The Georgia Bulldogs are one of the hottest teams in the country on the recruiting trail. And with one final summer camp this weekend, things could get even better for the ‘Dawgs.
Just this week, head coach Kirby Smart added two more commitments in running back Toneil Carter and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. Those commitments pushed the 'Dawgs to the No. 2 overall class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Just moved up to #2 in the recruiting rankings after the commitments of 4 Toneil Carter and Andrew Thomas. pic.twitter.com/pYHwWTi8Ft— UGA Recruiting (@UgaRecruitNews) July 11, 2016
Several top targets are on hand for the festivities and Smart hopes to make a big impression on some of UGa's top targets.
One such prospect is 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Willis of Lexington, Ky. Willis is massive, standing 6'5" and weighing 318 pounds. He is the nation's No. 37 overall prospect and seventh-ranked offensive tackle, per 247Sports.
Willis continues Georgia's trend this cycle of targeting big, physical offensive linemen that can contribute early in their college careers. Willis has offers from some of the nation's top schools including Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame in addition to the Bulldogs. Currently, it looks like a battle between his hometown school—Kentucky—and Notre Dame. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will surely factor heavily in Willis' recruitment.
Perhaps the biggest news of this weekend is the arrival of the nation's top safety: Tyreke Johnson.
Kirby Smart and 5-star safety Tyreke Johnson from Jacksonville at UGA camp. pic.twitter.com/QOvQ1FuRaK— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) July 16, 2016
Johnson is a versatile defensive back capable of playing both cornerback and safety at the next level. At 6'1", 177 pounds, Johnson's size, athleticism and versatility reminds some of former Florida State All-American Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey played both corner and safety during his collegiate career.
He has the frame to play safety, but possesses elite ball skills and displays the ability to man one side of the field. The Bulldogs will have to put in work on Johnson, as FSU, Alabama and UCLA are currently their stiffest competition.
One player who isn't in Athens this weekend, but is a major priority for UGa is 5-star athlete JaCoby Stevens.
Stevens, a 6'2", 200-pounder from Murfreesboro, Tn., is being recruited to Georgia to play safety. Pairing him with Richard LeCounte, UGa's other 5-star safety, would give Smart a potentially dynamic safety combination for the next few years.
Stevens has the size and athleticism to play all over the field. While most will notice his outstanding speed, Stevens has great awareness and instincts. He could line up all over the secondary for the ‘Dawgs, but long-term projects better at safety.
Some of Georgia's other commitments have gotten close with Stevens and he said he expects to make a college decision before the end of July, per Kipp Adams of 247Sports.
The plan right now is to announce my commitment this month but to who, I do not know. As of right now, I do not know if I will be making any visits before, but even if I do not visit anywhere, I will still make my commitment this month. That is one of the reasons I am not going anywhere, so I can stay home and focus on my decision.
Stevens spoke glowingly of the Bulldogs and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
I was messaging with Mel Tucker today. He said he wants me to be a Bulldog and I am a high priority for him. They are really excited about what they have going on in the future and the class that they have. I think very highly of Mel Tucker. He is a great coach who will do great things soon and be a great defensive coordinator in the SEC.
It sounds good for Georgia, but don't discount Tennessee, LSU and Auburn in this battle. You can bet Stevens will be keeping an eye out on what transpires between the Bulldogs and Johnson this weekend.
Much has been made of the lack of impact defensive linemen in the class of 2017. The Bulldogs received a commitment from one of the best, Robert Beal, earlier this month and would love nothing more than to add another defensive end and tackle for this class.
One such player is in Georgia's backyard: DE/OLB Walter Grant. The Bulldogs run a 3-4 scheme and Grant is well-suited to play OLB in the 3-4. His size is reminiscent of recently-departed Leonard Floyd.
Grant has a big frame (6'4", 235), capable of adding 20-30 more pounds of muscle with ease. His long arms make life difficult for opposing offensive tackles. Grant is surprisingly good dropping into coverage. That's often an area in which most high-school players lack experience.
This could be a huge weekend for Smart and make sure to check back with us for a recap of Georgia's final recruiting camp of the summer.