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Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Here are five 2021 recruits likely to sign up to play for Georgia football.

Georgia football has built a reputation on great recruiting under head coach Kirby Smart.

Since Smart took over for Mark Richt in 2016, Georgia has never had worse than a top-six recruiting class in the eyes of 247Sports.

The Georgia Bulldogs have had a pair of No. 1 recruiting classes, but have some work to do with its 2021 recruiting class. Entering July 2020, Georgia has the No. 17 class in this cycle nationally and the No. 4 class in the SEC. Time to step it up, Dawgs.

Fortunately, Georgia only has nine players committed, so it’s not like this particular class is going to stay down for long. The Dawgs from five-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff from nearby Bogart, Georgia, as well as seven four-stars this early in the cycle. Georgia has a shot at landing upwards of three five-stars in the recruiting class, as there are only 31 players with that rating.

Though the Dawgs are looking up at the Tennessee Volunteers, the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigers in the recruiting rankings, we know deep down programs like Georgia and the Alabama Crimson Tide have yet to make their moves. They’re always in the top-10 and typically find themselves in the top-five for a reason.

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With high school football ramping up here in a few months, we should expect a handful of commitments to come in the next few weeks. Usually, the best prospects in the country like to have their recruitment wrapped before their final season so they can early enroll if they feel so inclined. Here are five top recruits for Georgia who seem destined for Athens at this point.

These five 2021 recruits are the most likely to play for Georgia football. 5 Brock Bowers TE Napa High School (Napa, CA)

While Georgia has had its issues in the receiving game for the better part of forever, the Dawgs have had ample success historically at the tight end position. It’s long been an area of strength for the program and on the recruiting trails. One tight end who just might be willing to leave California to play in the southeast for the Dawgs is Brock Bowers.

At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Bowers is a four-star recruit in the 247Sports Composite. The Napa, California native is the No. 3 tight end in the country, the No. 10 player from California and the No. 93 player in his entire class. He has 22 offers, but Georgia is the one SEC program of note garnering for his commitment. Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley is his primary recruiter.

Having Hartley as his primary recruiter is significant because he was the primary recruiter on 2020 five-star athlete Darnell Washington out of Las Vegas, Nevada. At 6-foot-7.5 and 261 pounds, he projects as a tight end in Georgia’s offense. Running two tight end sets is something the ground-centric Georgia offense is used to historically, so recruiting Bowers isn’t overstepping Washington.

While most of the usual West Coast suspects are in on Bowers as well, Georgia is one of three programs it looks like he’d be willing to move considerably east to play for. The other two programs are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Penn State Nittany Lions. If Bowers ventures leaving the West Coast, the Dawgs have this in the bag. Plus, the SEC is a huge get here for him.

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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Reveals His Challenge to This Year’s Rookies

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

This past Saturday Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin participated in an online roundtable talk with Carl Francis and Vernon Lee, co-founders of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation, which supports programs that aim to improve the lives of youth in the part of Virginia where Tomlin grew up. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘the 757,’ a reference to the region’s area code.

Tomlin addressed a wide range of topics during the roundtable, including how his ‘miserable failure’ of a playing career served as a catalyst to coaching success.

He also revealed how one of his high-school teachers had a life-changing impact, and how the memory of the challenge she issued has influenced his own motivational messaging.

Miss Gunner’s Influence on Mike Tomlin

The story begins when Mike Tomlin was in the tenth grade in high school and a solid ‘B’ student. Then, one of his teachers, Miss Gunner, questioned whether Tomlin could get an ‘A’ in her class.

“I had always been a competitor [and] she challenged me in the right way,” Tomlin said. “Not only will I get an ‘A’ in your class, I can get an ‘A’ in all my classes if I want. In tenth and eleventh grade I got straight ‘A’s.”

Tomlin recalls that it was only after his grades improved that he came to realize the doors that would open for him, with schools like Duke, Stanford and the College of William & Mary suddenly a realistic possibility.

“I went on to be a National Honor Society kid because of it and I know it wouldn’t have happened if not for that challenge,” Tomlin admitted.

That’s one of the reasons why he pushes his own children to excel, saying, “I challenge my kids in that way, and they respond. They deliver ‘A’s and that is the standard. When you raise the standard for kids, they will meet them. That is what they do. They adapt.”

Mike Tomlin’s Challenge for This Year’s Rookie Class

Now Mike Tomlin is calling on the players in Pittsburgh’s 2020 draft class to adapt to the added challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which have included dealing with a virtual introduction to the NFL.

“It’s the same thing I am talking to my rookies about right now. There are a lot of reasons for an NFL rookie in 2020 to fail. I am looking for guys who are looking to excel despite this,” Tomlin said.

“We can’t fear short-term misery. We have to embrace short-term misery. There are going to be some dark days ahead. As mentors … we can’t ignore that exists,” he added.

At the same time, he insists that his players can’t worry about things that are out of their control. All they can do is respond in the right way, even if it’s not the easiest thing to do.

“It’s tough right now,” Tomlin said. “It’s made for tough-minded people. Smile in the face of it, roll your sleeves up and get working. In the long run, you know they win.”

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