On Thursday, UGA added their fifth player to their 2017 recruiting class by picking up a verbal commitment from Lowndes County High School wide receiver Xavier Jenkins, Jr. On that very same day, another Xavier was on campus at Georgia visiting the Classic City, Xavier McKinney, a 6 foot 1 and 185 lbs safety out of Roswell High School in Georgia. The thing is that Mckinney committed to the University of Alabama back on September 23rd, 2015; so, can the Dawgs flip him and get another Xavier committed in the class of 2017?
Both Head Coach Kirby Smart and Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker were part of McKinney’s recruitment when they were on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama; so, the Roswell safety already has an established relationship with some Georgia coaches. And after his visit on Thursday, the Bulldogs are definitely having an impact on the talented safety, giving him a lot to think about.
Had a successful visit at Georgia 💯💯
— Xavier Mckinney (@mckinney_xavier) February 18, 2016
It's just a lot on my mind right now 😶😶
— Xavier Mckinney (@mckinney_xavier) February 19, 2016
Xavier told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons after his visit to Georgia:
“Oh yeah, Georgia definitely has a chance now. They have moved up on my list,” said McKinney. “Georgia is right there with Alabama and Clemson now. Of course Alabama is still No. 1, but Georgia really moved up.”
“They told me that they (Smart and Tucker) were the ones that wanted me the whole time. They wanted me at Alabama, and now they want me at Georgia. That was their message to me today.
“They want me there badly. They have been recruiting me so hard since Kirby has gotten there. They have showed me that they really want me.”
And frankly, Georgia needs to sign a couple of safeties in the 2017 class because starting free safety Quincey Mauger will be a senior in 2016, which will be his final season with the Dawgs, and the other starter at safety, Dominick Sanders, will be a junior. Georgia didn’t really sign a true safety in the 2016 class out of the defensive backs Chad Clay, Tyrique McGhee, and athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. projects as either a WR or CB.
2015 freshman Johnathan Abram who got a lot of work at safety as the backup to Mauger and Sanders decided to transfer after Coach Mark Richt was forced to resign and Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who recruited Abram to Georgia, took the same position just over the border at Alabama. There are definitely some other defensive backs on the roster that can play the free and strong safety spots in sophomores in Rico McGraw, Rashad Roundtree, and Jarvis Wilson, but Xavier McKinney along with a couple of other true safeties would go a long way to addressing a need of depth at that position in the defensive secondary.
Georgia has also offered scholarships to six other safety prospects in the class of 2017, which include:
Savalas Cann out of Bamberg Ehrhardt High School in South Carolina.
Cyrus Fagan from Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, FL.
Todd Harris who hails from Plaquemine, LA.
Jeffrey Okudah who plays varsity football for South Grand Prairie High School out west in Texas.
Davondre Robinson another state of South Carolina prospect from Lake Marion High School.
Daniel Wright from the Sunshine State out of Cardinal Gibbons High School.
There are also a couple of notable athletes that Georgia has offered who definitely could play safety at the collegiate level in the Southeastern Conference:
Devon Hunter who plays football from Coach Frank Beamer’s neck of the woods in the state of Virginia out of Indian River High School.
Tray Bishop out of Terrell County High School here in Georgia.
Of course, it is never easy to flip a commitment from the Crimson Tide, but if this new Georgia coaching staff has shown us anything thus far, it is that they can recruit.