It is now official that a closely bonded trio of friends will be teammates again.
In addition to National Signing Day being in full-swing for Georgia’s 2018 class, it also added one of its top 2019 targets in Kennesaw Mountain tight end Ryland Goede. The four-star announced his decision as a part of the 680 The Fan signing day celebration at The Battery Atlanta and will get to join forces again with linebacker JD Bertrand and Dominick Blaylock.
“I committed silently a week ago on a visit,” Goede said. “It felt like now is the right time to pull the trigger. UGA is special, and I’m so glad to be a Bulldog. Absolutely, this is 100 percent shut down.”
Bertrand and Blaylock both gave their pledges to the Bulldogs in July 2017 and immediately began enticing Goede to join and bring the group together once more – knowing that the in-state product already had significant interest in playing for Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart.
Seven months later, those desires are now publicly cemented. Goede had announced three final contenders: Auburn, Georgia and Michigan in recent weeks, but the coveted junior athlete has long known that the plan was to head to Athens.
“It’s awesome to be able to go to the same college with one of my best friends,” Bertrand told The Telegraph via text message. “I know he’ll help push me to be my best and I’ll do the same for him. We’ve known about this for a good bit of time, but it’s cool thinking that it’s finally made and announced.”
Added Goede: “Man, it was so special (to sign with them by my side). We’ve dreamed about this forever and to share it with them is everything I’ve ever wished for.”
In addition to playing for Smart, Goede will join a rare group and become a two-sport athlete for the Bulldogs – playing baseball under Scott Stricklin. Goede plays for the 6-4-3 summer baseball travel team (along with Blaylock, who hasn’t yet decided if he will continue playing at the collegiate level) and hit .378 in 52 games in 2017.
The conversation was quite easy between the Goede family, Smart and Stricklin as they “loved” the idea of a multi-sport athlete. He plans to play both of the corner outfield positions for Georgia.
“I love the kind of coach he is,” Goede said. “I think he’s doing great with this program. I see it going great places.”
Goede is the seventh prospect to pledge to the Bulldogs’ 2019 class – which follows suit of Georgia’s 2018 class, ranking No. 1 nationally. In addition to three five-stars, Goede will be the fourth four-star recruit with intention to play for the Bulldogs.
After signing two tight ends in 2018, Goede is likely the lone target in the following class. At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, he ranks as the sixth-overall tight end nationally and the 21st-overall prospect in the state of Georgia, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
The decision for Goede comes at a time where the position coach’s role is vacant after Shane Beamer left his two-year stint to become an assistant head coach at Oklahoma. Georgia was able to re-hire Scott Fountain as its special teams’ coordinator after he intended to coach at Mississippi State, but it is not yet known if Fountain will take on tight ends and assume the additional role as Beamer did.
Goede, who insists that a player should know that he is committing to a school and not a single coach, expressed his praise for Smart and the entire staff back in May 2017.
“I love what he’s doing and how he runs things over there,” Goede said. “He’s very relationship-based and he shows that you’re wanted. He really respects the recruiting process and all that goes with it.”