Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep fleshes out the Walker Lyons story. The 4-star TE ranks as the nation’s No. 5 TE and the No. 114 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite. The On3 Consensus has Lyons as the nation’s No. 7 TE and the 128 overall recruit.
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. -- Georgia and its tight end recruiting. It seems that topic is rewriting what we might not that to be possible all the time these days.
There is now an even greater chance the ‘Dawgs could sign the best TE class of the last five recruiting cycles in 2023.
That would be a measure of all the tight ends all the other programs in college football have signed over the last five years.
The catch here is that’s not looking at Georgia’s finds at the position over the last five years with names like Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington and Oscar Delp. That’s not even necessary with this thought bubble.
It could be with just the tight ends that the ‘Dawgs might sign in the 2023 cycle alone.
That comes even after the ‘Dawgs have already signed the nation’s No. 3 and No. 8 TE prospects with Pearce Spurlin III and Lawson Luckie, respectively.
Yet a chat with 4-star TE Walker Lyons this week in Texas opens up a new cache of information. There just might be a perfect storm of events for the ‘Dawgs to also sign the nation’s No. 5 TE prospect in this cycle.
To recap, the possibility is there for Georgia to sign the following prospects in the same recruiting class:
- Nation’s No. 1 overall TE prospect Duce Robinson (Undecided)
- Nation’s No. 3 TE Pearce Spurlin III (Signed)
- Nation’s No. 5 TE Walker Lyons (Undecided)
- Nation’s No. 8 TE Lawson Luckie (Signed)
That’s four of the nation’s top eight prospects at tight end. There aren’t many recruiting cycles when the SEC grabs that many of the nation’s elite TE recruits.
No program alone has ever tried to sign that many. Or had the pull to sign them.
It is all made possible by the fact Lyons has already graduated and is set to being his mission in the Church of Latter-Day Saints this winter.
The former Stanford commitment told DawgNation on Friday that he is facing a 12-to-17-month commitment with that staple of his Mormon faith.
He said Georgia is aware of that. It means there’s a range from January 2024 to June 2024 for when he plans to enroll in college.
By that time, Brock Bowers will be off to the NFL. Oscar Delp will be a junior and any potential TE law firm trio of Luckie, Robinson and Spurlin will have a year of separation on Lyons.
The Folsom High School (Folsom, Calif.) product was also named the 2023 All-American Bowl “Man of the Year’ on Friday night for his community service and outreach efforts during his time in high school.
Lyons is a very well-rounded young man that Georgia assistant Todd Hartley wants to add to the most well-rounded TE room in the history of college football. It just will come down the line a bit.
That just might be the genius of another outright 2023 recruiting coup.
Georgia signed the nation’s No. 3, 4 and 5 LB prospects in this class. With what the ‘Dawgs are also trying to assemble at the tight end spot, it is getting downright ridiculous on the trail.
Let’s take a closer look at the connection with Lyons, the ‘Dawgs and his upcoming decision.
Walker Lyons: The need to know here at this time
The first thing to unpack here is the uniqueness of this story.
There’s not a lot to go on here with a member of the LDS faith going to play football at the University of Georgia. Especially after coming off their Mormon mission.
“Yeah, so it is traditionally two years,” Lyons said. “But it is a lot more flexible now than in the past it used to be like 15 or 20 years ago. It’s really like your own kind of deal. For Georgia, I’ve expressed to them it would be like around 12 to 17 months. So I’d be enrolling in the spring or summer of 2024. So I kind of like wanted to do that timeline there that I have. They wanted that. That made sense for them.”
What will he do on that mission? He will get to work out. Like an hour a day.
“I have cousins out there in Norway who are members of the church and so it’s really like just helping the members of our faith and the LDS faith out there,” Lyons said. “It’s really just helping them out and trying to help people with Christianity and doing all sorts of services and good deeds.”
Lyons said the mission is based on the time period. Not acts of service. He said there are like 70,000 high school graduates worldwide serving out their missions.
