Nick Saban disciple Kirby Smart is quickly establishing his program as a recruiting powerhouse, as the Georgia Bulldogs used the break between dead periods to land two key two Texas Longhorns targets.
First, it was Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab athlete Makiya Tongue pledging to the Bulldogs on Sunday evening:
C O M M I T T E D ... pic.twitter.com/BoXhO9PrBd— M T 9 (@makiyatongue) July 29, 2018
Then it was Apopka (Fla.) Wekiva outside linebacker Rian Davis joining the Georgia class less than an hour later:
IM 104% COMMITTED GO DAWGS pic.twitter.com/rUiP2j9ogD— Rian "Trouble" Davis (@Trouble_R4) July 30, 2018
A 6’2, 210-pounder, Tongue visited Texas twice this year, once for an unofficial visit in February and then again for an official visit in May. Unfortunately for the Horns, the Bulldogs took the lead in Tongue’s recruitment following an official visit to Athens in June and closed his recruitment with a visit this weekend.
Tongue was an intriguing target for the Longhorns because of his pedigree as the son of former NFL safety Reggie Tongue and because of his multi-dimensional skill set. Blessed with good size and ball skills, Tongue is expected to play wide receiver in college, but also has enough ability to project favorably as a linebacker.
Texas is still looking to add players capable of playing both positions.
Davis is versatile in a different way — he has a unique ability to play with his hand on the ground as a defensive end, diagnose running plays as a linebacker, and drop into coverage. As a result, he was a highly-coveted prospect who also seriously considered Clemson and held more than 40 offers.
As with Tongue, Davis was a legitimate target for Texas after his visit for the Heat Wave event in June, but Georgia also closed with him this weekend.
At wide receiver and linebacker, the Longhorns are in solid shape at the moment, so the losses aren’t particularly damaging, but do reveal a program led by head coach Tom Herman that is competing for some of the top players in the country and remaining in those recruitments until the deciding moments. However, closing against a program that nearly won a national championship early this year isn’t an easy task.
The addition of Florida linebacker Marcus Tillman Jr. was a positive sign this weekend and a similar athlete to Tongue, California product Bru McCoy, is still considering Texas. To find a prospect who profiles at the X position, McCoy and West Mesquite’s Dylan Wright are the top targets, but it’s a list that is rapidly dwindling. Austin’s own Elijah Higgins is uncommitted, too, he’s just leaning out of state at the moment.
So there are still options out there to fill that spots that Tongue and Davis would have taken.
The 2019 class is by no means a disappointment for the Longhorns at the moment — it currently ranks in the top-10 nationally. In all likelihood, however, missing on players like Tongue and Davis limit the group’s upside in the final rankings.
And reveal an emerging reality — the only program harder to recruit against at the moment than Georgia is Alabama.