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College
Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA
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Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry will serve as the firstDawgNation profile for highly-regarded 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin. There is a lot of material to share here.

There are already a few connections from impressive 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin to the University of Georgia.

His mother, Denise Livingston, is a UGA grad. That Martin family tree will also list former Georgia Bulldog star Mecole Hardman Jr. as a cousin. The roots of Martin's family trace back to Hartwell near Elbert County.

Martin just committed to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl out in Texas, too. That elite invitation and early pledge to that prestigious game will say something about his skill set. That early career goal takes him back to his FBU (Football University) days with other top 2022 prospects like Rabun County's Gunner Stockton and Grayson's Marquis Groves-Killebrew.

Martin and Groves-Killebrew aspire to play together in college. That topic among close friends will come up a lot on the recruiting trail, but those two make a more convincing argument than most of their peers do.

"That's my brother right there," Martin said. "We've got a great relationship. There's a high chance we will be playing together. Every time that we are together everything goes well. We are always communicating. We have got very good vibes with each other."

Those two would hang together for weeks in the summer. That was even prior to their rise as elite 2022 football prospects. They now train with the highly-successful Hustle Inc. 7-on-7 football program.

Martin articulates why he wants to excel at football with great passion.

"Football is in my blood and it is what my family does," Martin said. "It is like everybody in my family plays football so it is like an I-have-to-do-it-situation and I've got to be there for my Mom and my parents. If I get where I want to be in football, it will make a difference for us."

The Marietta High playmaker is the youngest of three brothers. The oldest played college football as well but gave it up to pursue a career as a special education teacher. His middle brother is currently playing at the junior college level. It sounds like all the boys in his family play football.

When he picked up his recent UGA offer, it was met with great joy in his family.

"My mom graduated from Georgia so she was really excited and my auntie graduated from Georgia," he said.

Mom will play it cool, though.

"She's always wanted me to go to Georgia but if that is not the best choice for me then she will understand," Martin said.

Hardman also did not apply press coverage about being a Dawg.

"He just said that for him it was the best choice and he would love for me to go there," Martin said. "But if it is not the best choice for me at that time then he will understand."

Martin said he been to Georgia at least five times. He counted up trips to four games. How does he feel about Georgia?

"I've been up to Georgia plenty of times and it is just like the feeling of even if you are not playing there and even if you are not committed there you are still family," he said. "I love the vibes there. Everybody is nice. Everybody is cool. I haven't visited a lot of places as many times as I have visited Georgia."

"Every time I go up there it is the same thing. Everybody is saying Hi' and asking how your day was. It is just always a great feeling up there."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Martin has been that tall since he enrolled at Marietta. He picked up the nickname of "six-three" awhile back.

The tall jokes have been constant, but that is a very good thing. Martin currently charts as the nation's No. 5 OLB and the nation's No. 48 overall prospect for 2022 on 247Sports.

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Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

The surface level scouting stuff about Daniel Martin

Dell McGee is the primary recruiter for the Bulldogs with Martin. He extended that offer to become a Bulldog. He was offered to play OLB for Georgia, but that might not be his best position.

"When I got the offer I was so surprised," Martin said. "I was thinking I would need more film to get a Georgia offer. But once he did, it was just a great feeling to know that I got an offer from my home team and the team I grew up watching and watching my cousin play there and see what that did for him. It was just a great feeling."

Georgia and Oregon were his dream schools coming up. He has basically only visited Auburn and Georgia with any frequency up to this point.

"Georgia is definitely a top school that I always looked up to," Martin said.

McGee was able to track Martin for more than a minute on his other trips to check out Marietta High over the years. That program has been a hotbed over the last 2-3 years and Martin is the type of athlete who will stand out on any field.

He was even skilled enough to be an injury stopgap replacement at quarterback for the Blue Devil freshman team in 2018.

Martin was also a freshman varsity starter at Marietta High and handled himself quite well. He further distinguished himself between the lines as a terrific plug-and-play defender for the GHSA Class 7A state champions last fall, too.

Let's zoom in on one specific aspect of the stretch run to the playoffs. While he started most of the season at what would be seen as the "Star" position in Georgia's defense, that spot is known as the "Stud" in the Marietta High defensive look.

When playoff time came around, it meant he needed to be prepared to get a good look from the first-team Marietta offense. The Marietta offense needed some great weekly prep from the Blue Devil defense, too.

We've heard of the term "iron sharpens iron" ad naseum these days. Well, this became a case of "Arik" sharpens iron. Martin was the iron that was sharpened by the "Arik" in that little nugget. That would be 2020 5-star tight end Arik Gilbert.

"Not every kid is going to be 6 feet, 5 inches and 250 pounds and run routes like Arik can," Martin said.

No recent prospect has been able to put all of those elements together the way Gilbert has.

