There were a lot of pictures that flowed out over social media this weekend as Georgia hosted 16 official visitors.
The ‘Dawgs are only permitted to host 56 official visitors every recruiting cycle. This weekend accounted for 29 percent of all the officials that the ‘Dawgs will host for 2024 prospects.
Those weekend officials started on Friday afternoon and lasted for 48 hours. It meant they all wrapped up on Sunday afternoon around midday.
The information flowing out of the weekend has been about as constant as those images.
Perhaps the best way to share what was experienced was to share a thought from the family of one of those key official visitors.
Nora Woodyard, the mother of All-American safety Peyton Woodyard, had a telling thought to share.
It came about while discussing the featured image above. That image features a trio of anchor commitments in 5-star CB Ellis Robinson IV, 5-star QB Dylan Raiola and Woodyard.
There are all three families in the photo. The Robinsons. The Raiolas. The Woodyards.
If one wanted to place the odds on those three names being core members of the Georgia football team in 2026, they better be at even money. Or to start over.
It is not just what they can do on a field. But more so what they are as people. Those three young men are exactly what their parents prayed for while they raised them.
If they are all together at weddings much later down the road, that would make a lot of sense. Those are the type of bonds that are forming together in this Georgia football class.
“We definitely had a great time together this weekend,” Nora Woodyard said. “This class is absolutely special.”
I’ve heard a lot already about the weekend officials. Nothing sums it up quite better than that.
That’s not just special as in being ranked as the nation’s No. 1 class for 2024 either.
Or being able to challenge the all-time record for the highest-rated UGA class. Or for all of college football.
According to various sources, there are four key storylines out of those 16 officials that we are already hearing went very well for the ‘Dawgs.
Or at least have a lot of buzz around them.
The weekend had six commitments for the 2024 class in town. It was a good mix of anchor commitments and key targets.
We’ll have deeper stories on a lot of the individual visits to come, but these are the emerging topics to follow for the immediate news cycle here.
The LB class is going to be something in 2024
5-star LB Demarcus Riddick returned to Athens for his official visit this weekend with his family. The Chilton County native did not make it to Athens for G-Day.
He committed back in November of last year, but the No. 2 player in Alabama this cycle is a major target for both Alabama and Auburn. Riddick was spotted stepping out of a luxury automobile with Nick Saban at Alabama’s A-Day this spring.
This was a key visit that seemed to reaffirm things with UGA and his fit in this class for this cycle. That news should be seen as perhaps the key development that came out of this weekend’s officials at UGA.
It would seem especially significant given the chatter and the crystal ball that came out of 5-star Jefferrson LB Sammy Brown’s weekend official visit to Clemson. It sounds like a longstanding battle between Clemson and Georgia has slightly swung in the ACC’s favor.
Brown is a great person and a terrific prospect, but the ‘Dawgs also have a treasure chest of options at LB in this cycle. That will include 4-star Alabama LB prospect Joseph Phillips out of Booker T. Washington in Alabama.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder was one of those official visitors this weekend. Things have heated up there.
Phillips is a top-10 LB in the class and just made his second trip to UGA in less than a month. He was in town for the annual scavenger hunt back in May. He had the ‘Dawgs in his top five back in May and if he winds up in the class this cycle, he’s going to make Georgia better.
He would be a great addition to the room. I’ve learned his official visit over the weekend was at the level where it could eventually lead to a commitment.
The ‘Dawgs signed three of the nation’s top six LBs in the 2023 cycle. We heard about it and then saw CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson flash all spring long. 4-star Troy Bowles, another All-American, just moved in with his Uggs bedsheets last week.
None of those guys are expected to start immediately behind vets like Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Smael Mondon, Xavian Sorey Jr. and Jalon Walker. With all of this and the targets in the 2024 cycle, I can’t imagine the present and future of Glenn Schumann’s behind any better than it already is.
Or that any room in the country compares to what he continues to have cooking in Athens right now.
If the ‘Dawgs do miss on Brown, the LB class would still be exceptional if the ‘Dawgs can close with 5-star LB Justin Williams, 4-star LB Jamonta Waller or 4-star LB Chris Cole. Cole (June 16) and Williams (June 23) have already set their officials for this month.
If Brown does not take his official visit to UGA this weekend, then that’s a pretty clear tell the Tigers won that recruiting battle.
DL picture gets some much-needed face time
The defensive line currently rests as the most important position of need for the ‘Dawgs to address in the 2024 cycle. It was already that way given that the careers of at least Warren Brinson, Zion Logue, Nazir Stackhouse and Tramel Walthour will lead to the NFL after the 2023 season.
That exodus was multiplied when 2022 DL signees Bear Alexander and Shone Washington hit the transfer portal. Those two were supposed to be key front-line backfills for that veteran rotation in 2024.
Georgia signed two All-Americans in 5-star Jordan “Big Baby” Hall and 4-star Jamaal Jarrett in the 2023 class, The early reports are strong there. Those two are already showing great promise after enrolling early.
That still leaves a big need in the 2024 class on the defensive line. Georgia was able to host two of the nation’s top three DLs by anyone’s rankings this weekend in Justin Scott and Williams Nwaneri. Not to mention impressive in-state target Justin Greene.
I’ve learned that all of those visits went quite well. Scott has even been quoted in a few reports as moving UGA into his top group with Miami and Notre Dame.
