Jamal Meriweather: What the ‘Dawgs are getting in their latest offensive tackle commitment
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 3-star OT commitment Jamal Meriweather. He ranks as the nation’s No. 46 OT and the No. 606 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
Jamal Meriweather was done with recruiting. He committed to Central Florida back in April.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound senior OT with an 83-inch wingspan only took a pair of official visits. Those were to check out the Knights and also to Kentucky.
His Twitter account is proof of that.
He tweeted out his commitment announcement on April 17th and that was his last tweet regarding his recruiting.
That was until Georgia offered on Sunday night. He was offered on Sunday. Flipped on a Monday.
He slept on it and knew he had to be a ‘Dawg.
“I had to sleep on it, but at the same time I knew what I had to do,” he told DawgNation last night. “I just wasn’t sure whether or not I was making the right move or not. Yet after this morning, I talked to my parents. I talked to [Brunswich head coach Garrett] Grady and I knew. I knew it that yeah this was the right move.”
Yet before he did, he placed a call to the Central Florida staff that made him feel so fortunate and so very much at home in Orlando.
Meriweather told DawgNation on Monday night that the only school that could have gotten him to flip his commitment was Georgia.
That’s exactly what he told UCF line coach Herb Hand. It was interesting that he committed to Gus Malzahn’s program in the first place. That’s because he grew up an Auburn fan more than anything else.
“I made sure I got it right with Coach Hand first,” he said. “He understood what I was trying to tell him.”
It was a matter of the college football food chain. This was the defending champion. The new SEC champion. The No. 1 team in the land and it was his home state school.
“I had my loyalty with Central Florida and I had a bond with Coach Hand and Gus [Malzahn] and everybody and the whole coaching staff,” Meriweather. “But like I told coach Hand I said ‘Coach I really got an opportunity to go to the league. This is a better opportunity. Even though you might feel that I have a very good opportunity there at Central Florida but this is a better opportunity’ and I told him that straight like that and he said he understood.”
“He told me that he understands and he was glad that I didn’t lead him on and that I called him and told him. Straight-up.”
The young man from Brunswick is now the sixth prospect in Georgia’s class that Smart and his staff have flipped. He very likely won’t be the last.
There’s some unique variance to his rankings by the recruiting services. While he is seen as a 3-star prospect that ranks among the nation’s top 610 recruits for the 247Sports Composite, he’s seen as much better than that by On3.com.
That service rates him as a 4-star. He’s the No. 17 OT prospect and the nation’s No. 252 overall recruit for 2023.
Meriweather has been to a game at Georgia. He saw the ‘Dawgs drop No. 1 Tennessee in that packed house of all things. So he saw the best of Georgia. It helped them out later on down the road.
Yet he’s still never tried on the Georgia uniform yet. That will come during his official visit later this month.
He’s got time. Meriweather plans to sign this month but he will be a traditional May graduate.
When he talked to the Georgia coaches on Sunday, they were impressed by him. He said he spoke to line coach Stacy Searels and offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
“Coach Searels said that Georgia was about to offer,” he said on Monday night. “He said ‘I feel you would fit right here at Georgia and you’ve got that ‘Dawg in you. I like your film’ and today during school I talked to Kirby Smart. He was like ‘I love your film’ and ‘You’ve got that ‘Dawg in you’ and he talked with all the coaches and they liked me’ and then he said ‘Are you ready to become a ‘Dawg?’ and I said ‘yes sir’ to that.”
RELATED: Check out the breaking news commitment story from Monday night on Jamal Meriweather
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The Warren McClendon connection with Jamal Meriweather
There was a big Brunswick connection here. Georgia ALL-SEC tackle Warren McClendon was a 2019 signee in Athens. He’s played high-level football for the last three seasons in Athens.
Yet he never forgets where he comes from. He came back to work out with the Brunswick OLs at times. Brunswick coach Garrett Grady said he also put in a word with the Georgia line coaches about Meriweather.
“I feel like Warren McClendon really put me out there,” Meriweather said. “With him being from Brunswick and then him being a tackle, it kind of gave the coaches an image of how Brunswick develops their players and how they could play at that level. I’m glad Warren McClendon went up there. He’s doing big things and he gave me a good image.”
