Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 5-star EDGE Sam M’Pemba. He ranks as the nation’s No. 4 EDGE and the No. 30 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
Sam M’Pemba has been to more Georgia games than many season ticket holders have this year.
M’Pemba was a VIP guest at G-Day. The 5-star EDGE took that never-before-seen pregame lap with Kirby Smart before the Samford game. He saw the ‘Dawgs play Missouri in his home state and then returned for the Auburn game last month.
The nation’s No. 4 EDGE prospect was in Athens for his official visit to the Tennessee game. He wore an old-school Kirby Smart jersey on his official visit photo shoot.
It is now finally the time for him to become a public ‘Dawg.
M’Pemba released his decision on social media a few moments ago. The 6-foot-3.5, 250-pound pass rusher has spent the last two seasons playing for national boarding school power IMG Academy in Florida.
He was a tight end and receiver a year ago. That’s a remarkable range of athleticism to do that at a program stocked with 30-plus Power 5 recruits every cycle. IMG Academy competes for the national mythical high school championship every fall.
M’Pemba was a skill position asset for the Ascenders as a junior. He then moved over to wreak havoc as a pass rusher as a senior.
He’s now a ‘Dawg. This decision does a few things. It boosts the tally for 5-star prospects to two for this 2023 cycle. Alabama 5-star corner A.J Harris, who has played a key role in the M’Pemba recruitment for the ‘Dawgs at times, had been the only other 5-star in the class since this summer.
If we’re being honest, the fact Georgia had just one 5-star in the class for such a long stretch did look a little light.
M’Pemba also checks off a few other boxes for the ‘Dawgs in 2023:
- He’s the 22nd overall commitment and now the second 5-star in the class
- M’Pemba is now the third top 50 commitment in the class. (Those are all on defense)
- The 5-star senior becomes the seventh top 100 commitment in the class for the ‘Dawgs (Five of those are on defense)
- The commitment moves UGA closer to Alabama for first place in the 247Sports Composite Team rankings for the 2023 cycle. ‘Bama now holds a 310.94-298.85 lead on the ‘Dawgs with significant remaining moments still left in 2023. The Tide also has two more commitments than UGA as of now.
- M’Pemba joins Gabe Harris in the 2023 class as verbal commits to the nation’s No. 1 team out of IMG Academy. Current UGA commitment Joenel Aguero also transferred out of IMG Academy to play his senior season back home in Massachusetts.
- Georgia took three commitments from IMG Academy in the 2022 cycle and another three from that same program in 2021. If Aguero, Harris and M’Pemba all go on to sign with the ‘Dawgs in December (and that appears quite likely) then the total of Ascenders that have gone on to play in Athens will rise to 13 dating back to former 5-star Isaac Nauta in 2016. That’s quite a pipeline there for the national champions.
- It wasn’t just that tour around Sanford Stadium with Smart that struck gold with M’Pemba. The Bulldogs have benefitted from a 5-star recruiting relationship and connection built here between their program and first-year outside linebackers coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe. The Bulldogs have many excellent recruiters on their staff and Uzo-Diribe’s resume since he joined the program from Colorado fits in with the best of them.
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Recruiting trail rewind: Flashback to September 23 with Sam M’Pemba
Let’s rewind life on the recruiting trail back to September 23, 2022. That’s when Harris and his Central-Phenix City team hosted IMG Academy in Alabama.
Harris had taken a strong interest in recruiting M’Pemba to Georgia. He took a visit to Athens back during the summer just to hang out with and build a relationship with M’Pemba when he was up for a random unofficial.
That went a long way with M’Pemba. It wasn’t just the connections he had built with Smart and Uzo-Diribe and the rest of the coaching staff. Georgia commitments CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson, among many other potential teammates in this class, had made it a point to bring him in and make him feel like a part of the family.
Yet there was a public display from Harris that is worth bringing up there. It came after their game. IMG won and the 5-star Georgia cornerback commit was totally spent from emptying his tank against M’Pemba’s team.
Harris still dapped him up when they met up around the 50-yard line and pulled him close. He asked a question.
Harris sought him out at midfield after the game. Those two had grown close and he felt it was time for him to play reporter. He needed to square away his own personal crystal ball when it came to M’Pemba and his eventual decision.
Was that an interview?
“That was 110 percent correct,” A.J. Harris said later that night. “That was my ‘When are you going to be a Georgia Bulldog?’ type of question there.”
He got the answer he wanted to hear. Harris, who’s known for big smiles and an expressive face, lit up like Mercedes Benz-Stadium did Saturday night at the start of the fourth quarter.
He got the answer he wanted. It just remained classified until M’Pemba was ready with this moment today.
Gabe Harris was there as well with Harris and M’Pemba. It looked like a family reunion then.
Now, they are all part of the same family on their way to Athens.
“It means something to me with Samuel,” Harris said. “I worked so hard to recruit Samuel. Along with the coaching staff. I felt like a part of the coaching staff trying to recruit him to join the family in Athens. A lot of time was spent there. While I was up there and we were in the lounge area, we talked.”
“After we talked, I knew I wanted him to be a Georgia Bulldog. Because I know what type of person he is.”
He was so happy the day when he got the news about M’Pemba that he didn’t know the next guy he wanted to work on to join the 2023 class in Athens.
Harris was just that happy with the M’Pemba news.
DawgNation can be today as well. The ‘Dawgs won the SEC championship on Saturday. Then they pick up a 5-star EDGE rusher on Sunday.
That was after being named the top seed in the college football playoffs with a very enviable semifinal game back in their home state at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
M’Pemba grew up playing soccer and his family’s roots are in Togo in West Africa. Harris feels he would fit in nicely among the ‘Dawgs on the Georgia defense.
How will M’Pemba help Georgia?
“Talk about a physical player,” A.J. Harris said. “A very strong player. He’s already filled out very well before he’s even touched the college campus. Just physical. Has a motor when you turn on the tape. Just a knack for the ball. Just everything we need in a Georgia defense. A high-caliber defense and I believe that he will fit in well. He will fit in well.”
What drew M’Pemba to Georgia? It was more than just that lap around Sanford Stadium. And that old-school Kirby Smart No. 16 jersey.
“Just the brotherhood,” he said earlier this year. “Do you know what I mean? I talk to them just about every day. Honestly. Just keeping up with them. Just the guys that they got with development. I feel like the biggest thing for them they have got is development. Definitely. For sure.”
DawgNation captured a photo of that moment between Harris and M’Pemba below. It wasn’t the best image with both of them bunched in real tight and moving fast, but it sums up the moment between the two future Bulldog defenders.
Georgia 5-star cornerback commit AJ Harris congratulates Sam M'Pemaba after he got the answer he wanted to hear from the 5-star EDGE earlier this season when their two teams met. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
5-star EDGE prospect Sam M'Pemba is the nation's No. 4 EDGE prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Instagram)
5-star Sam M'Pemba and Gabe Harris are teammates at IMG Academy in Florida. Harris is a UGA commit and he really wants to see M'Pemba become a 'Dawg. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation)
5-star EDGE Sam M'Pemba says he is down to four schools. Georiga, LSU, Miami and Tennessee. He's one of the top remaining targets for the 'Dawgs in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
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