Georgia picked up its first five-star player of the 2023 recruiting class Thursday, when highly touted cornerback prospect AJ Harris committed to the Bulldogs over Florida, Alabama and Clemson. Harris is ranked the No. 25 overall player in the class by the 247Sports Composite and is ranked the No. 3 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports.
With Harris' commitment, the Bulldogs are projected to jump from No. 10 to No. 5 in the 247Sports Team Rankings for the Class of 2023. The Phenix City, Alabama, native is UGA's 10th commitment of the class and joins four-star cornerback prospect Justyn Rhett as the second defensive back in the group.
Harris visited Georgia on June 3 after allowing just one catch as a junior at Phenix City's Central High School, where he also plays offense. Georgia was always the team to beat for Harris, according to 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong, though coach Kirby Smart had plenty of others to send off.
"So it's a place he's very familiar with and program he's been keeping tabs on and building relationships with for awhile," Wiltfong wrote of Harris and his relationship with Georgia. "As the process continued I believe Clemson had momentum at one point, Alabama was intriguing, and Florida grabbed it in the spring."
AJ Harris scouting report
With a 100-meter dash timed at 11.42 seconds last year, a long jump of greater than 20 feet and some experience playing high school basketball, Harris has the makings of a springy athlete with the tools to compete against high-level SEC receivers.
Here is an excerpt from the scouting report on his game by 247Sports national analyst Cooper Petagna:
Quick twitch explosive player. Displays excellent short area quickness and change of direction ability. Shows the ability to transition in and out breaks quickly out of his back pedal. Possesses good play speed. Excels when playing downhill and in the short to intermediate part of the field. Aggressive run support defender. Flashes some key and diagnose ability with the ability to close space quickly. Violent at the point of attack. Will strike you.
Although he possesses the physical traits to play the corner position, can see a natural progression to a nickel or deep safety role. Will need to continue to develop as a man to man defender in the deep part of the field but has a good feel for playing in coverage underneath.
Georgia's 2023 class
Though Harris is Georgia's first five-star commitment in the class, he almost certainly won't be the last as more prospects announce their college choices ahead of the 2022 season. The Bulldogs landed five commitments from five-star players in their 2022 class, which finished No. 3 nationally. Their 2021 class also finished No. 3 nationally and featured four five-star prospects.
Among the other five-star prospects Georgia is targeting is No. 1 overall prospect Arch Manning, a quarterback from New Orleans who is the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning.