Van Jefferson Decommits from Georgia: What's Next for Bulldogs, 4-Star WR?

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 20, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

Wide receiver Van Jefferson dropped his commitment to Georgia on Tuesday afternoon, announcing the decision via Twitter:

The 4-star Tennessee prospect spent the past five months as a Bulldogs pledge but elected to explore other opportunities just two weeks shy of national signing day. Oklahoma stands out as a potential landing spot, as he spent time on campus this past weekend and received an in-home visit from Bob Stoops on Monday.

Jefferson's recruitment suddenly seems to be trending toward the Sooners, according to Barton Simmons of 247Sports:

"Sources have indicated that Jefferson's visit to OU over the weekend blew him away," Simmons wrote. "Many have seen Jefferson's recruitment as a Ole Miss-Georgia battle but Oklahoma's January push is going to be tough for either program to beat."

Oklahoma may be viewed as the new leader in this pursuit, but don't expect the final chase to be easy for Stoops. 

Jefferson, a 6'2", 183-pound Ravenwood Academy product, will head to a pair of SEC campuses in the coming weeks:

Ole Miss also remains a strong contender for top-rated Texas receiver Damarkus Lodge, while Jim McElwain is working to salvage a class that currently includes just eight commits. If Jefferson lands with either squad, it will increase the sting for Georgia fans reeling about the loss. 

Trent Smallwood, who covers Bulldogs recruiting for Rivals.com, reports the program shouldn't be counted out just yet:

However, it's difficult to imagine Jefferson donning a Bulldogs hat on signing day. Georgia must likely look elsewhere for a replacement or remain content with its current haul at the position. 

Jefferson, rated 11th nationally among receivers in 247Sports' composite rankings, caught 154 passes for 2,481 yards and 27 touchdowns as an upperclassman. His absence from Georgia's class surely hurts, but diligent work on the recruiting trail softens the blow for Mark Richt and company.

The staff focused on addressing depth at receiver throughout this cycle, securing commitments from multiple standouts. Darius Slayton and Jayson Stanley, in-state talents who rate among the top 30 players at the position in 247Sports' composite rankings, are both on board, along with New Orleans pass-catcher Michael Chigbu.

Terry Godwin, rated the country's No. 1 overall "athlete," is a strong candidate to line up on offense. Georgia could quickly turn to the explosive 5-star recruit as a vertical downfield weapon. 

The Bulldogs now hold 25 commitments in a class listed sixth overall in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Despite the departure of a top-tier receiver, Georgia is likely to remain predominately focused on other roster needs. Expect the spotlight to stay on prospects like cornerback Donte Jackson, linebacker Roquan Smith and offensive tackle Chidi Valentine-Okeke as signing day approaches.

Recruit ratings and info courtesy of 247Sports.

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