When those two went at it, it was a battle. Gilbert didn't win all of those either. That is a highly-impressive statement given that Gilbert is one of the finest hybrid receivers to come out of the state of Georgia in years.

"When I competed against him, it just made me better," Martin said. "It taught me that I couldn't be as physical as I wanted to with everybody. People can be the same size as me and I will have to rely on my feet more rather than my strength and my hands. I would have to play off more and wait for his reactions in the game."

He was the senior prospect in his varsity prime. Martin was the up-and-coming sophomore. There's a range of opinion that conveys that Martin was able to blanket and shut down Gilbert anywhere from 25 to maybe 40 percent of the time on his best days.

"When he and Arik would go at in on one-on-ones, it was always competitive," Marietta head coach Richard Morgan said. "Daniel won his share of battles whether it was in coverage. Maybe it was getting off a block. He did his part. I don't know the exact statistics are, but either way he performed very well. Especially just to be a high school sophomore going against a guy like Arik."

That little scouting detail there plus big-boy offers from Auburn, Georgia and Oregon over the last two months will certainly validate that his future is very bright.

Check the sophomore tape here below to just go ahead and remove all doubt. It will not include his five games and 25 tackles and that one Pick-6 against McEachern from his freshman campaign.

"I love contact," Martin said.

The back-and-forth debate about Daniel Martin right now

He does not yet have a 247Sports composite rating. The pure 247Sports ranking sheet for Martin will list him as the nation's No. 5 OLB and the No. 48 overall prospect.

That's a top 50 player nationally. But there's this thing.

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Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

Check him in person to the side here. Those shoulders don't really scream "SEC outside linebacker" and that's not necessarily a bad thing here.

Is he a future linebacker? Is he a safety? Is he a future "Star" or a nickel corner in the right matchups?

That is certainly an interesting debate. Yet it seems likely that his frame and shoulders won't really lend itself to a projection that he will be 245 pounds one day in the SEC or another big-boy conference.

It is already cliche in the recruiting world to label him as an "Isaiah Simmons" type of defensive athlete. That phrasing has certainly gone viral over the last eight months, but the most honest thing to say here is that Martin can be used in a variety of ways in a defense with the same creativity that Clemson had for Simmons over the last two seasons.

What position does Martin think he will play on Saturdays?

"I feel like I can be anything they wanted me to be just to be honest," Martin said. "I can go down the line and be aggressive and beat offenses with the speed. I can stay in the box and use my strength and move the linemen out of the way to get to the running back. I can cover real well. Just where ever they would need me."

"I can play strong safety. I can come down in the middle. I can play man coverage. I feel like I can play anything."

He has the most fun lined up at strong safety.

"That's where I have the most freedom while moving around," he said. "I can visualize everything and look down and break on the ball coming downhill and all of that. I can also go get the balls that the quarterbacks throw, too."

The head coach of the defending Class 7A state champions share his views on that intriguing topic.

"In our defense he is the Star' or the Stud' for us, and in my opinion that is his natural position," Marietta high school Richard Morgan said. "You don't have to substitute for him on third-and-long with a fifth defensive back when you go nickel or dime because he can still do that. He plan man coverage against slot receivers."

"He can stay on the field the entire game. He's just got a great skill set. He's so long and rangy he can cover the curl and the flat. He can blitz the quarterback. You're not run to the width of the field against him because he is just going to outflank you and make the play. It is difficult to just get around him."

Martin initially wanted to play safety for Marietta as a freshman. But he was already so aggressive and physical that the OLB spot just fit him better.

"He does have the skill set to play that boundary safety," Morgan said. "A lot of it is going to depend on how much bigger he gets."

The rising junior has a safety's skill set in a frame that might project in two years to an OLB in terms of his body.

"To me, that's what he is," Morgan said. "He's a safety, but he's such a great tackler and a great guy when he's close to the line of scrimmage that you can bring him on blitzes and things like that. He's got a safety skill set, but he's got that linebacker build and that linebacker mentality. He's just the combination. I know the coaches that I have talked to about him compare him to Isiah Simmons."

"To me that is a great comparison because of what he can do on the football field. But he still has to grow and develop and take your game to the next level. But I think where he is at now as a sophomore, I do think that skill set is very similar."

His Marietta film doesn't show off his ability to play man coverage, but he is very skilled at that, too. His work with Hustle, Inc. and Justin Miller have sharpened those tools, too. Miller shined brightly at Clemson and spent seven years in the NFL. The former Pro Bowler is now a well-known and highly-sought DB trainer in the Atlanta area.

Martin was always too big to cover guys coming up. He was always asked to play defensive end or linebacker or wide receiver. But he can certainly open up his hips and walk backwards in coverage.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound rising junior can shut down elite wide receivers at his size.

