Top tackle Laremy Tunsil takes in Athens

ATHENS, Ga. -- Five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) toured the University of Georgia campus for the first time since November. The No. 3 player in the nation is highly coveted by the Bulldogs and the Georgia coaching staff had a simple message for Tunsil.

“They need me,” Tunsil said.

To that end, Tunsil was given the red-carpet treatment during his stay in Athens.

“It was pretty cool, actually,” Tunsil said. “It was nice. I got to Georgia at 8:30 on Thursday night and left around 4:00 today. I was shown the campus, and that is what really stood out to me. I liked all of it. Georgia is not the same as the other schools. Everybody cares about you there and the facilities are really nice. I will say the best campuses I have seen so far are Alabama and Georgia.”

The nation’s top offensive player was also impressed by the staff.

“The coaching staff is really cool. I spent the most time with Coach [Will] Friend, Coach [John] Lilly, Coach [Mike] Bobo and Coach [Mark] Richt,” Tunsil said. “They showed me the offense and how they have the linemen pulling. It is not really a finesse offense but more like a powerhouse. It is a fit for me.”

Tunsil said he did not watch the linemen work out at the Mark Richt Camp but rather focused on his quarterback, Jayce Barber (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), who was participating in the camp. Tunsil mentioned that he already knows what to expect at Georgia.

“They work hard,” Tunsil said. “That was one thing I learned about the offensive line at Georgia. So I guess I can say they are a powerhouse team.”

The Bulldogs would like to use their lack of linemen to tempt Tunsil but he said he doesn’t pay attention to that. Nor did he speak to the other Bulldogs recruits who have been effective in swaying uncommitted prospects.

If Georgia is going to get Tunsil, his relationship with Richt will be the key factor.

“He will make a man out of me if I go to Georgia,” Tunsil said. “That is how great a person he is. When I left he said, ‘I hope you make a good decision and come to Georgia.’ ”

Friend had some parting words as well.

“He said, ‘I look forward to seeing you again,’ ” Tunsil said, referring to Friend’s hint that he should pick the Bulldogs.

Tunsil says his recruitment is still ongoing.

“I really don’t have a top five,” Tunsil said. “I have a top eight: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and LSU. I will decide on signing day.”

Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) also visited Athens today and the two talked for a moment.

“I saw him and said hello,” Tunsil said. “He told me Alabama is where it is at.”

After visiting Alabama, running back Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) recently decommitted from Georgia, a move that could hurt the Bulldogs’ chances with Tunsil since he has mentioned wanting to play with Henry in college.

“I don’t know his current status but God does everything for a reason and hopefully, if I sign, he will go the same place,” Tunsil said.