The Grayson Four: Why it's big, why it hurts for each school involved
Four major prospects from powerhouse Loganville (Ga.) Grayson High School announced their respective commitments on Tuesday. Here is a breakdown of what the commitment of each prospect.
Owen Pappoe to Auburn
Why it’s big for the Tigers: Pappoe is the type of prospect that can have an instant impact at the next level and quickly becomes the crown jewel of Auburn's class alongside the nation’s top quarterback, Bo Nix. Pappoe has been a national name on the recruiting circuit since he was in the eighth grade and for long stretches during his recruitment, both Tennessee and Georgia seemed to have the upper hand. The fact that the Tigers were able to reach into the Atlanta-area and nab Poppoe shows just how much muscle the staff has in the Peach State.
Why it hurts for others: Many Georgia fans saw Pappoe as the heir apparent to recent first-round draft pick and All-American linebacker Roquan Smith so not landing Pappoe is a blow. What makes it hurt even worse is the fact that Georgia seemed to have a decent lead for him earlier in the year only to have Auburn make up ground and eventually land his commitment. Expect Georgia to keep fighting here, especially considering that the first signing period is still more than seven months away. As far as Tennessee, the Vols made a strong late push and were once Pappoe’s dream school, but the new staff had a lot of ground to make up and not much time to do it. Texas, LSU and Penn State were also involved with Pappoe but shouldn’t feel bad about losing out on him to the Tigers.
Wanya Morris to Tennessee
Why it’s big for the Vols: A potential bookend left tackle at the next level, Morris is the type of tall, athletic offensive lineman that college coaches love and aren’t exactly easy to find. Considering the rebuilding project Tennessee currently is undergoing with new coach Jeremy Pruitt, landing a player of Morris’ caliber is a huge piece for the 2019 class and could have a major impact going forward. During the last few years under Butch Jones, the Vols shied away from the Atlanta area and Pruitt has vowed to change that. Grabbing the borderline five-star’s commitment shows just how serious the Vols are about making an impact in the Atlanta area.
Why it hurts for others: Auburn made a very strong push for Morris and even looked like it might land his commitment at times over the past month. Instead, the Tigers will have to settle for landing just one elite Grayson recruit in Pappoe and hope to get back in the mix with Morris down the line. Georgia was also high on Morris at one time even though the Bulldogs weren’t in the mix at the end and the same can be said for LSU and South Carolina.
Kenyatta Watson to Texas
Why it’s big for the Longhorns: The state of Texas is known for producing quality talent but the Longhorns have extended their reach nationally since Tom Herman and his staff arrived in Austin. Landing a commitment from Watson is a perfect example of the school’s reach. Watson is a big, physical, versatile defensive back who could play corner or safety at the next level and gives Texas another big name to add to its already impressive class. The Longhorns now have four-star commitments from prospects in both California and Georgia, and are headed toward another highly-rated recruiting class in 2019.
Why it hurts for others: Watson has considered several other schools during the process, including being a one-time commit to Florida State under then-coach Jimbo Fisher. But since re-opening his recruitment it was Notre Dame that initially looked as if it would be Watson’s future destination so his decision does sting the Irish a little bit. Over the past few classes the Irish have had quite the luck recruiting defensive backs from the South and the school was hoping Watson would be the next in line. Unlike some of the other commits from Grayson on Tuesday, the Irish knew Watson was headed elsewhere and have already moved onto other options. Oklahoma and Tennessee were also involved at times but weren’t a factor by the time it came time for Watson to announce.
Kevin Harris to Alabama
Why it’s big for the Tide: Harris fits the mold of several other Alabama hybrid defensive end/linebacker prospects that have had success in the Tide's defense over the years. He looks like an ideal fit and has the chance to fill right away considering the amount of talent likely to move on from Tuscaloosa after the 2018 season. Harris’ commitment also marks a big move for Alabama back into the Atlanta area, which is important considering the school didn’t sign one prospect from the state of Georgia in the 2018 class.
Why it hurts for others: At times over the past six weeks it looked like both LSU and Miami were in prime position to land Harris, with the Canes feeling confident all the way through this past weekend. Instead, both are left looking elsewhere as Alabama’s late push was enough to pass both the Tigers and the Canes. Harris has drawn comparisons to former LSU star Arden Key and seems like he would have been a great fit at LSU. Miami was hoping to mine Georgia for another quality player.