Georgia football's focus is on 2020, but Brock Vandagriff is a major piece for 2021
There was no way Kirby Smart was going to lose this recruiting battle, was he?
Sure, 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff committed to Oklahoma in June over a host of other programs, including Georgia. But there was no way following his decommitment from the Sooners that he was set to play for anyone else in 2021 other than the hometown university about 20 minutes away. Right?
Last weekend, Vandagriff and his family took the short drive to Athens for a recruiting visit during one of Georgia’s Junior Days. “I don’t think I would commit this weekend, because I would go home and just pray about it,” he told DawgNation prior to the visit.
A few days later, he gave Smart and Dawgs fans the news they were hoping for.
In Vandagriff, a coach’s kid, Georgia is getting a player who has had phenomenal success at the high school level despite a few setbacks. As a sophomore, he threw for 28 touchdowns and nearly 3,200 yards versus just 7 interceptions while running the ball 138 times for 1,001 yards and 23 touchdowns. Despite missing time as a junior due to injury, he still passed for 31 touchdowns and tossed only 3 interceptions while putting up 2,471 yards.
Did we mention he was a punter and kickoff specialist as a freshman? And a pretty good one at that?
No matter how you look at it, Vandagriff (6-2, 199) appears to be a quarterback who brings a great deal to the Georgia football team, and all eyes will be on him during his senior season as he looks to make one final statement that he’s worth the attention he’s been receiving from recruiting analysts across the country. He’s already the top QB in the class and No. 8 player overall.
Yes, it’s not 2021 yet, and yes, the Bulldogs still have a full season to play under Jamie Newman before Vandagriff even steps foot onto campus. (By the way, Newman didn’t transfer from Wake Forest to play as a backup. He’s starting.) But how could you not be excited about getting a player of his caliber? For starters, while the head coach at Southern Miss, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken molded a 2-star recruit from Alabama named Nick Mullens into one of the top 10 passers in the country. Imagine what he could do with someone of Vandagriff’s makeup?
“He’s had a bunch of guys that nobody’s ever heard of that he’s turned into winners,” Vandagriff’s father, Greg, told the Athens Banner-Herald. “You’ve got to believe that if you’ve got a kid who’s fairly talented that it’s just a natural marriage.”
And if anything, a very, very early look at the 2021 depth chart is strong. Along with Vandagriff, there’s Carson Beck, the 4-star recruit who enrolled this month, while D’Wan Mathis is working his way back to full health after brain surgery and Stetson Bennett is scheduled to be a redshirt senior. Of course, things could change between now and then (attrition is always possible), but for now, looking down the road, there’s a fairly full quarterback room.
From a recruiting standpoint, Smart wasn’t going to be lacking for players wanting to play in Athens in the first place. The chance to play alongside one of the elite players in the recruiting cycle won’t hurt his cause, either. Georgia hasn’t finished outside of the top 3 nationwide in recruiting since 2016; don’t expect that to change in 2021 especially with Vandagriff headlining the class. The Dawgs are already in good standing with in-state offensive tackle Amarius Mims; South Florida safety James Williams, another 5-star and the No. 5 player in the country, is another priority target that could join the class.
Georgia fans shouldn’t overlook what they have on their roster right now. But adding a name like Brock Vandagriff has the chance to put the team on the path to a bright future.