LITHONIA, Ga. Broderick Jones committed to Georgia in April of 2018, he had already been a silent pledge to the program for at least two months.
Jones said at the time that the only program who had a shot at flipping him in the end would have been Alabama. That was his dream school growing up.
The Crimson Tide never really materialized. The late interest and worry that some folks had about Auburn and then Arkansas was never really all that substantial either.
He was going to be a Bulldog. He is now a Bulldog. Jones shared the news with his family and friends at Lithonia High on National Signing Day that his choice was indeed Georgia.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior is about 15 pounds shy of his fall playing weight thanks to his vital role on the Lithonia High basketball team. Those Bulldogs are currently rated No. 1 in Class 5A in the latest AJC poll of GHSA schools.
Jones, an Under Armour All-American selection, ranks as the nation's No. 2 OT for the 2020 cycle and as the No. 11 overall recruit on the 247Sports Composite rankings. The athletic left tackle prototype will certainly fill a need in Athens after the Bulldogs have seen prized tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson matriculate to the NFL. Projected 2020 starting tackle Cade Mays also transferred back home to Knoxville last month to join the Tennessee program.
The Lithonia High standout can and will project to contend for immediate playing time this fall in Athens. That will mirror what Andrew Thomas was able to give the Georgia program back in the fall of 2017.
What kept Jones committed to the Bulldogs?
"The biggest thing is just the culture of Georgia," Jones told DawgNation. "I'm from Georgia. I'm around. Georgia is just a big brand that I can see myself being a part of."
Broderick Jones: The official visit that locked it all down
Jones took his official visit to Georgia on Jan. 24. He did so after a Lithonia High basketball game. It was another chance to build a relationship with the weekend's other vital official visitor.
That would be 4-star OL Sedrick Van Pran-Granger out of Louisiana. Those two got to know one another well during the Under Armour All-American Game Week in Orlando.
"That just made it way more easier to build a bond with some of the future players that I can see myself with," Jones said.
He continued to grow close with Van Pran-Granger.
"That's someone that I can for myself having as a long-term and long-time friend," he said.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior got to see a different side of UGA on that visit.
"Every time I went to Georgia it was always either a game or about the academics or the program," Jones said. "I just never went and got the full effect of the school. So I believe that was a major part of that weekend. Getting out and seeing what the school had to offer."
But then there was another major part of it. Let's just call it a brotherhood. Jones is the type who can come in and take a spot. Even a starting spot once he adjusts to the college level. He can be a three-year player like Thomas and Wilson were in Athens.
Jones didn't see any hesitation from his potential teammates on his official visit. It mattered.
"It was just about building bonds with some of the guys," he said. "Like with how they actually are outside of football. Being able to build a bond with the players that you are coming in and also see of the players that are already there and already know the system. They can help you in the long run, too."
He expected the guys in the 2020 recruiting class to welcome him in. But this was more.
"How all the players were all so welcoming," he said. "You have some guys that are just trying to get in and get out. No hesitation. No guys getting in their way. Say if you have a player that you are going up against for a spot and you need help. But maybe he doesn't want to help you because he's scared that you might take his spot. It is not like that at Georgia. Everybody helps each other out and that's a great focus to have."
Broderick Jones: The other interesting things to know here
When Matt Luke was hired, it was easy to see that retaining Jones in the class was a clear priority for his first two months on the job.
Those two were able to build a relationship since he was hired. He got to be around Luke and get to know him family a bit on that official visit.
"Coach Luke I feel that is somebody that I can see myself with long-term as a coach," Jones said. "Building a bond. Just staying in contact even after I graduate with college. Just like high school. I want to be able to stay in contact with my coaches and call them and stay in touch with them if I need something or they need something and things like that."
"That's something I can now see myself doing with Coach Luke."
He also shared a good opinion on where the Bulldogs stood during the last few months of his recruiting timeline. Even after line coach Sam Pittman left to become the head coach at Arkansas.
"Georgia has always been my top priority," he said. "I wouldn't say it was up or down for me on the visit. That last visit was really just about a get to know thing with all the people and all the aspects and the cultures of the school."
He just always felt at home at Georgia. That goes back to when he initially committed to Georgia back in February of 2018. That goes for Jones and then his family.
"They enjoyed every bit of it," Jones said. "They just treat us like another family. That is a big part of it to me. My family is everything to me and I would want them to stay behind me always."
Jones has a pet snake. Her name is Piper. He does plan to bring her along with him to UGA.
When he left Athens after his official, he had no questions about his fit and his worth to the program. That was likely why he decided to stick that official visit to Auburn on the last weekend of the recruiting calendar.
"I have been down there so many times," Jones said. "I really had no questions after that visit. I was just trying to get in and get a good feel for all things Georgia. Not just the football and what it was like for games."
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