football Edit

Ten key prospects that left Georgia for college

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence (AP Images)

With recent in-state recruiting losses around the country, it’s time to take a look at some key states and the big ones that got away in the last four recruiting cycles. We start today with the state of Georgia.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.


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1. Trevor Lawrence (2018)

Overview: Long considered a generational talent, Georgia made Lawrence a priority before he even began his high school career. However, Clemson won the Lawrence sweepstakes as he committed to the Tigers at the conclusion of his junior season.

With Clemson, through his first two seasons he led the Tigers to a 29-1 record, made two national title games and won one, while passing for 6,945 and 66 touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: This one kind of speaks for itself, but Georgia did land Justin Fields in the same cycle. But that might even make it hurt more because Fields is incredible at Ohio State. Georgia Tech doesn’t factor in often in these in-state losses because the Yellow Jackets don’t recruit at the same level as Georgia. Watching the best quarterback in a long time leave them state and win a national title hurts.


2. Myles Murphy (2020)

Overview: Murphy mostly focused on Clemson, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama as the offers began to pile up. While Georgia felt confident in the early stages, the Tigers were able to quietly overtake the other competition and gain a commitment from Murphy during the spring of his junior year.

At Clemson, Murphy has burst onto the scene in his first two games, having totaled nine tackles, three tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Farrell’s take: Another tough loss to Clemson here, Murphy was an elite in-state pass rusher who looks like he will have an amazing college career. UGA has recruited well overall, but the Bulldogs could certainly use a rush end like Murphy and losing him out of state hurts.

3. AJ Terrell (2017)

Overview: Terrell committed to Clemson over Florida, which he at one point deemed as his dream school, and South Carolina during the summer leading up to his senior season. Many thought Georgia should make a bigger play for Terrell, but the Bulldogs never made him a priority.

With the Tigers, Terrell became one of the top cover corners in the country over his last two seasons, which eventually resulted in him being drafted with the 16th overall pick by Atlanta earlier this year.

Farrell’s take: OK, I know what Georgia fans are going to say. The Bulldogs didn’t push hard for Terrell and thought he was more hype than substance. Well, Terrell had a very solid career at Clemson, helped them win a national title and became a first-rounder who is now playing back in his home state. Just because you didn’t recruit a player in your state that hard doesn’t mean he’s not a huge loss when he pans out so well.

4. Xavier McKinney (2017)

Overview: McKinney initially committed to Alabama but re-opened his recruitment and then took closer looks at Clemson and Ohio State. Eventually he re-committed to the Tide during the Under Armour All-American game. McKinney’s positive relationship with coach Kirby Smart, who made the move from Alabama to Georgia during his recruiting process, kept the Bulldogs in the game, but the lost out to the Tide. After enjoying his best collegiate season in 2019, McKinney entered the 2020 NFL Draft where he was selected in the second round by the New York Giants.

Farrell’s take: McKinney went to Alabama partly for Kirby Smart so his loss is kind of bittersweet and Smart tried to bring him to Georgia with him. McKinney was an amazing athlete and turned into a second round pick. Although defense has not been a problem for Georgia a kid like this slipping away is never good.


5. Rashod Bateman (2018)

Overview: Bateman was somewhat of a late bloomer, so after committing to Minnesota during the summer, a huge senior season resulted in numerous new offers, including from Georgia. However, the Gophers coaching staff did a fantastic job of keeping his commitment solid.

Bateman had a breakout season in 2019, with 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns and has opted-out of his junior season to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Farrell’s take: Bateman was an early find for Minnesota although, as a four-star, he’s certainly no sleeper. UGA tried to get in on him late and certainly could have used his skills the last couple years and into this season at wide receiver. He could be another first-rounder who got away.


6. Andrew Booth (2019)

Overview: Booth committed to Clemson over Georgia and Auburn during the summer leading up to his senior season. The Bulldogs made him a priority, but they were never able to surpass either of the Tigers in their pursuit of Booth.

He gained valuable experience throughout the 2019 season which helped him earn one of the starting cornerback jobs in 2020.

Farrell’s take: Clemson does some damage in Georgia huh? Booth was a five-star corner and this time UGA really did push and want him and lost out. It looks like he could eventually follow Terrell to first-round status in the NFL.

7. Arik Gilbert (2020)

Overview: Throughout most of his recruiting process it seemed as though it was down to Georgia and Alabama, but Gilbert surprised many with a commitment to LSU during his senior season.

While he has yet to play his first collegiate game, the buzz has been off the charts since he arrived in Baton Rouge. Expect the Tigers to use Gilbert at both tight end and wide receiver.

Farrell’s take: UGA landed a five-star tight end of their own in Darnell Washington from the West Coast, but the Bulldogs wanted Gilbert badly and he’s more versatile as a potential wide receiver and tight end. Time will tell who will be better but if I’m a betting man I’m talking Gilbert by a lot.


8. Kyle Hamilton (2019)

Overview: Hamilton took spring official visits to Georgia and Michigan, but two previous trips to South Bend were enough for him to commit to the Irish in late April.

With the Irish, Hamilton was one of the best overall true freshmen in the country in 2019 with 41 tackles, four interceptions and six passes defended. He had a nice start to his sophomore season but hurt his ankle at the end of the season-opener vs. Duke and missed ND's second game against USF.

Farrell’s take: Hamilton wasn’t a priority for UGA or Georgia Tech early on, but they tried hard to keep him and lost out to Notre Dame. Hamilton is already a leader for the Irish and one of the best playmakers at safety in the country.


9. Brian Branch (2020)

Overview: After being an Alabama lean for several months, Branch committed to the Tide during the spring over Oklahoma and Tennessee. After his commitment, Georgia offered, and while they put in a serious effort it was too late to sway Branch.

Not many true freshmen excel at Alabama, but that is expected to be the case with Branch, who will likely be a starter when the Tide open their season on Saturday.

Farrell’s take: UGA was in on Branch late and now it looks like he could be a big loss as he’s going to start at Alabama. The Dawgs have done well recruiting the secondary but losing guys like McKinney and now Branch to rival Alabama isn’t great.

10. Wanya Morris (2019)

Overview: Morris initially was an early commit to Florida State, but when he re-opened his recruitment Georgia emerged as a serious candidate. However, after a few months it was Tennessee and Auburn who rose above the crowd. Eventually he committed to the Vols during the spring after his junior season.

As a true freshman, Morris started 12 of 13 games at left tackle for the Vols, earning numerous post-season freshman All-American honors.

Farrell’s take: Morris has been a plug-and-play offensive lineman for Tennessee and while UGA has done a great job recruiting OL in recent years he would be nice to have on the roster now. This was a nice win for the Vols.