"I've had to prove to everybody that it doesn't matter about your size," he said. "You can play where ever you want. You just have to put your mind to it."

Whenever he is asked what position he plays, he starts off with the same answer.

"I start off with athlete and then if they ask me to be specific I will say outside linebacker-slash-nickel," Martin said.

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Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his “home” feeling at UGA

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com "Before the Hedges" program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download.

The Daniel Martin stories that we won't soon forget

The narrative scope so far has just been about Daniel Martin the player and some of his recruiting interest. If you've read this blog for anytime now, we don't just leave it at that around here.

What is Martin like was a person? Well, that's the stuff that locker rooms can build a program around.

"I'd love to commit on my uncle's birthday because my uncle passed a couple of years back," Martin said. "That was a person who always pushed me and I always looked up to and he was always helping me. Hopefully, I can commit on that day to honor him."

That is always an admirable gesture right there. Patrick Gibbs was born on September 19. That was his mother's brother. The Martin family lost Gibbs two years ago due to a heart attack. Gibbs was 38.

"He played football but he didn't make it that far," Martin said. "But he would always come to my games and support me and call me after my games to see how I did. He was pretty much just a great uncle. When my Dad wasn't around, he stepped in and helped me."

Morgan proved to be very insightful in adding to the character sketch of Martin as a young man. Not just his ability to fly in off the edge and blow up a bubble screen.

"I've got one," Morgan said. "Not a lot of other people know about it."

There's no need to share the names of his teammates here in this story. The actions taken by Martin more than carry the story.

The Blue Devils always dress up on Fridays. It is part of the character education in Morgan's program. Marietta is dressed to come to work on game days.

Martin began to notice the same shoes and styles and clothing attire on a few of his teammates. His concern was met by a few of his teammates, too.

They really didn't have anything to keep dressing up for those business trips.

"So the next Saturday he got him, the boy on our team and a couple of teammates and they took him to the mall," Morgan said. "They bought him clothes and shopped for him."

Everyone needs help from time to time. The simply wanted their teammate to fit in with the rest of the team and not have to worry about sticking out.

"He didn't publicize it at all," Morgan said. "It was not a big deal to him. Just being a good teammate. I only know about it because his mom sent me a picture of the boys at the mall. That's how I found out about it."

The rising sophomore is also on a mentorship program at Marietta High School. It afforded him the opportunity to take a special needs student to the prom as her date at an tailor-made event for those individuals in Gwinnett County.

"He was a young lady's date and took her there," Morgan said. "That's just the thing with Daniel. He does a lot of things already for other people that doesn't get noticed. But college coaches need to be aware of that, too."

"They need to know about the quality and character of this young man, too. Not just how well he plays football. You want to invest in kids with great character also as well as great athletic ability. It is very reassuring for them to know they are getting that full package there with him."

Look for Martin to also be featured more at receiver this fall. He's capable of 30-to-40 catches on the offensive side of the ball for the defending Class 7A champions, too.

His educational aspiration is also something serious, too.

"I haven't really looked that deep into it but I love animals so if football doesn't work out I want to be a veterenarian or something in that nature," Martin said.

Martin is a fan of a certain specific species.

"I've always had dogs," Martin said. "I just love dogs."

DAWGNATION RECRUITING

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

The post Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his "home" feeling at UGA appeared first on DawgNation.

