Dawg Night: Insider Report

ATHENS - Dawg Post's Matt DeBary gives you his insight on the players who visited for Dawg Night.

First let’s talk about the Quarterbacks - The top three there for me were 2016 five-star Jacob Eason, 2017 4-star Bailey Hockman and top 2018 prospect Trevor Lawrence. In the beginning, all three showed some inconsistency, but they continued to progress throughout the event. Jacob Eason looked the best of the three physically, and wowed the crowd multiple times with his arm strength. He showed good footwork and arm strength, but his delivery looked a little awkward. He has a quick release, but he had somewhat of a sidearm release. The ball came out of his hand extremely fast, but his delivery is something he can improve.

Bailey Hockman was very consistent all evening. He’s shorter than many QBs (which is obvious when standing by Eason), and his arm isn’t the strongest, but he was very accurate. It looked to me like his release was a little longer than the other two, but he put the ball where it needed to be. He did force some balls into traffic, but he was able to squeeze it in there successfully. Overall good evening for the 2017 Georgia commit.

Trevor Lawrence should have had a bulldog offer months ago. He is a top prospect in the 2018 class and proved it again Saturday night. He struggled a bit with his accuracy early on, but really improved as the night went on. He showed good footwork, a quick release and the ball really had some spin on it when it left his hand. He showed great poise, and was getting coached up by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer all night. He has tremendous upside and will only get better. He is a great pocket passer, but needs to work on rolling out of the pocket and making plays on the run when he needs too. Lawrence has a good night throwing the ball, but still left Athens without an offer.

As for the running backs, there were some big names to know in attendance. The top three guys that stood out to me were Anthony McFarland, Trey Sermon and Cam Akers, each of whom are in the 2017 class. McFarland was the best back out there, and he is explosive. He showed good burst, great balance and very good hands. He made a couple of nice one-handed grabs that really stood out.

Trey Sermon is a big back from Marietta who really looks the part. He is big, strong and caught the ball very well. He looked to be about 6’1, and a little more than 200 pounds. He is well put together and already looks like a collegiate player.

Cam Akers is a smaller, more compact guy. He is absolutely ripped and did a lot of good things Saturday night. Everything looked easy for Akers. He moves well, made good cuts out of his breaks and caught the ball well. I still don’t know a ton about him at this time, but he was a guy that stood out to me in the drills. Georgia seems to be in a great position for McFarland and Sermon right now, but Akers is definitely one to keep an eye on for the 2017 class. Elijah Holyfield looked good as well, and so did Kurt Taylor, but the other three really stood out.

When watching the lineman, Ben Cleveland really stole the show. He is a grown man right now. He only got beat once in the reps I saw, but he won the rest of the battles with ease. The one time he got beat was by a speed rusher with a great first step. Cleveland worked out at tackle, but I think he will end up at guard at Georgia. He moves well for a big guy, but his strength is what really set him apart from the others.

UGA commits Chris Barnes and Aaron Dowdell both had good nights. They were not perfect, and Coach Sale was getting after them pretty good when they didn’t dominate.

As expected, Mecole Hardman dominated at both receiver and defensive back. He was torching defenders left and right when he lined up at receiver, and Eason was looking his way a bunch. Those two are already developing chemistry between one another that could be tough to stop at the next level if Hardman decides to play Between the Hedges. He is extremely athletic and has a burst that nobody else has. He has good hands, runs a great route, can stretch the field, as well as take a short pass to the house if needed. He is a special talent who can do so many things.

As good as Hardman was at receiver, he was equally good at defensive back, which is where he might end up playing in college. He was blanketing receivers when I was watching, and did not allow a single catch. He can backpedal with the best of them, and he can turn his hips and run with anybody. What impressed me the most was how quick it took him to look back and find the football in the air. He doesn’t try to break up passes - he tries to intercept them. He does a great job of always being in position to make a play on the ball.

Jair Anderson also stood out at receiver. I didn’t see him make many catches, or even get the ball thrown his way, but he did a nice job of getting separation. What stood out was his speed. He was one of the fastest receivers in attendance, and was getting coached up by Brian McClendon quite a bit.

I was not able to watch the defensive backs as much as the rest of the groups, but I was able to watch Jaymest Williams a little bit. He’s small, but he’s tough. He plays very physical, and he is extremely aggressive. He plays with some swagger, and truly believes that he is the best defensive back in the country - no matter the class. He tends to hold a little bit, but he is always there to make a play on the ball. Again I only watched him briefly, but he did not allow a catch that I saw.

Some big targets in attendance that did not compete include: Kyle Davis, Demetris Robertson, Rashan Gary, Antwaun Jackson, Jordan Smith, Marlon Davidson, Derrick Brown and E.J Price.

2015 wide receiver Kyle Davis was all smiles throughout the event, and really looked like he was comfortable with everyone. He has been in Athens multiple times this summer, and continues to be close with other big Georgia targets.

2015 wide receiver Demetris Robertson was there watching his nephew who is a talented athlete in the 2020 class. He was watching his good friend Mecole Hardman compete as much as he could.

2015 defensive tackle prospect Rashan Gary is a five-star guy who had a great time on his visit. He was getting attention from multiple Bulldog commits, most notably Tyrique McGee and Julian Rochester.

2015 defensive tackle Antwaun Jackson spent a bunch of time with Tracy Rocker throughout the evening. The two seems very close, and were seen constantly laughing and joking with each other. Georgia currently stands behind Auburn and Ohio State for the talented Peach State prospect.

2015 linebacker Jordan Smith was having a great time. A decision is coming soon for the talented pass rusher, and Georgia is in position to land him, but Clemson seems to be the leader.

Overall, it was a great night for Georgia football. The Bulldogs received a verbal commitment from versatile 2017 defensive back DeeJay Dallas, and put themselves in a great position for some big targets.

To summarize, Jacob Eason looked great, Mecole Hardman established himself as arguably the best prospect in the state, and Trevor Lawrence needs an offer as soon as possible.

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