The newest member of UGA’s 2015 football recruiting class finally got to see Athens for the first time in his life this week.
Mirko Jurkovic is a 3-star offensive lineman from Florida’s IMG Academy who signed with Ohio State last February but was not admitted due to undisclosed reasons (A source told the AJC this week that Jurkovic “was not an academic casualty” with the Buckeyes).
After suddenly becoming a free agent last month, Jurkovic frantically searched for another school. He committed to UGA over Florida and Notre Dame last week, and he spent the past three days checking out Athens for the first time on an official visit.
“It for sure was a little weird (committing to UGA before I visited),” Jurkovich told the AJC.
“But I had no doubt when I made my decision I was going to love it. Athens was everything I expected and then some. It reassured my decision and now I’m very excited. It is one of those things in life where you feel like everything happens for a reason. I’ve been blessed by this opportunity.”
It seemed to be love at first sight for Jurkovic, who is originally from South Bend, Ind. He’s rated as the No. 106 overall prospect out of Indiana for 2015.
“The campus and the city of Athens was just awesome,” Jurkovich said. “The facilities were just amazing. I got to meet a lot of the players and form some relationships. I can already see it is an atmosphere that is really something to be excited about. I wish I didn’t have to go back home and I could have just stayed right there”
Current UGA senior offensive lineman John Theus was his host for both nights. They had dinner at Mark Richt’s house on Monday night. The meal on Tuesday was in downtown Athens. He said he watched part of the baseball’s all-star events with Richt and just hung out.
Sanford Stadium was a highlight.
“That was pretty cool,” he said. “I had no idea that they had the hedges around the field like that.”
He’ll wear No. 60 in Athens. That was the number he believed will be assigned to him. He said he’ll report to UGA on Aug. 2.
The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder said that UGA offensive line coach Rob Sale projects him to be at right tackle. He played right tackle in high school.
“I’m in the middle of July, and Athens is already a great place,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it is going to be like in the fall right in the middle of a college town when school is in session.”
Jurkovic was rated the No. 52 offensive guard in the country based on the 247sports composite. He wasn’t given any indication about a redshirt given UGA’s numbers on the offensive line. “I have no clue about that,” the future business major said. “Whatever happens, happens with that.”
Jurkovic still found it hard to explain how things didn’t work out at Ohio State. “It’s for sure a complicated subject,” he said. “I really don’t know, so I for sure don’t have too much to say about it.”
He will officially be a UGA recruit when he attends his first day of college classes next month. Jurkovic has signed non-binding scholarship papers with the Bulldogs, but can’t sign another national letter of intent because he already signed one this calender year with Ohio State. Jurkovic can technically switch to another school, but told the AJC that he’ll be at UGA.