Ryqueze McElderry-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
3-star OL Ryqueze McElderry said on Sunday that he remains "strongly committed" to the UGA football program after Matt Luke's decision last week. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Ryqueze McElderry: UGA commit wins Under Armour camp MVP for OLs, notes his pledge remains solid

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest with 2023 Georgia OL commit Ryqueze McElderry out of Alabama.

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Ryqueze McElderry had the best day of all the offensive line prospects at the Under Armour Next Atlanta regional camp.

And he said Sunday afternoon he remains solidly committed to Georgia.

That’s despite a continued push from Alabama and the recent decision made by Matt Luke to step away from the coaching profession to focus on being an All-American Dad.

“Not really wobbly,” he said in regard to the status of his pledge. “I’m just trying to see who they bring in and build a relationship with them and see where it goes from there. I’m just really really taking my time now and being patient even though I am committed.”

“I’m still committed strong. I’m still taking my time just to see what is going to happen next. Because I don’t work on the [Georgia] staff. I don’t know what is going to happen next. I only get told so much stuff because I am a recruit. So when changes and stuff like that happen and they put somebody else in the position of being the offensive line coach we will go from there.”

Reports have trickled out this morning Georgia has hired North Carolina line coach Stacy Searles as the next offensive line coach at UGA. Searels used to work for Mark Richt at UGA and at Miami.

Searels did not offer McElderry when he was at UNC. Those two had yet to establish a relationship.

McElderry does plan to visit Alabama this weekend. The dead period elapses on Tuesday and schools will be able to host their targets again.

He learned about the Luke news from his high school coach at Anniston High in Alabama. That’s about an hour from the Georgia state line.

“I didn’t think he was retiring,” McElderry said. “I thought he was going to another school. But him retiring I know the reason why he was retiring. I can’t do nothing but respect it.”

But if we’re being totally honest, his main link to UGA was with assistant offensive line coach Eddie Gordon.

“I talked to Gordon more than I did coach Luke really though,” McElderry said. “That’s who I was really getting recruited by.”

He said Gordon still being at UGA “was a very big deal” in his connection to UGA.

How much does that open up the door for another program?

“What is keeping me committed is I fell in love with Georgia,” McElderry said. “I fell in love with Coach Luke too because he’s a real good coach. But you are supposed to commit to a school. Not a coach. Because anything can happen. Coaches change all the time. They leave. They go somewhere else. They retire. Like coach Luke did. I can’t really do anything about that. That’s out of my jurisdiction and out of my hands.”

“Him leaving really doesn’t have a big effect. But I’m still in love with Georgia at the end of the day. I’ve got a lot of love and a lot of respect for Coach Luke. But at the end of the day, it is a business. He did what he was supposed to do as a man. As a father. He felt like it was time for him to retire and be there for his kids. I have got to respect that. He knows what he is doing. He’s been at it for over 20 years. Come on. He knows what he is doing. You can’t blame the man.”

McElderry said he could see himself doing something similar to what Luke did in the same position.

3-star OL Ryqueze McElderry of Anniston High in Alabama is already a commitment to UGA in the 2023 cycle. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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Ryqueze McElderry wanted to show out at the Under Armour camp

McElderry said he trained for the Under Armour camp.

“I worked on coming out of my stance real quick and punching,” he said. “Just my power from my punch. Kickstepping. One quick step back. Not at an angle. Straight back. Posting. Mirroring the defender.”

He worked against 4-star Alabama DT Hunter Osborne. Osborne is a top 200 overall prospect and also holds an offer from Georgia.

“He did pretty good but we only got two reps,” McElderry said. “That was kind of a bummer.”

McElderry said he also won his only two reps when he competed at the Under Armour Atlanta camp in 2021. He’s hoping for an invite to the Under Armour All-American Game.

“I want to go to Florida,” he said. “I want to go to Orlando.”

