Updates on Georgia football recruiting

Kirby Smart  led Georgia to a 13-2 record last season. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Kirby Smart led Georgia to a 13-2 record last season. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

A number of big recruiting targets will be in Athens for an unofficial visit weekend that will carry some weight.

Look for a mixture of commits and top targets to show up. Perhaps one of the biggest targets will be 4-star running back John Emery Jr. of Destrehan, La.

Here are a few quick things to know about the Emery visit:

  • Georgia could be in a sprint to the finish with LSU for the nation's No. 5 RB for 2019 on the 247Sports composite. He also rates as the nation's No. 68 overall prospect.
  • The Bulldogs sent receivers coach and area recruiter Cortez Hankton and running backs coach Dell McGee to see him take four snaps at his spring game on Wednesday night. There were coaches from at least five staffs on hand to watch Emery.
  • He is expected to bring at least one key member of his immediate family along with him on the trip.
  • The 5-foot-11½, 200-pound rising senior took an earlier visit to UGA this year.

Update on Antonio Alfano 

Antonio Alfano, the nation’s No. 5 strongside defensive end prospect on the 247Sports composite, chose Alabama on Friday afternoon.

Alfano now becomes the third-highest-rated recruit for the Crimson Tide in their 2019 class. Alabama, with its 13 commitments, opens up a commanding lead for the nation’s No. 1 class for this cycle.

Where UGA recruiting ranks in 2019

Georgia has eight commitments for 2019. The most recent came from 4-star athlete Trezmen Marshall, who committed on April 27. Marshall, the nation's No. 8 athlete and No. 98 overall prospect, had made a silent pledge to the program a few weeks prior to the public reveal.

UGA sits at No. 7 nationally in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings. The Bulldogs have seen Florida State and Miami eclipse them in those rankings of late.

It is worth noting that Georgia is the only team in the nation’s top 15 that has fewer than nine commitments. Georgia has an average rating of 95.78 per commit. That’s the highest average per pledge in the nation.

Alabama has 13 pledges and has taken over the top spot. Texas A&M and its 12 pledges rank No. 2 in the SEC and chart at No. 3 nationally.

Jadon Haselwood, a 5-star wide receiver (Cedar Grove H.S./Ellenwood, Ga.), is the highest-rated Georgia commit. He is the No. 5 overall player in the nation, according to the composite. Haselwood is ranked as the nation's No. 1 receiver prospect for 2019.

The Bulldogs have two commitments for 2020. The latest is tackle Broderick JonesHe committed to the Bulldogs twice earlier this year and revealed that decision to DawgNation last month. The 4-star prospect drips with 5-star potential and rates on 247Sports as the nation's No. 35 prospect for 2020.

How the 2019 UGA recruiting class is being built:

June 11, 2016: 4-star tackle Luke Griffin (North Murray/Chatsworth, Ga.) commits to UGA

Jan. 29, 2017: 5-star DE Nolan Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) commits to UGA

Feb. 18, 2017: 4-star DT Rashad Cheney Jr. (Washington High/Atlanta) commits to UGA

March 16, 2017: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood commits to UGA

July 15, 2017: 4-star LB J.D. Bertrand (Blessed Trinity/Roswell, Ga.) commits to UGA

July 16, 2017: 5-star WR Dominick Blaylock (Walton/Marietta, Ga) commits to UGA

Oct. 30, 2017: 4-star CB Jalen Perry (Dacula/Dacula, Ga.) commits to UGA

Jan. 25, 2018: Rashad Cheney Jr. de-commits from UGA

Feb. 7, 2018: 4-star TE Ryland Goede (Kennesaw Mountain/Kennesaw, Ga.) commits to UGA

March 18, 2018: 4-star DE Bill Norton (Christian Brothers/Memphis, Tenn.) commits to UGA

April 1, 2018: Luke Griffin de-commits from UGA

April 27, 2018: 4-star ATH Trezman Marshall commits to UGA

Who are the 2019 misses for UGA recruiting?