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Georgia Sports News

  • Tralee Hale never knew she had quite this many Dawgs in her corner. Until now. Her introduction to the Georgia fan base was quick and memorable during the last recruiting cycle. Hale, a flight attendant, is the mother of 5-star cornerback prospect Kelee Ringo. She kept visiting Athens from Arizona with her son all last year. Ringo was rated as the nation's No. 1 cornerback prospect for the 2020 cycle. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed more than 205 pounds. There was a 'Junior Day' visit. Then for G-Day. Then for the annual Georgia scavenger hunt recruit weekend in May. Those were just the trips that popped up over social media. He also had an official visit in early January. The Bulldogs were battling Texas and Oregon primarily for his commitment and eventual signature on a letter-of-intent. Ringo had sprinter's speed in the 100 meters. He was capable of clocking 10.40 seconds and below in the 100. But his mother also kept showing up on his viral recruiting visits. There was that timeless photo when she draped the pet python of a Georgia staffer around her neck. Her son, the chiseled and hyper-athletic 5-star would have nothing to do with that serpent. That photo opp with Georgia staffer Bryan Gantt's pet 'Sunshine' eventually led to the creation of a new NCAA rule for recruits. Of all things. Her son did eventually sign with Georgia . He committed to the Bulldogs back in January on a live announcement from the All-American Bowl out in Texas. Hale was planning to move to Georgia to be closer to her son and follow his career from not just the same time zone, but the same state as well. Life, as we all know, sometimes can bust up even the best-laid plans. Hale was diagnosed in June with an aggressive form of breast cancer. When she learned that, she went through the expected range of emotions. She eventually was faced with the reality that she was going to need some help. A lot of help. It necessitated that a GoFundme page was set up to help her raise the funds necessary to pay for those treatments and also deal with the loss of income necessary while she was set to go through all the chemotherapy. Her situation is described on that page. 'In June of this year, Tralee Hale was diagnosed with Triple Negative Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. This is an aggressive form of cancer, and fewer treatment options are available. Tralee is being treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America here in Arizona where she will undergo 16 rounds of chemotherapy. Before this diagnosis, Tralee has been on leave from her job as a flight attendant for American Airlines due to a work-related injury. She has had one surgery to correct a knee issue and multiple others for her knee and back are required. Shortly before this diagnosis, Tralee sent her son, Kelee, off to live his dream playing football for the Georgia Bulldogs. She has always been his biggest cheerleader but now she needs our help! Please consider donating to help Tralee with her loss of income and additional expenses not covered by insurance.' Kimberly Cochran, her cousin, set up the page and organized the online effort. As of late Thursday evening, she had 490 donations to help her in that fight. While an original goal of $25,000 was quickly established, it became clear that the support was going to provide more help in her fight than she ever imagined. Those 490 pledges have been good for a total of $26,015 so far. The quick math on that is an average of $53 per pledge. Hale was so moved that she took to her Twitter account to try to begin to share her gratitude. 'I wanted to come on and say thank you,' Hale says in the embedded video below. 'I have been brought to tears these last two days over the amount of support and messages and encouragement that I have been receiving. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of the UGA family and a part of DawgNation.' 'I'm so thankful for everyone showing their love and support. We have a fight in front of us but I am definitely going to get through it with your help. Thank you and I look forward to seeing ya'll between the hedges.' Thank you for ALL the love and support! I feel so blessed to be a part of Dawg Nation and the UGA family! GoDawgs! pic.twitter.com/EJfvvUdTwr Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) July 3, 2020 How Team Tralee has helped out in a big way Hale and her funding drive known as 'Team Tralee' quickly picked up $16,000 toward that original $25,000 in less than a day. When it started to get tweeted around on social media and on a few sites which cover the Bulldogs, the cause really started to gain some real momentum. Take a look at how that support quickly came to be: 8:15 AM on June 30: $1,300 approximately. The page was established early on June 30. 12:00 PM on June 30: $6,800 in less than five hours 2:45 PM on June 30:The total here is now $10,200. That's $9,000 in pledges in less than seven hours from early on June 30. 10:20 update on June 30:That total now rests at $17,595. 9:35 AM on July 1:Support for 'Team Tralee' reaches $19,480. The fund-raising effort is approximately 30 hours old. 4:30 PM on July 1:The tally moves to $21,895 with 441 donors. Thepledge goal now shows an increase to $40,000. As it started to really pick up steam, Ringo even shared a word of appreciation on his Twitter account. I really appreciate the love and prayers for my mom, She's a fighter. Kelee Ringo (@KeleeRingo) June 30, 2020 Hale replied to a tweet from Radi Nabulsi of UGAsports.com. The Rivals UGA site was one of many UGA online properties and message boards to post the news of her fight and that GoFundme.com page to help out. Thank you so very much for posting and for your support! I'm going to beat this! Next.. All I want is to get there and watch football with y'all!! GoDawgs! Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) June 30, 2020 It wasn't just those who are charged with covering the Georgia football team, but a grassroots effort of the rank-and-file members of the Georgia fan base. Thank you soooooooo very much! I'm so blessed to be a part of the Dawg Family! I'm soooo thankful for all of the encouragement and support! Your thoughts and prayers mean so much! I will beat this! Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) July 1, 2020 Calling all Dawgs! Let's show @KeleeRingo and his family what Dawgnation is capable of. Please share this and contribute if at all possible! #GODAWGS Join TEAM TRALEE in her fight against cancer! https://t.co/AMrixJaZ6V Jamey Goodman (@JameyGoodman) June 30, 2020 While quickly scanning through the donor lists and the comments, there's an overwhelming number of pledges from Georgia fans or those simply stating that DawgNation and the UGA fanbase has her back. 'I am soooooo very thankful to have so much support from UGA fans,' she told DawgNation on Wednesday. The special bond she has with her son is clear in Ringo's tweet from back on Mother's Day. Happy Mother's day to my best friend @HaleTralee pic.twitter.com/ZyeHOjDMwX Kelee Ringo (@KeleeRingo) May 10, 2020 It doesn't matter which colors one might rep. The movement taking place here is an awesome gesture of humanity. Especially during times where a lot of families are going through their own hardships of some sort. Those donations have already led to an upgrade in her initial hopes for her patient care. 'I quite literally need to thank them for coming together for me because I am going to be able to be seen by the Cancer Treatment Centers of American because of their support,' Hale said. To support 'Team Tralee' in her fight, please visit her Gofundme page. The post Tralee Hale: The mother of freshman CB Kelee Ringo finds out she's not alone in her cancer fight appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,229 (July 2, 2020) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about what ESPN's Rece Davis said about his optimism that college football will be played this fall. Georgia football podcast: ESPN personality provides some much-needed optimism about upcoming season Beginning of the show: Questions persist about what college football will look like this fall including whether or not the games will take place as the country contends with the coronavirus. There's been no shortage of dire projections from many national media members in recent days in the wake of some positive tests that have emerged from teams participating in voluntary workouts. With all that in mind, I'll share a message on today's show from ESPN's Rece Davis in which Davis shares optimism about the upcoming season. Five-minute mark: I discuss five-star quarterback and Georgia commit Brock Vandagriff's performance at the Elite 11 camp. 10-minute mark: I discuss an ESPN writer's take that Florida is UGA's most important game for the upcoming season. 15-minute mark: CBS Sports' Barrett Sallee joins the show. Some of the topics covered include The comparison between UGA and Florida in the race to win the SEC East The Bulldogs' potential quarterback competition between Jamie Newman and JT Daniels The outlook for Alabama And thoughts on how the coronavirus could impact the upcoming season 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including the commonly misunderstood story of Mississippi State cancelling its alumni tailgate. 35-minute mark: I discuss some UGA recruiting storylines including four-star linebacker Dallas Turner's decision to choose the Crimson Tide over the Bulldogs and a message from five-star linebacker Smael Mondon teasing a possible announcement coming soon. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. DawgNation Daily Episode 1229: ESPN personality provides some much-needed optimism about upcoming season The post Georgia football podcast: ESPN personality provides some much-need optimism about upcoming season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Tony Grimes, the 5-star Virginia CB, chose North Carolina earlier this week. Elite pass rusher Dallas Turner opted to roll with the Tide the very next day. It proved to be a swift one-two punch of 'what just happened here' with Georgia recruiting. If we're being honest, the Georgia football program hasn't seen many single days like that under Kirby Smart. But back-to-back days where the 'Power G' logo was the hat on the table which didn't get picked up was especially telling. The COVID-19 health scare which halted all on and off-campus recruiting played a factor in why those All-American recruits did not choose Georgia, but also in the timing of those announcements. They saw no need to wait and the chance to take a validation visit or two were not going to take place until at least September 1, if not later than that. We discussed those matters on this week's 'Before the Hedges' but also brought up three reasons why Georgia's recruiting has also been aided by that shutdown, too. It is not like Georgia is the only school that hasn't been able to build the necessary momentum in the pandemic for a few elite targets on the recruiting trail. There has been a lot of 'if only we could get that guy on campus' taking place with a record number of commitments to NCAA Division I schools through the end of June during the coronavirus health scare. Auburn, Penn State and South Carolina were saying the same things about Georgia offensive line verbal pledge Dylan Fairchild That is just the most recent example present with the last commitment who chose Georgia. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it. Before the Hedges on DawgNation: This week's teaser trailer The focus of the open to this week's weekly show was to highlight three ways in which the shutdown also aided the Bulldogs on the recruiting trail for the 2021 and 2022 classes. Among the examples discussed: 5-star OT Amarius Mims was set to take a least a few unofficial or official visits to power programs like LSU and Oklahoma this spring. He's also been able to get back to Tuscaloosa. That program still looms large for the Bulldogs to have to overcome with his eventual decision. Mims remains uncommitted. 