Georgia had to land Trent Thompson.
Thompson, who plays defensive tackle at Westover High School in Albany, Ga., is the No. 1 ranked prospect in the state of Georgia, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Thompson had the option of going anywhere in the country. And many of the top prospects in Georgia have exercised their option to leave the state this year.
That’s why it became critical for the Bulldogs to beat out Alabama and Auburn for Thompson, who committed to Georgia on Tuesday. The state’s top player and the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle gave the Bulldogs a coveted commitment for the 2015 class.
Of the top 10 prospects from the state of Georgia in the 2015 class, only two have committed to the Bulldogs. Thompson is one. Wide receiver Terry Godwin from Hogansville is the other. Two of the top 10 are still undecided – linebacker Roquan Smith from Montezuma and safety Rashad Roundtree from Evans.
Smith took notice on Tuesday when Thompson committed to Georgia.
“(It’s) huge for the class,” Smith told 247Sports via text message. “It would be great playing behind a phenom like that.”
Georgia hopes other prospects think like Smith and give more consideration to the Bulldogs now that one of the nation’s best players has chosen them.
Thompson has already given Georgia’s class a big boost in the rankings. The Bulldogs improved six spots this week to No. 8 in the nation in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
There’s also the fact that Georgia just landed a difference-making talent for its defense. Westover coach Octavia Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week he believes Thompson is the best defensive tackle in the nation.
“We definitely feel like he’s a future first-round NFL draft pick,” Jones said. “His ceiling is so high. He hasn’t reached it yet.
“He’s going to be so much better on the next level when those college coaches get to spend more and more time with him. They’ll improve his technique, and he’ll get a lot of experience going against other top-notch players from across the country. That’s all going to be make him that much better.”
Georgia will turn its attention to making the rest of its 2015 class better. The Bulldogs will sell the idea of playing alongside Thompson to other top prospects, including defensive end Josh Sweat from Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va.
Sweat has already promised an official visit to Georgia, which would love the opportunity to line up Sweat on the outside next to Thompson.
Other in-state prospects, such as receivers Darius Slayton and Jayson Stanley and cornerback Michael Abernathy, will remain high priorities for Georgia.
They all just got bumped up a notch thanks to Georgia taking care of its top priority.
Can Ledbetter help flip his brother?
Joseph Ledbetter joined Georgia’s football team this summer to play tight end after spending the last two years playing basketball at a Division II school.
Will Ledbetter be able to help Georgia’s football team on the field? Maybe. But he might be able to help the Bulldogs in recruiting.
Ledbetter’s younger brother is Jonathan Ledbetter, a highly-touted defensive lineman from Tucker (Ga.) High School who’s committed to Alabama.
It’s certainly worth wondering if Joseph’s arrival at Georgia will help the Bulldogs flip the commitment of his younger brother.
“I don’t know," Joseph Ledbetter told the media this week. "I would hope so … But that’s something you’d have to talk about with him.”
It’s unknown how influential Joseph’s arrival at Georgia will be on Jonathan’s final decision. But Georgia is putting together a strong defensive line class, and the Bulldogs just landed another recruiter with a strong relationship to help in the pursuit of Jonathan Ledbetter.
Tuttle sets announcement date
Defensive tackle Shy Tuttle from North Davidson High School in Lexington, N.C., has decided when he will announce his college decision.
I'm making my decision September 26 before the tabor game— Shy Tuttle (@KingTut_90) August 13, 2014
Tuttle is referring to North Davidson’s Sept. 26 home game against Tabor High School of Winston-Salem, N.C.
The race for Tuttle’s services appears to be down to Tennessee and North Carolina. Clemson, Miami and North Carolina State have also been in heavy pursuit of Tuttle, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 6 defensive tackle by 247Sports Composite.
Ridley’s commitment to Alabama: ’95 percent’
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley from Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Fla., will remain a top recruiting priority for Alabama.
Ridley has already committed to the Crimson Tide, but he has maintained plans to visit other schools. He told Rivals this week that he’ll likely take trips to Florida State and Miami and that his commitment to Alabama is “95 percent.”
There shouldn’t be too much reason for Alabama fans to worry. Coach Nick Saban rarely loses elite prospects like Ridley once they’ve committed to the Crimson Tide. Still, Florida State has proven it can turn prospects and is recruiting at a very high level right now.
That’s why Alabama will continue to put the full-court press on Ridley, who was named the overall Most Valuable Player at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., last month.
MrSEC’s bet: Ridley sticks with his commitment and enrolls at Alabama in January as he has planned all along.
“I talk to them all the time - that's my school,” Ridley told Rivals of Alabama.