Want to see how March can feel like the heat of January when it comes to UGA football recruiting?
This is one of those weekends. Let’s just tally up the reasons:
The nation’s No. 1 receiver is set to visit UGA this weekend
The young man’s name is Demetris Robertson. By way of Savannah Christian. Just betting you’ve heard of him. It means a lot because UGA is expected to get his entire family in town for this visit, including his mother and twin sister.
DawgNation has learned that the family will leave around 2:30 p.m. this afternoon. So expect that highly-anticipated arrival to take place about five hours later.
This sets up as Robertson’s final official visit. He has already signed financial aid agreements with Cal and Georgia Tech? Could he sign one with UGA this weekend? Let’s not forget that Alabama (the school he was committed to and last visited) and Notre Dame (the school one UGA signee predicted he would eventually sign with) are also still major players in his decision.
This matters because if UGA can sign Robertson, it will impact what the program does with its decisions on how many receivers it needs for the Class of 2017.
Let’s not forget that Robertson is a U.S. Army All-American and the nation’s top-rated receiver for the Class of 2016. He can help the program this fall and that’s why his visit is THE news for this weekend.
The Class of 2017 comes next
There are several visitors for next year’s signing class that are set to be in Athens this weekend. They are making it a combo trip to the Atlanta area and Athens because of the vicinity of the Nike Football Training Camp, “The Opening” regional, which will be held in Gwinnett County at Buford High School on Sunday.
DawgNation has confirmed that Lee County defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon will be at UGA on Saturday. He’ll see another potential member of the defensive line in Morgan’s County’s MJ Webb. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 6 strong-side defensive end for 2017. He’s ranked as the nation’s No. 208 player overall.
Solomon, a teammate of UGA signee Chris Barnes, was virtually unblockable at the Elite Juniors event back in December. He’s ranked as the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle for this year’s class and the No. 109 player overall.
It was reported earlier this week that Pace offensive tackle Andrew Thomas was planning to be at UGA this weekend, but that is not the case. Thomas has already visited UGA recently and he will be at Notre Dame before returning in time on Sunday to compete at the Nike event.
UGA and its Freshman 50
DawgNation went in detail on this historic event earlier this week. Former Grayson assistant coach Kenyatta Watson, who played at Boston College, has organized the state’s Top 50 prospects for the Class of 2019 to all converge in Athens this weekend.
Grayson athlete Owen Pappoe will be in attendance. He had 10 offers before his first day of high school and now has 26 offers. UGA offered him in June prior to his freshman year at Grayson.
He’ll be joined by other players destined for high national rankings like Walton receiver Dominick Blaylock, Greater Atlanta Christian defensive lineman Christopher Hinton, Callaway offensive lineman Keiondre Jones, Hillgrove safety Jaylen McCollough, Buford offensive tackle Harry Miller, Frederica Academy athlete Jashawn Sheffield, Calvary Day’s Nolan Smith, Griffin defensive tackle Tru Thompson, Lovett receiver K.J. Wallace and Upson-Lee unknown Travon Walker, among many others.
This is the first step for the UGA staff in making sure the state’s elite prospects remain in Georgia.
The main event comes on Sunday
The Nike Opening regional on Sunday will showcase the Southeast’s finest competition aside one another in a camp setting.
Picture this: The quarterback group will feature the likes of Opelika’s Jake Bentley (multiple SEC offers), Grayson’s Chase Brice (Clemson commit), Houston County’s Jake Fromm (UGA commit), McEachern’s Bailey Hockman (former UGA commit) and Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence (nation’s No. 1 player overall for 2018) are all scheduled to compete.
There are five future two-to-three year starters in college football in that group alone.
UGA commits Breon Dixon (linebacker), Jaden Hunter (linebacker) and Justin Shaffer (offensive tackle) are also all expected to compete. Five-star athlete Richard LeCounte III has already qualified for “The Opening” based on his showing at the Orlando Regional last month.
Priority UGA targets dot every position group with the likes of Pace Academy’s Trey Blount, Clay-Chalkville’s Nico Collins and Newton’s Jeremiah Holloman at receiver matching up with the likes of Woodland’s Yusuf Corker, Roswell’s Xavier McKinney and Hapeville Charter’s William Poole III. That’s not including a pair of coveted sophomore defensive backs in Lassiter’s Derrik Allen and Pleasant Grove’s (Ala.) Myles Mason.
Malik Herring of Mary Persons, Stephenson’s Aaron Sterling and the aforementioned Webb and Solomon should shine in defensive line drills. The event will culminate in the one-on-ones with the state’s top offensive linemen like Brunswick’s D’Antne Demery, Central Gwinnett’s Tony Gray and Cedar Grove’s Netori Johnson. That top group adds more oomph with the likes of the previously mentioned Justin Shaffer and Andrew Thomas.
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
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.