Meriweather throws the discus for the Brunswick High track team. He will do that again this spring.
He played at right tackle this fall for the Pirates. That’s because the quarterback was left-handed. It meant he was protecting his blind side.
“This all happened really quick for him,” Grady said. “I know Georgia just played in the SEC Championship and the next day they were contacting him. I know they are going to have some spots open at tackle and they were just trying to fill a need. I think it is a great opportunity for Jamal.”
There’s something to that point there. It would not be a reach to expect to see the Bulldogs lose both of their starting tackles (Broderick Jones and McClendon) to the NFL Draft. Both should go within the first three rounds.
There is also the need to make sure the numbers in the O-line room stay strong this month during the transfer portal season this month. Georgia has a pair of offensive tackles committed in the 2023 class, but they only signed two true offensive tackles in 2022.
Sophomore OT Amarius Mims also played well in relief of McClendon in the SEC Championship. He’s likely only one year as a full-time starter away from the NFL in his own right.
Brunswick coach Garrett Grady breaks down Jamal Meriweather
Grady describes him as an active kid. He said Meriweather had wrestled before in middle school. He’s always playing basketball.
“He makes sure he’s all-around and always doing something every season,” Grady said. “He’s just always staying active.”
Meriweather can play both tackle spots. He was also a defensive lineman for his first two seasons at Brunswick.
“I think he moves very well in pass protection,” Grady said. “He’s got great feet and the length. Long arms. I think he is going to develop and get a little bit heavier and he will be able to knock people off the ball and use great leverage there. I think he’s really good in pass protection.”
If there’s a strength to his game, that would be it.
“I would say that would be his strength but he does have a little mean streak in him and he’s able to really get after somebody in the run game, too,” Grady said.
Grady also appreciated the way that McClendon has given him tips and been a mentor to him.
“Warren has been a really good resource for Jamal,” Grady said. “A lot of the linemen that have come through here have looked up to Warren and why not. Warren McClendon has been a really good mentor and role model for these guys.”
Meriweather’s family was very happy about this offer.
“He’s worked for everything that he’s got and to be awarded an opportunity like this means a lot to him,” Grady said. “What Georgia is doing now and him being from the state of Georgia, I think that really means a lot to him.”
The 6-foot-7 senior was a two-year starter on the offensive line for the Pirates.
He had double-digit pancakes in a single game last year against Richmond Hill. He came off the ball really well that night with great leverage.
“I think on the field he has tremendous upside,” Grady said. “I think his best football is going to be in front of him. I think he’s going to work really hard and know that this opportunity doesn’t really come lightly. There’s a lot of hard work that is going to have to be put in place and I think he’s excited about that opportunity and ready to go to work.”
“Off the field, he’s a high-character kid. I’ve never had any issues with him off the field. He’s got a really great family that supports him and is there for him and that support system. But he’s a down-to-earth kid who is kind of quiet but when you get to know him he opens up like a book. Just with that same big smile he always has and he’s a really good teammate. He’s just a really good kid and I’m so happy for him and his family.”
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with 2023 commits CJ Allen, AJ Harris and Jamaal Jarrett.
What motivates Jamal Meriweather?
The answer to the above question is easy. For him, it is all about family.
“I play football because I don’t want to see my Mom and my Dad work,” he said. “I want to be able to provide for my family. I want to be there for them. I want to study mechanical engineering. My why is family. I do this for my family.”
His favorite part of football is the pancakes. Just laying a man out flat on the ground.
He wears the No. 77. That’s not for a real reason, but he can’t help but notice a pattern.
“But it is crazy,” he said. “All the years I’ve played football I always had the number seven on my jersey. Whatever number I had, it always had the number seven in it. So I feel like that number seven is a lucky number.”
He actually watched the SEC Championship on Saturday. With no idea, he was about to be a ‘Dawg.
“I wouldn’t have believed that if you had told me that,” he said. “I would be like I don’t really know about that.”
He still has yet to try on that red Georgia jersey.
“It is going to feel so unreal,” he said.
What do folks need to know about Meriweather?
“I’ve got heart,” he said. “I’ve got a strong mentality. If I feel like I am going to put you in the dirt, then I am going to put you in the dirt. It is like that. Simple as that.”
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