Add another candle to America’s birthday cake. Add another commit to the Class of 2017 for Georgia.
The Bulldogs picked up the commitment from four-star cornerback Latavious Brini about 65 minutes before midnight on Sunday evening. That made Brini the 12th commitment for this year’s signing class in Athens.
What else could happen this week? It should be a very big week for Georgia with The Opening at Nike’s world headquarters.
What’s Important Now in Georgia football recruiting
Brini sped up his decision
The latest Georgia commitment had announced back on June 19 he was planning to make his commitment known on July 31. Well, that didn’t last. The nation’s No. 31 cornerback has great size. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is considered the No. 42 player in Florida for 2017.
What’s there to know about Brini? Well, he was committed to Temple for a time. That was his first offer. He did so because he felt a great connection with his primary recruiter. He eventually backed off that pledge as bigger offers came his way.
He chose UGA over Florida and Miami but also was highly interested in Notre Dame.
The Mater Academy Charter standout (Hialeah, Fla.) Brini announced his decision on Twitter and said he would be taking all five of his official visits. Look for more on Brini this week on DawgNation.
— Latavious Brini 1️⃣ (@Tall_Man26) July 4, 2016
— Latavious Brini 1️⃣ (@Tall_Man26) June 12, 2016
Georgia could land two or three more commitments this week
Toneil Carter, a four-star running back out of Texas, has dropped hints he could make his commitment at The Opening this week in Oregon. That would fill a huge crater on the 2017 recruiting board for Georgia. The expected exodus of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to the NFL after their junior seasons must be addressed in this year’s class.
Carter and Pennsylvania four-star D’Andre Swift are the leading candidates to become the next great running back tandem at Georgia. The speedy Texan has told multiple outlets Georgia is his current leader.
The second potential commitment would check off what DawgNation has determined as the biggest need for this year’s signing class. Pace Academy offensive tackle Andrew Thomas passes the eye test at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 10 offensive tackle and the No. 49 overall prospect this year.
A recent tweet from Bleacher Report suggests that five-star defensive end Robert Beal is a likely suspect to make his commitment tomorrow. The former Norcross star should choose between Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame and North Carolina. He will play his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida.
There are only two five-star defensive ends that have yet to make their commitment. Chase Young, who is rated as the nation’s No. 3 defensive end, is not expected to be in a good position to make his decision this early.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2016
The tea leaves look pretty clear-cut here. Look for Beal to make his commitment tomorrow.
What’s the latest with Thomas?
Thomas hopes to make his commitment on either July 9 or July 10 this week on television. He told DawgNation last week that there will be Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame hats on the table.
The decision has already been made and Thomas is a silent commitment. He even informed the lucky coaching staff last week. Jamaree Salyer, another 4-star junior target at Pace Academy, already knows, too. He is rated as the nation’s No. 1 guard for the Class of 2018 and is widely considered as a package deal with Thomas.
Salyer even said that there’s a chance he could join his good friend and make his commitment at The Opening. Thomas was planning to make his decision in September but saw no need to draw it out over the rest of the summer.
Thomas went to visit each of his three finalists during June. He visited Notre Dame on June 18 and followed that up with a trek to Clemson. He then took another trip to Georgia.
What else to look for at the Opening
Jamyest Williams will grab his share of headlines this week in Oregon on and off the field.
The four-star cornerback and major UGA target should release his Top 5 at the event. He will be back for a return trip after defending everything in cleats last year as a junior standout in Oregon.
The nation’s No. 6 cornerback is an Athens native. It would be a stunner of epic proportions to see the Bulldogs fall outside of his Top 5 when he releases his top schools.
What does Brini’s decision mean for the class?
Georgia now has defensive back commitments from four-star safety Richard LeCounte, four-star cornerback William Poole III and Brini. His decision brings to mind two quick questions.
- How many more defensive backs will UGA sign this year?
- How does this affect the chances with the other top targets in the secondary?
The answer to the first question is at least three and hopefully four. The dream scenario would be to land five-star athlete Jacoby Stevens to line up at strong safety next to LeCounte later this month. Stevens plans to commit in July.
Georgia would then hope to sign at least two cornerbacks. Yet don’t blame the staff for trying to get greedy but and take three more commitments at cornerback. Williams would be one of those. Grayson four-star cornerback DeAngelo Gibbs and Westlake senior cornerback A.J. Terrell would be the other two.
Each one of those guys is rated among the Top 100 players in the nation. Gibbs is the top-rated prospect in Georgia this year.
That said, don’t expect UGA to sign five cornerbacks this year. The staff would be pleased with one or even two more between Gibbs, Terrell and Williams.
Who’s missing The Opening?
There are enough Bulldog prospects at The Opening this week to fill up a junkyard, but a few of the program’s top targets won’t be there. It won’t be because their skills were dismissed but simply a matter of choice. A few high-level targets opted not to attend a regional showcase evaluation camp in order to qualify to receive one of those golden invitations to the elite event.
Beal is now at IMG Academy in Florida. The nation’s No. 2 defensive end will not be there. Four-star inside linebacker Nate McBride is rated as the nation’s No. 2 prospect at inside linebacker and also won’t make the trip.
The speedy South Georgia prospect (Vidalia, Ga.) missed a couple of short drives to Atlanta and Charlotte try to qualify for the Opening this spring. That was because of timing and his health status. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was recovering from a few nagging muscle pulls he endured during track season.
The aforementioned Stevens will also not be there. He also did not attend one of the regional combines to earn an invitation. Gibbs almost missed the chance to return this year to compete. He was also dealing with injuries but eventually flew all the way to Seattle in late May to earn his golden ticket.
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.