ATLANTA – The Georgia high school football all-star game circuit is off and running and several prospects from the state’s class of 2018 are in town this week for practice.
Lakewood Stadium will serve as one of the practice sites for the Georgia Junior Bowl, which is played at Mercer University on Friday night.
On Tuesday, SEC Country stopped by Lakewood for a look at Team Dedication, which includes 4-star offensive guard Jalil Irvin (Stone Mountain-Stephenson), 4-star outside linebacker Zakoby McClain (Valdosta) and 3-star quarterback Jarren Williams (Lawrenceville-Central Gwinnett).
Mom likes Auburn
Irvin, who’s listed at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, recently unveiled a top 4 of Auburn, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The Vols have the most contact with the No. 15-ranked offensive guard in the class of 2018.
“I talk to coach (Butch) Jones almost every day,” Irvin said. “Coach (Don) Mahoney texts me all throughout the day. They have good facilities. My mom liked them, but my mom’s favorite is Auburn. She likes Auburn a lot, too.
“We’re going to do these visits, do these junior days. I’m planning to visit Clemson again, Florida State, more than likely Georgia, Tennessee, Florida. … all the good schools that are recruiting me. I’m probably saving Michigan for an official visit.”
Priority prospect for the Gamecocks
McClain’s offer lists includes South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Both the Gamecocks and Huskers have made their intentions known to the No. 21-ranked outside linebacker in the class of 2018.
“I went to a (South Carolina) game and I talked to coach (Will) Muschamp,” McClain said. “He said I’m one of their top recruits.”
Firm to Kentucky
Since he committed to Kentucky in June, Williams has picked up offers from several schools, including South Carolina and Miami. However, the No. 18-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2018, said he’s “100 percent Kentucky” right now.
“When I went up there. It just felt like family,” Williams said. “I bonded with the coaches and got to meet some of the players. I went around campus and fell in love. It just felt like it was home.”
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has certainly made a favorable impression.
“What I really like about him is he’s honest. He’s really up front about everything,” Williams said. “I can trust him. That’s the main thing.”
Williams visited South Carolina in the fall, and met with offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The Gamecocks coaches are looking to line up another visit after the calendar flips to 2017.
Elite sophomores hit Atlanta
The Georgia Elite Classic has several of the top class of 2019 prospects from across the state, including 4-star offensive guard Keiondre Jones, who first emerged on the recruiting radar as an eighth grader when he picked up offers from Alabama and Georgia.
Georgia is the long-time favorite for the 6-foot-4, 265-pound prospect from Callaway High School in Hogansville, Ga.
“All my family’s Georgia fans,” he said.
While wearing a Clemson pullover at the Georgia Elite Classic registration, Jones told SEC Country that he’s been to Athens for 11-12 visits.
Plus, he shares a long-standing relationship with coach Kirby Smart.
“Coach Smart, actually, he offered me back in the eighth grade when he was at Alabama, so really since about my sixth, seventh grade year,” Jones said.
Defensive tackle Travon Walker (6-4, 240) also counts Georgia as a favorite.
“That’s where I grew up,” he said. “I just like them.”
Georgia and Alabama have both offered Walker, who’s from Upson-Lee High School in Thomaston, Ga.
Penn State, Clemson and Florida State are also in touch.
Clemson is also involved with athlete Jalyn Phillips, a 6-foot, 185-pound prospect from Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. South Carolina is his only offer.
Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee and North Carolina remain in contact.
“Clemson is one of the top (programs) right now. I loved the atmosphere there. The university is pretty good. Georgia, it’s home to me,” he said. “Tennessee, I loved the fans. Their fans are really excited.”
All rankings and ratings are based on the 247Sports composite, unless otherwise indicated.