his ball. His kickoffs are D1 ready right now. Jake drives the ball deep into the end zone with 4.0+ hang time. He is a competitor that thrives under pressure.”
“The sky is the limit here. Jake is a fine young man with a great attitude and work ethic. Big things ahead for this Chris Sailer Kicking Kicker. Look for Jake to dominate this 2019 offseason and pick up multiple D1 offers.”
Jared Zirkel/Tivy High School/Kerrville, Tex.
Zirkel has a big kickoff leg. That’s what has primarily attracted the Bulldogs at first. He also recently paid a visit to UGA for a “Junior Day” event which went well.
He was the only kicker there.
Despite his prowess with kickoffs, he also boomed a 59-yard field goal in a game last season.
He was credited with a 90 percent touchback rate on his kickoffs last season. Zirkel also converted three field goals over 50 yards during the 2018 season.
The young Texan even dropped 18 of his 44 punts inside the 20. His kickoffs, it was reported by Kicking World, also even averaged an impressive 4.1-second hang time.
KickingWorld.com lists him at 6-foot-3 in height and at 190 pounds. Kicking World goes on to note that he was kicking 55-yard field goals as a freshman in high school.
He’s known as “Zirk” in his world.
How does Jared Zirkel feel about Georgia: “The trip was awesome, amazing hospitality and the best facilities, on the top of my list by a long shot. Really hope to make a home at Georgia.”
Brent Grablachoff, his private coach, offered a comprehensive report of what he can do.
He sees something uncommon in what Zirkel can do with a lot of yards between him and a pair of goalposts. Grablachoff feels that Zirkel has the biggest kickoff leg among prep prospects in the country right now.
He even brought up Jason Sanders of the Miami Dolphins as a point of reference during his time in college. Sanders led all FBS kickers with an 84-percent touchback percentage in 2016.
His takeaway here is that Zirkel’s leg strength as a high school junior is already comparable to what Sanders displayed that season at New Mexico.
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