Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham didn’t know who the 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end was, the one who had traveled to Athens with top wide receiver target Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) for a campus visit this past weekend. That changed pretty quickly.
“I talked to the defensive coordinator,” said Jalen Stevens (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek). “He didn’t know who I was until I told him. He asked me what I thought about Georgia football and I said it was pretty good. He told me I would be a good fit at outside linebacker. And Coach [John] Lilly told me he would like to see me on my feet since I played middle linebacker this year. He said he definitely wants me to come to Dawg Night.”
Stevens, who recently ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash, didn’t know much about Georgia, either.
“I didn’t expect Georgia to be that legit. It was real fun and the coaches are real cool. And the basketball game was real cool, too," he said, referring to the upset of the Florida Gators on Saturday night. "The intensity was very high and it was a good upset. The fans were into it.”
Several of Georgia’s top targets were at the game and on campus, and Stevens remembered one of the high points of the visit for the group.
“We walked out onto the field and as soon as we got out there, Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga./Troup County), Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and Tramel Terry all turned around and we watched the highlight reel. It was smooth,” Stevens said.
A lot of coaches are stopping by Goose Creek to check out Terry and top linebacker Gerald Turner. While there, many of them have inquired about the tall defensive end, too.
“North Carolina offered me two weeks ago,” Stevens said. “I am going to Clemson Saturday with Tramel Terry and Gerald Turner and they may offer me. Alabama asked for my highlight tape. I am hearing from Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Connecticut, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Duke and Notre Dame.”
Stevens liked what he saw Saturday among the players in Athens, and he said he can see himself playing with them.
“Gerald Turner and I are real close,” Stevens said. “It would be crazy if Gerald, Tramel and I could go to the same school. I was thinking, you've got Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) coming in plus you've got Tray Matthews; that’s your starting safety and starting corner. You've got Reuben Foster -- he might go there, I don’t know -- at one middle linebacker spot, and Gerald Turner, at 6-2, 245 pounds, at the other middles spot, and me on the outside; that would be crazy.”
First he needs an offer from Georgia, and the talented defender thinks he could get one this summer.
“I feel once Georgia sits down and evaluates my highlight tape and I show out at Dawg Night, I think they will offer me that day,” Stevens said. “They have a potential to have five linebackers go to the league this year, so I have a chance. I had a 30-minute heart-to-heart with Coach [Joe] Tereshinski, the weightlifting coach. He talked to me and my mom and my sister. He liked my body type and said he will get me to working if I come. He wants to see me at Dawg Night, too.”
In the upcoming season Stevens will play inside linebacker, but he has played outside linebacker and defensive end as well.
“I would like to play as an outside linebacker, depending on what defense it is,” Stevens said. “I can come off the edge and hit them with a pass rush move or I can drop back into coverage using my length and bat the ball down or go for the interception.”