For the 2017 recruiting class, five-star safety Richard LeCounte proved to be the leader after being Georgia’s first committed player. LeCounte shut down his recruitment immediately and persistently persuaded other prospects to try and to get them to tag along to Athens.
It worked out well for Georgia as the program finished with the No. 3 class nationally, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
The attention now turns to the 2018 class. For the Bulldogs, four-star Max Wray is trying to take the same leadership role as LeCounte.
“Those are some big shoes to fill (and follow-up Richard), but I’m certainly trying to become that,” he said.
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Wray joins linebackers Adam Anderson and Donovan Georges as the current members of the group, and the 2018 class could prove to be another promising one for head coach Kirby Smart. Many of the highest-rated players nationally have shown interest in playing for Georgia, and some of them have taken visits prior to their senior seasons beginning.
Consequently, Wray is focused on some of those priority recruits and thinks that the 2018 group can match that of 2017.
“We’ve got some freaks that we’re recruiting right now,” Wray said. “My biggest targets are (Pace Academy offensive guard) Jamaree Salyer and (Houston County offensive tackle) Deontrey Hill. Once we get them on board, we’re gonna be pounding down (Laurinburg, North Carolina running back) Zamir (White’s) door.”
The most intriguing of that group is White, who ranks as the top-overall running back nationally, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He recently visited Athens on Jan. 27 and posted pictures to Twitter at both Stegeman Coliseum for a Georgia basketball game and in the facilities at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.
Georgia senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel depart after the 2017 season, so White is a prioritized prospect, and Georgia’s pitch to him may be fairly clear cut with those who could be blocking ahead of him.
“Of course (adding Salyer and Hill) would be attractive to him,” Wray said. “Who wouldn’t want to run behind the best offensive line in the nation?”
It goes a level deeper than that with Wray looking to build relationships with a number of recruits rather than just simply luring them to his program of choice. He said that he tries to socialize with fellow prospects at skills camps, campus visits and plenty of direct messages on Twitter — which is the mainstream form of communication these days.
Wray will have that opportunity quite soon. He will travel to Los Angeles to take part in “The Opening” regionals, an event hosted by Nike in which some of the best class of 2018 high school players will compete for a spot in the national event. The Bulldogs recently have distributed some offers to players on the West Coast, and Wray will have another shot to recruit and build relationships after arriving from Tennessee.
“I just want these guys to look at all Georgia has to offer,” Wray said. “We have a great coaching staff, the best fans and great facilities. On top of that, it’s one of the best schools in the SEC.”
It is evident that plenty of effort is there with recruiting, but the question remains can the Bulldogs beat out their previous class.
“The sky is the limit,” Wray said. “We’ve gotta get on some guys and get them to commit. We’ve gotta follow up ’17 with a great class to help us win some national championships.”