George Pickens

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No. 6 Georgia shuts out Missouri to move one step closer to third consecutive SEC East crown

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It was a pretty good day for No. 6 Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC). A shutout victory (27-0)over Missouri ( 5-4, 2-3 SEC) has Georgia one game away from playing for the SEC championship for the third consecutive season. But Georgia’s 27-0 victory came at a bit of an injury toll with a handful of Georgia players having to leave the game for various injury concerns.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game with a shoulder injury late in the first half. At other points in the game, offensive linemen Cade Mays, Trey Hill, and Isaiah Wilson all left the game with injuries.

Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes in the win, with two going to George Pickens. D’Andre Swift had a slow start to the game against the Tigers defense and ended the game with 83 rushing yards without a touchdown. It may not have been the best Georgia offensive production, but the defense more than took care of things against the Tigers. Mizzou converted just four third-down attempts all night while struggling to get to 189 yards of total offense.

Missouri is now officially eliminated from the SEC East race, as they can do no better than tie with Georgia and would lose on a head-to-head tiebreaker. But Georgia still has to win one more game in conference play to wrap up its third consecutive division crown. Georgia will clinch the division with any combination of a win against Auburn, a win against Texas A&M or a Florida loss to Missouri. Florida will play its SEC finale next week on the road against Missouri at noon eastern. So Georgia could know whether or not they have the division clinched or not by the time they take the field at Auburn (game time to be determined as of this post).

So, simply put, Georgia will clinch the SEC East next week if Florida loses to Missouri or Georgia beats Auburn. If neither one of those things happens next week, then it is on to Georgia’s SEC finale against Texas A&M to determine the fate of the division.

Georgia also picked a good day to win a game. Ranked sixth by the College Football Playoff selection committee, the Bulldogs won on a day that saw No. 4 Penn State lose on the road to No. 17 Minnesota and No. 3 Alabama come up short at home against No. 2 LSU. As far as one-loss teams go, it is a crowded field and Georgia’s loss is the worst any one-loss team has on its record (South Carolina). But Georgia also has a couple of the best wins with victories against Notre Dame and Florida in their pocket. How this all balances out in the eyes of the selection committee will be something to watch. It would not be expected Alabama falls too far given a hard-fought loss to LSU, and it is not a guarantee Penn State takes a massive tumble either (although Minnesota should make a nice jump). No matter what the selection committee says in their second batch of rankings on Tuesday, Georgia remains in a position to leave no doubt, as a one-loss SEC champion would be nearly impossible to leave out. That’s Georgia’s hope right now, at least. Of course, for that scenario to be in play, Georgia must keep hope alive with a win at Auburn next week.

Georgia leading Missouri at halftime, looking to keep firm grip on SEC East

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With a chance to remain one game on top of the SEC East, No. 6 Georgia is taking care of some work inside the division so far tonight. Georgia leads Missouri 16-0 at halftime in Athens, putting them one half away from securing a one-game lead in the division with head-to-head tiebreakers against every team in the division not named South Carolina.

It hasn’t been particularly pretty for Georgia. Jake Fromm has completed just nine of 20 passes for 122 yards, although one was for a touchdown to George Pickens. But all Georgia has managed to add has been a trio of Rodrigo Blankenship field goals, including a 48-yard kick.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game late in the second quarter with an apparent arm injury. There was no immediate update on his status in the final minute of the half, so it is unknown what this means for the second half.

Missouri has not allowed the Georgia running game to get much momentum, with D’Andre Swift held to just 16 yards on five attempts. Missouri’s offense hasn’t had much luck either, of course.

With a pair of top four teams falling earlier today (Penn State, Alabama), a win by Georgia tonight could also move the Bulldogs into a playoff position in the next College Football Playoff rankings. But first, Georgia must finish this one off against the Tigers.

Big play sparks early life for Vols, but No. 3 Georgia leading Tennessee at halftime

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Tennessee may not have been able to beat Georgia State, but they are currently giving No. 3 Georgia a good battle in Knoxville. But Tennessee has fallen behind Georgia late in the first half, 26-14, thanks to a pair of  Jake Fromm touchdown passes late in the second quarter.

Georgia did strike first with a precise 12-play drive on their first offensive series of the game. D’Andre Swift capped the drive with a short touchdown run. Georgia had just one third down on the entire drive, with Swift converting a 3rd-and-1 with a four-yard run. But Tennessee had a quick answer when Brian Maurer connected with Marquez Callaway for a 73-yard score to give a much-needed jolt to the Vols fans packed into Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee took a 14-10 lead on their next series. Maurer again did the honors in finishing off the drive with a touchdown pass. This time it was a much more conventional 12-yard play to Jauan Jennings to regain the lead after a Georgia field goal.

