There is much anticipation going on now among the Georgia Football faithful as the Dawgs are set to kick off the 2017 college football season in less than 50 days on September 2, 2017, against Appalachian State in Sanford Stadium. With the fans of the Red and Black salivating to see the Bulldogs play “Between The Hedges” many across the state of Georgia and beyond are also awaiting the return of high school football. The last week has been a busy one for me as I visited both Lee County High School (Leesburg, Georgia) and Colquitt County High School (Moultrie, Georgia) to try to get my eyes on some of the potential UGA football recruits and other stars who were participating in Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) in the respective areas mentioned in South Georgia. The main focus here will cover the Lee County OTA, and a later synopsis covering those at Colquitt County will be forthcoming.
Lee County was my first visit to get in on some of the pigskin action. Those who pay attention to Major League Baseball or the professional music industry will in no doubt know this place as it is the home of San Francisco Giants and World Series Champ Buster Posey as well as the alma mater area for past American Idol winner Phillip Phillips and Country Music sensation Luke Bryan. This week it was the gridiron that garnered the most attention there as the Lee County Trojans hosted the Peach County Trojans in an OTA session.
The Trojans looked pretty good this past week despite the fact that defensively they have lost a few key players, most notably DT Aubrey Soloman who is now at the University of Michigan. The Lee County squad has several UGA football targets on their current roster that I watched and had the opportunity to speak with. Probably the most highlighted prospect of those potential recruits is Class of 2018 OLB Otis Reese (6’4, 206 – Lee County – Leesburg, Georgia) who is currently committed to the University of Michigan. The Georgia Football program has made it very well known that they would like to keep Reese in the Peach State and have courted him accordingly. There is a good reason why as Reese is an exceptional football talent with nice size, speed, and agility. He looked very agile, quick, athletic, and already in mid-season form on the field versus Peach County during the OTA session and one can expect a big season from the highly sought-after prospect in 2017. On a side note, Reese did attend the Kirby Smart football camp weekend (July 14-16) showing that while he may be committed to Michigan, he has not completely shut the door on Kirby Smart and Georgia Football program.
The Lee County program also boasts a couple of other recruits that are potential UGA targets but that are currently committed to other schools at this present time. One of those prospects is Class of 2018 WR Tyquayvious Terrell (6’0, 190 – Lee County – Leesburg, Georgia) who is committed to Ball State. Terrell looked great at Lee County’s spring game against Warner Robins this past May and is very athletic, swift, and dedicated to the game of football. He has visited UGA on multiple occasions and has not been shy about putting it out there that he would love to receive an offer from the Dawgs. Terrell also visited the Kirby Smart football camp weekend (July 14-16) showing that his commitment to Ball State may not be set in stone. I would most definitely say it is not after snapping the picture of him on the sidelines at the OTA session this week where one can see that the Cardinal commit is wearing Georgia Bulldogs receiving gloves as well as a Kirby Smart football camp shirt. I hope that Smart and company is paying attention to that as Terrell would make a great slot receiver and deep pass threat to play “Between The Hedges” in Athens.
Another eye-opening player on the Lee County side of the ball is Class of 2018 OT/C Griffin McDowell. This guy is big, gritty against his opponents, and is very quick on his feet for his size. He is currently committed to Mississippi State, but after speaking with him, I believe there is still a door open if Coach Pittman and the Georgia football program were to throw an offer out to him. Aside from McDowell’s on-the-field athletic abilities, he resonates with a meek, humble, and hard-working persona. He somewhat reminds me of a David Andrews type of player and would be a good fit to the mold of what Kirby Smart is trying to do with the Georgia Football program. Only time will tell to see if McDowell get that UGA offer and flips from Mississippi State which I believe would be a “Smart” move (no pun intended) for the Dawgs to do. In any event, McDowell is poised to have a monster season for Lee County in 2017 and a promising career beyond the realm of the high school gridiron.
I also believe there are 3 potential recruit sleepers (not necessarily UGA but any program out there) on the Lee County roster that would make great players in Athens or anywhere else in the world of college football for that matter: (1) Class of 2018 Safety Tyrone Harris (6’1, 190 – Lee County – Leesburg, Georgia), (2) Class of 2018 Jase Orndorff (6’2 200 – Lee County – Leesburg, Georgia), and (3) Class of 2018 WR/FS Joshua Asbury (6’2, 180 – Lee County – Leesburg, Georgia).
Harris looked pretty good at the Lee County spring game and is in no doubt one of the leaders of the Trojan football team. He was selected to Georgia Junior Elite Classic in 2016 and recently committed to Troy only a few short days ago but would make a great fit on any Division 1 program. Orndorff has good size, is very agile, has excellent arm strength and accuracy, and can make the pass need even when on the run. Any program out there needing a viable and efficient quarterback at Division 1 or any level would bode well to “steal” this quarterback who is highly under the radar and under-recruited. Asbury, much like Orndorff, is one of those sleepers with whom it is hard to believe that programs are not beating the doors down to get. Nice size, speed, good hands, and a powerful athletic presence on the sidelines and gridiron, he is bound to draw some attention at some point. Asbury made the catch of the game in my opinion at the Lee County spring game this past when he made an unbelievable one-handed reception on a pass from Orndorff which can be seen at http://www.hudl.com/v/23qPVh.
The Peach County Trojans also had a player on hand at the Lee County OTAs that has drawn a lot of attention in the past and as of late as his commitment decision date has been set for August 19, 2017: Class of 2018 4-Star WR Kearis Jackson. “The Opening” WR looked about as sharp and on point as a receiver could look this past week showing excellent speed, versatility, great hands, and a powerful on-the-field presence. His lightning quick start off the line and his ability to get past the defender was blatantly apparent. With some two dozen offers including ones from the likes of programs such as Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Florida, Auburn, and Ohio State, Jackson would be a prized possession to obtain for the UGA program. He would also help bolster a position for which the Georgia Bulldogs football program has had issues with in the past, but that is now trending upward with the commitments of the #1 (Jadon Hasselwood) and #2 (Dominick Blaylock) wide receivers in the class of 2019. Jackson caught 52 passes for 739 yards and nine scores along with a total of 14 touchdowns last season. He will be an immediate deep threat to the UGA passing game upon his arrival if he commits to Georgia. 247Sports has Jackson listed as 100% picking UGA on the 19th but anything can happen.
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