5-Star ATH Malaki Starks Commits to Georgia over Alabama, Clemson

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

Credit: Rusty Mansell, 247Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs football team received a boost to its 2022 recruiting class Thursday with a commitment from 5-star athlete Malaki Starks.

Rivals @Rivals

🚨COMMITMENT ALERT🚨 #Rivals100 ATH Malaki Starks @MalakiStarks has committed to Georgia @UGASportscom He breaks down his commitment with @ChadSimmons_ https://t.co/ijWAZkrnm8 https://t.co/cyWvQUvYIu

Starks is rated as the No. 29 overall prospect and the fourth-best player with the athlete distinction in the 2022 group, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also the No. 4 recruit from Georgia.

The versatile playmaker has experience as a quarterback, running back and defensive back. He may project best as a linebacker or safety over the long haul based on the continued development of his frame (6'1", 200 lbs), but he could remain a dual-threat player in college.

In addition, he's proved himself as a big-play threat on special teams. His initial impact at the next level could come returning kicks and punts while trying to solidify his role offensively, defensively or both.

"But what I would like to play in college, I'm still kind of figuring out, but it would be either a safety/corner-type dude or a wide receiver because I love both sides of the ball and I really haven't figured it out yet," Starks told Gavin Oliver of Clemson Insider.

While there are plenty of unanswered questions about his future, there's no doubt he has enormous upside, and that should shine through over time.

Prospects like Starks are fun to follow throughout their college careers. He may start as an ace on special teams, become a niche two-way contributor and then develop into a star safety by the time he's an upperclassman for the Dawgs.

The bottom line is it's a great in-state pickup for Kirby Smart and UGA, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Starks eventually leaves the program as a first-round NFL draft pick.