Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep zooms in on one specific storyline from the first evening of the Elite 11 out in California. Georgia has its two 2024 QB commits in Ryan Puglisi and Dylan Raiola there competing.
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Ryan Puglisi lives in Massachusetts. He goes to a boarding school in Connecticut.
Dylan Raiola is from Arizona. Those two Georgia QB commitments have taken approximately 15 trips to Athens over the last few years.
The two are cornerstones of the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for the 2024 cycle.
But they’d never met before. We’re talking about the time-tested definition of “met” here. Not a text. Not FaceTime. Not a voice call. Not a Zoom.
That’s eyeball to eyeball. Dap time, if you will.
Naturally the first time those two actually “met” was out in California. It feels like they’ve both flown over 70 percent of America before they arrived at the same place for once.
That was the case on Wednesday. The two got in town for the first day of the Elite 11 finals. Georgia placed two of its quarterback commits to that annual best-in-America high school showcase. That had not happened since Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray in 2008.
What was that first meeting like?
“Just being able to interact with him was pretty cool,” Raiola said. “We’ll be teammates in the near future. It has been fun. We hit it off right away.”
“We just said ‘What’s up?’ and gave each other a hug and stuff,” Puglisi said. “It was definitely cool.”
Hit it off. Hugs. Cool.
It can be special. Not a survival of the fittest. Or a loser hits the portal future.
The ‘Dawgs have two Elite 11 QBs invites working together to build the best recruiting class that the program has ever had. That will require a good heave to do that considering Georgia is the back-to-back national championship program.
Good thing these two can both heave it pretty far. That’s the quick first-time-on-the-same-grass perception.
They were both thinking of what’s best for Georgia out here this week.
That meant they were thinking about flips and finishing out the class. Raiola mentioned locking down a certain 5-star safety (cough KJ cough) and flipping a certain receiver.
They both knew former 5-star Georgia TE commitment Landen Thomas was out there working at the camp shagging balls from all the QBs. Thomas now sounds quite locked in with FSU.
They knew that 5-star Ohio State WR commit Jeremiah Smith was out there, too. They both got to throw to him.
The two got to know one another while competing against the nation’s top QBs for the honor of being called the Elite 11 MVP. That has annually signified the most outstanding QB prospect in America.
The night was a lot of this: Throw a ball. Take some coaching. Wait for the next throw. Then watch the other ‘Dawg throw. Nod the head in approval.
There was a lot of that from those two on the first night.
“Great kid,” Puglisi said. “Great time. I told another reporter that we’re teammates now. It is kind of obvious we want to compete against each other because we want to make each other better. But it is not competing to say ‘I’m better than you or he’s better than me’ or like that. It’s not like that at all.”
The vibe between the two felt like both want to be better for Georgia with this. That may sound contrived, but that’s the type of championship football played in Athens.
There’s a potential timeline, no matter who takes the reins first in Athens, that an ankle or a shoulder injury or something takes the man higher on the depth chart off the field in a key moment.
Maybe it is on the road with Oklahoma. Or in Jacksonville.
Or finally on the road at Texas A&M.
That next man up better be good. He better be capable of bringing home the win. There will be no worries about either of them throwing the football downfield or in tight windows in a big spot.
It is like that classic Warren Moon compliment. When they throw that thing through the car wash, that ball isn’t going to get very wet.
“He can sling it,” Raiola said. “He throws that thing really good.”
“Same exact first impression,” Puglisi said. “Obviously, he’s an amazing talent and he throws a great ball as well.”
Dylan Raiola and Ryan Puglisi at the Elite 11
Raiola is rated by everyone as the nation’s top QB for 2024. Puglisi is seen as high as seventh-best to some. Others have him around No. 11 or No. 12 at that spot nationally.
The whole night was unique. It made one wonder if these were time capsule memories that will lead to great days and nights to come for the Georgia football program.
The two followed one another in drills often. They were placed in the same throwing group with SEC commitments from Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.
Raiola wore No. 1. Puglisi wore No. 2. They were urging one another on as the first day’s worth of nearly three hours of drills rolled on.
“It was cool,” Puglisi said.
They stood next to each other the whole time in their drill group. They were talking to one another frequently.
When they were standing right next to one another on the field Wednesday night, they were basically the same height and body frame and build.
The two will be linked. They are also going to spend more time with one another on the field and in the locker room and film room than just about anyone else in this world, including their families and their significant others in college.
‘Dawg fans will like this one moment. Perhaps the one drill where the two of them both looked consistently the best at the same time was when they were doing the belly play-action drill in the hands of the running back and then holding the ball and coming back and throwing the deep over to the corner of the end zone.
Play-action? Deep shots? That’s always been a staple of Georgia Bulldog football.
They both also excelled at the off-platform throws. That’s their combined baseball backgrounds coming out there.
Check out six-plus minutes of their drill work from the first night below.
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