This Sentell’s Intel rep has the latest with 3-star junior college DT Jaden Hamlin. He ranks as the nation’s No. 3 JUCO DL and the No. 6 overall JUCO prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite. The On3 Industry Ranking has him as the nation’s No. 1 JUCO DL and the No. 9 JUCO recruit.
Jaden Hamlin has been stringing together a lot of good days of late. The 3-star junior college DT prospect just saw his On3 Industry ranking rise to an evaluation as the No. 1 DL prospect in all of junior college football.
That caused his 247Sports Composite rating to rise a few six spots, too.
When those blips happened as he was taking his official visit to check out the back-to-back national champions, it has been a string of very good days for Hamlin.
“Just looking around the facility,” he said of his OV weekend. “Seeing where I could picture myself at home at. Trying to see it. Just picturing myself around the facilities.”
It was a very big difference from Southwest Mississippi Community College.
“That’s a big difference,” he said. “In JUCO? You have got to get it out of the mud in JUCO. There isn’t a thing given to you in JUCO.”
That said, he knows not a thing will change. Even if he’s getting dressed for practice each day in the Lamborghini-leather-lined lockers at UGA.
“You have got to get it out of the mud in Georgia too now,” Hamlin said. “Same thing. Same mentality. You have to work and work, too. There’s no difference in that part.”
Hamlin came into his Friday morning visit calling it an “honor” to visit with the Bulldogs. The goal was to feel the love from the stands for the Georgia football team. Well, give that one a check.
“Man, I loved it,” Hamlin said. “I can’t tell you no lie. It was a hell of an experience.”
Part of that had to do with soaking in all the sights and sounds of Sanford Stadium with another JUCO recruit. 3-star Texas DE Brein Taylor was also on his official visit last weekend.
“Oh yeah,” Hamlin said on Sunday night. “That’s my ‘Dawg and I didn’t even know him from Friday to now. Now we are locked in just like that.”
Could they both wind up at the same school?
“I don’t know,” Hamlin said. “We didn’t really talk about that. We’ve just both been trying to narrow our decision done to see who is going to be our best decision and make us feel at home.”
“But me and ‘Bteezy’ together were like we knew each other back in the day. We about committed a couple of times because there were just a couple of things that made us say ‘Okay’ on the visit.”
“It was just how we just felt at home,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin looked around the Georgia locker room and just soaked it in. He thought about the fact his locker room at Blinn Junior College in Texas is an old classroom.
“Same thing,” Hamlin said. “When me and ‘BTeezy’ got together we just chopped it up. We told our stories together to each other. We got the same similar story.”
What happens if they both sign with Georgia?
“We would end up getting a house together,” Hamlin said. “We had already talked about that earlier, too.”
That “whoa” moment for Hamlin was easy to figure out.
“The atmosphere,” Hamlin said. “From the fans. Those fans.”
Hamlin has at least one official visit left to LSU. He left his time at UGA thinking the bar had been raised quite high in his process.
“I left Georgia thinking all of these other people got to come a little harder if they aim to top Georgia,” Hamlin said. “They set the standard very high.”
“I really just can’t say how high.”
Did he feel like another school topping that OV would be like trying to beat the ‘Dawgs on the field?
“Right,” Hamlin said. “It is just like that right there.”
Hamlin said he will make his decision in the second week of December. If he does choose the ‘Dawgs then, what will be the big reason why? What did he see on his official visit that would have led to that?
“Because everybody made me feel like I am at home,” Hamlin said. “Kirby Smart sat there with me. He acted like he was no bigger than any other coach and he sat there and talked to me like a father figure.”
“He’s not bigger than his job title.”
That’s the same way Taylor felt. They were like this man in front of me is so humble. When he really could be anything but given the run of success his teams have piled up.
Hamlin called it the best official visit he’s been on so far.
What did Kirby Smart have to say to Jaden Hamlin on his official?
Hamlin got to chat with both defensive line coach Tray Scott and Kirby Smart on his OV. Smart’s message was clear.
“He told me Georgia could use me very well,” Hamlin said. “Because he’s graduated a lot of other defensive linemen and stuff like that and I’m coming to come in and get right and play.”
“He said I’ve got a bright future. He sees me making it to the NFL. Some exciting stuff. That’s really all we talked about.”
Every JUCO player has a story. That level of football has almost been put on life support coming out of the pandemic. The NCAA waved qualifications standards and that meant fewer players. That level has also been home to arguably the best football players in America under the age of 20.
