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3-star South Georgia LB EJ Lightsey led Fitzgerald to its first state football championship since 1948 this past season. (Instagram)

BREAKING: State champion LB EJ Lightsey has made his college decision

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the commitment made on National Signing Day by 3-star inside linebacker EJ Lightsey of Fitzgerald High School in South Georgia.


EJ Lightsey said his decision came down to Auburn, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.

Those were the four hats on the table. His college decision came down to a few things that stood out to him more than what any school’s facilities or locker rooms looked like.

The former Florida commitment looks at his college choice a bit differently than a large majority of his peers.

He doesn’t think the school makes the man. He thinks the man makes the most of the school he chooses.

That’s why he picked up the Georgia hat today, put it on and was ready to go chase down his future.

The 3-star LB ranks as the nation’s No. 49 prospect at his position and the No. 494 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle on the 247Sports Composite.

“It is the red and black and there are a bunch of reasons why I would pick Georgia,” he said. “The development I would get. The coaching I would get. The grades and the degree I would come away from with up there and then the connections I would make. Just the people. They have really devoted and loyal fans also.”

“I’ve already developed really good relationships with the coaches. I’ve met and developed really good relationships with the linebackers and the people and the players already down there. They were all very welcoming and just left me feeling like if I was to pick Georgia then I would definitely not be making a mistake.”

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound senior from GHSA Class 2A state champion Fitzgerald High School couldn’t resist the chance to play for Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann and head coach Kirby Smart.

“That would be being coached by coach Schumann and the linebackers he has coached on his resume and then having a head coach who is a defensive head coach. I just always felt like it would be a good fit if I was to go there.”

Lightsey was just very impressed by Georgia during his process.

“I just like the program,” he said. “It is Georgia. They produce the best LBs and stuff like that. I like the coaches. You know Coach Smart is down from this way. He’s a straightforward guy and I feel like we developed a good relationship.”

Check out his senior highlight reel below:

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Fast Intel: Some very quick things to know about EJ Lightsey

Lightsey becomes the 29th player to join the 2022 class in Athens. He is now the third inside linebacker with All-Americans Jalon Walker and CJ Washington. That seems very much in line with the three inside linebackers that Georgia is sending to the NFL Draft in Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker.

Lightsey joins Walker and Washington as the new breed of ILBs in Schumann’s room.

“I think the strength of my game is my ability to run,” Lightsey said. “That’s what football is about. Running and hitting. I like to run and I like to hit. I think running to the football and making good reads are the strengths of my game.”

Want to get a speed read on all things, Lightsey? Here goes:

  • When the Dan Mullen staff was no longer in place at Florida, it became clear to Lightsey and the coaches at Fitzgerald High School that he was no longer a good fit for the program. So both sides moved on.
  • There was very little drama to his decision here. He said he knew that Georgia was his school of choice in the middle of last week. That feeling came on the heels on his official visit to UGA from the previous weekend.
  • He played his senior year Fitzgerald. He was at 203 pounds this past fall so that means he’s already put on some good weight.
  • Lightsey felt that he has been a longtime priority to the Bulldogs. “Even when I was still very committed to Georgia, they were still reaching out,” he said. “Still making me feel like a priority. Georgia even came down right before the early signing period. We never really lost touch.”
  • His real name is George Edward Lightsey Jr. The “EJ” comes from Edward Jr. from his family.
  • He’s thinking about pursuing a business degree or something in sports management.
  • When he was committed to Florida, he worked out for that staff. After a series of positional drills, he was asked to run the 40. Without any prep or real training, he said he clocked times of 4.66 and 4.59 seconds.
  • He started watching Georgia this fall and his eyes were opened by the way that defense played. While he was smart to never count out Alabama, he did think the Bulldogs could win it all this year. He was also impressed by watching that trio of Dean, Tindall and Walker play well enough to all go into the NFL Draft at the same time. “You just don’t see that,” he said. “That also really opened my eyes about Georgia.”
  • Lightsey did get to attend a Georgia game this fall. He was in the stands for the Missouri game.
  • The best play on his tape came during his junior year against Thomasville. He missed the tackle twice behind the line and kept getting up and pursuing the ball. He still made the tackle at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
  • Lightsey was part of the first state championship team at Fitzgerald High School since 1948. The Purple Hurricanes had come so very close to that elusive state title so many times and finally broke through in 2021. “It was great to be a part of that,” he said. “It was an amazing feeling. We made history.”
3-star South Georgia LB EJ Lightsey led Fitzgerald to its first state football championship since 1948 this past season. (Instagram)
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