Georgia needed this kind of break when it came to recruiting the quarterback position.
Ideally, the Bulldogs will land two quarterbacks in the recruiting class of 2018. For the longest time, however, it seemed Georgia would miss on one of the truly elite prospects.
On Tuesday night, head coach Kirby Smart and company got the reprieve they were looking for.
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Harrison quarterback Justin Fields, regarded as the top dual-threat quarterback in the country, announced his decommitment from Penn State. Fields committed to the Nittany Lions early with the sell of early playing time in front of him.
But as the recruitment process has played out, Fields slowly garnered more and more interest from the top programs after an initial slate of offers from middle-tier Power 5 programs. He has since passed fellow in-state recruit Emory Jones (Heard County) as the top dual-threat signal-caller in 2018, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and has seen a whole new level of recruiting attention.
Fields, along with Jones and Cartersville's Trevor Lawrence, is considered a top-four quarterback in the country. With Fields back in play, Georgia will most certainly be one of the top contenders. Even after the Penn State commitment, the Bulldogs have been recruiting him hard. Securing a commitment from Fields would be seen as a home run in this class if it were to happen.
And it's something everyone associated with Georgia hopes will happen. Recent offensive line commit Warren Ericson quickly tweeted for Fields to join him in Georgia's class after the decommitment decision was announced.
Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann retweeted Ericson, which is permissible under NCAA rules. Schumann also signaled that the Bulldogs are prepared to compete against the other national powers looking to land Fields' commitment.
Cornerback commit Chris Smith echoed those sentiments and hopes Fields makes the decision to stay in-state, too.
Georgia has a great pitch to make to Fields. Fields offers a different dynamic at the position that isn't on the roster at the moment. Jacob Eason is a pro-style passer who has the physical attributes that could make him a high NFL draft pick after his junior season. Jake Fromm is also a pro-style quarterback who does offer a little more mobility than Eason.
But in the ever-changing landscape of college football, Fields offers a running threat that could further open up Georgia's offense. One issue today's pro-style passers have in college football is how limited they can be when under center. Now, if Fields were to attend Georgia and eventually be the starter, his skill set would likely lead Georgia to use him out of the shotgun in spread sets most of the time. But the fact that Fields can run well would open up a lot more plays if Georgia were to still run some of its traditional sets.
Play-action bootlegs and additional run-pass option plays would be available. The success of the two quarterbacks who played in last season's national championship game -- Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Alabama's Jalen Hurts -- serves as a great indicator as to why Georgia would want to move in this direction in the near future.
While Georgia has a great sell for Fields, the fact that two highly-recruited quarterbacks sit in front of him could still be a deterrent. Elite quarterbacks don't mind competition and Fields could be someone who has gone from coveting early playing time to understanding the need for learning a system first before hitting the gridiron. But having Eason and Fromm in front of him is something other contenders -- Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Penn State -- could still put in his ear.
Fields becomes a must-get for Georgia in this class now that it has a second chance. Georgia might have missed early but it now has a chance to make up for it. Credit Smart and his staff for staying on Fields even after it seemed like his recruitment was all wrapped up.
Georgia hasn't had too much momentum early on in its class of 2018. With Fields opening his recruitment up, this serves as the perfect chance for the Bulldogs to get it moving in the right direction.