At nearly every home game, a horde of mammoth-sized high school prospects make their way around the Sanford Stadium sidelines.
Those would be offensive linemen and more times than not, Georgia welcomes the nation’s highly-coveted protectors. For the Bulldogs’ 24-10 win over South Carolina, five-star Cade Mays was in attendance along with four-stars Jamaree Salyer and Trey Hill.
The facilitator of hosting the nation’s best is offensive line coach Sam Pittman, who has helped the Bulldogs with on-the-field improvements and on the recruiting trail.
“I think he’s setting us up to have an elite offensive line for the next five years,” said Owen Condon, who pledged to the Bulldogs on June 10. “He really makes you feel wanted and makes you feel wanted.”
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Pittman, as a member of the new Georgia coaching staff that joined Kirby Smart in December 2015, reached a recruiting milestone in 2016 when he landed Isaiah Wilson. The Brooklyn, New York native was the first five-star offensive lineman signed by the Bulldogs since John Theus in 2012.
But the depth of Pittman’s freshmen has begun to show itself as Wilson -- the early fan-favorite due to his recruiting moniker -- hasn’t seen action this season. Instead, freshman Andrew Thomas has been Georgia’s starting right tackle since the opener against Appalachian State.
“No matter the year, it shows that the best guys can get on the field if you work hard,” said Harry Miller, a 2019 prospect who has Georgia in his top three along with Clemson and Ohio State.
In the recruiting class of 2018, Pittman looks to build on his early success. Georgia has pledges from two offensive linemen -- Condon and North Gwinnett center Warren Ericson. But with the hopes of taking four-to-five linemen in the class, it seems as if a few more additions are soon to trickle in.
Hill and Salyer have been on the Bulldogs’ radar for quite some time and continue to show reasonable interest, but other names are also targeted. Mays and IMG Academy’s Daniel Faalele -- a 400-pound tackle -- have emerged as feasible options for Pittman and Georgia’s staff.
Mays is the newest name to show interest in Georgia. The Knoxville, Tennessee product and former Tennessee commit (and legacy) de-committed from the Volunteers shortly after his visit to Athens.
After his announcement, many of the Bulldogs’ pledges took to Twitter to urge Mays to join them. The effort is a collaborative one and important to Pittman and the future Bulldogs.
“It would be huge, because I think we are going to get Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer,” Condon said. “Adding (Cade) would mean we have a full line coming in. I would put us up against any other offensive line class in the country.”