Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest on 5-star DL Jayden Wayne. He ranks as the nation’s No. 3 EDGE and the No. 23 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
Donald Wayne said he and his family had way too much to eat on their official to Georgia. That’s about the only thing he would change from the trip.
Consider it a strong start for the national champions in the chase for 5-star DL Jayden Wayne.
“Highly satisfied,” Donald Wayne said of the visit. “All our questions were answered. The vibes were still the same. You know every time you go on a trip it is never the same. You worry. Was that fake? Well, we’ll see what happens this time.”
“Well, Georgia has been pretty consistent. With Dan Lanning leaving, we wanted to keep going and see ‘How much of a dropoff is it with him not there anymore?’ and to be honest with you, there is no drop-off.”
That is a major kudos to first-year OLBs coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
“He’s just a good young coach,” Donald Wayne said. “I was worried if maybe he was too young. But nah, man. He’s passionate about what he loves to do. He’s mature. He’s played the game. He has real experiences there and you know if Kirby Smart hires you, then you are no slouch.”
The Bulldogs hosted an extended amount of the Wayne family for his OV last weekend. The group photo at the photoshoot certainly does that gathering justice.
It was their third trip in approximately seven months to see Georgia. There was the Charleston Southern game last November, then G-Day in April and a return this past weekend for his son’s first official.
That long flight covering the 2,700 miles from Washington to Athens is getting easier. Depending on the airline seat.
What is his son looking for? Wayne shared his perception of that. Are there certain qualities they need to see?
“Absolutely,” Donald Wayne said. “Of course, the family atmosphere has to be there. There has got to be a strong brotherhood.”
If one is paying attention, Georgia soundly checked that box during that G-Day visit. Wayne then gave DawgNation some strong comments regarding Georgia. He saw the number of members of the 2021 championship team on hand to receive their rings.
That was expected. But what struck him was the number of former Bulldogs from previous Smart teams there to support them. Jayden Wayne shared the following thoughts from that trip:
“The brotherhood there is ridiculous.”
“I can see myself playing there.”
“It was just an amazing atmosphere. Felt like family really.”
Donald Wayne had a few more things to note about what the ideal school has to offer.
“I don’t know if he wants to go somewhere he has to be the one individual from that standpoint,” his father said. “I know he likes the team concept. He likes to be a part of a strong team. Everybody loves to win. He loves to win.”
“Then for me and Mom, then it is just the development off the field. Somebody who helps him and doesn’t let him get too discouraged with trying to find a major. Just the accountability things outside of football.”
Georgia’s interest really picked up in Wayne after that unofficial for the Charleston Southern game. There was doubt about how serious UGA was with Wayne prior to that, but it was no longer the case afterward.
“That’s how it goes,” Donald Wayne said. “The relationship goes both ways. We show interest. They show interest. That’s how it established itself.”
Donald Wayne: A parent’s viewpoint on a big official visit
Georgia got Wayne’s first official visit. The ‘Dawgs actually wanted it. Lanning has Oregon’s visit scheduled for the June 24th weekend.
LSU is set for the weekend of June 10. Miami is scheduled for the following weekend. Alabama is also out there looming for his fifth official visit.
Wayne said that the Crimson Tide wants to see the Waynes in Tuscaloosa this fall for a big game.
In terms of this official, Donald Wayne felt his highlight was meeting with Coach Smart.
“Well always meeting with Coach Smart is second to none,” he said. “You get to sit down with the head coach and he breaks everything down. He asks us a lot of good questions like ‘What are ya’ll thinking?’ and ‘How are ya’ll feeling?’ and what are your likes and concerns?”
Do the Waynes now have any concerns about Georgia?
“No, not at all,” he said. “They were all addressed.”
Georgia views Wayne as a fit for Uzo-Diribe’s room. He will be an outside linebacker. He can put his hand down. Or drop back and cover depending on the scheme.
The Bulldogs established themselves well with a strong official visit weekend.
“They set the tone,” Donald Wayne said. “That was our first one so now naturally everything after that you are going to compare it to. Even the small little things. Going to the hotel rooms. Seeing all of his pictures. Just the little things they did. His favorite this and the favorite that.”
“Yet we do understand there are two parts to this. There’s the recruiting part and the reality. Once the recruiting is over with, then that was fun. Then there is a reality that comes after that.”
Freshman wide receiver De’Nylon Morrissette was his player host. He enrolled this January and is a righteous and passionate dude about his team. Morrissette was an active recruiter on key visits in the last cycle. His efforts in building perhaps the strongest class of the Smart era will always be trumpeted by this correspondent.
That trip might not be the last time the Waynes see Georgia before his decision.
Georgia showed him clips of Adam Anderson and Quay Walker and their build to their eventual status as big-time impact SEC players. Their first years were learning years, but they were difference makers by the time their senior years rolled around.
