Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 4-star senior LB Chris Cole. He ranks as the nation’s No. 6 LB and the No. 56 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. The On3 Industry Ranking has him as the nation’s No. 5 LB and the No. 45 overall recruit.

When Demarcus Riddick made his flip, Chris Cole already knew he wasn’t likely to stick with Georgia.

When Justin Williams became a ‘Dawg, he was not stunned. The same goes for the recent addition of Kristopher C. Jones. Georgia linebackers coach Glenn Schumann has kept Cole very well informed.

“He kept saying it doesn’t change anything about my recruitment if I’m coming there,” Cole said.

There are only about five or six names in the mix right now for the ‘Dawgs to finish out the nation’s top-rated recruiting class. That’s prior to those strong senior year evals Kirby Smart’s program is known for.

No matter what happens with that, there is a locker in Athens for Cole if he wants it.

“He’s told me that even throughout the two commits and all that when the other linebacker committed he still felt the same way about me and that I will always have a spot there,” the Salem High School (Va.) senior said.

Schumman knows football. His talent evaluation and identification skills might also now be the best in college football for the linebacker position.

Cole is a different sort. We’ve pointed out a lot of amazingly amazing things with Georgia’s linebacker recruiting across the last few years.

Just perhaps nothing quite like this specific player progression story. Check this out:

  • Fall of 2022: Cole was 6 feet, 3 inches and 185 pounds. He was a junior safety.
  • Fall of 2023: Cole is 6 feet, 4 inches and 220 pounds. He is a senior “Sam” linebacker.

This recruitment will be watched closely by DawgNation over the next month. A mid-week conversation this week with Cole revealed the following:

  • He still plans to make his decision on September 10. That is “pretty accurate” for him at this time. It was simply the only date the facility he plans to hold his commitment ceremony at had available.
  • He plans an official visit out to Cali to see USC on the weekend of September 2.
  • The plan right now is to take another official visit to Tennessee on the weekend of September 9. The Vols will get the last visit as they host Austin Peay. Tennessee also got the last visit of the summer in late July before the dead period.
  • When asked who was still in it, Cole listed off Miami, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, USC and Penn State, in that order.
  • Cole doesn’t know yet where he wants to go. There is no private leader. “I haven’t really decided on it yet,” he said. “I’m really trying to figure it out as it is like a hard decision for me. Right now I am very very undecided.”
  • He’s got School A as his choice one day. That sticks for a few days. By the time the weekend rolls around, his thoughts shift to another school. That doesn’t last long as the thought of School C starts to weigh heavily on his mind.

The other unique aspect of the young man’s story is his ambition and dreams. He aims to be a doctor one day in the field of sports medicine.

He has made just one “B” in high school. That was in Spanish. The rest of his transcript is all As.

4-star Class of 2024 LB Chris Cole plays for Salem High School in Virginia. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation) (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

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Chris Cole: How does he feel about playing for Georgia football?

If the ‘Dawgs can win this battle, it would be another Schumman special for an already special room.

Cole, lest any reader might forget, is a Top 60 overall national prospect that also was one of the nation’s best high school hurdlers this year.

Yes, the hurdles.

He started soaring over those when he was in the seventh grade. But he stopped to play basketball. He then shifted back into hurdling last year. He made it to regionals as a sophomore.

“This year I made it to nationals and I played fourth in the nation,” Cole said.

He placed fourth in the 60m hurdles at the Nike Nationals. He clocked an 8.44.

“I was six-foot-three and 210 pounds,” he said. “Everyone else they were all so little. I was the biggest one out there. That was pretty cool.”

That’s the type of athlete that winds up starting at Georgia and getting drafted in the first round. Tennessee should also be seen as a major contender for Cole. The safe evaluation here is they don’t have anyone quite like Cole in their linebacker room.

Why could he eventually choose the ‘Dawgs here?

“It is because just like the developmental side,” he said. “I really like my relationship with ‘Coach Schu’ and also like the head coach, too. I went there for an official visit and I really enjoyed it and my family enjoyed it, too. Just like the overall picture of I’d be developed, I’d get a great education too and be around good people.”

That developmental aspect is what he likes best about UGA.

“Georgia has proven they can get linebackers into the league and that they can develop them on and off the field,” he said.

He loves the plan Georgia also has for him on the academic side, too. Cole does plan to enroll early in January. He said he’s speaking to Schumann about “two or three times” per week.

Could he play in another loaded LB class with the nation’s No. 1 LB in Williams and the nation’s No. 9 LB in Jones?