The Nwaneri visit moved the dial. It had to. The nation’s No. 1 DL and No. 3 overall prospect (247Sports Composite) saw what he needed to see about the UGA culture and elite development.
The big thing there is to wait and see if the visit high sticks with Nwaneri. Oklahoma and Tennessee continue to loom large among his core recruiting options.
Greene was another vital official. The Mountain View standout has an impressive backstory and we’ve been watching him for a while. He’s probably going to continue to take his visits, but the ‘Dawgs have been at the apex of his recruitment for a good stretch now.
He’s likely still going to take his Auburn, LSU and South Carolina visits, but Greene would be a terrific fit in the 2024 class.
The ‘Dawgs simply don’t have a lot of guys on the roster right now that can do what he does. He’d be an immediate fit as a 5-tech in Athens. Those guys are hard for everyone to recruit and sign, including the back-to-back national champions.
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with key 2024 prospects like Daniel Calhoun, Dwight Phillips Jr., Dylan Raiola and Sacovie White.
Carter Nelson: The tantalizing thought of another tight end in 2024
Georgia could sign Carter Nelson and call him a receiver. I wouldn’t even blink an eye. That’s how talented and uncommon this 2024 prospect out of Nebraska is.
Remember late in the 2023 cycle when Todd Hartley tried to sign a third top-10 TE in Walker Lyons? That’s because he had to serve his Mormon mission and wouldn’t show up until late summer of 2024 at the earliest.
Lyons chose USC, but it looks like the ‘Dawgs are vying to do something similar with Nelson. Hartley still needs another TE, but he absolutely has to go for one as talented as Nelson.
The Ainsworth High rising senior is ranked as the Nation’s No. 4 TE (On3 Industry) and the No. 9 TE (247Sports Composite) there. I feel those rankings are almost diabolically low.
Hartley took his two trips out to Nebraska this spring to see Nelson. He’s been a priority target.
The Bulldogs have commitments from Colton Heinrich and Jaden Reddell at TE for this cycle but would DO BACKFLIPS to accept Nelson’s commitment in this class. Heinrich is a savvy Hartley 3-star find out of Fort Lauderdale and Reddell is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 TE for On3.
That’s a terrific class, but I don’t think Hartley is done there. Not if he can help it.
Nelson has been reported at 11.05 seconds in the 100 meters. That might be the least athletic thing this 6-foot-5 athlete can do.
We’re talking about a Brock Bowers-level athlete here. I don’t throw around that manhole cover of a player parallel lightly. Nelson can do the things that Bowers has done in Athens.
Consider the following about the part-time lifeguard and avid fisherman:
- He’s high jumped 7 feet
- He cleared 14 feet on the pole vault this spring
- Nelson threw for 15 TDs, ran for 14 scores and caught another 11 touchdowns in 2022.
- He threw for 663 yards, ran for 761 and hauled in passes for 524 yards as a junior.
- The All-American Bowl selection also had 41 tackles and six interceptions
- He’s a high flyer on the basketball court. He led his playing classification in Nebraska in blocked shots this year.
Bear in mind all those football stats came in 8-man football. He put up all those stats on an 80-yard field.
Nelson had a strong appreciation for Georgia coming into the visit. I’m told this visit also allowed UGA and its TE tradition and program DNA to further distinguish itself from other options for Nelson and his family.
Check out his junior film.
Georgia football recruiting: What’s up with the offensive line right now?
The college football dynasty starter kit the ‘Dawgs have rolled out here begins and ends in the trenches. We discussed the defensive line further up the page and the other key element of the weekend officials has to do with the offensive line.
Georgia currently has two offensive line commitments for the 2024 class in 3-stars Marcus Harrison and Malachi Toliver. While the subject of Stacy Searels getting two steals in those two is the topic for a future post, the ‘Dawgs did host two 4-star OL official visitors this weekend.
Those were 4-star OTs Daniel Calhoun and Marques Easley. The best place to start is with the local kid in Walton High’s Calhoun. Calhoun has been a priority target for UGA since he was a rising sophomore. I remember him getting front-row seats in the West End Zone stands in his early sophomore year.
He’s going to take his visits to Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Texas but this is a recruit the ‘Dawgs have been long poised to win. If someone pulls him out of the state, it will be a feather in the cap for them to do so.
Calhoun has long been one of the top targets for the 2024 class on the weekly DawgNation “Before the Hedges” program. The massive 6-foot-6.5, 355-pounder would make a quick transition to guard in Athens as a true bodyguard for Raiola in this class.
As for Easley, there’s an interesting development to report after an official visit that he set up way back in February.
The Illinois native had previously told DawgNation he wanted to make his commitment known on October 22. He took to social media on Sunday afternoon to share that he had moved his commitment date up to July 8.
It seems like he knows he will know where to go a lot sooner. Or maybe he wants to make sure the steps up and claims his spot sooner.
That’s some curious timing on the heels of his UGA official visit. The 6-foot-7, 330-pounder has official visits planned to Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma later this month. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 23 OT and the No. 263 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
I will share that one of the best possible closes for UGA on the offensive line in this class would have both Calhoun and Easley on there. That’s my opinion there.
California 4-star OT Brandon Baker would also be in that group.
I’d also place Texas 4-star IOL Casey Poe among the best possible finish. But it sounds like Clemson also did a superlative job hosting him this weekend, too. Alabama and Clemson will both be major contenders for Poe down the road here.
(check on the recent reads on DawgNation.com)