Tennessee was just a few minutes away from going to halftime up 14-13, but instead, this game is firmly under control by Georgia with 30 minutes to play. Georgia took a 20-14 lead with 1:59 left in the half. After some terrific efforts by Jauan Jennings to move the Vols down the field late in the half, Tennessee missed a field goal with enough time for the Bulldogs to score once more. Fromm completed a pass to George Pickens for one last score with nine seconds left in the half.

And with that, Georgia is well on its way to another win against the Vols.

Georgia flips five-star WR George Pickens from Auburn

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And now we have our first five-star flip of National Signing Day 2019, and it not surprisingly involves a pair of teams from the SEC.

In July of last year, George Pickens announced his verbal commitment to Auburn and had seemed like a fairly solid get for Gus Malzahn‘s program.  The star wide receiver’s final visit, an unofficial one, came to The Plains on Feb. 3.

Three days later, however, the Alabama high schooler stunned many recruiting observers by announcing his commitment to Georgia.

“Every year, we usually know what’s going to happen, but this is one came a little bit out of left field,” 247Sports.com Director of Scouting Barton Simmons said. “High-profile kid commits to a team that we weren’t necessarily monitoring significantly as a program that was going to steal him. What a pick up for Georgia.”

Pickens is easily the highest-rated flip of signing day, ranked as the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama and the No. 4 receiver in the country as well as being slotted as the No. 24 prospect overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The flip also means that UGA has pulled in the top two prospects from the state of Alabama.

UPDATED 11:29 a.m. ET: The Georgia football program has subsequently confirmed they have received Pickens’ signed National Letter of Intent.

From undecided recruits and potential flips, still some prizes to be won on National Signing Day this week

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The confetti in Atlanta has just been swept off the floor in Atlanta following the Super Bowl, but we are a little more than 36 hours away from the next big day on football’s calendar. That’s right, National Signing Day takes place this Wednesday, Feb. 6 as college football’s recruiting process looks to put the final pieces of puzzles in place for the Class of 2019. For the second straight year, an early signing period on the recruiting calendar has taken much of the steam out of the fun of signing day, but there are still some good players available as programs look to polish off their recruiting efforts on a high note this week.

According to a top 100 ranking of the Class of 2019, just seven players are classified as undecided. That includes five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright of Huntington, West Virginia. Tennessee appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for his commitment of the nation’s No. 16 player overall, although West Virginia is in the mix as expected. Mack Brown and North Carolina are also apparently high on Wright’s radar, with Penn State and Georgia likely fading. It’s worth noting the Vols got the last official visit on the schedule over the weekend, giving the Vols the last chance to make their sales pitch on campus.

Other notable undecided players include four-star athlete Jerrion Ealy of Mississippi (Clemson, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State all had official visits recently), four-star cornerback Kaiir Elam of Florida (expected to be a battle between Florida and Georgia), and four-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher of Louisiana (LSU is probably the favorite ahead of Alabama and Ole Miss).

Five more players on the board are labeled as verbal commitments, although you never know if one of those players could potentially flip. Four-star safety Nick Cross is currently verbally committed to Florida State, but Rivals notes a few programs have been busy trying to lure him away from heading to Tallahassee. The DeMatha product has been getting some heavy attention from within the state by the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland has some competition just north of the Mason-Dixon Line from Penn State, with the Nittany Lions getting a late official visit on the books and seemingly the most likely program to potentially get Cross to flip his commitment from Florida State. Georgia is also in hot pursuit, and the Bulldogs are not to be overlooked in this recruiting battle as it comes down the final stretch.

Another Florida State verbal commit, four-star defensive end Quashon Fuller, is also on flip-watch according to Rivals. Alabama and Florida are thought to be in the running before Fuller signs his letter of intent. Alabama is always a threat to snatch a talented recruit away from a school, and Dan Mullen and Florida turned in a solid recruiting effort within the state of Florida. Adding one more in-state recruit would bode well for the Gators, if there is any second-guessing from the Florida State commit.

Perhaps the most notable verbal commitment to watch for a potential flip could be Auburn commit George Pickens. The five-star wide receiver and the No. 7 recruit in the nation has been committed to the Tigers for a while but a late visit to Tennessee appears to be throwing some curveballs in the final days before signing day. Once again, Georgia is also thought to be in the mix as well. Keeping Pickens, a Hoover, Alabama recruit, in the pack for the Tigers would be a significant recruiting victory for Gus Malzahn and company.

Will we see any surprises? That remains to be seen. With many programs pretty much having their recruiting classes in good order after the early signing period in January, there could be a pretty light day of recruiting headlines coming our way this week. But even though the traditional signing day may have lost a bit of the shine it once had, that doesn’t mean it is any less important. There are some good football players still looking to bring an end to their recruiting process, and many programs would love to be able to add some of these players to their recruiting class.