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Michael CarvellMichael Carvell

UGA gets help in biggest position of need with commit No. 20

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UGA got some help with its biggest position of need in this year’s recruiting class on Saturday night.

Jayson Stanley, a 4-star wide receiver whose father played football for archrival Georgia Tech, committed to UGA over Auburn, Oregon and Clemson.

“I picked Georgia because it’s where I felt most comfortable,” Stanley told the AJC. “They want to use me as an outside receiver. They told me that I would have a pretty good shot at starting as a freshman.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Stanley is UGA’s fourth commitment at wide receiver in its 2015 class, led by 5-star Terry Godwin of Callaway High School.

UGA is expected to sign at last five wide receivers in this class, and the top target for the final spot may be Greater Atlanta Christian’s Darius Slayton.

Back to Jayson Stanley: He’s rated as the state’s No. 22 overall prospect.

“They are getting a dynamic receiver who can stretch the field,” Creekside coach Olten Downs told the AJC. “He has a long and big body. He’s a track guy. He has great hands.

“And the great thing about Jayson is that he’s still learning the position. This will be just be his second year of playing wide receiver. He has got so much upside at that position, as he learns it in the future.”

Stanley helped Creekside win last year’s Class AAAAA state championship as a junior, catching 41 passes for 817 yards and 16 touchdowns. But he didn’t have any scholarship offers until a breakout performance in December’s RisingSeniors.com all-star game, catching a pair of long touchdown passes.

“He’s the prototype receiver that Georgia is looking for,” said 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell. “He’s kind of got the body type that Tony Ball is looking for – he’s a big guy. He’s 6-2 with good top-end speed, but he’s not stiff.”

Added Downs, “Georgia told Jayson that they need someone to come in and stretch the field. They said they don’t really have that big-time guy right now who can stretch the field. They’re looking for a guy with that type of athletic ability who can come in and contribute to what they do offensively.”

UGA’s other WR commits for 2015 are Godwin, Michael Chigbu of New Orleans and Griffin High School’s Christian Owens. (You could also count Gilbert Johnson, who signed with the Bulldogs this past year but failed to qualify; Johnson is attending Georgia Prep Sports Academy, and said he will enroll at UGA in January, providing he gets the necessary SAT score)

Even without Slayton (his decision is pending), this is the most talented group of wide receivers in one class that UGA has recruited in years.

And it couldn’t come at a better time for UGA, which is desperate for an infusion of new talent by next season. Two out of the team’s top three wide receivers (Christian Conley and Michael Bennett) are seniors, while Malcolm Mitchell could be a candidate to leave early for the NFL if he can stay healthy.

It’s too early to judge UGA’s class of WR signees from this past year, but the two previous classes (2012 and 2013) have been a disappointment so far. They haven’t been able to make much of an impact — despite a prime opportunity after season-ending injuries to both Mitchell and Bennett in 2013. The telltale sign was significant playing time for walk-ons Rhett McGowan and Kenneth Towns during last season’s pivotal moments.

Then again, UGA’s lack of proven playmakers at the position after this season is a major reason why the Bulldogs have been able to recruit such a star-studded group for 2015.

UGA has a chance to add another with Darius Slayton, who could make his decision within the next couple of months. The Bulldogs and Auburn are considered to be the frontrunners for the 4-star recruit.

One final note on Stanley: Despite his commitment to UGA, he said he still plans to take official visits to both Oregon and Miami, along with possibly Auburn. “I want to see some other places, and enjoy the recruiting process.”

UGA WR COMMITS FOR 2015

  • Terry Godwin, 6-0, 165 (5-star and state’s No. 4 overall prospect. Explosive playmaker could compete for starter’s role at WR or DB as freshman)
  • Jayson Stanley, 6-2, 210 (4-star and state’s No. 22 overall prospect. Combination of size, speed and athleticism maybe only matched by Malcolm Mitchell on UGA roster)
  • Michael Chigbu, 6-2, 210 (4-star and Louisiana’s No. 10 overall prospect)
  • Christian Owens, 6-5, 205 (4-star and state’s No. 27 overall prospect. Big possession WR. Good red zone target)

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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