He will be helping kids out there. Running camps. Coaching them. Doing sports with them.
“I just happen to be going to Scandanavia,” he said. “I do have lots of my family over there. That’s where my family is from.”
He’s 18 years old now. He’d be almost 20 by the time he enrolls in college.
Lyons said back in the summer that Hartley told him he wanted to sign three tight ends all along in this class.
“He was recruiting me before he even knew I was going on a mission,” Lyons said.
Lyons said he was not sure what he would do if both he and Robinson planned to sign and show up in 2023, but he also didn’t rule it out.
He’s factoring a much more tangible number into his decision. Rather than that hypothetical.
“If I were to sign, by the time I got there then there would be five or six guys on scholarship at tight end for Georgia,” he said. “That’s the normal number. Especially for Georgia with the number of tight ends they use and need to use for practice and stuff.”
The 6-foot-4.5 and 235-pounder said Georgia became a possibility for him even before Stanford chose not to retain longtime coach David Shaw.
“I mean I’ve been seeing what they’ve been doing with their tight ends all season,” Lyons said. “I never thought they would offer me. Not because of skill. But just because they already had two kids committed so early and so fast. I didn’t think anything of it. Just thought that’s probably not a possibility.”
But then he started to get to know Hartley. He started to look into Georgia. The academics. The business degree opportunity there. The network of alumni in California and Southern California.
“You just find out about this network for the Georgia degree in California and that’s kind of important for me,” he said. So I just started building a relationship with Coach Hartley and then talking to Coach Smart and talking to everyone out there, and it became more real. I would say.”
Things heated up here back in the summer.
He also had a very impactful official for the Tennessee game. That game would raise the eyebrows of any All-American recruit. Given the way the ‘Dawgs played. And the way the fan base supported the team that game.
That connects with what he likes the best about UGA.
“To me, I think it is just the football atmosphere is just way different than anything on the West Coast,” Lyons said. “It is obvious. The SEC is something different and everyone knows that. It is just the football atmosphere that really interests me about Georgia and then their usage of the tight end position, especially in the SEC.”
Can he see himself at Georgia? In 12 to 17 months?
“Yeah, I could,” Lyons said. “I think it is a realistic opportunity. Honestly right now, I have no idea where I’m going. I have a few schools who are very all just thrown in the mix. Georgia is right in that mix. Totally. I could see myself at Georgia. For sure.”
“It would be different for me. I mean that aspect and a totally new culture and everything.”
It sounded like Lyons could go on a mission for his faith. Then he would go on a football mission in the SEC.
Both aspects funnel into what he is looking for in life. Growth. To be well-rounded. To live life and to experience new challenges and horizons.
That outlook led him to philanthropic work with community theatre groups and neighborhood programs that allowed him to take trips to Vietnam for three weeks and to Costa Rica for two weeks. Those were service projects over his past two summers of high school.
Lyons was named the 2023 All-American Bowl “Man of the Year” on Friday night. Those trips were what built his resume for that notable honor. He had earned what was described as a “Presidential Community Service Award” by logging over 2,000 hours of community service through different programs.
He started a campaign in his local school district to help set up elementary schools to set up a new program for trash pickup and recycling. Lyons acted as the president of a non-profit that assisted in that.
The quick-and-fast recruiting options and outlook here
Lyons comes from a football family. His father played safety at BYU. He also mentioned having a few cousins that played in the NFL.
He feels like he legitimately doesn’t know where he’s going to play right now, but that he will know when he knows. He’ll keep thinking about it. Keep praying about it.
Lyons said Friday he plans to take no more visits. Hartley remains in close contact. Recruiting him heavily.
He has “no idea” where he wants to go to school, but also said his timeline might be very brisk.
“Probably whenever I feel ready to commit and sign,” he said. “It could be a matter of days or weeks. Hopefully, it is before February 1. I start my mission technically on January 23. That’s my like official start date. I don’t actually leave for Norway until late February or March.”
Could he really be days away from a decision?
