He got his first taste of life in Troy his freshman year when he participated in the Rising Stars Camp. Earlier this month, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound upcoming senior made the trek back across the country to take unofficial visits to USC, Arizona State and Stanford.
A lot has changed in the time since Imatorbhebhe’s first visit. New coaches. New tempo. New offense. New facilities. And now a new scholarship offer.
“When I went there, they offered me over spring break,” Imatorbhebhe said. “It’s just a great school. I wouldn’t go all the way out to California to a school if I wasn’t extremely interested and wanted to see the prospects of where I would consider to further my education.”
The one constant between the two visits has been his potential position coach, wide receivers coach Tee Martin, who the four-star prospect said he has remained in consistent contact. Imatorbhebhe is friends with Martin’s son, Amari Rodgers — another highly touted receiver prospect from the Southeast — which gives Martin a different dynamic than others recruiting Imatorbhebhe.
Rather than Imatorbhebhe being a piece of meat that can perform this or that task for a specific program, his interaction with Martin has been more about creating the bond between an older mentor and a student; a friend's dad teaching a craft rather than just a coach drawing Xs and Os on a whiteboard.
“I love Coach Tee. I mean he’s been recruiting me since my freshman year and everything so I talk to him pretty often,” Imatorbhebhe said. “I feel like most of our conversations aren’t really on recruiting, but more so on building a relationship.”
Imatorbhebhe said that approach has been a breathe of fresh air rather than the constant talk of a football team’s needs/wants and how a program sees Imatorbhebhe being used. When asked if he likes the relationship-building method Martin has used, Imatorbhebhe was quick to affirm.
“Definitely, especially if it’s a place that is, I would say, one of the top choices. It’s good to know that they like you as much as you like them. It’s just cool to have that option there.”
The No. 2 receiver in the state of Georgia has plenty of options with scholarship offers from a number of high-profile schools from all parts of the country. Though he said he doesn’t have an official list, Imatorbhebhe said that are five or six schools, including USC, “that I really feel like have a shot.”
Because he is likely to try to graduate in December and enroll early, he foresees a summer decision. After a spree of trips, including his West Coast swing and unofficial visits to several SEC schools, Imatorbhebhe plans to stay under the radar going forward.
“I’m trying to lay low because I did take a lot of visits lately. Really just trying to lay low and talk it over with my parents and seeing what the deal is. Figure out the top group and chisel down from there.”
While he will have the option of staying in the South with scholarship offers to nearly every SEC school, Imatorbhebhe said location wouldn't play a big role in his eventual decision.
“I would say I’m open to the best opportunity,” he said. “Like people say, it’s not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision. If I’m able to do a year of not being able to see my parents much to be able to have a foot up in life, I feel like my parents and my coaches would encourage me to make that decision. I just want to find the place that’s best for me regardless of proximity to my house or where my relatives and family are.”
That’s important to note because his older brother, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, is a three-star tight end that will be joining the Florida program in the fall. He was actually new head coach Jim McElwain’s first commit to the Gators.
While many people want to box Josh into following his brother’s footsteps to Florida, the younger brother is far from a lock to also head to Gainesville.
“At the end of the day, it’s for him, it’s not for me. Florida is a great place. They have a lot of good things going on there with Coach Mac, but I feel like I should be able to make my own decision — regardless of who’s there and who’s not there, make the decision that’s best for me.”
Here's some high school highlight clips from Josh Imatorbhebhe: