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Ryan Hilinski/Courtesy
Ryan Hilinski has been one of the nation's fastest-rising QB recruits over the last two months.

Why Elite 11 QB Ryan Hilinski put UGA in his final group

Jeff Sentell

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. This edition of the play sheet includes a check-in with 4-star quarterback Ryan Hilinski. Why did he put the Bulldogs in his final 7? That answer follows. 

Ryan Hilinski cut down his list of top schools Sunday night. Hilinski, whom DawgNation has written about extensively since he was just a 3-star recruit, made good on his take from earlier this year that the Bulldogs would still be around after he started to trim his options.

He tweeted out a final collection of seven schools and the Bulldogs indeed made the cut. The list carried a heavy Southern influence for the Californian, with four SEC programs among that lot.

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Ryan Hilinski has seen his recruiting ratings rise after being named the MVP at several prospect camps over the last few weeks. (Contributed photo)

The prized signal caller from Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) has a pretty impressive résumé after completing 72 percent of his passes last season. He even threw for 572 yards in a single game.

RELATED: Ryan Hilinski moves on to honor older brother after a tragic loss to suicide

Hilinski was a 3-star recruit as recently as six weeks ago. But he’s now seen as the nation’s No. 8 pro-style passer and the nation’s No. 308 overall prospect in the Class of 2019 on the 247Sports composite standard.

He said he values the relationship he has already fashioned with the UGA staff, including quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator James Coley.

“The reason I included UGA in my top 7 is the relationships I have with the coaches,” Hilinski told DawgNation. “I text Coach Coley and [offensive analyst Jay] Johnson on the regular.

“They always make me feel like they want me and of course I talk to the big man Coach [Kirby] Smart which is awesome!”

According to Hilinski, he feels Coley “really gets him” and that there is no nonsense to their interactions.

He plans to attend G-Day on April 21, his second visit to UGA this year.

“I can’t wait to be back for G-Day soon,” Hilinski said.

A few more things to know about Ryan Hilinski’s choice

When he makes his college decision, it will be a family move. His immediate family will follow him there.

That’s an interesting wrinkle given that his oldest brother, Kelly, will also be looking for a medical school in which to enroll.

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Georgia made the final 7 for Ryan Hilinski on Easter Sunday. (Ryan Hilinski/Contributed photo)

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound prospect’s story is an uncommon one. He’s chosen to honor his other brother, Tyler, after his suicide back in January.

Hilinski told DawgNation he now plans to make his commitment on Tyler’s birthday.

Tyler Hilinski was a promising young passer at Washington State. His younger brother currently plans to trim that group of 7 down to three schools.

Look for him to then make his college choice known on May 26.

His view on the quarterback depth chart at UGA sounds rather interesting. He looks at Jake Fromm and Justin Fields as guys who can help him fulfill his playing dreams. Not impediments.

“Justin was probably the best [quarterback] in high school last year,” he said earlier this year. “Jake is the best in college right now. If I can learn from those guys and get all their pointers and then maybe put that into play maybe when I get a chance in 2021, I think it could be really fortunate for me.”

Hilinski idolizes Tom Brady. He points to the path that the NFL legend took with his long-and-winding road to playing time at Michigan.

Ryan Hilinski against elite competition

There’s one more thing worth looking at regarding this young man’s résumé. It will go beyond his 3,767 yards and 33 TDs in 12 games. His Orange Lutheran squad went 6-6 and 0-5 in league play last fall.

There’s some meat to that stat line. It is not ground chuck.

Here are his numbers against some of the elite teams he faced in 2017. The ranking given for each opponent is the final Maxpreps.com national ranking. 

  • No. 3 St. John Bosco: 22-38-0 for 232 yards, 1 TD (Lost 42-21)
  • No. 88 JSerra Catholic: 27-39-2 for 296 yards, 3 TDs (Lost 52-21)
  • No. 136 Servite: 23-35-1 for 193 yards, 1 TD (Lost 29-28)
  • No. 1 Mater Dei: 26-37-0 for 273 yards, 3 TDs (Lost 51-21)
  • No. 49 Santa Margarita: 21-32-o for 348 yards, 4 TDs (Lost 38-31)
  • No. 53 Chaminade: 29-38-1 for 318 yards, 3 TDs (Won 28-25)
  • No. 17 Mission Viejo: 23-38-1 for 337 yards, 2 TDs (Lost 48-35)

Orange Lutheran began the year with a 5-0 mark with wins against three teams rated among the nation’s top 425 programs in the final Maxpreps.com rankings.

That was the prelude.  Hilinski’s Lancers finished out with six losses in seven games against a schedule in which every opponent finished 2017 rated among the nation’s top 150, including three squads from the nation’s top 20.

That is the definition of battle-tested and where that 72-percent completion rate really stands out.

A look at the recent top 8 from 4-star RB John Emery Jr. 

My SEC Country colleague Sam Spiegelman recently had an exclusive with Louisiana tailback John Emery Jr. of Destrehan High just west of New Orleans.

The Tennessee legacy ranks as the nation’s No. 5 RB for 2019 on the 247Sports composite standard. That’s good for a slot as the nation’s No. 72 overall prospect.

Georgia made his final 8. That’s something to pay attention to. Especially given how well Dell McGee recruits elite backs. Especially a top-5 back.

Emery shared his thoughts on UGA with Spiegelman. The Bulldogs are clearly a candidate here based on their strong running back tradition.

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4-star RB John Emery Jr. has UGA in his final 8. He rates as the nation’s No. 8 RB for 2019. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

“Looking back at the past running backs that came in there and the success that they’ve had in past years …. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel — I watched those guys when the first started balling,” Emery told Spiegelman. “I also like the way they utilize their running backs and the program is great. I haven’t been out there, but I’ve heard the program is great.

“I used to live in Georgia when I was 4 and 5 [years old] before I moved back out here [to Louisiana]. I know the feeling out there and I can have that home feeling out in Georgia, so why not check them out? Coach McGee and I have a great relationship, too.”

There is some substance to consider there, but Emery had another statement regarding what will be the ultimate arbiter in regard to his eventual choice.

“My plan going into college is starting,” Emery explained. “I don’t want to be a No. 2. I want to be No. 1. I also have to think about the long-term and making it to the league. I don’t want my body beat up, so that’s something I need to look at.

“I feel like I should be that No. 1 like Leonard Fournette [at LSU] and the [number] of carries he got each game. I don’t want to be Derrius Guice when Fournette was playing. I plan on starting and that’s the goal I have set up. I plan on starting when I go to college and doing big things. I don’t plan on being No. 2 or being a part of a duo. However, I’ll play my part, but my goal is eventually to be No. 1 for sure.”

There’s an easy reaction to that thought right there. That situation he’s looking for there will be very hard to replicate at UGA during his freshman year. I just can’t picture that happening in Athens at this time.

He does plan to visit the Bulldogs this Friday. He also feels that he does not have a leader at this time.

Look for Emery to whittle that group down to a final 3 in August. His commitment should then take place in December.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.