Georgia recruit Dylan Raiola, nation’s No. 1 prospect, plans transfer to Buford

Quarterback would give Wolves three 5-star players

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Dylan Raiola, the consensus No. 1 recruit for 2024, plans to play his senior season at Buford to be closer to the University of Georgia, where he is committed to play.

Raiola played his junior season in Arizona and led Chandler High to a 9-3 record and the state semifinals while passing for 2,435 yards and 22 touchdowns. Raiola transferred later in his junior season to another Arizona school, Pinnacle, but there was the possibility he would have to sit out games there this fall because of Arizona’s transfer rules.

Raiola’s father, former NFL player Dominic Raiola, told the Arizona Republic that this was another factor in the Georgia move.

“Biggest thing is missing games,” Dominic Raiola told the newspaper. “We talked to (Pinnacle coach Dana) Zupke, and, with his experience with the (Arizona Interscholastic Association), he is in full support of Dylan being free and clear to play a full senior season.”

Dominic Raiola, a close friend and former teammate of former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, said his son enrolled at Buford on Wednesday. Raiola was seen Tuesday at Georgia watching a 7-on-7 tournament.

Raiola’s transfer will give Buford three of the nation’s 32 consensus five-star recruits, the most of any high school. Defensive back K.J. Bolden and defensive lineman Eddrick Houston are top-20 national recruits. Buford would be the first Georgia school in history with three senior five-star players on its roster.

Buford is Georgia’s most successful program this century, with 13 state titles, though most of those were won in lower classifications. Increasing enrollment and new GHSA rules regarding out-of-zone students moved the Wolves into the highest class for the first time last season.

They finished 11-1 after spending most of the season ranked No. 1 in Class 7A. Buford’s 2022 quarterback, Dylan Wittke, graduated after signing with Virginia Tech.

Though it has fielded other major Division I quarterbacks over the years, Buford typically is a run-oriented team. The most recent AJC first-team all-state quarterback was Kyle Manley in 2003.

To be eligible this season, Raiola must move into the Buford attendance zone with his full family unit. Raiola’s younger brother, Dayton, is a sophomore quarterback who played on Chandler’s JV team last season.

The most recent high-profile out-of-state transfer into Georgia was declared ineligible after one game in 2020 for failing to meet the GHSA’s bona-fide move requirements.

Jake Garcia, now a sophomore at Missouri, came from California in 2020 and played briefly at Valdosta before it was discovered that one parent had stayed behind. Garcia transferred again that season to Grayson and led that program to a state title, causing the GHSA to amend its bylaws to prevent ineligible players from gaining immediate eligibility elsewhere.

Buford will open the season Aug. 18 against St. Frances Academy at home in a game between teams almost certain to start the season with top-10 national rankings.