How in the Todd Hartley did the ‘Dawgs become a strong contender for the 5-star TE?

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with the chase for 5-star TE Duce Robinson. He ranks as the nation’s No. 1 TE and the no. 17 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. The On3 Consensus slots him as the nation’s No. 21 overall recruit.

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Georgia is a major contender for 5-star TE Duce Robinson. It begs a certain question.

How in the Hartley are the ‘Dawgs even contending for Robinson? The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder is the nation’s No. 1 TE when they have already signed the nation’s No. 3 TE in Pearce Spurlin III and the nation’s no. 8 TE in Lawson Luckie.

There’s a clear reason. Let’s first deal with the obvious in the discussion.

“Well, duh. Brock Bowers.”

“And Darnell Washington.”

‘And Oscar Delp.’

“And even Arik Gilbert.”

There is a clear pattern. Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley is a tireless recruiter. He identifies his targets early and is persistent to no end. When he signed all of those guys, he was also pitching the right to play for Georgia back then.

Now it is the chance to play tight end and play it for Georgia. The current national rep for those two points is as pristine as it gets.

But there is another pattern at work in the 2023 cycle that one might think works against that. It SHOULD work against that.

Georgia has ALREADY signed the nation’s No. 3 TE in legacy Pearce Spurlin III. He’s out at the All-American Bowl in Texas this week. Lawson Luckie, an athletic and physical brawler with very crisp routes, is another Georgia football legacy.

He’s the nation’s No. 8 TE. Luckie came up to Georgia early last month for bowl practices, stayed with the team and has also spent this week in Athens helping the defending champions prepare for TCU.

Here’s where the traction with Georgia began to crystallize beyond Hartley’s recruiting efforts: Luckie and Spurlin have actually encouraged Robinson to make that slide to Athens. There is zero selfishness.

“I feel like we would all just add to everybody’s game,” Spurlin said. “We would all just want to compete more and that’s what Duce would bring to the table. Lawson and I know what we bring to the table. But Duce, man, he can do it all. He’s a stud and we want him.”

“We want to build the best tight end room. Ever. It’s our goal. I’ve talked to Duce about it. I’ve talked to Lawson about it. That’s what we want to do.”

Robinson sees that, too.

“I think all of their tight ends complement each other well,” he said. “They don’t have two guys who are the same exact tight end. Which is why they are able to use so many tight ends on the field at one time. If I were to go to Georgia, I think all of us are a little bit different in our own unique ways. I think we could all complement each other very well and play to our strengths and weaknesses. While one of our weaknesses may be another guy’s strength, maybe, and vice versa.”

What has been the clear message from Hartley? Why do the ‘Dawgs still need a tight end like Robinson and how will they be able to properly utilize all of them?

“I think it is just what I bring to the table,” Robinson said. “I think I am a unique player because I can play out wide. I am a different body type than most tight ends. Most traditional tight ends. But I think that gives me a lot of versatility. I think I can play anywhere on the field. I think that’s probably why he would want me.”

He’s a matchup problem. Check out Robinson in the first picture below working against All-American Georgia safety Joenel Aguero in coverage at the Under Armor All-American Game.

5-star Arizona TE Duce Robinson is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position for 2023 and he has yet to make his college decision. Georgia has a strong chance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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5-star Arizona TE Duce Robinson is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position for 2023 and he has yet to make his college decision. Georgia has a strong chance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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Duce Robinson: The second piece for the puzzle for Georgia football

As stated in a previous piece about Robinson, he loves the “culture” when it comes to the Georgia football program.

Those words from Luckie and Spurlin were reinforced by what he saw last week in Orlando. It wasn’t just the tight end room, but a trait inherent within the entire Georgia football class this cycle.

“Those guys are selfless,” Robinson said. “They’re not playing for themselves. They’re playing for each other.”

He feels like the ‘Dawgs want to add a specific type of person to the program. Not just a standout talent to restock the depth chart with NFL potential.

“I think they have built a great culture,” he said. “The guys love each other. You can even just see it here. Those guys are all together. Walking around the hotel together. Taking pictures together. I think they have really got something special with their culture over there.”

He flatly said that’s why he thinks the ‘Dawgs have been so successful on the field lately.

That’s all well and great, but there’s another big piece here. He has to have the right platform and fit to use his diverse set of skills.

Robinson wants to win. He wants to make plays. Catch explosive passes. That’s why teaming up with Arch Manning’s arm at Texas and the Lincoln Riley offense at USC also ranks very highly among his options.

The way that Georgia uses Brock Bowers cannot be discounted here.

“They’re finding creative ways to use Brock as a playmaker,” Robinson said. “As I said before, I want to be a playmaker. So in terms of their scheme, they’re looking for ways to get ’12′ or ’13′ personnel on the field.”

Will NIL be a factor here? He will play both baseball and football in college. There are unique ways that companies and collectives can get involved with a talented, high-profile and charismatic athlete like Robinson.