“Like for me right now I really have like it down to [Southern Cal] talks to me a lot and maybe Stanford a little bit,” he said. “And I’d say Georgia and Utah are kind of the frontrunners right now. Just the way they use their tight ends. Those two schools are unique from anyone in the country really.”
He felt the advantages to play tight end at both Georgia and Utah are very similar. The schools play hard and physical football. He relishes that. They also play more “12′ and “13″ personnel than anyone else.
“Utah also has a top  recruiting class this year,” Lyons said. ‘Which never happens. So they are also doing really good things.”
Lyons will not place in the All-American Bowl this week. He missed his entire senior season with a broken leg. It was a freak play. Horse collar tackle.
The ‘Dawgs seem to have targeted four tight ends here that are not carbon copies of each other. Robinson and Spurlin might be the two that have the biggest transition to putting their hands on the ground.
Lyons and Luckie would be more comfortable in that aspect but they also possess strong degrees of crossover skills in all the things that Georgia asks its tight ends to do. That includes the passing game which lines up more with the present-day strengths of both Robinson and Spurlin.
There just wouldn’t be a tight end with the same blazing-fast speed as Brock Bowers in that group. And that’s pretty hard to find.
“Yeah, all four of us are different,” Lyons said. “I would say. I would say that they all do something and then what I do is kind of in the middle of all of that.”
Lyons said that his high school program has produced some NFL tight ends in the past. He’s been in a tight-end-friendly high school offense for the past three years, too.
“We have an offense where I am flexed out,” he said. “I’ve got my hand down. I’m in the backfield. I’m playing the ‘X’ and I’m playing the ‘Y’ and it is a very familiar thing to me to block with my hand down and then walk over to the flex position and to kick out. I just feel like I do that very well and I’ve got really good at it over the past year. Just blocking. I really like it, though. And I feel like I’m actually even better at running routes and just finding space in the defense.”
Check out his junior year HUDL film below. He had 44 catches for 746 yards and nine scores back in 2021.
Walker Lyons: There’s another potential “mission” with Georgia
Lyons was blown away by that official visit to UGA. He stated that “it was crazy how much the people care about football in Athens to see the whole city shut down for a game.”
He felt like that atmosphere would make him want to work hard. To push through. To be the best he can be to deserve the right to play at a place like Georgia.
It would drive him.
“Going into that official visit I was like ‘Let’s see if I can really do this’ and if I could really move out here and live and embrace this whole new foreign thing with living in Georgia for me,” Lyons said. “And when I left I was like I really could do that. I actually really liked it. Like its family over at Georgia.”
“Like how much they care about their religion. How much they care about family. All that kind of stuff. That is just something about the south that California doesn’t really have.”
It’s not out of bounds to deem that spending his promising football career in Georgia to promote his professional potential would be one way of looking at it as his football mission trip.
And it also seems plausible to note that a member of the LDS standing out playing for the University of Georgia’s high-profile football team would also be another way of spreading his Mormon faith at the same time.
“Yeah, I would say the same,” Lyons said. “It is cool in that aspect that a lot of people are curious about me being a Mormon and LDS and I could kind of help them understand it a little bit more. I think that is also a cool and unique thing about the possibility of me at Georgia.”
Lyons had the grades to get into Stanford. He’s a high-tier academic student who was thinking about majoring in a bio-science field with biological computation. He doesn’t know if he wants to do that anymore.
This is not the typical Georgia recruit. Or the typical UGA recruiting story. Yet in the same sense, there are a lot of character traits here that do lend themselves to what the Bulldogs are always looking for in the right young men to play for the “Dawgs.
Especially when we’re talking about a player that already flashes All-American ability on the field.
“I have a lot of goals,” he said. “Outside of the NFL. Obviously, I want to go to the NFL because I put a lot of time into football and I love football. But if football doesn’t work out. I will still be successful. I will still find joy in life. I’m just excited about life in general. Not just football. My mom has always taught me that.”
“Be well rounded. Have multiple pieces of the pie. That’s what she says.”
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