Tommy Bush wanted to stay in Texas, and his parents did, too.
The four-star wide receiver had the option to stay in his home state and attend either Baylor or Texas, and his final official visit was to Waco with the Bears’ coaching staff. The advantages to stay close to his San Antonio suburb of Schertz were plentiful as he could spend more time with parents, friends and his niece Nayeli.
But that wasn’t the right fit for Bush, so he sat down with his parents Annie and Tommy Sr. and mapped out how much it would cost for the Bush family to travel to Athens for each home game.
“I knew right after the visits to Baylor and Texas,” Bush told The Telegraph. “After seeing both programs and talking it over with God, and it just put me at peace with attending the University of Georgia to continue my education and play big-time football.”
Bush, with his announcement airing on ESPN2, and was surrounded by his family and friends at Samuel Clemens High School. The school of choice was revealed by showing his niece to the camera who was crying frantically when given the spotlight.
It was a special moment for Bush and expected young Nayeli to be happy to “tell the world” where he was playing Division I football, but she was tired and the reaction wasn’t as planned.
In addition to the special family moment, it was also a relief for a highly-touted receiver who held a lengthy list college offers.
“I had all of the weight off of my shoulders,” Bush said. “It’s just truly being able to know where I’m going and only have to deal with one coaching staff – rather than 48. It’s a dream come true.”
Bush’s announcement gave Georgia its fourth and final signing from an uncommitted prospect on Wednesday. After the Bulldogs added both of its linebacker targets Quay Walker and Otis Reese, there could’ve been question that Georgia didn’t have enough space to sign another athlete. But Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made the wide receiver position a priority and doesn’t “sweat the numbers game.”
Georgia’s coaching staff first saw Bush on a Southeastern tour of recruiting showcases. It then brought the Bush family to campus to show the academic opportunities at UGA. Following a later visit, Georgia coaches assisted Bush after he was stranded at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport due to inclement weather.
At 6-foot-5, Bush is the tallest receiver to sign in the 2018 class and will stand in a tie with Matt Landers for the tallest on the roster. When visiting campus, wide receivers coach James Coley told Bush he envisioned him filling a role similar to Javon Wims, who stood at 6-foot-4.
“I fell in love with Tommy the first time that I met him and saw him,” Smart said. “His stature is a big thing for us. We were able to have success with Javon this year, and you're sitting there going, ‘How do you replace those back-shoulder throws, how do you replace those catches?’ You've got to find somebody, and here's a kid that probably didn't get as many throws in high school as you'd like to have, but when he was on the camp circuit, he did a tremendous job.”
Added Bush: “I’m going to come in and get to work on learning the outside scheme. (Smart) said he needed my length and speed. I will get cracking on the playbook and get into the best shape I can to help this team.”
The speed was an integral part of why Georgia pursued Bush to the level it did. Bush is also a track-and-field athlete and posted a time of 21.59 seconds in the 200-meter race at the 2017 UIL State Track and Field Championships. The Bulldogs have had success with track athletes in the past, including slot receiver Mecole Hardman and former running back Nick Chubb.
“I know and have a lot of respect for track speed, and when you have that much size and that much speed, you're a pretty good football player,” Smart said.