Weekend review: UGA target abruptly commits to Vols

OL Brodarius Hamm (AJC/Michael Carvell)

OL Brodarius Hamm (AJC/Michael Carvell)

One thing that makes college football recruiting so fun to follow is that it can be so unpredictable at times.

Brodarius Hamm named Auburn and UGA as his co-leaders just over a week ago.

This past weekend, the 3-star offensive lineman from Spalding High School abruptly committed to … Tennessee.

I’m not sure anybody saw that coming.

“It was a surprise that he committed this weekend, it was definitely a surprise,” Spalding coach Nick Davis told the AJC on Monday.

“Tennessee was in his top three with Auburn and Georgia, and that was his second time up there. He really liked the staff and what they had going on. I thought he would probably wait until the summer to commit. It was kind of surprising to everybody that he committed on Saturday. I think Tennessee is a good fit for him.”

What made Hamm accelerate his decision? “He just said Tennessee felt like home, Davis said. “That’s where he felt the most comfortable out of all the places he has been. He felt like he had a chance to play early there, so he wanted to get it over with. I told him that if he’s 100-percent sure that he wanted to play at Tennessee, then he had my full support with committing.”

Hamm’s impromptu decision was probably more news to Auburn’s coaches more than to UGA. He has often listed Auburn as his leader, and he almost committed to Gus Malzahn in February. Now Hamm and UGA have a long history together, too. Hamm was featured by ESPN.com after getting an unofficial Bulldogs offer as a high school freshman from former defensive line coach Chris Wilson.

Even though UGA’s 2016 class is ridiculously deep at offensive line with four commitments, including the state’s top two prospects at the position (Ben Cleveland and EJ Price), Hamm was apparently still being recruited by the Bulldogs. UGA assistant John Lilly checked on Hamm on the first day the Bulldog coaches were on the road during the spring evaluation period. Hamm returned the favor by spending the weekend in Athens for the G-Day spring scrimmage earlier this month, hanging out with former Spalding lineman Chris Mayes, who now plays for the Bulldogs.

“Coming off that visit, he really talked highly about UGA,” Davis said. “I think it was a real close race between all three schools. He just felt most comfortable at Tennessee.

“Georgia was still heavily recruiting him, and they will probably still heavily recruit him, as far as I know. They were really looking forward to trying to close the deal with him. I know it came as a surprise to them as well that he committed.”

UGA is in position to be selective with any remaining OL spots for the 2016 class. Some other in-state targets that claim offers from the Bulldogs are McEachern’s Tremayne Anchrum, Greater Atlanta Christian’s Devin Cochran, and Sandy Creek’s Chandler Tuitt.

Here are the rest of the five recruiting stories that people are talking about from over the weekend:

Mark Richt (AJC file)

Mark Richt (AJC file)

2. The bad news is that UGA has already lost one member of its 2015 football recruiting class. Gary McRae, an outside linebacker from Randolph Clay High School, withdrew from there about a month ago so he could go ahead and start classes at a Mississippi junior college. The good news? The rest of the class is on track to make to UGA, coach Mark Richt told Bulldog fans last week in Rome: “Right this minute, we think everybody else is in the race pretty good. Most of them are in really good shape. There are a couple that have got some work to do. … Until you get final grades, a guy can go backwards.”

Mark Fox (AJC)

Mark Fox (AJC)

3. In case you had any doubt, UGA is definitely still recruiting Jaylen Brown, the nation’s No. 2 overall college basketball prospect. Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said this to reporters in Rome about the 6-foot-7 forward from Wheeler High School: “I think I can confirm legally that we are recruiting him.” A couple of thoughts on that: UGA, along with in-state rival Georgia Tech, are each listed by Brown among his eight finalists, but both are considered long shots because he never made visits to either during this past season due to scheduling conflicts. Secondly, it is perfectly legal within the NCAA rules for a college coach to publicly comment on whether or not he is recruiting a prospect. He just can’t say anything to media about the recruit other than that. The reason I bring that up is because you see college coaches hiding behind that all time when a prospect gets into trouble or commits to a different school, etc. – that they “can’t comment due to the NCAA rules.” They absolutely can comment on whether or not they are/were recruiting that young man; they just can’t say more than that.

4. What is the latest with Jaylen Brown? He’s basically in “shutdown mode” while trying to make a final decision. He hasn’t had much to say over the last week, other than refuting a report that he had narrowed down to Kentucky and Cal. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported that several college coaches involved in his recruitment had “no clue” or “no feel” for what Brown would do. One thing is for sure: Brown has the leverage to hold out from making a decision for as long as he wants. And he can absolutely bypass signing the NLI, too. Most, if not all, of his finalists would take Brown if he showed up on the first day of classes later this summer.

5. Another day, another JB rumor. On Monday, Michigan fans were giddy on Twitter about their chances of landing Jaylen Brown. A scholarship spot opened up after Michigan announced that Austin Hatch would be moved to a medical scholarship for next season. Brown’s family is originally from Michigan, and he took an official visit with the Wolverines.

Oh, and a new Jaylen Brown mixtape was just released. Oh my …

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