He said he measured at 6 feet, 3 inches and 342 pounds on Sunday. He wasn’t told about his arm length but he acknowledged he has been measured at 79 inches for his wingspan.

He also plans to visit Georgia and Jackson State in March. He’s not sure about when he will be back in Athens. It did not depend on whether Kirby Smart had a new O-line coach in place.

“I’m not sure but I have to get back down to UGA,” he said.

What kind of line coach did he hope Smart will hire?

“Somebody similar to Coach Luke who loves the game,” he said. “Who loves to coach real hard. Who loves his players. That’s all I am really looking for. Just having a great relationship. That’s who I am going to have to call and talk to about all types of stuff. That’s all I am really looking for. To be like Coach Luke. He was like a father figure even though I wasn’t even there yet.”

“I looked at Coach Luke like he was my momma before he retired. He was like that to me. ... I knew I would be in good hands. That’s all I am looking for while I am away from home.”

Georgia 2023 OL commitment Ryqueze McElderry poses with his mother Markesha Montgomery while on their last visit to UGA in January. (Instagram)
Instagram, Dawgnation

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Ryqueze McElderryy: What does Mom think about Georgia now?

Loyalty.

That’s a big word with McElderry and his mother. Markesha Montgomery raised Ryqueze as a single mother.

“If you do me and my family right then we are going to do you right,” she said. “Georgia has done right by Ryqueze and our family and we are going to stay loyal to that. They really have been good to us.”

She said folks should still see her son’s commitment as solid.

McGrath has a cheerful lively spirit. She had the idea for her son to step aside from the baseball caps for his decision back in November. They had water bottles with each of his finalists on the table. Those were decked out in school logos and colors and were all filled with water.

Except for the eventual choice.

Georgia’s bottle was filled with Powerade. That was the clear pick.

“I said to him we had to be different Ryqueze,” she said of her idea to go their own way with his ceremony.

She calls him “Rock” when she sees him competing, but that’s also a good way to describe his mindset. That’s what comes out when she shares the many ways her son makes her proud.

“Everything,” she said. “The fact that he is just so humble. He really is. He’s sees everything that is going on. He was raised by me. Just me only. He could be here like a lot of kids saying that I’ve got offers and this offer and that offer. It is not about that to him. He loves football. That’s all it is. He’s more excited that other kids get offers. All he needs is one. He tells me all the time ‘Momma I don’t have to brag about all of these offers I am only going to one school’ and ‘I can only choose one offer’ so it doesn’t really matter about him having 50 or 60 offers so that makes me very proud.”

“The fact his head is on straight also makes me proud. Not only is he focusing on football. He’s also ready to go to the next level because he is graduating in December. He’s already taking college courses. I used to be on him like ‘What do your grades look like?” but he is like ‘Momma I got it’ and he really does. He has got it.”

There is also a strong bond between Ryqueze and his four-year-old brother Blake.

“Everything that Ryqueze does my baby Blake is always like ‘Momma I want to be just like my brother’ and ‘That’s my role model’ so the day we went to Georgia the last time Blake went with us.”

Blake thought McElderry was leaving to go to UGA. He thought he was getting dropped off there to stay.

“We’re sitting there for the national championship ceremony and he was like ‘Momma is Ryqueze staying here today?’ and his eyes started to get so big and moving back and forth and I just knew he was about to cry,” his mother said. “So I was about to cry, too.”

She assured Blake that Ryqueze had just about another year with them at home.

“He was like when he goes I want to go with him here,” she said.

She feels confident in her son’s choice with Georgia.

“When I send my son somewhere else I want him to feel at home just as much as he does with me,” she said. “That’s my big thing. Over there, I have never had to question anything. If he goes there, I don’t feel like I have to worry about anything. So that’s what really got me set on Georgia.”

Will it take a lot for a school to move Georgia off the top here?

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Oh yeah. A lot lot. A lot lot.”

SENTELL'S INTEL

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