Think about it. The JUCO level is filled with football players with so much talent that everyone is willing to work with them to enhance their academics.
“He said he loved my story, too,” Hamlin said. “When I sat down and talked to him about it. He saw how I approach things. I approach things mature as a man.”
Hamlin, like Taylor, spent some time away from the game. That has shaped their outlook for the rest of their careers.
“I will never take football for granted,” he said. “Never again. That’s the one thing football has taught me in JUCO. Don’t ever take a thing for granted.”
When he saw players like Jordan Davis, Mecole Hardman, Kelee Ringo and Nolan Smith up and down the sidelines and in the locker room, he filed that away.
Those guys played there. They are off making millions in the NFL. Yet when their off week arrived, they were back in Athens for another Saturday night.
What keeps them coming back? That’s what he wondered.
“They are back in Georgia,” Hamlin said. “Like they are playing all over again. They loved the atmosphere and the atmosphere loved them.”
His jaw dropped when he pulled up on campus. That was the first eye-opener.
“I hadn’t really been on no big campus,” he said. “I’ve been in JUCO for a good little minute. So I’ve been seeing straight small campuses.”
Scott had another message for Hamlin.
“He told me he needed me,” Hamlin said. “He said he’s got to have me. He said ‘I’ve got to have you baby’ and ‘I’m graduating all my seniors and I’ve got to have somebody to play. I can’t start all freshmen and I need some older mature guys to come in and get this thing started and rolling like it just left off.’”
Scott had more for him than that.
“He said ‘I see you coming in and doing that. You’ll be playing a little ‘3′ technique for me’ and that’s all me,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin said before the visit he needed to feel like he was at home. He also had to see the support and the process that would get him to the NFL.
He’s seen it all now. Did he find that Georgia fits everything he is looking for?
“Yes sir,” Hamlin said. “It fits everything I’m looking for because my main goal is to get to the league. They have the resources. They’ve got everything you need to make it there. All you have got to do is to do it.”
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.
Hamlin wanted to learn one key thing about Georgia football
The 3-star DT had a very intriguing comment before his official visit. To be honest, it is still different to hear a recruit refer to the ‘Dawgs in such a way.
He wanted to pop the hood of the Georgia football machine and see how it was different.
“Something I wanna learn and experience is seeing how a championship team is run and coached,” Hamlin said.
He followed everyone around over the weekend. Then he found out.
“I heard some of the players talking like some team don’t be practicing on Fridays and stuff like that right there,” Hamlin said. “Georgia ain’t skipping no days. You are going to get it in every day. You’re going to work every day.”
That sounds tough. But then it has created the team on top of the college football mountain right now.
“It pays off,” Hamlin said.
He said a few Georgia offensive linemen told him not to come to play for the ‘Dawgs if he didn’t want to run and lift every day.
“They told me if you don’t like working hard every day do not come here,’ Hamlin said. “But I told them I came out of JUCO and all I know is work.”
Freshman DT Jordan “Big Baby” Hall was his host. He told him “You have got to love football” if you come to play for Georgia.
“I had all my questions answered,” Hamlin said. “I left Georgia with every question answered that had to be asked.”
What would be the biggest reason he’d become a ‘Dawg?
“Coach Scott,” Hamlin said very matter-of-factly. “I’m telling you that man right there. He makes you feel like you are at home. He treats you as a player, but he treats you like a father figure. It is bigger than football. He’s trying to get you ready for real life. It isn’t all just about football.”
I wish that everyone could have heard Hamlin’s voice as he shared his view on the opportunities in front of him right now. The stories of these junior college players are real. It had been a while since Georgia focused on recruiting junior college players coming out of the pandemic.
The needs on the DL for some veteran players called for that. The feeling here is that the big-ticket name, image and likeness (NIL) deals for high school players are another contributing factor.
Having an old classroom for a locker room will humble a player really fast. No matter where he goes, this opportunity in front of Hamlin is a great thing for changing the direction of his life.
The 22-year-old Hamlin started JUCO ball, but the pandemic wiped out his first season. Then he took the next year off from football. He had other matters in his life to sort out.
“Man, I’ve been in that mud in JUCO for four years,” he said. “Me and ‘BTeezy’ both. We’ve been playing JUCO ball since 2020.
His first season was in 2022. Hamlin will have three years to play two seasons of Power 5 football. He aims to make his college decision during the second week of December to lock up his spot with the right program. He would then sign on the first day of the early period on Dec. 20.
(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)