The Bulldogs will have their recruiting fights in the future - trust me when I tell you that the likes of Alabama, Auburn and the like are not going to roll over and die because Georgia is surging in nearly all aspects of recruiting. But it is hard to ignore the scuttlebutt I heard on days like today.
4-star McEachern DL Julian Rochester has to favor Georgia in a big way. I have no real knowledge (as I’ve never actually met him in person) if what so many are saying is what Rochester himself is thinking, but twice on Sunday folks said to me be that the defensive lineman is Georgia’s to lose.
“Yeah, he was up there again yesterday,” one insider said. “He’s thinking about committing - he talked about it. He just didn’t do it.”
“He’s Rock’s guy - and Rock is not going to lose someone like that,” another insider said of Rochester’s relationship with Tracy Rocker.
But it wasn’t just Rochester - prospect after prospect that I spoke with or did photo shoots with had Georgia gear on. It is the most I can ever remember. One parent told me that “it is very hard not to send your kid to Georgia right now. They are all very likable.”
That parent has not yet met Mark Richt.
I asked Richt about recruiting on Saturday after G Day, and he admitted that the scrimmage had the most amount of prospects that he could remember.
“Oh man,” Richt said. “It is the largest crowd I can remember us having. Obviously there are some extremely high-profile recruits as well.”
A slew of prospects I spoke with Sunday were in Athens on Saturday including: Lithonia LB Jordan Smith (who showed up in a Georgia t shirt), Peach County DB Tyrique McGhee (who is committed and showed up in a Georgia t shirt), Westlake LB Jaden Hunter, Hapeville Charter DB William Poole (hard to imagine him not at Georgia in the future), Creekside OL Aaron Dowdell (who is committed and showed up with Georgia gloves), Grady DB Marlon Character and Peach County LB Kevin Nixon.
Obviously recruiting is about relationships. One thing to keep in mind is that social pressure amongst peers is really becoming a bigger deal than I can remember. Jacob Eason and Ben Cleveland have buddied up. But personal relationships are not just with long-time commits.
Jordan Smith, who is down to Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson is being recruited to Athens by Georgia commit and Clinch County DL Chauncey Manac. Smith is also close with Archer OL E.J. Price, Peachtree Ridge DB Chad Clay and Elbert County DB Mecole Hardman.
Price is a critical piece to the social puzzle of the 2016 class.
Tyrique McGhee, who is committed to the Dawgs, is Macon County LB Roquan Smith’s cousin and is also close with Peachtree Ridge DB Chad Clay.
Westlake LB Jaden Hunter has a top four of Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Florida State. He says that Alabama DC Kirby Smart is “like an uncle” to him because he’s known him for so long. But most of Hunter’s peers felt like he would wind up at Georgia. Still, there’s a long way to go for Hunter, who said he was “surprised” that he measured in at 6’3.5” today.
Hapeville Charter DB William Poole III called Georgia his No. 1. “They’re like family,” he told us of Georgia; Poole, is very close with Roswell DB LeAnthony Williams.
Creekside OL Aaron Dowdell hung out with Grady DB Marlon Character at G Day. He told us that he wanted to see what the freshman (especially Natrez Patrick) could do at G Day. Patrick didn’t disappoint.
Meanwhile, Grady DB Marlon Character said that “Georgia is great”. He said that he liked that Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt preached about life after football and academics. Keep in mind that Character is Damian Swann’s cousin.
So personal relationships amongst kids have become more important because of the ever-connected lifestyle of teenagers today. Pay attention to what the prospects do - not necessarily what they say. I could see Georgia getting a fair amount of the kids I mentioned above.