“That would be great,” he said. “It is pretty cool. Kris and I have been at the same camps competing against each other and to be on the same team kind of like that would be awesome. And also we all have different skill sets and just like the three of us would be unstoppable.”

Schumann says he can do a lot of things with all the attributes Cole brings to the field.

“He sees me like playing in space and also the thing I like is I can come off the edge, too,” Cole said. “He’s not really decided on one thing but mostly the ‘Will’ position. I can play in space and also blitz and play in the box.”

He holds two core memories of his recruitment by the Bulldogs. The first time came on a visit when he didn’t know much about UGA except they were the back-to-back national champions. It was a great first experience.

“Then also I can remember my official visit,” he said. “Spending time with the players and getting more one-on-one time with the coaches. I will say that I really remember that.”

He could not think of a single “con” when it comes to the ‘Dawgs.

“Coach Schumann and I have a great relationship,” Cole said. “Since the day he met me, he’s been heavily recruiting me and he would love to have me commit to Georgia.”

4-star Class of 2024 LB Chris Cole plays for Salem High School in Virginia. (Instagram) (Instagram/Dawgnation)

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The other schools in the mix for Chris Cole

Cole plans to take just that official visit to USC and then to Knoxville before he makes his decision. He won’t make it back to Athens again. Or to see Penn State.

Why does he want to give Tennessee the last official just before his commitment day?

“I went there in the spring and I went to see them last month and now I want to see a game and see the atmosphere,” he said. “I don’t know what they have there and also I’d like to get some more time with the coaches before I make my decision.”

The Vols were recruiting him hard in the spring when they offered him.

“But then it kind of died down for like a month but then since June they have been heavily recruiting me,” he said.

Rocky Top plans to also use Cole in the same way. He’s heard he’ll play the “Will” but also the “Star” position in the secondary. That’s a nod to his safety roots.

Virginia Tech is the school that has been recruiting him the hardest for the longest. It goes back to his sophomore year. They stay in contact and he felt he’s visited Blacksburg approximately 10 times.

That will be his second visit to check out the Trojans in California.

“I really think they have an elite education there and also I like the way they develop players and also the whole coaching staff,” he said. “When I met the head coach, talking about coach Lincoln [Riley] I really just enjoyed his personality. He had an open door to his players and I really liked how he cared about his players and how he develops people there.”

Penn State also checks the academic box for Cole.

He brought up College Football Hall of Famer Anthony Poindexter there. Poindexter is the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Nittany Lions. He also brought up co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Manny Diaz.

“I really like the whole coaching staff,” he said.

He said Miami was an “overall great school” with “great football” to offer.

“And then there is great academics and a great city, too,” he said. “I feel like Coach ‘D-Nick’ [linebackers coach Derek Nicholson] if I went there I feel like he could develop me and get me to the league and then also it would help me on the academic side, too.”

He finished his thoughts on the Hurricanes by sharing his respect for head coach Mario Cristobal.

Which school does he feel would develop him the best for the next level?

“I would say Georgia,” Cole said.

He felt the program’s track record speaks for itself.

When asked what other schools could also develop him into an NFL linebacker, he mentioned USC, Miami and Penn State.

Then he added one more.

“And then also Tennessee,” he said. “I also definitely feel like I’d be developed there.”

The past months and weeks haven’t been easy for him to juggle all these schools.

“Super undecided,” he said.

The road map to the right decision for him is:

  • 1) Development
  • 2) Academics
  • 3) Being around great people and where he feels comfortable
  • 4) Where he fits in best
4-star Class of 2024 LB Chris Cole plays for Salem High School in Virginia. (Instagram) (Instagram/Dawgnation)

Chris Cole: A little more on a unique player progression

The fascinating part of the Cole story is the progression. Players are supposed to get better, faster and stronger every year.

“It is going good,” he said. “I’ve been flying around all practice. We had a scrimmage last week and it went pretty well.”

Cole has gotten a lot bigger and faster and better.

“I’ve gotten faster and stronger and more explosive,” he said. “I will say that and then also on the field I’m able to read the plays faster and get to the ball faster.”

How does a former safety pack 35 pounds onto his frame and play faster as a linebacker?

“I will say first it is the way I eat, but it is also the way I lift,” Cole said. “I like to do explosive lifts and box jumps that are more explosive and fast. I would also say that track helped me a lot in the spring with just the hurdles and also the 100 and the 400. I’ve been feeling faster.”

When he looks at himself on film last year, he is stunned. He feels he has grown into a linebacker over the offseason. He has developed into a true ‘backer.

“The guy last year was more skinny,” he said. “He liked to play fast and hit people but he is a lot skinnier than the person I am now.”


(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)