“You know Kirby’s message was ‘Look we are proven’ and ‘there is stability here’ and he said he couldn’t preach that enough,” Donald Wayne said. “He’s not going nowhere. Stability is strong here. You know what you are getting when you come here. You play with the best. Iron sharpens iron. You are just going to have to come here with the right mindset and you can succeed.”
There was Karaoke among the parents one night. Donald declined, but his wife did take part.
What do the Waynes like best about Georgia?
“Just the hospitality,” he said. “Everybody treats you like family. Like you are already from there. Everybody treats you with respect. They are there to help in any kind of way. We were feeling like they were all aunts and uncles. Like they were family.”
Georgia star junior cornerback Kelee Ringo grew up in the same part of the country where the Waynes reside. Jayden was on a few youth teams with Kelee, he said. They have known Ringo since he was in the fourth or the fifth grade.
The Bulldog cornerback played for the Bellamy Lions growing up. Both of Wayne’s sons played for that team, too. The Ringo career arc gives them a good road map for Jayden.
“It does,” Donald Wayne said. “But not only Kelee but anybody who has come to Georgia from out of state. They have all pretty much done well. Look at Brock Bowers. Look at Darnell Washington. People from outside of the state, tend to do pretty well at Georgia. That’s the track record that I am seeing.”
“But definitely Kelee makes us comfortable. He tells us ‘Hey man they are going to treat you with respect and you are going to have to work really hard and earn it but it is like family here.’”
Jayden Wayne: A few other choice things to know
Loves to compete. Doesn’t matter what it is. Not a big party guy. Stays to himself. Super mature. Strong family guy. That’s how Wayne described his son.
What makes him the proudest?
“Just his ability to keep growing,” Donald Wayne said. “He’s never satisfied. I don’t know where his ceiling is at. He’s a fast learner. Always continues to grow. Whatever element you put him in, he adapts well and just keeps growing.”
Jayden was able to pick up ax-throwing for the first time on his official.
“Ax throwing was pretty fun,” his father said. “Just seeing how good he was. I was like how he so good at that already when he just started doing it?”
His older brother, Daeshawn Wayne, was a strong student and a two-sport athlete. He signed to play for Georgetown as a safety. He was four years older than Jayden and already ahead of him in everything. That forced Jayden to grow and compete along a very steep learning curve.
Jayden will work to be able to graduate early. That’s the plan, but it hasn’t been done before in his school district. There’s not a system in place for it. That might be prevalent in the South, but it is not normal in the Pacific Northwest.
“It is not going to be real easy, but definitely we are going to do it,” Donald Wayne said.
They know it is a must to put any player in the mix to try to play early.
“He has to,” Donald Wayne said. “You have to. That much time and that time difference of five or six months is a lot of time that you just can’t make up or get back.”
Jayden wanted to commit before his senior year, but that ‘Bama trip might alter that timeline. Then he wanted to just wait a little bit for a few other factors.
The Waynes, it must be noted, are a grounded family. It is no stretch to listen to father and son and hear echoes of past conversations with the Milton family.
Those interviews also sounded like the Greene, Sherman, Swift or the Van Pran-Granger families.
Those Bulldogs all took an educated leap on what they both felt and saw at Georgia. Even across many miles.
“I think my hopes and dreams for Jayden have already been accomplished,” Donald Wayne said. “I didn’t see it going this far. I’m not going to lie. Just a great education here for the most part. And then could he get to [be recruited] by the top schools? He got to the top schools. Now the rest is on him. I’d like to say NFL and all that but c’mon man. You have got to go get that if you are Jayden.”
“As a parent, I am very very proud he has an opportunity to go to these schools and get a great education. What he does with it after that and beyond that, is on him.”
Remember this part about Jayden Wayne and Georgia
It was a wide-ranging and candid interview, but the nugget here was something Wayne said that will dispel the notion of all the NIL talk and that arms race.
Much less the arms race for facilities.
With NIL on everyone’s mind, it will be a surprise to see new indoor practice facility, team HQ and weight room projects greenlighted for fundraising at the big schools over the next five years. That booster money will be soaked up by collectives moving forward.
Do you want to know how Georgia really stands out here? That has nothing to do with collectives and weight rooms and coaches. Not even that long-sought and a very hard-earned national championship trophy.
It will stay with a family after they leave the first-class treatment in Athens. It will matter more than the weight room, space-age salt pods and an $80 million dollar facility.
Sounds like it will last as long as anything said in Smart’s office, too.
“Georgia is really about the fans, man,” Donald Wayne said. “The fans. The fans are amazing.”
All that stuff. And DawgNation takes his top spot on the “wow” meter about Georgia.
“It is the fans, man,” Donald Wayne said. “It doesn’t matter what. The fans are going to be there. I mean my son was there on a trip one time and people had him signing autographs already. The fans love Georgia, man.”
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