We’re entering the stretch run leading up to National Signing Day on February 1st so the recruiting news should be coming hot and heavy over the next couple of weeks. So let’s take a look at what’s been going on vis-à-vis Kirby Smart’s hunt for the most savage of savages.
Midnight on Thursday marked the end of the dead period which includes the major bowl games, the AFCA conference, and a host of other stuff that coaches do when they’re not actually recruiting. So guess where Tracy Rocker and Kevin Sherrer were first thing yesterday morning?
Dead Period is over. First stop for Alabama and UGA this morning is Lee County pic.twitter.com/13TARefVOK— Coach Pych (@pychke) January 12, 2017
As you can see, they were joined by the world’s most intense Jeff Bezos impersonator/former UGA defensive coordinator and other members of the Alabama staff. Lee County’s Aubrey Solomon has said Alabama is his leader by a wide margin, and crystal ball predictions in favor of the Tide came flooding in during his time in San Antonio for the Army All-American Bowl (including one from SB Nation’s own Bud Elliott).
I’m not buying it just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised necessarily if Solomon chooses the Tide. Alabama has an unbelievable record of developing elite defensive line talent and getting players to the NFL. That’s a major selling point. But if Solomon crosses the state line to play college football it will only be after he and his family buck a great deal of peer pressure from the instate recruits who haven’t stopped telling Solomon they want to play with him in Athens. Solomon actually left yesterday for an official visit at Southern Cal.
While they were in southwest Georgia the Bulldog coaches also stopped in to visit Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant at Crisp County. Bryant will decide soon from among Georgia, Auburn, and LSU. Georgia is considered the favorite, but I wouldn’t rule out Auburn. Bryant may be the Tigers’ top remaining target, and is the cousin of star Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
Bryant is among a host of Bulldog commits and targets who are in Athens this weekend for official visits. Among those are several UGA commits who want to make absolutely clear that their minds are made up.
Taking my one and only official to UGA this weekend— Andrew Thomas (@allforgod_55) January 11, 2017
Taking my one and only official visit to Georgia this weekend ❤️— treymendous® (@trey_blount) January 12, 2017
Aubrey Solomon isn’t the only elite prospect trying to decide whether to cross the Alabama line for college. Clay-Chalkville wide receiver Nico Collins has an offer from the Crimson Tide and has been a priority for Jim Harbuagh and Michigan for a while. But Georgia has stayed with Collins, and a lot of recruiting analysts are starting to predict that the 6’5 standout will end up in Athens. 247Sports Georgia recruiting experts Rusty Mansell and Kipp Adams predicted in September that Collins would end up a ‘Dawg. Yesterday they were joined in 247Sports crystal ball predictions by 247 Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong, Georgia 247 analyst Jake Rowe, and Dave Bevan, a writer for the network’s Ole Miss site.
Crystal ball predictions are not infallible. Frankly, some of the guys who produce them are what economists would call “contrary indicators”, they’re best predictive feature is telling you what most assuredly will not happen.
But when guys like Wiltfong, Rowe, Adams, and Mansell start concurring late in the process it usually means they know something, or have read the writing on the wall. Collins would immediately join Javon Wims and fellow signee Jeremiah Holloman in upgrading the size of the Bulldog receiving corps. I also kind of like the idea of capping this class filled with most of the best players the Peach State has to offer with one of the best in the Yellowhammer State. Just to let ‘em know what's up.
Finally, it continues to look like Towers defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt may not have shut things down completely. Coaches from Florida are expected to visit him today, and he continues to be pursued by South Carolina. Wyatt may not be the most highly rated prospect in Georgia’s 2017 class, but if the Bulldogs don’t land Solomon and can’t hold onto Wyatt the class would likely lack a true defensive tackle. That’s not ideal, even with the DT tackle in Athens now and the amount of talent at the position in 2018 (which is pretty substantial). Until later . . .