Georgia football had an overall good month of June on the recruiting front. Here’s why

McClain Baxley
Athens Banner-Herald
Georgia coach Kirby Smart speaks with the media on the first day of spring practice in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Though it’s summer and feels like 200 degrees every day in Athens, that hasn’t affected recruiting. 

In the last month or so, there have been a flurry of commitments, decommitments, visits and notes to talk about as they pertain to Georgia football.

So let’s talk about them shall we?

Huge week and a half of commitments

There was about a two month lapse in between commitments for Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs. 

And then in the span of 18 days, five 2023 recruits verbally committed to Georgia. 

Joshua Miller committed on June 13 after decommitting from Penn State. The three-star offensive lineman from Virginia was offered by the Bulldogs in May and a few weeks later committed. He’s 6-foot-5 and is the first offensive lineman to commit since OL coach Stacy Searels has been on Georgia’s staff. 

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Almost immediately after committing, Miller tweeted out that he wanted five-stars Arch Manning and Samson Okunlola to join him. The next week, Manning chose Texas, but offensive tackle Okunlola is still in play.

The biggest commitment of the summer, and perhaps of the 2023 class so far, was five-star cornerback AJ Harris choosing Georgia over in-state Alabama, Clemson and Florida. Harris is the type of prospect that could change the rest of the recruiting class — both from recruiting other top prospects to their school and for giving Georgia a big boost in the rankings. 

Harris plays for Central, who is ranked in the Top 30 high school football teams in the country by MaxPreps so he’s had experience playing against some of the best high school talents possible. As of writing this, he is the lone five-star prospect in UGA’s 2023 recruiting class.

Kicker Peyton Woodring as The Ascension Blue Gators take on the Delcambre Panthers.  Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

Two days after Harris’ commitment, Georgia stole one of top-rated kickers in the country from right under Alabama’s nose in Peyton Woodring. The kicker from Lafayette, Louisiana received offers from the two powerhouses within a few days of each other.  In 2021, he was named MaxPreps High School Football Junior All American after he went 54 of 55 on point afters and 14-of-19 field goal attempts, including a school record kick from 56 yards. 

To round out June, four-star linebacker CJ Allen committed to Georgia on June 20, which was long expected. He was high on their board for a long time, despite taking last minute official visits to Auburn and Tennessee in the weeks leading up to his commitment. 

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The fifth recruit came on July 1 when four-star cornerback Daniel Harris from Miami. He’s the third corner to commit in this class so far in Fran Brown’s first recruiting class at UGA, choosing the Bulldogs over Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. 

“They know how to develop players and they know how to win,” Harris told 247Sports. “They also have put a lot of DBs in the league the past couple of years.” 

Late Tuesday night, Georgia got a commitment in its' 2024 class with four-star wide receiver Ny Carr from Colquitt County announcing his pledge. Carr had 40 receptions for 856 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021. He's rated as the No. 66 player in the 2024 class, per 247Sports Composite. 

RyQueze McElderry, a Class of 2023 linebacker from Anniston High School in Alabama.

Weekend of decommitments

The sky didn’t fall Saturday, but Georgia did lose two commitments and neither was all that surprising.

The first came in three-star 2023 RyQueze McElderry announcing Saturday morning that he would be reopening his recruitment after committing to UGA in December.

"First and foremost, I would like to thank Coach Smart, Coach Searels, Coach Gordon, Coach Danzey, and the whole Georgia staff for recruiting me and showing me love," McElderry said in a tweet. "After talking things over with my mom I have decided to decommit from Georgia and reopen my recruitment. Thank you Georgia and Georgia fans!"

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McElderry, an Alabama native, took plenty of visits to Auburn and Alabama as well as trips to Georgia and Tennessee this summer. There’s been plenty of times where recruits have already committed to schools, take official visits to other schools and still end up signing with the school they’re committed to. This wasn’t the case with McElderry, who verbally pledged to Alabama on Monday. 

There’s other offensive linemen that Georgia feels better about and will end up landing as the cycle goes on and they picked up a commitment earlier this summer.

A few hours after McElderry tapped out, 2024 DB Antione Jackson released a video saying he was flipping to Miami after verbally committing to the Bulldogs in March. 

The 6-foot, 170-pound safety is from Fort Lauderdale so the flip to Miami makes sense there. 

Jackson is rated as a four-star in the 2024 class. It’s not ideal to lose a safety of his caliber, but Kirby Smart and the defensive staff have a real knack for getting the top defensive talent. So in a year-plus, they could get several players that are rated higher than Jackson.

These two weren’t the first to back off their pledges in this class and it’s unlikely that they’ll be the last.

All-Big Bend Defensive Player of the Year Lincoln linebacker Raylen Wilson

Looking ahead to the rest of July, preseason

Raylen Wilson, a four-star linebacker from Tallahassee, decommitted from Michigan on June 28. Prior to decommitting, he went on official visits to Florida, Georgia and Michigan. He’s been on multiple unofficial visits to Athens in the past year. 

There are several crystal balls on 247Sports that have Wilson heading to Georgia and On3’s recruiting prediction machine gives Georgia a 96.3% chance of landing Wilson. Not sure when that will be, but getting another highly rated prospect, especially from an enemy state is never a bad thing.

There are a few commitments coming up in ensuing weeks that UGA is in the running for: four-star offensive tackle Shamurad Umarov (July 8), four-star defensive tackle Jamaal Jarrett (July 19) and five-star safety Joenel Aguero (July 23). 

Umarov is choosing between Georgia, LSU, Michigan State and Tennessee and took official visits to all four in June. Playing close to home is a big factor for the lineman from Alpharetta, Georgia and UGA is the only one that fits that bill. The Bulldogs hold a slight lead over Tennessee in On3’s recruiting machine.

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Jarrett is milking this recruitment for all it is worth. He tweets out videos and teases for both Georgia and North Carolina frequently. He’s from North Carolina, but definitely sees himself as the next Jordan Davis in Athens. Both schools make sense, but there’s a stronger resume for UGA.

Aguero, the No. 35-rated prospect in the 2023 class, has a Top 4 of Florida, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State. The Massachusetts native is transferring to IMG Academy for his final season of high school football, which is close to Florida and Miami. There’s plenty of momentum for UGA to land the highly talented safety. 

Kirby Smart and his staff will be recruiting throughout the season, but getting a few of these prospects on board will set the tone for the last eight months of the 2023 recruiting cycle.

Top targets remaining

DL James Smith, five-star, officially visited UGA on June 17 

EDGE Jaquavious Russaw, five-star, officially visited UGA on June 17, 

Mill Creek sophomore Caleb Downs had a close relationship with former UGA defensive backs coach Charlton Warren and has since been offered by Indiana.

S Caleb Downs, five-star, expected to be a two-team battle between UGA and Ohio State

RB Justice Haynes, four-star, officially visited Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and USC in June

LB Troy Bowles, four-star, officially visited UGA June 10

WR Tyler Williams, four-star, committing on Sept. 27

DL Jordan Hall, four-star, released Top 10 on July 4, which included UGA

CB Chris Peal, four-star, officially visited UGA June 3 and will OV South Carolina Sept. 16

IOL Connor Lew, three-star, has Top 4 of Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Miami

McClain Baxley is a recruiting reporter for the Athens Banner-Herald and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him by email at mbaxley@onlineathens.com or on Twitter at @mcclainbaxley.