Back-to-school weekend happened this weekend across Georgia. It was a time for haircuts, new shoes and lunch box supply runs.
Did that stunt the amount of ‘crootin news over the weekend?
Not in the least. Monday’s edition of the AJC Recruiting Rewind has a few Trapper Keeper-worthy stories to discuss this morning, including a name that might go up on the Big Board later today.
Here are the 10 need-to-know stories for today
1. Commitment alert
Want to guess the position? Linebacker? Nope. UGA doesn’t have a single committed prospect at that spot. The same goes for running back, punter and kicker.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has Kansas State, Oregon State and UGA in his final group and will announce his decision today. Receivers coach Bryan McClendon reportedly really likes his speed. That’s a priority for the position going forward.
Commitments are great. They should never be taking for granted, but……
2. This one could carry a little baggage
Add up the numbers at receiver. There’s Houston County’s Darion Anderson. Then Mays standout Randrecous Davis. He committed last week. UGA also picked up a commitment from receiver/tight end Charlie Woerner. He could potentially be listed as a tight end recruit even though that idea comes with its own problems.
Who else is high on the board? That roll call should start with 5-star Archer standout Kyle Davis. Not to mention 5-star athlete Demetris Robertson out of Savannah. His primary position is receiver. UGA would not say no to either one of those guys.
Elberton’s Mecole Hardman Jr. is another potential commitment the UGA coaching staff would all but bust out and do the Whip and Nae Nae on demand for if he came aboard. He’s a potential difference maker at cornerback or receiver.
Here’s where it gets messy. Florida’s Tre Nixon is also high on UGA. Penn State is his leader, but he was in Athens on Saturday for another visit. What about McEachern senior Tyler Simmons? What about South Carolina commit Bryant Edwards or Coconut Creek’s Binjimin Victor?
That’s at least nine receivers, there. There’s no way UGA is signing seven or even eight receivers this year. Mouse Davis, June Jones and Hal Mumme would not sign that many receivers.
Jacob Eason doesn’t even want that many receivers. But what if we’re talking seven or eight four-star offensive linemen? Maybe.
3. Isaac Nauta announces commitment date
The IMG Academy-by-way-of Buford standout will make his commitment after the U.S. Army All-American Game on January 9. He’ll announce his preferred school and then report to campus after the game for the winter semester. That’s the same timeline for UGA commitments Ben Cleveland and Eason.
Nauta’s a tight end. He’s a five-star recruit and the top player in the country at his position. He’s probably one of the Top 20 overall players this year.
The senior de-committed from FSU last week. UGA was his No. 2 school before that.
Watch out, though. There’s another potential logjam at that spot with North Carolinian Garrett Walston, Woerner and then Nauta for this class. Tampa four-star standout Jacob Mathis would also be a nice addition at that position. He’s one of the nation’s Top 10 tight ends.
Did UGA tell Eason at Dawg Night they’ll sign nine or 10 guys this year to catch his passes?
4. Possible way to line up the 2016 Big Board
Robertson’s technically listed as an athlete so he could also fill the same role in the class as Hardman. Robertson and Hardman can also both play defensive back, too. UGA already has three committed guys in the secondary and would love to also add Nigel Warrior, among others.
- QBs (1)
- RBs (2)
- WRs (5)
- TEs (3)
- OLs (5)
- ATHs (2)
- DLs (5)
- LBs (2)
- DBs (4)
Yeah, that adds up to the 27-to-29 range. That might be a few tough choices up ahead.
Maybe those kicker and punter slots become preferred walk-ons that earn the job and then get the scholarship. That seems a likely scenario if this class gets a “yes” from several of a lot of big names like Willie Allen, Derrick Brown, Brian Burns, Kyle Davis, Terrance Davis, Landon Dickerson, Bryan Edwards, Rashan Gary, Ellijah Holyfield, Jaleel Laguins, Isaac Nauta, Tre Nixon, E.J. Price, Demetris Robertson, Trey Simmons, Binjimin Victor, Warrior and Devwah Whaley.
Of course, that’s a problem everyone on the staff would love to have.
5. Right to remain silent
Hardman, as noted above, has the skill set to make Pruitt look very smart at cornerback or also make McClendon a sage position coach at receiver.
He can also very well dabble in both like a former Bulldog named Champ. Hardman also plans to make a silent commitment to his chosen school and then announce it to the world on National Signing Day.
Hardman had to take to Twitter over the weekend to defend two things other than passes. The first was that he was in Athens on Saturday, but not necessarily at the Butts-Mehre Building. The second was that he did not make his silent commitment to UGA.
That makes sense to me. He’s told the AJC on at least two occasions that his whisper commitment will in either September or October.
6. State’s top prospect names his 5
UGA was at once seen as his leader about six or seven months ago, but Brown has since backed away from that stance.
7. 4-star athlete favors Duke and UGA
Who is the best overall football player this year on a talented Archer squad? That’s a tough question with the likes of heralded recruits Kyle Davis (WR) and E.J. Price (OL) and 2017 gem Jamyest Williams (CB) on the roster.
Two-way terror Dylan Singleton might get the most votes in terms of overall football production and not simply a straight Saturday projection. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder doesn’t have elite NFL size, but he makes play after play on a field brimming with Saturday players.
8. Its poaching season
There’s a large majority of Power 5 schools which already have about a dozen commitments. UGA has 14 of those. Alabama has 19.
That’s not a whole lot of slots left for certain big-timers. That means now is right around the time of year when one SEC program does one of its league brothers a solid by attempting to help reduce their number while at the same time adding another scholarship commitment to their own burdens.
UGA is already experiencing this with its 2016 class. Will we ever see the day when someone tries to flip kickers, punters or long snappers? If so, that will make the rewind.
9. Does this mean Ole Miss is a now cupcake school?
The Rebels picked up a commitment on Sunday in unique fashion. Archer linebacker Donta Evans had the Publix bakery beat by lining up cakes signifying his favored schools. There were also cupcakes in team colors arrayed in front of those cakes which were also noted with the name of one of his finalists.
Some recruits commit with their hearts. Others make their choice based on logic. Evans did his with his belly. He ate the matching cupcake of the school he will attend. The Rewind would like to give a big Slo-Mo thumbs up to Evans and his family for this one.
That was clever, but what’s next? Gatorade buckets? How about helmets? The hat game is old. Tweets are becoming everyone’s go-to move. We’ll award lots of points for originality. Ole Miss went into his tummy. Does this mean the Rebels play a cupcake schedule?
10. If the log-in fits, did he de-commit?
Alabama had another unique recruiting story across the SEC over the weekend. Mississippi lineman Raekown Davis supposedly sent out a direct message from his Twitter account to a reporter noting that he had de-committed from the House of Saban.
But he didn’t. Davis said his phone had been hacked and that all was still good with him and the Crimson Tide. Did somebody just know the passcode to his phone? Did he leave it lying around? Was Kato Kaelin involved? Does he drive a white Bronco?
Let’s hope that nobody tries this with Eason on Nauta down the road.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.