He’s a top-tier example in all of those metrics. There’s a market to just wear specific branded gear and eyewear on the baseball diamond.

Are those NIL thoughts on his mind?

“Not super big,” he said. “The goal is to make it to an NFL contract. While NIL is definitely prevalent right now and you can use it to set up your life beyond college. So we’re definitely looking at it. But we are not going to go to a school because of NIL, though.”

5-star TE Duce Robinson is in Athens this weekend on his official visit. He’s the nation’s top prospect at his position. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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5-star TE Duce Robinson is in Athens this weekend on his official visit. He’s the nation’s top prospect at his position. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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5-star TE Duce Robinson was in Athens for the Kent State game on his official visit. He’s the nation’s top prospect at his position. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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Relationships are vital for Duce Robinson

What will be the most important criterion for Robinson here? The talented 5-star answers that question by describing himself as a “relationship” guy.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “You know, I think relationships. I’m a big relationship person. So seeing that relationship between coaches and players. Between players and recruits. Between the own [individual] players. I think relationships are probably the most important part of everything because relationships control everything we do as humans. So, I think [the most important thing] I would probably say relationships.”

Robinson said last week at the Under Armor All-American Game that he swaps text and chats about twice a week with Manning. He’s also in regular contact with commitments and signees at USC and on the baseball team at USC.

He does aspire to play both pro baseball and pro football one day. Robinson is a talented center fielder who can also play both corner spots.

And yet there’s a wild card here with Georgia.

That would be 2023 RB signee Roderick Robinson II. The California native is also known as “Deuce” by his friends and family.

The thought of having two guys who go by the name Duce Robinson in the same class on the same offense only adds to the odds here with this recruiting story.

“I talk to Pearce a lot,” Robinson said. “I’ve talked to Lawson [Luckie] some and I talk to Rod Robinson, the running back committed there. Rod and I probably have the best relationship out of anyone in that Georgia recruiting class. We’ve been to a bunch of places together. We’ve been to ‘Elite 11’ together. Catching passes. We built a really strong relationship there. Me and Rod text almost daily.”

What are those exchanges like?

“We just talk about life,” Duce Robinson said. “It’s not really about recruiting or anything. Its just how we are doing.”

There is a growing contingent of Georgia Bulldogs from the West Coast on the team now. Bowers. Washington. Robinson. Earnest Greene III. Kelee Ringo. Justin Rhett.

He’s aware of that and sees how productive they can be in Athens, but he didn’t say that he was really looking at that as a major plus in his process.

It just seems there are other things about the ‘Dawgs he likes more than just that track record.

“Two of their tight ends are from the west coast,” he said. “Both are projected to be first-rounders. To be able to follow in their footsteps would be really cool.”

Georgia hasn’t broached the subject of playing wide receiver at length here.

“Not necessarily,” he said. “They use their guys all over the field. Brock lines up at one through three on one side and one through three on the other side. I feel like even if I’m labeled as a tight end if my strength is playing out wide I think they will develop me into being a true all-around tight end but they also play to your strengths, you know?”

Robinson played largely at receiver for his high school team this fall. He had 84 catches for 1,614 yards and 14 TDs this fall. He averaged 19.2 yards per catch and returned punts for his high school team, too.

He was a tight end out at the Under Amour All-American Game week.

Robinson has his birthday weekend on the 19th later this month. That’s when the soon-to-be 18-year-old will also be competing in Hawaii at The Polynesian Bowl. He’s also getting back acclimated this week with his high school basketball team.

He could have more travel plans in mind. It could be Alabama, Georgia, Texas and USC. Oregon is also a possibility.

“We’re trying to get back to as many schools as possible,” he said this week in Orlando.

Hard to believe it, huh? The nation’s No. 1 TE, likely set to decide officially on the first day of the traditional signing period on February 1, has the ‘Dawgs firmly on his mind.

If that still sounds outlandish, then there’s another tight end to discuss here in this class as well.

We’ve got the Walker Lyons story to chop up as well. He’s the nation’s No. 5 TEs in the class of 2023.

Why not? How in the world can the ‘Dawgs add the nation’s Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 8 TE prospects in the same recruiting class?

Leave some spoils for the rest of college football, right?

But it would mirror what the ‘Dawgs are doing on the field right now, too.

5-star TE Duce Robinson aims to play both pro baseball and pro football one day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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5-star TE Duce Robinson aims to play both pro baseball and pro football one day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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5-star Arizona TE Duce Robinson is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position for 2023 and he has yet to make his college decision. Georgia has a strong chance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jeff SentellDawgnation

5-star Arizona TE Duce Robinson is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position for 2023 and he has yet to make his college decision. Georgia has a strong chance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jeff SentellDawgnation

5-star Arizona TE Duce Robinson is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position for 2023 and he has yet to make his college decision. Georgia has a strong chance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jeff SentellDawgnation

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