Florida’s IMG Academy is an absolute football prospect gold mine. The school was designed for just that purpose, to gather in as many blue chip prospects from around the country as possible. By all outward appearances it might as well be a college program.
Which is why it makes sense that the school had a football media day today. SB Nation’s own Bud Elliott was on hand, and he took the opportunity to engage in an intriguing experiment. Bud asked the high profile high schoolers where they’re considering playing in college. He got the usual responses. But he also asked them where they thought their teammates would be going.
The results were enlightening, especially for UGA fans. The good news? Players almost universally believe that Georgia leads for big wide receiver Jalen Jordan. The 3 star Alpharetta native would upgrade the size of the Dawgs’ receiving corps if he picks UGA over Tech and others.
The rub with that prediction may be Georgia not having room for the 6’5, 210 pounder. The Bulldogs have a great shot at Peach County standout Kearis Jackson, especially if QB Justin Fields picks Georgia. They’re also working hard to recruit Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor and Tucker slot receiver Josh Vann, among others.
The news is slightly less encouraging on mammoth offensive tackle Daniel Faalele. A solid majority of IMG college prospects believe the Australian transplant will wind up playing for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. While three of them mentioned UGA, it was always as an alternative to the Wolverines.
With Oklahoma OT Owen Condon already committed and a handful of talented young tackles in the 2017 class, Faalele may not be a must-sign player. But he’s going to be something very special in a couple of years, and it would be nice if he did so in Athens.
The really bad news from Bud’s interviews is in the 2019 Bulldog class, however. That’s where Savannah native and potential top player in the country Nolan Smith, II can be found. For now at least. Smith is emphatic that he won’t end up anywhere but Athens.
His teammates however seem pretty confident that Smith is preparing to flip to Clemson. That rumor has been around for weeks, but I maintain that Smith’s recruitment won’t be over for many months, no matter where he’s committed at any given moment.
One thing we do know for sure: no matter what they may say to keep their own state’s high school coaches happy, Kirby Smart and other college coaches will continue to beat a path to Bradenton to recruit IMG. Getting some commitments out of the place is an important step.