By Garrett Shearman:
As the dust settles following 2016 National Signing day, college coaches’ focus shifts to the classes of 2017 and beyond. The 2017 recruiting cycle will be Kirby Smart’s first full one as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, and he’s already aiming to make the most of it by hosting a slew of blue-chip targets in Athens this weekend.
Visitors from the class of 2017 include the following:
Five-star defensive backs William Poole III (Atlanta, GA/Hapeville Charter) and Richard LeCounte (Riceboro, GA/Liberty County) will arrive Saturday. LeCounte is already committed to Georgia and has assumed a recruiting role for the Dawgs, taking to text and twitter attempting to persuade other talented prospects to follow in his footsteps. Poole is considered by many to be a Bulldog lean, and LeCounte could be instrumental in sealing the deal with Poole.
Four-star offensive linemen Tony Gray (Lawrenceville, GA/Central Gwinnett), Netori Johnson (Ellenwood, GA/Cedar Grove), D’Antne Demery (Brunswick, GA/Brunswick), and Andrew Thomas (Atlanta, GA/Pace Academy) will stop by UGA over the weekend. Three-star Justin Shaffer, a teammate of Johnson’s who recently earned an offer from UGA, will also join. Fresh off a signing day that saw the Dawgs miss on a few critical offensive linemen, locking down offensive linemen for 2017, especially offensive tackles, is obviously a priority for Smart and offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
Other visitors include former UGA commit Deejay Dallas (Brunswick, GA/Glynn Academy), a four-star athlete with a future playing essentially whatever position he wants to play, his three-star athlete cousin Shawn Smith (Brunswick, GA/Brunswick), and Bama commit Xavier McKinney (Roswell, GA/Roswell), a four-star safety who Smart previously recruited at Alabama. Four-star linebacker Breon Dixon (Suwanee, GA/Grayson), a UGA commit, will also be in attendance over the weekend.
Class of 2018 offensive linemen Jamaree Salyer (Atlanta, GA/Pace Academy) and Tank Jenkins (Montgomery, AL/Park Crossing) will also make appearances in the Classic City this weekend. They will be joined by athlete Owen Pappoe, the lone class of 2019 visitor for the weekend (so far).
There is a high likelihood that the guest list expands, so check back for updates!