Not long ago, in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, the Auburn Tigers were drooling while watching a pair of five-star prospects play a fun game of pitch and catch and giving hope for the future. That all went out the window Wednesday morning on National Signing Day.
Although Pinson Valley (AL) quarterback Bo Nix is already on campus as an early enrollee to play for head coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers couldn’t keep one of their most-coveted targets in the state when it was all said and done. Hoover (AL) wide receiver George Pickens has flipped his commitment from Auburn to the Georgia Bulldogs.
This was always a possibility, especially since the 6-foot-4, 190-pound pass-catching stud didn’t sign his National Letter of Intent in December, but this is a massive blow to Auburn and an even bigger get for Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart.
What once looked like a dream watching Nix complete nine passes to Pickens for 155 yards and two touchdowns in the postseason showcase game has turned into a nightmare. After all, Pickens, the second-ranked player in the state of Alabama for 2019, had been committed to the Tigers since June 2017 and waited until the last possible moment to change his mind for good.
Pickens, a consensus top-25 overall prospect who finished his senior season at Hoover High School with 69 catches for 1,368 yards and 16 touchdowns, took official visits to Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee during the recruiting prospect, but ultimately decided to take his big play-making talents to Athens, Georgia instead of the Plains.
This really couldn’t have worked out any better for Georgia. After losing out on five-star Jadon Haselwood, arguably the top wide receiver in the country, to Oklahoma, Kirby Smart literally got the next best option in Pickens to add to a stellar 2019 recruiting class, which currently ranks only behind the Alabama Crimson Tide, according to the 247Sports Composite.
When it’s all said and done, this will be remembered as the time UGA stole the two best players in Alabama — Clay Webb and George Pickens — to play college football for the Bulldogs in the SEC.