Julian Rochester: UGA 5-star gets ready for The Opening

UGA 5-star Julian Rochester (AJC/Michael Carvell)

UGA 5-star Julian Rochester (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Two of Julian Rochester’s best friends also happen to be two of the state’s best prospects.

Rochester is the 5-star defensive tackle from McEachern High School who committed to UGA in May.

Since pledging to the Bulldogs, Rochester has worked hard to get his friends to join him in Athens.

“I’m trying to recruit (Archer WR) Kyle Davis – he’s one of my boys,” Rochester told the AJC. “He’s like my best friend. I’m trying to get (Elbert County WR) Mecole Hardman Jr. – he’s my other best friend. I talk to those two every single day. I don’t know what they’re waiting on, man. We’ll see what happens, though. I’m excited for them.”

Rochester, who is rated as the state’s No. 2 prospect, wants another one of his best friends to commit – you may remember him as the prospect who has the “G” tattooed on his bicep.

“I’m also trying to recruit (Mays WR) Randrecous Davis,” Rochester said. “You might as well call him my cousin because I grew up with him since the sixth grade. It would be so awesome if he came to Georgia with me. We’re like blood brothers.”

The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder will attend UGA’s Dawg Night prospect camp on July 18, and he can’t wait to talk to as many prospects as possible.

“I’m going to do some really good recruiting that night. I’m trying to get everyone,” he laughed.

Here are five things you need to know about Rochester:

1) Headed West: Rochester will attend “The Opening” at Nike headquarters in Oregon this week. He is rooming with a big UGA target: “I’m staying with (Cedar Grove DT) Antwuan Jackson. Me and him talk all the time. He’s still keeping his eyes open. I’m telling him that you can go one way with me or you can go without me, but (UGA is) going to have the best D-line for the next four years to come.”

2) New position? While at The Opening, Rochester plans to play some defensive end. “I just want to see what kind of tackles these guys are because I may be playing some defensive end at Georgia,” he said. “The coaches have told me that I’m going to play every single position on the defensive line. I like that because being versatile gets you on the field more.”

5-star Julian Rochester (RisingSeniors.comm)

5-star Julian Rochester (RisingSeniors.comm)

3) Other visits? He may take trips to schools not named UGA, but he isn’t sure about that yet. “I haven’t thought about taking my official visits yet. School starts up on August 3. I only have like five days to myself this summer before football starts up again. It’s going to be crazy. It’s a good question to ask me though because I haven’t thought about that one, and I need to.”

4) Girlfriend who gets it: Rochester has been dating his girlfriend, Mya Thomas, for almost three years now. Hanging out with her is one of his favorite things to do. “She just takes it (recruiting) all in and understands it’s a process,” he said. “She gets that sometimes I can’t talk or do something because I may be busy. She was with me before football became really big to me, so she’s had time to understand that it’s going to be a grind for us.”

5) Under a microscope: Because Rochester is such a high-profile recruit, he knows the people are constantly observing him. “I need to watch what I say, watch what I do, probably even watch how I drive. People could be like ‘I saw Julian driving 80 on the highway.’ I need to realize that eyes are on me all the time. I can’t even explain to you how many times people come up to me and say ‘You’re Julian Rochester. I saw you in the paper. Please stay focused.’ It’s everywhere I go – from a Walmart to a Texaco gas station. I need to watch what I do on Twitter. I can re-tweet something, and it just changes people’s mindsets on how they view me. Like if I see a crazy video or something funny, I usually don’t re-tweet it because I don’t want people to view me differently.

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