By Joe Vitale | UGA Football Live
National Signing Day 2016 is sealed and delivered for the Georgia Bulldogs, but the world of college football recruiting never stops spinning. After a very successful 2016 recruiting season, the Georgia coaches turn their attention to next year’s prep standouts.
The State of Georgia will produce another group of exceptional athletes in 2017. How many will Coach Smart and the staff persuade to stay home and don the Red & Black remains to be seen. However, the prospects look good to keep the key in-state prospects home and target specific needs nationwide.
The 2017 recruiting season is off to a good start with the commitment of Liberty County’s Richard LeCount III, the nation’s number 1 athlete and second-rated prep in the state. In addition, in-state linebackers Jadeon Hunter and Breon Dixon are hard commits. Georgia has some needs and a special emphasis in 2017 will be offensive linemen, especially at the tackle position.
Here’s a preview of the Bulldog’s Super Twelve 2017 targets and a recruiting status report.
- 4-star OT D’Antne Demery (Brunswick, GA)
The 6’6″, 310- pound tackle is the 24th rated player in both the state and at his position in the country. Coach Sam Pittman is recruiting the Brunswick High talent and currently UGA leads over Auburn.
- 4-star OT Andrew Thomas (Atlanta, GA)
To continue with the current theme of offensive tackles, Thomas is the nation’s 15th-rated tackle and number 10 overall player in the state. The Pace Academy standout has the size (6’5″, 295-pounds), athleticism and burst to excel under Coach Pittman’s tutelage. He is a strong lean to Georgia.
- 4-star OT Tony Gray (Lawrenceville, GA)
Shows how serious Georgia is in recruiting tackles as the Central Gwinnett High standout is a priority. A strong UGA lean, the 6’4″, 285 pounder is smart, agile, explosive and the nation’s 16th-rated tackle and the state’s 13th-rated player.
- 4-Star WDE Malik Herring (Forsyth, GA)
The Mary Persons standout is the 6th-rated defensive end in the country and 19th-ranked player in Georgia. At 6’3″, 255-pounds, Herring exhibits an explosive first step and power. He’s a relentless pass rusher and superb run stopper. Coaches Tracy Rocker and Mel Tucker have Herring as a strong UGA lean.
- 4-Star RB Toneil Carter (Houston, TX)
Carter is the nation’s number 2 running back and 6th- rated player in Texas. The 5’11”, 205-pound Langham Creek athlete has a superb package of speed, quickness and vision. Georgia is on the radar but trails early leaders LSU and Texas A&M.
- 4-star CB William Poole III (Atlanta, GA)
The Hapeville Charter student-athlete is the nation’s 10th-rated cornerback and the number 7-ranked player in the state. At 6’0″ and 176 pounds, Poole is a lockdown corner and aggressive run stopper. He is a hard Georgia lean and is hotly pursued by Alabama and Florida State.
- 4-Star ATH Jamyest Williams (Lawrenceville, GA)
The 5’9″, 170-pound Archer High athlete is one of the most exciting two way players in Georgia. He is the 5th-rated overall athlete in the class and number 51 overall player in the country. Williams is being recruited as a cornerback and Georgia faces heavy competition from Clemson, FSU and Alabama for his services.
- 4-Star OLB Nate McBride (Vidalia, GA)
McBride is the nation’s 4th-rated outside linebacker and the number 4-ranked player in the state. The 6′ 2″, 220-pound Georgia lean has what coaches call “football savvy”. He is athletic, smart and is both a run stopper and excellent defender.
- 4-star OLB Justin Foster (Shelby, NC)
North Carolina has been a fertile recruiting ground over the years for Georgia, and Foster, the state’s number one player, would be a big catch for the Dawgs. The 6’3″, 230 pound Crest High standout has all the physical tools and intangibles to excel in the SEC. At this point, Clemson and Tennessee are his leaders.
- 4-Star CB Stanford Samuels (Hollywood, FL)
Samuels was key in pacing Flanagan High’s “Dirty Birds” defense to the Falcons first Florida state championship. At 6’2″, the 4th-rated cornerback in the class has the length and speed to be a shutdown corner.
- 4-Star APB Anthony McFarland Jr. (Hyattsville, MD)
The DeMatha Catholic product is the nation’s #2 all-purpose back and an exceptional athlete. Equally adept at receiving and rushing, McFarland is a beast to game plan. Originally recruited to UGA by former coach Thomas Brown (Miami has now offered), McFarland remains a strong Georgia lean.
- 5-Star CB Deangelo Gibbs (Loganville, GA)
Gibbs is the nation’s number 2-ranked cornerback and the leading player in the state. The 6’2″, 204-pound Grayson athlete is long, fast, bright and a game changer. Georgia is a strong lean for the country’s number 9 overall prospect.
Featured photo: (Joshua Jones / Special to the AJC)