Owen Pappoe chose Auburn on May 1. That was a rare miss of a highly sought in-state prospect. The Bulldogs have been getting their targets over and over of late.

But no college program goes 100 percent with its recruiting pitch. Who are the 2019 priorities that the Bulldogs have missed on? The new Auburn pledge tops the list, but he wasn’t the only one UGA would’ve liked to have seen on its board.


Owen Pappoe, 5-star OLB, Grayson High/Loganville, Ga: Pappoe committed to Auburn. The Bulldogs recruited him to play ILB and that's a better fit for him than out on the edges of an SEC defense. Auburn's pitch also included more of a role at the Star or Money position in their defense. That's probably the best fit for a 6-foot-1, 209-pound speedster with rare acceleration and explosiveness plus tenacity.

Chris Hinton, 5-star SDE, Greater Atlanta Christian/Norcross, Ga.: Hinton chose Michigan last August. The 5-star defensive end is the son of longtime NFL offensive line great Chris Hinton. He ranks as the nation's No. 15 overall prospect for 2019. Hinton and his family stressed academics in his recruiting process. The Bulldogs will continue to recruit him until he signs.

Kyle Hamilton, 3-star S, Marist/Atlanta: Hamilton chose Notre Dame shortly after G-Day. Don't let that 3-star rating fool you. The 6-4, 188-pound prospect starred as an all-state performer for a state finalist team last season. We're told Kirby Smart only needed to see the first two to three plays of his tape to offer. Hamilton spent a lot of time with UGA freshman Justin Fields on his unofficial visit for G-Day. He also values the academic fit, having scored a 30 on his ACT.

OTHERS TO CONSIDER: 4-star OLB Stephen Herron Jr. (Michigan); 4-star tackle Amari Kight (Alabama)

UGA recruiting by position in 2019

Which positions are the major priorities for 2019? Well, the receiver spot was one, but that has been checked off with two 5-stars (Blaylock and Haselwood), who rate as the nation’s top two receivers, respectively

Here’s the wood left to chop in terms of positional priorities for the class:

  • Defensive tackle (2 or 3 more)
  • Tackle (2)
  • Safety (1 or 2)
  • Quarterback (1)

The weekly pinch of UGA recruiting perspective

Georgia's 2019 class is ranked No. 7 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC.

The Bulldogs had only one member — two if we count Adam Anderson, who de-committed and eventually re-committed — of their top-ranked 2018 class on the board at this time a year ago. That would be eventual 4-star cornerback Chris Smith II.

That class wound up No. 1 in the nation to break a seven-year run for Alabama at the top spot. Georgia will not sign as many prospects as it did in the 2018 class (26) and that might prevent it from successfully defending that ranking in 2019.

2019 UGA recruiting position breakdown 

Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected to be signed:

  • QB: 0/1
  • RB: 0/1
  • TE: 1/1 (Goede)
  • WR: 2/3 (Blaylock, Haselwood)
  • OL: 0/2
  • DE: 1/2 (Norton)
  • DT: 0/3
  • ILB: 2/3 (Bertrand, Marshall)
  • OLB: 1/1 (Smith)
  • CB: 1/2 (Perry)
  • S: 0/2
  • Scenario to watch out for: My information says not to rule out the possibility the Bulldogs might take two running backs. But only the right pairing. If Noah Cain, John Emery Jr. and Trey Sanders all express the desire to sign, then UGA could take two of them. Huh? It would mean two seniors in Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien, one junior in D'Andre Swift and a pair of 2018 signees in James Cook and Zamir White for 2019. That said, it is very difficult to picture that without the possibility of Holyfield or Herrien departing early to the NFL or transferring.

Totals: 8/21

Geographical UGA recruiting breakdown 

Here’s a breakdown of the current UGA commits by state:

  • Georgia: 6 (Bertrand, Blaylock, Goede, Haselwood, Marshall, Perry)
  • Florida: 1 (Smith)
  • Tennessee: 1 (Norton)