College football program, the coaches and the support staff, work tirelessly year-round, for years in advance even, for the culmination of their efforts that is National Signing Day. The time and energy put into recruiting is tremendous. Coaches in particular sacrifice time with and the development of relationships with their own families to invest in student-athletes that range anywhere from about 14 to 18, sometimes older with transfers, in order to endear themselves to that young prospsective player, knowing full well that same player may be part of the reason that he, the coach, loses his job and has to move his own family one day should the prospect decide to go to a rival program and produce well there.
It’s a high stakes game. Nobody has played it better than Kirby Smart over the last half decade. Georgia is year in and year out either at the top of the national recruiting rankings, or within a stones throw of it. Smart and company are currently ranked 3rd by 247 Sports in the class of 2021, and there are still some big names out there that Georgia is pursuing. Today we were Georgia stand with this class and talk about some recent developments that could help discern how the class will close.
Georgia currently has 20 verbally committed players. Of those 20, there are only 2 players that seem to be flirting with other programs, De’Jahn Warren (4-Star JUCO Cornerback out of Lackawanna Community College) and 5-Star offensive tackle Amarius Mims. Plain and simple, I think Warren and Mims both enjoy the process of being recruited very much. Mims, in my opinion and having talked to people involved, is solidly a Dawg, but as I said he’s a high school kid that’s had a lot of attention for a long time, anything could happen, but I believe Wednesday Mims signs with Georgia. De’Jahn Warren is another story. I would venture to say if their is a flip from Georgia in the class, it will be him. Penn State and Jackson State, yes the HBCU lead by Deion Sanders, are pushing hard. Georgia recently picked up a commitment from Nyland Green and if Warren flips, it could be an indicator that another defensive back, possibly of the graduate transfer variety, is already in the cards for UGA.
After another dominating performance in the GHSA playoffs Friday, 2021 Georgia quarterback commit Brock Vandagriff predicted Georgia to finish strong and sign some players that will, “surprise some people.” Well one that was a surprise over the weekend was Florida’s flop at home against LSU. They did so with Xavian Sorey, Terrion Arnold, and 2022 quarterback Jacurri Brown in the Swamp watching. With COVID restrictions in place, on field production is very much so a driving force, and the mystique and hype around Florida was dealt a huge blow in an ugly loss to a program in absolute disarray. I feel that was just the cherry on top for Sorey, as I’ve predicted for a while he’ll end up at Georgia. Terrion Arnold and Jacurri Brown are both players that I’ve felt have been leaning to the Gators, but combining that poor performance with the beatdown that Georgia put on Missouri and it could move the needle in this ‘what have you done for me lately’ society.
Conversely, LSU undoubtedly will look to capitalize off the big win in the Swamp. Coach O needed this one badly and it likely energizes their efforts with Maason Smith. Now, there is still plenty for LSU to address in-house and no doubt the chaos may have already impacted Smith’s decision to a certain extent, but the young man loves the bayou and grown into a folk hero of sorts down in Louisiana. Georgia is in the mix and pushing hard, but the Tigers may have done enough already before the upset of Florida, I’m sure this only helps them. I’d look for Georgia to turn elsewhere to grab another defensive linemen in the class. Byron Young of Georgia Military is more of the defensive end, edge player variety, but UGA is in good position in his recruitment it would seem, especially with Auburn having fired Guz Malzahn over the weekend and Florida State trending in the wrong direction.
Ultimately the Donovan Edwards is the biggest question mark remaining for everyone in 2021. The Dawgs would love to pair Edwards with Lovasea Carroll in this class and continue the embarrassment of riches that Georgia has in the backfield of their offense. Even if both James Cook and Zamir White elect to go pro, UGA would likely have 3 of the top 10 running backs in the country returning in Kendall Milton, Kenny McIntosh, and Daijun Edwards next year. Adding versatile backs like Edwards and Carroll would only give JT Daniels and Todd Monken more weapons in 2021. It will be hard for the Dawgs to pull Edwards out of Michigan, like Maason Smith with the bayou, Edwards has strong ties to his community and a true love to the University of Michigan as an institution. Lord knows that the Michigan football program is a mess and certainly the Dawgs have a lot to pitch to Edwards with recent offensive performances, particularly the explosive use of several running backs.
Finally, if the Dawgs do land an offensive skill player other than those already committed in 2021, it’s likely to be Jimmy Horn Jr. Horn Jr. is a more diminutive prospect that will play slot receiver, but he can absolutely fly and his explosive, game breaking abilities have won over Cortez Hankton and Todd Monken. Georgia was the first Power 5 school to offer him and that meant a lot to Horn Jr. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sign with Georgia.