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UGA Misses out on in-state star, KJ Bolden

UGA Misses out on in-state star, KJ Bolden

UGA MISSES OUT ON IN-STATE STAR, KJ BOLDEN — Top recruits from all over the nation came to find out who KJ Bolden was committing to on Saturday, August 5th.

Ohio State QB commit Air Noland watched alongside, UGA commit Dylan Raiola, Florida State RB commit Kam Davis, 2026 QB JuJu Lewis, Auburn commit Jalyn Crawford, and others came to watch Bolden’s big day. The 5-star safety out of Buford, Georgia had a wide choice here: Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, and Alabama.

His recruitment was one of the more fascinating ones in recent memory, where there were moments where each school except Alabama felt like they were going to land the coveted safety.

While Georgia felt confident for some time they would land the safety, Bolden chose Florida State at the end of the day. Kirby Smart has personally recruited Bolden for years to come play the same position as him while donning the red and black. Bolden finished his commitment to Georgia in June, but as time went on, Florida State started to heavily court him.


KJ Bolden following the dream

Bolden has described FSU as his dream school, and rumors are flying the Florida State came and drastically increased their NIL offer to Bolden hours before his commitment. Until that point, Georgia seemed to be his destination, before turning 180 degree and going for FSU.

This one hurts a lot, because Buford High School often steers athletes away from UGA. Bolden becomes its latest and most high-profile example, as he is the 7th highest player in the nation in the 247Sports Composite.

Georgia went all-in on Bolden and has no clear replacement as they look to add another DB to their class. But on a brighter note, UGA nabbed another top running back the following day in getting Nate Frazier to commit. Frazier has been silently committed for UGA for weeks, but made it official on Sunday.

The 4-star running back from Mater Dei High School is an all-purpose back. Also a track runner, speed demon Frazier visited Texas A&M, Alabama, and Oregon as other schools to consider. At 5’11, 208 lbs, Frazier brings a great combination of size and speed to his game.

Thoughts of him alongside Chauncey Bowens and Dwight Phillips provide a lot of optimism right now.

FUN My Pillow

Georgia and NIL

UGA has a competitive NIL package they can offer players through the Classic City Collective. However, Georgia has some limitations regarding NIL that allow players like Bolden to get away. Kirby Smart has a limit that he wants an incoming freshman to make through NIL. If players who have never seen the field make as much or more than players who have been playing for years, it can create issues in the locker room. Kirby instead prefers to save the top dollars for retaining players and drawing transfers.

Think back to last off-season, when Darnell Washington and Amarius Mims were rumored to be leaving the program. Mims was a 5-star offensive tackle who didn’t get much playing time his first seasons at UGA. He began to rotate into the line last year, and eventually started the National Championship game due to injury. Mims flirted with Florida State and was recruited to transfer to them once he entered the portal.

Darnell Washington also was not thrilled with his playing experience at UGA. Primarily used as a blocker, Washington believed he should be getting thrown to more. He also considered leaving. While I don’t know it officially, these are the exact situations where Kirby likes to pad NIL money with players. It works, and both came back and impacted a national championship team.

UGA can still secure top talent

So, Georgia will see the likes of Bear Alexander leave when Southern Cal drops a bag at his doorstep. Bidding wars aren’t their business, as they believe they have the staff and program to get players into the NFL. Indeed, they pitch the long-term salary rather than the NIL payments. There’s also the fact that Georgia does not have the same level of donors as Texas, Texas A&M, or Southern California.

NIL has created a new world of collegiate sports. Georgia is still doing just fine and has the top-ranked class. But even the back-to-back national champions have tough days, especially when a kid they have pursued for years – and have a better relationship with than any school – chooses to go somewhere else that offers a much higher NIL number than UGA will.

Now that the KJ Bolden saga is over, UGA may end up offering a better NIL deal to Williams Nwaneri to see if they can sway him away from Oklahoma or Missouri. He commits August 14th.

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