2015 tight end prospect Jackson Harris will make a commitment to one of three schools this week (Alabama, Georgia, or Vanderbilt), the only question is whose done enough to leave a lasting impression on the Tennessee native; after a recent visit to Tuscaloosa, it would be easy to believe the pendulum has swung in the Tide’s favor.
“They’re just saying that with Vogler leaving next year, they have a strong need at the Y position which is a blocking tight end and a throwback 6-5, 260 guy. They don’t have many of them after Volger leaves. They have great facilities, great tradition and obviously it’s got the whole package.” (Barton Simmons, 247Sports)
However, there are a couple of things to take into consideration. For one, the Tide already have a commitment from 4-star Hale Hentges, who committed in late May; while he’s a bit lighter than Harris and doesn’t particularly look the part of a Y-tight end (the position the Tide are selling Harris on playing as well), he has room to grow and could develop into the inline blocker the Tide need, and while Harris has publicly stated the commitment of Hentges doesn’t effect his status with the Tide, you have to figure he’s looked at Georgia’s depth chart, sees an immediate opportunity, and wouldn’t mind stepping in to make an immediate impact.
That said, does he fit the bill for Georgia?
The Bulldogs are still looking for a guy who can replace the departed Arthur Lynch. Jay Rome will be gone after this season, assuming he’s healthy and has a solid year, and the incoming Jeb Blazevich is more in the mold of former tight end/hybrid Orson Charles, than Lynch.
As for the other tight ends—Jordan Davis and Hunter Atkinson—they will have an opportunity to make a contribution, but Davis was slowed by a knee injury this past spring and still looks like he’ll need to get a bit stronger to become an effective inline blocker, while Atkinson certainly looks the part, but will seemingly need time with the playbook before he can be considered a legitimate option.
Which leads us back to Harris.
When he visited the Bulldogs this past spring, for the annual G-Day Game, he liked what he saw and said he felt good about what the program had to offer.
“It was a great visit,” Harris said.”I really got to look around, got to see the offense, there is a huge opportunity at tight end. I stayed the night with some players, and just feel like I have a good feel of the whole program. I think good things about it.” (Rusty Mansell, Dawgs247)
That said, is his relationship with the staff, and early playing time, enough to land the Bulldogs on top? My gut says “yes”…but it’s likely going to be a close one.
For now, it’s safe to say it’s going to be an Alabama-Georgia battle, but that’s all that can be said with any certainty. The rest might just be a coin flip.
For Harris, his decision heading into Thursday has already been made. Now it’s just a matter of making it public. He touched on each of his three finalists.
“For Alabama, there’s not many Y tight ends, it’s a great winning program, good chance to bring back national championships and always going to have winning seasons.
“Georgia, I got a great feel for the coaches and the players. Great relationships with them. I really like what they’re doing on offense. Everyone there is great people. (Barton Simmons, 247Sports)