North Carolina TE chooses UGA over UNC

John Lilly is smiling today. The Bulldogs received a commitment from a target UGA's tight ends coach had wanted all along.

New Hanover three-star Garrett Walston committed to the Bulldogs over North Carolina. It wasn't anything elaborate. He didn't trumpet his choice from his Twitter account. There was no press conference at his local high school.

New Hanover tight end Garrett Walston made his decision today. Do not expect a flip. (247sports)

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New Hanover tight end Garrett Walston made his decision today. Do not expect a flip. (247sports)

It all went as planned. Just a simple phone call to the coaches who were recruiting him at each school. New Hanover offensive coordinator Darryl Raynor confirmed Walston's choice with the AJC on Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: WHY UGA wanted Walston so badly

Walston becomes the 12th commitment for the 2016 class in Athens.

UGA's coaches had felt for a long time that Walston was undervalued. His skills were the type that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told a New Hanover coach he looked good enough to be ready to play in the NFL in three years.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder needs to bulk up to about 240 in college. He’s a “B” student and is taking AP classes. He will enroll early in January. He caught 44 passes last season and 10 of those went for touchdowns. He averaged a gaudy 19.3 yards per reception as a junior.

What kind of athlete is he? Walston played three sports at one time in high school and was even a part-time quarterback. His 40-yard dash time has been estimated at between 4.65 and 4.75 seconds. He’s been rated as the No. 17 tight end prospect in the nation for the Class of 2016, but that stock has shot up considerably this summer. He was the No. 60 tight end just a few months ago.

Want to know something about him that’s better than any star rating or position ranking? Here’s two nuggets on Walston:

1) He was moved up to the varsity when he was a sophomore. From that moment on, he’s been the leader of his varsity football team. That stuff cannot be undervalued. All these guys UGA recruits can play. Are they invested in a common goal? What does it take to get them to buy in? Walston has shown the ability to do that on a daily basis for the last three years. He’s been the most competitive player on his high school team since he was moved up to the varsity.

2) Here’s THE Walston story. We’ll let New Hanover coach Darryl Raynor tell it.

“We just moved him up to varsity,” Raynor said. “We were playing two tight ends and he had missed two blocks in a row. I had motioned him over and he missed his blocks and we got hit in the backfield.”

When the play was over, Raynor found Walston. He peppered in some new instructions and sprinkled in a few choice words.

“We get the ball next on the 10-yard line,” Raynor said. “We’re literally on the 10. So I put him in on the next play but not before saying ‘Are you going to block the kid this time for us?’ and I loved his response.”

He responded.

“He was like foaming at the mouth,” Raynor said. “He blocks the linebacker so far he pushes him all the way into the end zone and smashes him into the field goal post. I was like I knew how to get under his skin now.”

Check out just the first two plays of his Hudl highlight film below. Three-star? Yeah, right. There aren’t 15 tight ends in the country in any year who can make plays like that.

Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.