Those who have been around this site for sometime now that we take recruiting seriously. However, we know better than to take it too seriously too far out into the future. There are several weeks between now and Signing Day 2023, much less 2024.
Still, no red blooded Bulldog could help be excited about the recruiting week Kirby Smart and his staff pulled off. Georgia notched commitments from a pair of talented junior skill position players, one from the Peach State and another from New England. In sum they contributed to a pretty solid early core for Georgia’s 2024 recruiting class.
Things got started on Monday with the pledge of Cass High (Cartersville) receiver/defensive back Sacovie White. White’s only other Power 5 offer at this point is from Maryland, and he’s rated a three star recruit in the very early 247Sports rankings. Based on that information alone you could be forgiven if you were not doing cartwheels at the news of his commitment. However, if you talk to football coaches in northwest Georgia there’s already a growing understanding of what White can do on a football field. As if on cue, take a look at this play from last Friday night.
Week 9 Top Plays— Recruit Georgia (@RecruitGeorgia) October 17, 2022
GO vote for the #1 play: https://t.co/PemHwQVZjQ#RGTop10 @ZayWilliams05 @Jakobijones13 @RavonGrant @_timmybrown_ @tarezhamilton @KenyonPipes @SacovieW @ronneljohnson19 @Jr1Malone @TraeWalker11 pic.twitter.com/G48CjdPac6
At 5’9 and 165 pounds White isn’t going to be the first guy off the bus, but his ball skills are impressive and he has speed you can’t teach. I’d look for him to end up finding a home at slot receiver in Athens.
The good news kept coming on Sunday with the commitment of quarterback Ryan Puglisi out of Avon Old Farms School (CT). The 6’3, 195 pound junior threw at Georgia in June and picked up an offer after his strong performance. By that point he had already picked up scholarship tenders from Ole Miss, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Purdue, and Alabama among others.
Again, Puglisi is not the highest rated player at his position. He’s not the highest rated player at his position with whom the Bulldogs had been linked in this cycle. Truth be told, 247Sports ranks him the fourth best junior prospect in the football hotbed of Connecticut.
Why then have the national champions hitched their wagon to him this early in the recruiting cycle? Allow me to show you.
Puglisi has all the tools Todd Monken looks for in his quarterbacks. He has a quick, almost effortless release and is able to adjust his throwing angle and zip the ball on the run. He’s got touch on intermediate throws but also the ability to gun it in there when he needs to. A lot of high school signal callers are gun shy about putting the ball up and letting their receivers make one-on-one contested catches. Puglisi isn’t, and shows solid instincts for ball placement in those situations.
Puglisi reminds me a bit of both Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton in terms of build and skill set. Although he certainly doesn’t have the wheels Stockton does, he’s another guy who can make the throws our offense requires and can tuck it and go if he needs to.
I admit I’m a little concerned about the level of competition, as some of these highlights are against players who certainly wouldn’t be on the varsity at the IMGs, Bufords, and Valdostas of the high school football world. But Puglisi looks like a guy with all the tools, who if he develops has genuine NFL level upside.
Look for both White and Puglisi to make big jumps in the national recruiting rankings after this season. One of the hallmarks of this UGA staff over the years has been their confidence in their recruiting evaluations. Sure, the Red and Black roster is stocked with former five stars. But when they go after a player who’s under the radar it’s usually for good reason, and often before others appreciate the player’s skill set. Call it “the Ladd McConkey Principle.”
To me White and Puglisi both look like commits whose impact could far outpace their initial hype.