UGA gets a surprise on Sunday at church

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Not many kids make their college decisions on a Sunday morning.

So when Tyrique McGhee, a 3-star cornerback from Peach County High School, was ready to commit to UGA on Sunday morning, it took a moment to reach his area recruiter for the Bulldogs.

“I called Coach (John Lilly) on Sunday morning, and he didn’t answer,” McGhee said with a laugh. “But a few minutes later, (Lilly) sent me a message on Twitter. He couldn’t answer because he was in church. He told me to call him a few minutes later when he got out.”

CB Tyrique McGhee of Peach County (AJC/Special)

CB Tyrique McGhee of Peach County with one of his coaches (AJC/Special)

After they conversed, McGhee became commit No. 7 for UGA’s 2016 recruiting class. He picked the Bulldogs over Georgia Tech, Kentucky and South Carolina after attending UGA’s Junior Day on Saturday.

“He felt at home when we went to the Junior Day,” his father, Tracy McGhee, told the AJC. “He had been talking about committing to UGA for a couple of weeks. So I really think they have been on his heart. Saturday sort of sealed the deal.

“But I’m glad he didn’t commit at Junior Day because he was on a high. We talked about it all the way home yesterday. I told him to sleep on it, and pray about it. He felt the same this morning, so he committed. It’s surreal. It’s like it’s not real.

“I grew up a Georgia fan, but I wanted him to be his own man, and to follow his own heart. I didn’t want to try to lead him because I am a Georgia fan. He chose them on his own, and that’s what makes me excited about it. “

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback got heavy praise from his high school coach.

“He’s really good — I think he could be the best cornerback in the state,” Peach County’s Chad Campbell told the AJC. “I coached in this year’s RisingSeniors (junior all-star) game, and I thought he was the best corner there. Of course, he’s my player, and I’m partial. But I coached that position at the all-star game, and I thought he was the best overall corner there. If he wasn’t my player, I would’ve still thought that.”

“He’s certainly the best one I’ve coached at Peach County, and we’ve had some good ones here at that position. Tyrique has got it all. He tackles well. He’s explosive. He had good ball skills. He has good hip-turn. He has everything you are looking for in a DB. He has speed, he has range, and he’s physical. I think they (UGA) are getting a really good player.”

UGA got a huge head start on McGhee after an unlikely scouting evaluation. UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was at Mike Hodges QB/WR Camp for high school athletes in South Georgia last summer to watch his son, Jayce Pruitt (later signed with Jacksonville State). McGhee was at the same camp.

“Coach Pruitt was there as a parent,” said Tracy. “He saw Tyique, and he liked the way he looked. That makes me feel like all of this was supposed to be.”

McGhee also made phone calls to Mark Richt and Pruitt on Sunday. “Coach Richt was really excited — He told me ‘Now get your butt and start recruiting these other juniors for us,’” McGhee said.

McGhee is rated as the state’s No. 63 overall prospect, per the 247sports composite rankings. His mother works as a teacher, while his father is a civilian worker on a military base. “He’s a great kid,” Campbell said. “He’s quiet. He doesn’t say much. He just goes about his business. He has a good mother and father. I think they really keep him grounded.”

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