4-star DE commit Bill Norton plans to sign with UGA on Dec. 19

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. This play sheet offers up a report on popular 2019 Georgia commit Bill Norton out of Tennessee. 

Bill Norton is one of the most popular commitments in the 2019 class.

Folks just seem to be fond of his wavy hair, the aggressive manner he flashes on film and even his wrestling references. This was the guy who thought about suplexing guys on the field.

The No. 1 player in Tennessee even plays a position the Bulldogs need to shore up in their 2019 recruiting class. The 247Sports composite ratings still have him as the nation’s No. 10 strong-side DE prospect for this cycle. That slots him as the nation’s No. 126 overall prospect for 2019.

I’m not quite sure how, but speculation regarding this choice has started to seep in. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound senior was targeted by hyper-aggressive Tennessee coach and ace recruiter Jeremy Pruitt.

Bill Norton-UGA football-Georgia football
Bill Norton definitely has his eyes on his future in Athens. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Was he going to take visits? Would he stick in the class? How was his senior film compared to his junior tape?  There were even questions on the DawgNation message board about whether or not he would stick in the class of 2019.

Norton, to this reporter, had always seemed to be one of the most committed Bulldogs in the class.

He fit the exact profile of one of those guys Kirby Smart said he was looking for when he said he wants to sign players that want to play for Georgia.

That has always sounded like Norton.

Every time Norton left Athens, he offered some sort of variant of the following feedback: “I’m so ready to be in Athens.”

Norton told DawgNation on Wednesday he will now just take one more official visit. That will be to Georgia this weekend. He spoke to defensive line coach Tray Scott on Tuesday night at an in-home meeting.

He described that meeting as “very good” and plans to sign on Dec. 19.

“I’m going to Georgia next year,” Norton told DawgNation. “That’s completely final.”

Norton has called him “coach Tray” since their first interactions. Those two have a clear bond. While other schools wondered if he was an OL or a DL, he was seen by Scott as a clear DL.

Scott quickly made a difference in this recruitment from the jump. The way he recruited Norton quickly separated from a lot of schools which included Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.

Norton committed to Georgia back in March on the heels of a visit to Tennessee. 

The meeting with Scott had to be reassuring. Georgia will prioritize all the scholarship spots it has in the 2019 class. Spots will again be at a premium. They will be every year.

This program will continue to sign the very best players it possibly can every cycle.

Bill Norton really wants to be a Bulldog

Norton had even heard some of that chatter.

“We’ve been hearing rumors and stuff that Georgia is getting iffy with me and coach Tray (Scott) reaffirmed that that’s not true at all,” Norton said on Nov. 30. “So I believe his word over anything.”

At that time, he said he was “still 1000 percent committed to Georgia.”

He’s taking his official visit this weekend. That’s the weekend he has always planned to take his official.

Bill Norton rates as the nation’s No. 10 strong-side DE for 2019 on the 247Sports composite rankings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Norton never had any interest in taking any visits anywhere else. Even for those nice official visit trips. The lure of a free trip never really mattered to him.

“I’m not even super interested in seeing anywhere else,” Norton said on Nov. 14. “I already know that I am not de-committing or changing my decision. Committing to Georgia was the best decision I’ve ever made and I’ve never had a single doubt about changing it. I don’t really see a huge point in visiting anywhere else.”

He clearly sees himself as a Bulldog. Every time.

“Every time I’ve left after going on a visit or every time we go to a game I’ve been dying to go back ever since we get back into the car and head home,” he said. “Every trip we go to UGA, it strengthens my commitment. A lot.”

What makes it that way?

“It is what all the other recruits talk about,” he said. “Just the fans and being able to play in front of that. Then all the players that are coming into Georgia are all awesome dudes. I’m really excited to play with them like Zion (Logue), Tymon (Mitchell), Nolan (Smith), Travon (Walker) and all those dudes. I’m excited to be on a team with all those dudes and then just being in Athens in general.”

He plans to sign early, but report in late May or early June. The 4-star recruit will not enroll early.

Lots of blips on the recruiting radar this week

There is a lot of visit traffic this week, but I thought it is also interesting to check in a few places regarding a few commitments of note.

