Welcome to “20 for 2021”, our look at twenty of the prospects Georgia Bulldog fans need to know for the 2021 recruiting class. We begin with a huge instate prospect from the heart of Georgia, Bleckley County offensive tackle Amarius Mims.
One of the tricky aspects of maintaining a college football program is that you’re never very far away from a roster crisis. Take the University of Georgia offensive line. Over the past several years Sam Pittman helped stock the Dawgs’ cupboard with literally tons of blue chip offensive line talent. But now Pittman’s in Fayetteville preparing for his first year as the head coach at Arkansas. Also gone are starting tackles Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas, both Early entries to the NFL Draft. And Cade Mays, expected to start in 2020 for the Bulldogs and now going through offseason workouts with his new teammates in Knoxville.
It might be a mistake to say that new offensive line coach Matt Luke is in dire need. He did after all just sign Rivals’ top two offensive tackles for the 2020 class in Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge. And that’s to say nothing of perennial starters Trey Hill and Ben Cleveland, and several players (Justin Shaffer, Jamaree Salyer, Warren Ericson) with at least some starting experience. Luke and Kinry Smart probably aren’t going to be holding open tryouts in Athens.
But it is safe to say that the price of elite line talent is eternal recruiting vigilance. With Cleveland and Shaffer certainly gone after 2020, and Salyer and Hill draft eligible, the Bulldogs have to real need to restock up front in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Lucky for them there are some impressive offensive line recruits in this class. Even luckier, three of 247Sports’ top ten tackle prospects in the country all hail from the Peach State. *
The highest ranked, and arguably the top priority, is Bleckley County standout Amarius Mims. Whispers about the big prospect from Middle Georgia starting popping up after a sophomore season that saw him line up at tight end/H back and defensive end as he returned from a broken leg suffered during basketball season. Mims was a big underclassman, but he’s grown into a certifiably huge rising senior. At 6’7 1⁄2 and 315 pounds, Mims somehow looks mountainous and trim at the same time.
Competition #2 Done! @amarius_mims is the winner! #GoRoyals pic.twitter.com/tu7lkmz7G3— Von Lassiter (@von_lassiter) February 5, 2020
(He’s also apparently a champion leg wrestler. Who woulda thunk it?)
Mims has a near 7 seven foot wingspan and large hands, and as the recent photo above shows, could likely add 25 pounds of good weight with little trouble. What I’m saying is, Mims passes the eyeball test so far as elite tackle talent goes.
That hasn’t gone unnoticed in the recruiting world. 247Sports ranks him the #3 offensive tackle and #13 player regardless of position in the country. Rivals recently named him the top offensive tackle and #2 prospect in the nation regardless of position.
What’s really impressed scouts is Mims’ athleticism. Lots of guys are big. Big looks good coming off the bus. It doesn’t win one-on-one battles in the SEC. Everyone there is big. The thing that sets the really special offensive linemen, especially tackles, apart is their feet and lower body flexibility. Mims is one of the best in the country in those areas.
Congrats to Rivals Camp alum Amarius Mims (@amarius_mims) on being named a 5-star and the No. 2 overall player in the player in the updated 2021 @rivals rankings.— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) February 10, 2020
Amarius participated in the Rivals Camp in 2019 as well as the 5-star Challenge pic.twitter.com/oQgJddCYgu
Frighteningly, Mims plays both ways, lining up at defensive end as well and also standing out on the basketball court. Georgia was the first school to offer, followed soon after by the Florida Gators. He’s now accumulated offers from a veritable who’s who of college football’s elite programs, and recently narrowed his choices down to a top 12.
#AGTG TOP 12‼️ @GeorgiaFootball @GamecockFB @AggieFootball @AlabamaFTBL @FSUFootball @USC_FB @GatorsFB @Vol_Football @AuburnFootball @LSUfootball @ClemsonFB @oregonfootball @CoachMac68 @CoachPatrick478 @von_lassiter @ChadSimmons_ @MattDeBary @Mansell247 pic.twitter.com/34ufholAON— 〽️ I 〽️ S (@amarius_mims) February 5, 2020
The Bulldogs are the clear favorite, but won’t land him without a fight. Mims has a good relationship with recent Bulldog QB commit Brock Vandagriff, and frankly there are few towns more red and black than Cochran (except of course when they play rival Dodge County). Like a lot of players Mims had built a solid relationship with Sam Pittman, but it sounds like he’s also been favorably impressed with what Matt Luke brings to the Classic City.
Landing Mims is a priority for the Bulldogs both because he’s precisely the type of big, mobile player Matt Luke and Todd Monken want on their offense, and because he may very well end the cycle as the top player in the state and one of the top five in the nation. Andrew Thomas leaves Athens as the most successful left tackle in Bulldog history, and the race to replace him is a bit up in the air. Mims is among the prospects in this class who could be the future at that critical position. Until later . . .
*A theme you’ll see through this series is the number of homegrown prospects on the list. After going out of state for the majority of its 2020 class, look for Georgia to take advantage of a loaded 2021 class in Georgia to once again try to put a fence around the Peach State.