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Michael CarvellMichael Carvell

Who is UGA’s most important football signee? Not who you think

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Who is UGA’s most important signee from this year’s recruiting class?

It’s not Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb or Sony Michel — even though they certainly have star power.

Due to an unforeseen turn of events, UGA’s most important signee will likely be Shattle Fenteng, the defensive back from Hutchinson junior college.

DB Shattle Fenteng

DB Shattle Fenteng

The former Grayson High School standout was almost an afterthought during last February’s signing day, but things have changed radically after UGA lost three of four starters from the defensive secondary, including the dismissals of Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Yes, UGA has three other defensive backs in this signing class, but they are all straight out of high school. Fenteng has two years of junior college under his belt and is more physically developed. It seems logical that UGA will look at him first to try to fill the alarming void in the secondary.

The only concern about that is that Fenteng hasn’t arrived on UGA’s campus with the rest of the signees.

He’s still finishing up one more class (English Composition II) before he can officially earn his two-year degree and transfer to UGA. He hopes to report to the Bulldogs by June 28.

“Yeah, I was supposed to get out earlier but something happened last semester,” Fenteng told the AJC.

“I was supposed to report with everybody else in May. I’m not going to lie. I was kind of mad because I wanted to get there on time so I can learn the playbook fast. But everything happens for a reason, so …”

The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder had a long conversation with UGA’s coaches about his situation. “Coach Richt told me that I was worth that wait and that he wasn’t really mad. He just said I was worth the wait.”

What does Fenteng think about all the changes in the secondary? He’s still processing it.

“I haven’t talked to anybody about (Matthews),” Fenteng said. “Last time I talked to Coach Pruitt was when Shaq Wiggins transferred. He just told me to come in ready to take a spot. He told me that if guys aren’t doing the right things, he’s going to let them go.”

“That shocked me about losing those guys. I didn’t think that would happen. That’s a lot of talent we lost.”

It’s a negative for UGA but a positive for Fenteng: There were already high expectations (since he’s ranked as the nation’s No. 1 defensive back out of junior college) but now he could be named as a starter as soon as he shows up for class.

“I know it’s a good opportunity for me and I’m excited,” Fenteng said. “But I’m not really worried about the people who left because I’m going to play hard regardless. I feel like even if they would’ve stayed, I would’ve had a chance. I love competition. I’m not scared of it.”

Fenteng is working with a personal trainer to stay in shape. “I don’t want to get to Georgia out of shape. I will be ready.”

TO GET THE BIG PICTURE

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

mcarvell@ajc.com

– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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