  • Nakobe Dean, the 5-star ILB prospect, plans to make his college decision known on Dec. 19. That was a change from his original thinking earlier in his process about committing on his birthday on Dec. 13. I’ve learned that he still plans to make his decision on Dec. 13 and then share that with the world on Dec. 19.
  • 5-star Clay Webb will make his college decision known at 10 a.m. (CST) on Dec. 10. He will do so from the performance center at Oxford High School. 247Sports first reported that story, but DawgNation did confirm that on its own.
  • Zion Logue, the 3-star DE commitment from Tennessee, tells DawgNation that he has shut it all down. He will take his official visit to UGA for the commits and key targets weekend from Dec. 13-Dec. 15 prior to the early signing period.
  • Dillon Gabriel, the 2-star QB prospect from Hawaii, plans to be at UGA this weekend for his official. He also still plans an official visit to USC on the final weekend before the early signing period. He does plan to enroll early.
  • James Coley visited Gabriel in Hawaii yesterday. Those two are getting along nicely. He describes Coley as a “great guy” and a “great person” so far. “I love the way he is so passionate about football,” Gabriel said.
  • The de-commitment decision made Lejond Cavazos will surely be worth watching going forward. I do feel that the decision made by Urban Meyer will significantly open the door for only a couple of schools. That will be Georgia and Oregon. At least. The Bulldogs finished second for Cavazos and the family’s long-term relationship and ties to Meyer had a lot to do with that.
  • The Cavazos process will be interesting. He planned an unofficial visit late this fall to be sure but had an abrupt change of plans. I would think that the Bulldogs need to get their long-term defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in place first with the news coming from Mel Tucker to Colorado.
  • Robbie Arnold, the long-time UGA target from Hoover High in Alabama, was at the Auburn game last month on an unofficial visit. His recruitment in the 2020 class becomes much more interesting for the Bulldogs after the recent decisions made by in-state talents like Harrison Bailey (Tennessee) and Max Johnson (LSU) to commit to SEC rivals.
  • How did that recent Arnold visit go? “I felt great about that visit,” Arnold said. “I was blown away by everything,” he said. “They made me feel at home. It was great.”
  • Noah Cain conducted a live Periscope interview with EJ Holland of 247Sports this week and answered a question about comparing his running style with a current player in college. The player he chose? That was Georgia sophomore tailback D’Andre Swift.

Making sure everyone checks their calendars this month

We’ve shared this list on the DawgNation “Before the Hedges” live weekly recruiting special and again recently on the DawgNation forum. It seems that we need to make sure everyone sees it everywhere.

These are the key dates for UGA recruiting fans to keep in mind over the next 2-3 months. To the best of our knowledge, here are some key guideposts to consider.

  • Dec. 10: 5-star OL Clay Webb makes his college decision
  • Dec. 14: 4-star OT Trevor Keegan makes his college decision
  • Dec. 14-16: Final official visit weekend prior to the early signing period
  • Dec. 19: Early signing period opens
  • Dec. 19: 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean shares his college decision
  • Dec. 19: 4-star RB Noah Cain shares his college decision
  • Dec. 21: Early signing period ends
  • Jan. 5: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood shares his college decision
  • Jan. 5: 4-star CB Tyrique Stevenson shares his college decision
  • Feb. 6: 5-star OL Darnell Wright makes his college decision
  • Feb. 6: 4-star CB Kaiir Elam makes his college decision

These dates, as always, are subject to change at all time. That’s the nature of the recruiting industry.

What does the potential early enrollee picture look like?

We shared this information in a recent “Ask DawgNation post, but it seems there’s another good “listicle” to keep in mind here for UGA recruiting.

Here’s a summation of which UGA commits and top recruiting targets plan to enroll early.

UGA recruiting early enrollment for 2019 

Commitments who plan to enroll in January

  • 4-star S Lewis Cine (1)
  • 4-star junior college CB D.J. Daniel (2)
  • 4-star OLB Rian Davis (3)
  • 4-star TE Ryland Goede (4)
  • 4-star junior college OLB Jermaine Johnson (5)
  • 4-star OT Warren McClendon (6)
  • 4-star ILB Trezmen Marshall (7)
  • 5-star OLB Nolan Smith (8)

Major UGA targets who plan to enroll in January

  • 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood
  • 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean
  • 5-star OL Clay Webb
  • 4-star CB Tyrique Stevenson
  • 4-star RB Noah Cain
  • 2-star QB Dillon Gabriel
  • 4-star QB Joey Yellen (current Arizona State commit)

 

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