Georgia had one of its best recruiting days of the Kirby Smart era Thursday as two of the Bulldogs’ most sought-after prospects announced their intentions to play for the Bulldogs.
Four-star defensive end Malik Herring and four-star wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman announced they have committed to the program after in-home visits with coaches.
Both prospects seemed strongly favored to land with Georgia, as both Herring and Holloman showed a great deal of desire for the program on Twitter and other social media outlets. Nonetheless, both planned to extend the recruiting process, even with Holloman once indicating he would wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 1 to announce his decision.
Herring, a Mary Persons standout, has been attracted to the program for quite a while as he visited nearly every Georgia home game this season. Herring also has strong relationships with current Georgia pledges William Poole III and Jaden Hunter.
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Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class is what Herring called a “tight-knit” group, and he is excited for the future of the program.
“They’re the home team,” Herring said in a July interview with The Telegraph. “I also love Kirby. (Defensive coordinator Mel) Tucker is my (man), and we have a great relationship with him. I love what they have going on there, and I think they’ll get a national championship sooner or later.”
Georgia prioritized Herring as a near necessity. The frequent communication with the coaching staff and trips to the university show the Bulldogs feel Herring has potential to replace one of the program’s best pass-rushers in Leonard Floyd, who was selected 10th by the Chicago Bears in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Herring’s accolades show he could have a high potential. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound pass rusher ranks as the fourth-overall strong-side defensive end nationally and the 13th overall prospect in the state of Georgia, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
In addition, Herring has collected 81 total tackles and nine sacks in his senior season. His team is headed to face Cartersville on Friday night in the GHSA Class 4A semifinals.
“Georgia’s in-state, his home team, and he has a lot of friends there. He’s showed desire for the program for a while, but it all just makes sense,” Mary Persons head coach Brian Nelson said. “Malik has been a good player for us, but I think he could have a higher ceiling. There’s going to be a learning curve between our league and the SEC, but I think his versatility could give him an opportunity to play early on in certain situations.”
Holloman visited with Smart and wide receivers coach James Coley on Monday night, then took to Twitter to show interest in the visit and the staff.
“If a coach genuinely wants and needs you, they’ll go out of their way to get to you,” Holloman said. “Other than that, you’re just a piece to a puzzle.”
On the morning of Holloman’s commitment, Jeremiah’s mom, Oneida Holloman, also posted a few cryptic tweets to indicate his decision may have been coming.
“I supported him proudly when he committed (to Michigan); I’m the one that won’t let him leave,” she wrote. “Make sure you’re present during this recruiting process. Remember coaches are adults, your kids aren’t. Keep both eyes & ears open.”
In a previous interview, Holloman said he believes Georgia will be on a big stage sooner than later.
“I feel like they are definite contenders for a national championship in these upcoming years,” Holloman said. “They are building something special, especially (with recruiting) and the chance of establishing in-state commitments.”
Terrance Banks, Holloman’s coach at Newton High School, seems to believe that the decision didn’t become final until just a few days ago.
Holloman opted to take it slow after potentially rushing his previous pledge to Michigan.
“I think Jeremiah knew 100 percent when Coley and Smart came by the school on Monday, then went to see his mom, it showed that he was a priority,” Banks said.
The 6-2, 195-pound receiver is rated as a four-star recruit and ranks as the 19th-best receiver nationally and the 15th-best prospect in Georgia.
Holloman held a total of 46 offers, garnering interest in other perennial powerhouse programs such as Miami and Tennessee. In his senior season at Newton High School, he totaled 513 yards and seven touchdowns while hauling in 31 passes.
Georgia’s class ranks as third-best nationally, according to the 247Sports.com team composite rankings. These two additions put Georgia at 18 total pledges, with 15 of those rated with four-stars or better.
Herring is Georgia’s second defensive end addition for 2017, joining Robert Beal. Meanwhile, Holloman is Georgia’s fourth receiver pledge, joining Trey Blount, Matt Landers and Mark Webb Jr.
Banks, after spending multiple seasons coaching Holloman, believes he has the appropriate qualities to be successful, even in a prestigious football conference such as the SEC.
“He’s a high energy guy, his teammates love to be around him as he’ll push to make them better,” Banks said. “Jeremiah loves playing the game. Without the ball he’s a great blocker, and with the ball he does things that are uncoachable.