5-star ILB Smael Mondon Jr. had hoped to take a spring unofficial visit to Oklahoma this spring, too. Not to mention there was the plan to see major contenders like Auburn and Tennessee this spring, too. It seems like DawgNation is already doing a lot of nail-chewing in regard to Mondon and his eventual decision as it is. Mondon has yet to make his public decision. The Bulldogs weren't able to make the necessary gains with those repeated interactions with Grimes and Turner, but the same can also be said for other rival schools in the chase for Mims and Mondon, too. Georgia has seen five of its nine commitments make that move to commit to the G during the pandemic. We can point to feedback that at least four of them decided they didn't need to wait any longer to see if there were any other schools out there that impressed them as much as the chance to play for the Bulldogs. 4-star Philadelphia OLB Elijah Jeudy was one of those commitments who was hoping to be able to take one more trip to check out Texas A&M before deciding but ultimately decided there was no need to wait with the restoration of visits nowhere in sight. In-state RB native Lovasea' Carroll even shared on Twitter than he was thinking long and hard about a flip to the Gators and the chance to a faster path to major SEC carries, but ultimately decided that three to four years at Georgia would serve his career better in the long run. It was beneficial to consider that he had to weight that decision out from his home and not from the football building and locker room while on a visit to the University of Florida. The terrific recruiting that Georgia has been able to do during the pandemic with a rich crop of 2022 prospects in the state of Georgia. We also introduced a pair of new names to the weekly 'Top Targets' lineup for the 2021 class. That feature also included a brand new prospect in the No. 1 slot. Check out the latest episode of 'Before the Hedges' embedded below. It airs live at 6 p.m. each Wednesday on the DawgNation Facebook and YouTube channels , respectively. SENTELL'S INTEL (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) CJ Washington: The electric 2022 LB prospect drops UGA into his top 3 Elite pass rush target Dallas Turner has made his college decision Where does Georgia turn now at CB after Tony Grimes in the 2021 recruiting class? Class of 2022 ATH Malaki Starks could be a future class anchor at UGA 6-foot-7 sophomore OT Payton Kirkland shares why UGA is his dream school Andrew Thomas says to expect a lot of pancakes from Jamaree Salyer in 2020 Xavier Worthy: Can the speed demon WR be the next link in the California-UGA pipeline? Checking in on the four biggest Georgia football recruiting storylines at this time Why Malcolm 'The Jet' Johnson Jr. and his 10.38 speed is giving UGA a good look Georgia RB commit Lovasea' Carroll shuts down all talk of a Florida flip 5-star ATH James Williams changes things up a bit with his new top 2 HEDGES: Who's the best QB on the board in the class of 2022? MJ Morris: New Georgia coordinator Todd Monken has made him a priority WATCH: Georgia commit Chaz Chambliss shows he has a bright future at OLB The post HEDGES: 3 ways the lack of campus visits have also helped Georgia football recruiting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry takes a look at the recent top 3 dropped by Cedartown Class of 2022 linebacker prospect CJ Washington. CJ Washington has logged many a workout with Georgia all-time great RB Nick Chubb. When he does, there's not a lot of time spent shifting the plates around and back and forth. He's a rising high school junior at Cedartown High School. That's where Chubb starred and where Washington racked up 18 sacks last year as a sophomore. When you watch him work, there's no question he has a level of athleticism and physicality that will stand out on any field. Does anyone need to hear any more about what type of college football player he could out turn out to be? The 4-star ATH is likely seen as a linebacker on Saturdays. Washington played tailback and defensive end and linebacker and looked like a walking muscle on a hoverboard in whatever role he was excelling at on the field. Washington released his top schools on Wednesday night. It was something akin to what Chubb might have done. In a time where everyone fancies it appropriate to release top 8s and top 10s when they are less than six months away from signing day, he went about his process a different way. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound junior released a top 3. It was: Georgia LSU Tennessee Simple. Direct. Impressive. That's basically Washington in a nutshell. He's the type of player where hyperbole is not necessary, but his first Dawgnation profile story did bring to mind the name Nolan Smith and a reference to Fred G. Sanford. it's coming fosho @Mansell247 @ChadSimmons_ @247Sports pic.twitter.com/tOUzpnbXxh Cedric Washington (@cedric_washing4) July 1, 2020 The scouting report on CJ Washington Washington bench presses 340 pounds, will do some rep maxes with 295 for power cleans, and is already squatting 515-plus pounds. His power clean max is at 330 pounds. ( NEWS FLASH: This was where a high school sophomore was about three or four months ago in the weight room) When recruiting analysts size him up, it is a fitting comparison to liken him to former No. 1 overall recruit Nolan Smith. He's got that kind of explosion coming off the edge. He currently rates as the nation's No. 9 ATH and No. 88 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle for his standalone 247Sport rating. TBT Tuesday (Rockmart v Cedartown) 4 '22 Cedartown DE CJ Washington @cedric_washing4 