There is a lot of focus, naturally, on whether UGA can add at least one more 5-star recruit to its 2018 signing haul this week.
But let’s also recall that the Bulldogs signed one of their ultimate priorities for the class in December in 5-star Pace Academy guard Jamaree Salyer.
He could be a center in the NFL one day, but he likely will start out at guard at UGA.
DawgNation has contended for some time he could be a freshman starter just as his former teammate at Pace Academy, Andrew Thomas, was. Pace Academy offensive line coach Kevin Johnson simply trains his players that well.
Salyer has enjoyed his last month as a UGA signee. He’s been able to put his head down and work ― work on both himself and on the remaining pieces of the 2018 class.
Jamaree Salyer on life as a UGA signee
How has he approached that?
“I see myself as that gangster,” Salyer said earlier this season. “I will be trying to steal people from schools and recruit people to my school. That will be me. But I will also be working, though.
“I will be trying to get you to come to school with me but I will also be getting you to come and work with me. We are going to work, though. I’m going to get guys that know how to work and will recruit the right guys. It will be easier for me to do than coaches. Because I’m around those guys more than the coaches are. The coaches recruit based off what they see on the film and they only get to meet with them for a couple of hours on their visits.”
Salyer wanted to make sure he did his due diligence to help the future of UGA football. Those are going to be his teams, his shots at a ring.
“I am going to get the right guys,” Salyer said. “The real ballers. I see myself definitely working with the guys that are going to Georgia over the weekend and during the offseason before we all get to Georgia in the summer. We are going to get one another ready after we have already signed.”
He is doing just that.
“I have already just started to put my head down and work,” he said. “I’ve gotten the workouts and I have started to learn the protections. I’m starting to get incorporated into the Georgia program. It feels good.”
He got a good sense of what he could do at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He also learned which tools he needed to sharpen.
“I can move people around,” Salyer said. “I’ve got brute strength. There are not a lot of guys who can match me there. I just need to work on being quick and agile and being more flexible.”
The nation’s No. 1 guard prospect ― he’s also the top-rated offensive lineman ― for 2018 noted that he’d feel more comfortable at guard initially, but that doesn’t mean that he would not play center if that’s where the program needs him to be.
“I will play anything that helps Georgia and helps me get on the field to help Georgia,” Salyer said.
What does Jamaree Salyer think this class still needs?
What does the Class of 2018 need? Salyer had a good idea about that one.
“Probably a big receiver,” Salyer said. “I would say a tall receiver. We don’t have small receivers now but nobody can turn down a tall, big-play receiver.”
The Bulldogs are still chasing 4-star wide receiver prospect Tommy Bush. Salyer talked with Bush and his father when both were in Athens on an official visit.
He said he’s aware of the Bulldogs’ efforts with Bush and linebacker Quay Walker, among others, and is confident about where the program will stand at the end of National Signing Day.
“We will see,” Salyer said. “We should definitely flip the tide back to being the No. 1 class.”
The early enrollees have shared some feedback with the undecided prospects about what life is like at UGA. Salyer heard those thoughts from former Pace Academy teammates Thomas and Trey Blount.
It is even more real when it comes from players in his class.
“They tell me it is a work-hard program,” he said. “They say that [Coach Pittman] is going to give everybody a chance. He does not play favorites. He is going to coach up the young guys to see if they will be ready to play, and if they can’t get it done, he will play other guys. Georgia is not a favorites program. Everybody is going to get on the field if they show they are able to play right away.”
The early team workouts so far include a lot of running plus reps at the squat rack. Salyer has been given a weight goal to arrive at when he reports. That will be tough, but he said a realistic goal would be somewhere around 335 or 340 pounds.
That would involve losing about 20 or 25 pounds, but he said he feels confident he can do that.
“I am going to put in the work,” he said.
Have you been keeping up with the DieHards documentary on Salyer? Look for Chapter 3 of Jamaree Salyer: The Season to drop this week on DawgNation.com
- Chapter 1: That house he aims to buy for a loved one
- Chapter 2: The special bond between Salyer and Pace Academy OL coach Kevin Johnson
- DawgNation extra: Check out Salyer’s unique commitment video