“Dawg Night” for 2015 came and went like the vapor trail on a Jacob Eason spiral. The two-day affair stretched across two sessions.
What were the highlights? What stood out? Let’s get after it:
10 quick-hit observations from Dawg Night
1. This was a Waffle House camp – The late night gorging on prospects spilled all over like a triple scattered, smothered, covered, diced, chopped and capped dish. UGA head coach Mark Richt told the campers before the drill work got underway it was the best night for prospects in Dawg Night history.
The combine testing lasted approximately 90 minutes longer than expected because of an overflow of numbers. A rough estimate puts the morning’s numbers at about 315 campers and the evening and another 500 or so.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was overheard saying in the direction of his fellow coaches he “couldn’t believe the amount of talent here” for Dawg Night.
Trying to take a picture of every big name this year in less than an hour would require a staff of about five photographers. At least.
2. UGA landed another 2017 commitment — The biggest news of the day came early in the testing period at Sanford Stadium when Glynn Academy athlete Deejay Dallas announced his commitment via social media.
He hoped to make the weekend special by competing, but he still wasn’t cleared to play from a foot injury he suffered earlier in the year. He found a way to make a memory this weekend regardless. The No. 2 commitment of the 2017 class already seemed at ease with the first member of that group on Saturday in Sanford Stadium.
3. Gobs of talent, Part I – They’ll be more to come on the quarterbacks, but the back-to-back-to-back reps taken by 5-star senior Jacob Eason followed by 4-star junior Bailey Hockman and then likely 4-to-5 star sophomore Trevor Lawrence was an embarrassment of arm talent.
Each one of those guys will start at least 20 games for an SEC team. Eason and Hockman should both do so at UGA. That’s actually a conservative prediction.
That grouping pushed one another and it would not be out of bounds to say Lawrence might have been the most consistent passer of the night.
4. Effective amateur recruiting — Who was doing the wooing here? It was easy to see 5-star Isaac Nauta was a target even if he wasn’t working out.
Tony Eason – Jacob’s father – spent some time on Saturday night talking to the talented tight end and with good reason. He knows his son’s completion percentage at UGA would rise by at least five percent if he got to throw to Nauta for at least three years.
UGA DL commitment Julian Rochester also made sure to have a laugh and a word with big names like Maryland 4-star OL Terrance Davis and top overall national prospect Rashan Gary.
5. Gobs of talent, Part II – Remember that about the QBs? There was more where that came from with the running backs. Four-star RB Elijah Holyfield turned heads by working out.
The next rep was 2017 5-star runner Anthony McFarland from Maryland. It wasn’t long before 2016 4-star Texan Devwah Whaley flew out of the gate. He’s the No. 4 RB in the nation for 2016. Sprayberry’s Trey Sermon – the nation’s No. 4 RB for 2017 – was also in the Dawg Night stable on Saturday. Impressive 2017 Georgian Kurt Taylor also made that position group shine.
What also made that position group even stronger? Well, one of the first Eason flare passes to the flat was caught by none other than Nick Chubb. He ran demonstration route for the other campers.
6. There could have been even more talent working out – Nauta wasn’t working out. Neither was 2017 Alabama OL commitment Netori Johnson on the offensive line. Or the state’s No. 1 OL target in E.J. Price. Gary — the nation’s top overall prospect for 2016 – also did not work out.
Savannah Christian’s Demetris Robertson — the nation’s No. 1 athlete – also chose not to participate. Trayvon Mullen – the nation’s No. 4 CB – also did not work out. Peachtree Ridge’s DeAngelo Gibbs — the nation’s top-rated CB for 2017 — also chose to soak in up rather than soak competing in the heat.
That said, the players that did work didn’t leave anyone pining for those guys to lace the cleats up either.
Archer’s Kyle Davis — the nation’s newest 5-star WR — also found time for a little freestyle. Not bad. He should not give up this top-rated receiver in the nation thing he’s got going on, but his album can be better than the one Deion Sanders put out years ago.
7. Looked good in white – UGA might’ve started a new Dawg Night tradition. The current commitments who attended the camp all wore white T-shirts when they competed in drills.
The front of those shirts read “Committed to the G” and became status symbols. OL coach Rob Sale had to appreciate the fact that all three of the team’s OL commitments for 2016 (Chris Barnes, Ben Cleveland and Aaron Dowdell) competed this year. Those guys were among the top OL performers on the night.
Check out this Vine video from 247sports guru Rusty Mansell of Big Country at work in the OL drills.
8. Jamyest Williams is tremendous at cornerback – Let’s tackle an insanely difficult question: Who had the best day of all the campers? The work Williams did protecting the shores of his island was impossible to miss. His name immediately pops to mind.
“Feel sorry for everybody with Jamyest,” one observer said. “Nobody getting anything on him. He’s eating. He’s the only one eating on his side.”
(Quick 2015 real-world football translation: When a player is eating, that means he is excelling at his job description)
UGA made the Archer junior’s Top 10 when he recently released it, but barely. The reason was because UGA had yet to clarify what position he had been offered at. He might not even be 5 feet, 10 inches, but it just doesn’t matter. It didn’t at The Opening last week or at Dawg Night.
9. Match game at work — The alignment of the order in drill rep was able to send a message. The top campers at each position group went first.
That meant when Eason took a rep he was throwing to Holyfield with passes to the backs. When it came time for quick routes and the post, his throws were going to 4-star ATH target Mecole Hardman, Jr.
The intent: “Yeah, I need to play with that guy” was the thought.
10. Positons of need – Who will be the next commitment?
That’s an easy deduction for the 2016 class. Take your pick between linebacker and running back. Both spots currently have zero commitments on the Big Board for the Class of 2016. That better not last long.
Well, there’s also punter and kicker. Yet expect UGA to take only one of those this year.
Keep checking back for updates: There should be a lot of news breaking later today about offers and potentially even more commitments. Last year’s Dawg Night produced four commitments. The Dawg Night 24-hour commitment record is believed to be five. That was back in 2011.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.
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