Check back for more UGA recruiting news at 11 a.m.
If UGA is going to have anywhere near a top 10 recruiting class, they will need to land some big fish before Feb. 1’s national signing day.
They landed the biggest fish in Georgia on Monday night.
Defensive end Jordan Jenkins, who is ranked as the state’s No. 1 overall prospect by many, committed to UGA over Alabama. The 5-star prospect from Harris County High School also listed Florida and Auburn as his finalists.
“I’m picking Georgia and I’d like to say ‘Go Dawgs,’” Jenkins said on Fox Sports South as he lifted the UGA helmet.
“[It was] just that the depth chart wasn’t as deep, and my family … they didn’t exactly feel safe with me going to Alabama. And I love Alabama, I love them to death. My first few years ago, I thought I was going to end up at Alabama. I never would’ve thought I was going to Georgia. In my first interview with [Scout's Chad Simmons], I said ‘I didn’t like Georgia.’ He tried to save me. He said ‘Did you mean Georgia State or Georgia College?’ I was 14 years old. So [I said] ‘Oh, I meant Georgia College’ …
“Georgia is a better fit for me and my family together because I don’t want to go to some place where my mom is worried about me all the time. I just want to go to a place I can feel comfortable, and I can go to the coach and I can confide in him and stuff like that. And that’s why I chose [Georgia].”
It was a shocking turn of events for UGA with the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder. How much of a shock? Jenkins nearly cancelled his November official visit to UGA twice due to rampant speculation over Mark Richt’s future. Even after the recruiting trip to UGA, the Bulldogs weren’t thought to be a serious contender – with Jenkins listing Alabama or Florida as his leader since last summer.
How did UGA pull off the recruiting shocker? Most of the credit goes to UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who developed a close relationship with Jenkins and his father. They were mesmerized with Grantham’s NFL background and “chalk talk” football conversations.
Jenkins gives UGA some much-needed momentum headed into the final three weeks of recruiting. He is commitment No. 16 for UGA’s 2012 recruiting class and – by far – the most highly-regarded defensive prospect.
“Jordan Jenkins has NFL talent written all over him,” said Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports. “He had to play a lot of different positions in high school, wherever they needed him. In college, he will be able to focus on rushing the passer. That’s his specialty, and people get paid a lot of money to do that in the NFL.”
UGA seems to be recovering after a slow start in recruiting this year. The Bulldogs will be hard-pressed to keep their 10-year streak intact of finishing in the top 10 of the Rivals.com team rankings each season (UGA was at No. 21 before Jenkins’ announcement).
The star of UGA’s class is RB Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C., who provided Richt with “a moment to grin” when he reported to Georgia on Sunday to enroll early in college. Two other UGA commits, junior college OL Mark Beard and QB Faton Bauta, will also begin classes this month.
What’s next for UGA? RB Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C., will decide between UGA, North Carolina, Clemson and NC State at 2 p.m. Friday.
Here’s video of UGA’s newest commit, DE Jordan Jenkins, an AJC Super 11 selection …
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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