pic.twitter.com/fO7kbcZCrW NwGa Football (@NwGaFootball) December 10, 2019 When he competed at the Georgia Elite Classic last December at McEachern High School, he was one of the truly great players in the sophomore game. He racked up the hurries, tackles and tackles for losses. Consider a sampling of the following quotes from his head coach at that game. Chris Hirschfield is the offensive coordinator at Walton High in Marietta. Hirschfield has experienced the great fortune and career timing to coach a pair of NFL players in Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Matthews in his lottery winner of a career so far. He also coached Georgia sophomore WR Dominick Blaylock at Walton, too. He's also been on the staff for teams that also lined up a few more high-level ACC and SEC players, too. Washington played at H-Back, defensive end and outside linebacker for the winning team in that showcase. 'When we had him out wide at d-end, we stood him up and put him an extra yard out wide basically as an outside backer,' Hirschfield said. 'Basically nobody could block him coming off a speed rush.' His roster didn't have any H-Back or fullback types on the other side of the ball. 'He obviously fit the part there, too,' he said. 'We taught him four plays literally. Power. Counter. Literally four or five plays in practice. I've never seen anybody collision and hit the way that kid does. His explosiveness might be the best I have ever seen.' 'Absolutely explosive. Full speed and does not shy away from contact and he's so powerful. He doesn't just hit. He drives people backward.' They gave him maybe four or five reps in practice at those positions. Those reps had to come after the defensive period.Washington had it from that point on. Hirschfield even handed him the ball a few times in the game, too. 'He's special,' he said. 'I didn't even teach him the name of all the plays I would just tell him Right Strong' or Left Strong' as far as his alignment and I gave him three words. Counter. Down call which is our power. He'd kick out the play-side defensive end. Or Insert. He then knew to insert there and get that middle backer. He was really really good at it.' That was his part-time job. His main duty was flying off the edge. 'He couldn't be blocked,' Hirschfield said. 'He's special. Absolutely special.' That goes for on and off the field. 'Great kid, too,' he said. 'I talked to him outside of practice and the game. Polite. Spoke to him at the bowling alley event. Extremely humble. Very well-spoken young man. Very gracious. Just a very very nice kid.' Check out a few clips of Cedartown sophomore OLB CJ Washington in action tonight at the @GAEliteClassic at McEachern. @cedric_washing4 played on both sides of the ball in a night fit for a Gore-Tex photo shoot. pic.twitter.com/HXtNKu1l0i Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) December 23, 2019 Matthews was a receiver. So was Blaylock. Johnson was one of the best running backs in college football at Auburn back in 2017. 'Those were all offensive playmakers and we are talking about a defensive playmaker here,' Hirschfield said. 'But he's just so versatile. So much athleticism. He's got wide shoulders. His frame. He's long. He is going to carry weight and he has no fat on him.' 'He's definitely going to be a defensive player in college.' Washington showed physicality as an H-Back at that event. It was enough to convince Hirschfield that he could be an inside linebacker in college, too. 'The way he closes space down as a blocker I see that and think about a middle linebacker and filling a gap so quickly the other way around,' he said. 'I do think he can be that type of impact player there, too.' Washington could be pretty impressive at either LB spot at that next level. Especially as an ILB in a 3-4 front. 'Where ever you want to play me,' he said last September. 'I'll get it done.' CJ Washington on the potential fit at Georgia Washington was able to visit Georgia earlier this year. Dell McGee has been his primary recruiter up to this point. He had some unique feedback on the trip and shared that with DawgNation earlier this year. 'They were telling me how they look at me as not even a one-spot player,' he said. 'They see me playing all around for them.' 'They see I can do middle, outside linebacker and possibly play running back. They were also talking about the school and once they got into the school stuff I really started listening.' 'The way they were describing it is everyone learns differently. Basically. They were telling us that all players learn differently. Once you get there and open up to Georgia, you go to the academic counselors and you tell them how you learn things and study. Then they help identify the way you learn and show you the way you learn and the best way they are going to be able to help you from an academic support standpoint.' He did say that Georgia felt like home, but I get the sense he'd like to check out what those other great programs have to offer as well. That will have to take place when college visits open back up. He still has time to wait that out as a member of the class of 2022. LSU and Tennessee were both recent offers. Georgia and Tennessee have been hitting him up and recruiting him consistently during the pandemic shutdown of all on-campus visits. It will be interesting to see where this recruitment goes. There are elements to his game that will also bring to mind former LSU great and current NFL vet Kwon Alexander, too. Especially for a pair of eyes who have now seen both players up close in high school. Thankful to receive an offer from LSU TIGERS!! @CoachOsborneLSU @Mansell247 @ChadSimmons_ @LSUfootball @Coach_EdOrgeron #GoTigers pic.twitter.com/BSnzlOtuDr Cedric Washington (@cedric_washing4) June 10, 2020 Washington has all the potential in the world to be one of the special players in the nation for the 2022 class. While he doesn't have elite size or length for an OLB, his athleticism, explosion and strength will stand out as uncommon among his peers. Those traits are nice, but his mindset and work ethic are what will really set him apart. He has a mentality to just put his head down and go to work. There's not a sense of entitlement to his personality and approach to being a great football player in every facet of his game. 