Georgia recruiting trail still ablaze, even after Roquan Smith news


Georgia recruiting got a big win this week when Roquan Smith was reeled in to the 2015 class, but Richt and company aren’t done yet.

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Macon County jewel Roquan Smith was not the only target hooked for the Dawgs last week, as they continue to make strides for improvements in Georgia’s football recruiting efforts.

The University of Georgia and Dawg fans can breathe a little easier now following Roquan Smith’s commitment announcement. The 6-2, 205, Outside Linebacker from Macon County broke the hearts of UCLA Bruins fans by declaring that he will be taking his talents to Athens and plans to become enrolled in classes this summer.

In a statement issued to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Smith declared that “… it’s been tough lately, but I am relieved to say that I am officially committed to The University of Georgia 100 percent.”

While Smith has gone against the grain by not signing a letter of intent which has drawn both positive and negative reactions from those within and outside the world of college football, he did submit signed and certified copies of SEC and UGA Athletic Association financial aid agreements. The Macon County standout also took to Instagram early Friday morning in announcing his commitment to play for the red and black:

Even while Smith was the focal point of the UGA recruiting world for the last fortnight, the Bulldogs have quietly been making a push to pick up more talent this past week in regards to the offensive line. These efforts are adding to a 2016 UGA class already anchored by a couple of big targets in 5-Star standouts Jacob Eason (#1 QB) and “Big County” Ben Cleveland (OL), who committed to play for Georgia in the summer of 2014.

On Thursday Georgia offered a scholarship to Chris Barnes, a 6’5, 270-pound 3-star offensive tackle from Leesburg, Ga.  It seems that Lee County has become a treasure trove of talent these days, bringing about stars from all facets of life and not just football — being the same stomping grounds of country music artist Luke Bryan, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, and World Series winner Buster Posey.

Moreover, it is only a few short miles down the road from 2015 UGA commit Trenton Thompson (Westover High School) thus adding weight, heft, and validity to the fact that South Georgia is an area where stars are born.

Barnes, who was named to the ESPN Junior 300 last summer, is a stout target that would in no doubt help on the O-Line “Between The Hedges” given that he accepts the offer. Lee County High School football head coach Dean Fabrizio said Georgia coach Mark Richt himself called and extended the offer.

The Albany Herald reports Fabrizio said that “Chris is really excited about it. He’s received several offers already, but Georgia has been one of his favorite schools.” Barnes has received other offers as well from schools such as Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss.

While he is large in stature physically, Barnes is still able to move around quite well exhibiting great balance and footwork. He was impressive at the 2014 Atlanta MVP Camp where he earned Top Offensive Lineman Honors. A glimpse at Barnes’ recent Nike Camp Highlight video would also tender reasons for why UGA has high hopes that the prospect will accept the offer and become a Dawg in 2016.

While Barnes is still on the target board for the University of Georgia, the Dawgs picked up an additional Offensive Line commitment last week to truly add a “cherry on top of the icing” in regards to the Smith announcement to come to UGA.

Aaron Dowdell (Creekside High School), a 3-Star offensive guard coming in at 6’4, 290 pounds, confirmed his commitment to UGA and is poised to strengthen the offensive line in for the Bulldogs in 2016.  He has shown excellent leverage and strength in one-on-one situations which would be advantageous for Georgia once he arrives in Athens.

Other programs had shown big interest in Dowdell at times including Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and Clemson. He was selected 1st Team All Region Offensive Line for 6-AAAAA in 2014 and was selected to participate in the 2014 Rising Seniors Foundation’s Educational Program and the AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl presented by the Chick-fil-A Foundation.

Dowdell’s confirmation to Georgia is good news as he will join Cleveland (2016) and accompany new FAM15 commits Sam Madden and Patrick Allen in protecting the quarterback while opening holes for those running the ball from the backfield. After such a recruiting and commitment victory for UGA

New UGA Offensive Line Coach Rob Sale must be giddy with anticipation and excitement as well. In any respect, the status and future of UGA’s new pool of talent is ever-growing with positivity.

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