Kent State
22
Final
39
(1) Georgia
Sam M'Pemba-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
5-star EDGE Sam M'Pemba plays for IMG Academy in Florida. He is a MAJOR target for Georgia in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

Samuel M’Pemba: Why the ‘Dawgs are hunkering down to try to land the 5-star EDGE rusher

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep provides a good window into 5-star Samuel M’Pemba. He ranks as the nation’s No. 2 EDGE and the No. 24 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. The On3 Consensus has him as the nation’s No. 3 EDGE and the No. 23 overall recruit for this cycle.

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Sam M’Pemba is one of the top remaining targets in the 2023 cycle for the Georgia football program. He was the recruit that Kirby Smart gave a personal tour of Sanford Stadium earlier this month.

The first one of those is an eyeball witness to what M’Pemba can do on the field. That’s another Georgia EDGE commitment for this cycle in South Georgia native Gabe Harris.

Harris moved from Valdosta to IMG Academy in August to gain playing eligibility for his senior season. When he did, he became a teammate with M’Pemba.

There is already a lot of mutual respect between those two.

“He’s a freak,” Harris said. “I love his work ethic.”

Harris knows the deal on M’Pemba. He knows he didn’t play football until middle school growing up in St. Louis. He also knows he played tight end and receiver last year for IMG Academy.

The 6-foot-3.5, 245-pounder then switched to play EDGE exclusively this season.

“I’m not going to lie it takes a monster of an athlete to be able to do that,” Harris said. “Learning a new position and getting thrown in that fire right away. A lot of people. I mean a lot of good players can’t do that.”

There has been a learning curve.

“Him just learning the position though, he’s still got some stuff to learn,” Harris said. “But as far as his work ethic, I can’t question it. He goes hard.”

Why did he call him a freak? Was it his bend and athleticism coming off the edge?

“I’m going to say his work ethic really,” Harris said. “Nobody works like Sam. Nobody.”

Not even Gabe Harris?

“I mean, I will work,” Harris said. “I will work right with him but Sam is an athlete man. A real athlete. But I work, too. I’d say we are neck and neck with that work ethic. I give him all the respect. He works. A lot of people aren’t going to work like him. Where I’m from, a lot of people are not going to work like me to be great. So I see we meet each other neck and neck. He does push me. He pushes me to work harder.”

Harris has been putting in the good word about the ‘Dawgs with M’Pemba.

“My boy Sam,” Harris said. “I’m trying to lead him over. I’m not going to say too much about his situation but I feel like we are going to have a good shot at him.”

5-star EDGE Sam M'Pemba plays for IMG Academy in Florida. He is a MAJOR target for Georgia in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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CJ Allen: Why he wants to see the ‘Dawgs add Samuel M’Pemba

The rest of college football probably doesn’t want to see the ‘Dawgs add another 5-star defender to this class. Much less another 5-star pass rusher.

So, naturally, that’s exactly what Smart and company intend to do.

Georgia LB commitment CJ Allen was in Athens with M’Pemba on that visit for the Samford game. Those two sat front row next to one another in the West End Zone at Sanford Stadium.

CJ Allen (right) sat right next to Samuel M'Pemba earlier this month at the Samford game. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

What does Allen see in M’Pemba that can help the ‘Dawgs?

“Man, he would help Georgia a lot,” Allen said. “I want to play with him a whole lot. He’s a great guy. What’s so crazy is the recruits we are having and we want to have at Georgia are not just good in football but they are good people also. That makes it 10 times also. With guys that want to work and want to win. You can’t beat that.”

He did tell M’Pemba how good he would look in the red and black. But on the DL.

“My motto is like I don’t try to pressure,” he said. “Just try to talk. Build a relationship. Don’t really recruit. But I feel strongly about him. I hope we get him. I really do.”

M’Pemba has yet to take any official visits. Georgia will certainly get one of those. Notre Dame and Oregon are also in the mix of officials. LSU is another program he has shown interest in. Alabama, Florida, Miami and Tennessee also made the top 7 for M’Pemba earlier this year.

Allen and Harris aren’t the only ones that have shown a lot of love to M’Pemba. Georgia 5-star CB AJ Harris made sure to take an unofficial visit up to Athens this summer when he knew M’Pemba was going to be in town.

“That was so important to me because with recruiting it is something you have to be able to look somebody in their eyes and actually get to meet them,” Harris said. “I had talked to [Georgia assistant] coach Fran [Brown] and I talked to Kirby and I talked to Coach [Tray] Scott and they all told me Samuel is up here. I was like ‘Oh, for real?’ so basically what happened was I talked to my parents and I took that trip up to Athens. I had to meet him face to face. We sat down. We ate together and we just talked about the whole recruiting process.”

“Not pressuring him. Just showing him that it is love for him in Athens. It is a lot bigger than the football aspect. Just to showing him that you will have a friend on and off the field. You will have a brother that will fight with you on the field but also be your brother off the field as well. Just showing him that he is truly wanted in Athens.”

Allen and Harris both see things the same way. They don’t pressure a fellow recruit. They don’t want their entire relationship with a peer to be based on hoping they attend the same college.

That was just to get to know M’Pemba. Harris was asked last month to name the three uncommitted prospects that he’d most want to see become a ‘Dawg in the 2023 class.

“The first one everybody knows is Samuel attending IMG,” Harris said on “Before the Hedges” with DawgNation. “That’s the first one. I want Samuel.”

M’Pemba grew up playing soccer and his family’s roots are from Ghana in West Africa. Harris feels he would fit in nicely among the ‘Dawgs on the Georgia defense.

“Talk about a physical player,” he 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.”

Check out some of the spring highlight film for M’Pemba at IMG Academy.

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.

SENTELL'S INTEL

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