'God first, school after and then family,' he told DawgNation last year. 'The reason I said school right after God is that I know I am blessed with this talent. But without my grades what am I? I'm just thankful for this life I have.' Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. SENTELL'S INTEL (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Elite pass rush target Dallas Turner has made his college decision Where does Georgia turn now at CB after Tony Grimes in the 2021 recruiting class? Class of 2022 ATH Malaki Starks could be a future class anchor at UGA 6-foot-7 sophomore OT Payton Kirkland shares why UGA is his dream school Andrew Thomas says to expect a lot of pancakes from Jamaree Salyer in 2020 Xavier Worthy: Can the speed demon WR be the next link in the California-UGA pipeline? Checking in on the four biggest Georgia football recruiting storylines at this time Why Malcolm 'The Jet' Johnson Jr. and his 10.38 speed is giving UGA a good look Georgia RB commit Lovasea' Carroll shuts down all talk of a Florida flip 5-star ATH James Williams changes things up a bit with his new top 2 HEDGES: Who's the best QB on the board in the class of 2022? MJ Morris: New Georgia coordinator Todd Monken has made him a priority WATCH: Georgia commit Chaz Chambliss shows he has a bright future at OLB The post CJ Washington: Electric 2022 LB prospect places Georgia in his top 3 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Matt Luke is more than a replacement for Sam Pittman at Georgia, as Kirby Smart likely picked up on quickly. Smart has respected Luke from the onset, able to look him in the eye as an equal as they were both former SEC players who went on to earn business degrees and coach at their alma maters. Luke and Smart lettered at their respective schools from 1995-1998, and they were actually on the same field together. RELATED: Matt Luke brings high energy to shuffled Georgia O-Line In 1995, Ole Miss beat Georgia 18-10 in Oxford, and again in 1996 in Athens, 31-27. Georgia got payback in 1997 and 1998, winning in Oxford (21-14 in 1997) and again in (Athens 24-17). More recently at a UGA baseball game last spring, Smart and Luke were spotted spending time together. No doubt, they've built a friendship and level of trust that will ease the transition to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. There aren't any signs Smart and Monken wouldn't or don't get along. After all, Smart hand-picked Monken for the job. RELATED: A closer look at new Georgia OC Todd Monken But it's no secret defensive-minded coaches like Smart don't always mix well with so-called offensive gurus like Monken, or for that matter, the departed Jim Chaney. Luke provides the perfect buffer in his role as associate head coach in addition to his offensive line coaching duties. Smart may not feel as inclined to make as many trips down the hallway to the offensive meeting room this season as he did with first-year coordinator James Coley last year. Luke's experience as a head coach provides him with an understanding of knowing what Smart wants and needs as a head coach. Luke was the head coach at Ole Miss for three seasons before being fired on Dec. 1 in the wake of a 4-8 record and 15-21 mark over the past three campaigns. Less than 48 hours after Sam Pittman was announced as Arkansas' new head coach on Dec. 8, Smart worked through agent Jimmy Sexton to hire Luke. Neal McCready, publisher for RebelGrove.com, the Ole Miss Rivals website, said UGA is getting a coach that fits well on Smart's staff. 'At the end of the day Matt Luke is a blue-collar, former walk-on offensive lineman who played for Tommy Tuberville and David Cutcliffe in an offense built around Deuce McAllister and Joe Gunn,' McCready said. 'Even when he had Eli Manning, Cutcliffe was about establish the run. (Luke) is blue-collar coach who is going to try to out-work everyone.' That was quickly apparent at the Sugar Bowl, where Luke's enthusiasm was on display from the jump, as he hurried around and pumped up the Bulldogs as they prepped for a record-setting Baylor pass rush. Georgia, notably, was without three starting offensive linemen with Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson electing to skip the bowl game, and Ben Cleveland academically ineligible per a 247Sports report. The Bulldogs held the Baylor defense in check, though two sacks were given up by since-departed offensive lineman Cade Mays, who was attempting to play left tackle. McCready says Luke's Ole Miss offensive line exhibited great continuity when he was serving as a position coach under Cutcliffe (from 2002-05 at Ole Miss, 2006-07 at Tennessee, 2008-11 at Duke), and then back at Ole Miss under Hugh Freeze (2012-16). 'He was always able to develop very cohesive units,' McCready said. 'The guys who played for Matt love him, trust him, believe in him, and think he's fair and genuine. 'He's exactly who he comes off to be. A salt of the earth guy in that field, he's a rarity.' If @CoachMattLuke is the next oline coach at @GeorgiaFootball they will be in good hands. He recruited me when he was at duke and was my favorite coach that I got to spend time with. Really pushing for this one! David Andrews (@dandrews61) December 10, 2019 DawgNation Matt Luke stories 5 questions about Matt Luke with Ole Miss beat writer How Georgia O-Line prospects feel about Matt Luke Why Matt Luke must make good impression on recruiting trail What Georgia is getting in new O-Line hire Matt Luke The post Why Georgia associate head coach Matt Luke a rarity,' per Ole Miss insider appeared first on DawgNation.