Nation’s No. 1 safe Caleb Downs commits in Alabama against Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UNC

You want to attack every day with the latest Georgia Soccer Recruitment Info? It’s the Intel. This rep has the latest on 5-star Caleb Downs safety. He ranks as the nation’s No. 1 safety and No. 12 overall prospect for 2023 on 247Sports Composite ratings.

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The best safety prospect in years is heading to Tuscaloosa. Caleb Downs, Georgia’s No. 1 player for the 2023 cycle, committed to Alabama in a ceremony at Mill Creek High School this afternoon.

Downs chose the Tide over a very strong interest in Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

This is another blow to those who bleed red and black.

Downs, now with the same decision made by All-American RB prospect Judge Haynes earlier this month, gives Nick Saban’s program some solid words from Georgia’s top two prospects.

That, after a national championship season, shows Alabama isn’t taking a 33-18 loss on the recruiting track lightly.

The 2023 cycle score is a big 2-0 for June with two goals the ‘Dawgs hoped to build their championship program on for the next three years.

Not all of these future SEC Championship Game meetings will be light on recruiting track scenarios.

RELATED: Caleb Downs’ 5-Star Safety Stories Are Too Good

What did it give? Downs made no secret of what he was looking for throughout his recruiting process.

“Development on the pitch and development off the pitch,” he said in May.

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me,” he said during his high school commitment ceremony.

It’s that simple, but it added the right amount of context.

“Development as a man in life,” he added. “Ways to manage your money and make money. This is thanks to the university and their quite wise development programs. Then the development on the pitch goes through coaches, training, rehabilitation and pre-education and all that.

Simply put, the Crimson Tide won the biggest checks in those two boxes for high school. Downs will be ready to play winning football all over the country as a college freshman.

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Mill Creek 5-star safety Caleb Downs has quickly become one of UGA’s MAJOR targets in the 2023 recruiting cycle. The instinctive and hard-hitting safety was at UGA on January 15, 2022 for the championship. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jeff Senteldawgnation

Caleb Downs: What Alabama football gets with this 5 star

There will probably be more than a few ‘Bama people on this page. Maybe hoping to find out more about their latest 5 star engagement.

There will be plenty to like here, including:

  • He is the son of a college coach and recruiting coordinator. Credit current East Tennessee assistant coach Gary Downs with that father figure/mentor role.
  • Downs watches more game movies than any Mill Creek player. We’re talking 100-hour gaps in the season to the next most watchful movie rat.
  • Mill Creek’s coaching staff are concerned about his overtraining. That’s how much he applies himself to being good at football. It was to the point when he decided to go to the beach for spring break earlier this year, they celebrated the decision.
  • 5 Star Security is an A student right in honors classes at Mill Creek.
  • The rising 6-foot-1, 185-pound eldest has missed a workout in four years at Mill Creek. It was because of a flight bump returning from a college visit. He was torn about it.
  • The nation’s No. 1 security professes a deep Christian faith. “I try to be a big Christian,” he said earlier this year. “I am a son of God. It’s a big thing for me. Knowing that whatever happens or whatever achievements I might make, everything goes through him.
  • It’s not a brain, but it could be. It’s not a superjock, but it could be. Downs even has enough common sense to mix it up with adults in conversation to drop a “Star Wars” movie reference here and there. He’s comfortable enough in his own skin to point out that he stays away from moviegoers’ opinions on “The Empire Strikes Back” and prefers “Revenge of the Sith.”

The triple All-American is the most Saturday-ready safety prospect I’ve seen in over 20 years covering and reporting high school athletes.

Instead of being “the chosen one” in Athens, he’s now gone to play for the reigning college football empire in Alabama.

Are you already subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel? If so, you’ll be able to see some special 1v1 content here with UGA names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon, and Brock Vandagriff.

5-star safety Caleb Downs is the top prospect in Georgia for the Class of 2023 on The 247Sports Composite and (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jeff Senteldawgnation

The Aftermath of Caleb Downs: UGA’s Safety Track Record.

Downs is a bitter loss on the trail for the ‘Dawgs. That’s the only way to put it, but he had moved away from Athens slightly in the last couple of months or so.

He’s actually a bigger loss than Haynes to the program. That’s because he was poised to immediately gain first-team or second-team representatives in Athens. Hayes, gifted as he is, will be back ALL-SEC in two or three years, but he wasn’t as likely to break into the first team next fall in Athens.

This moment in the 2023 recruiting cycle provides an opportunity for Georgians to appreciate the decision made by 5-star security Joenel Aguero last week.

Aguero, a longtime lean ‘Dawg, picked UGA on July 23.

The occasion marked the first time in a long time that Georgia had faced domestic rivals and won a battle for one of the nation’s top 50 safest rookies.

Recent misses will include 5-star James Williams (Miami), 4-star Terrion Arnold (Alabama), 5-star Kamari Wilson (Florida) and now Downs. Arnold now plays cornerback for the ‘Tide, but the bigger point was that all of those young men were Sunshine State prospects.

They were also all top 50 prospects overall.

Downs lives about 45 minutes from Sanford Stadium. There’s also a starting spot vacated by Chris Smith II after the 2022 season. Dan Jackson, the other projected starting safety for UGA, isn’t even a scholarship holder.

Before Aguero, the last overall Top 50 safe prospect the ‘Dawgs prioritized at the start of their signing was former 4-star Lewis Cine in 2019. It’s the same Cine who was just drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft after an MVP Defensive Performance in the National Championship Game.

The ‘Dawgs signed Cine but also missed out on talented Georgian Kyle Hamilton from Marist in 2019. He signed with Notre Dame. Hamilton was also in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Georgia also attempted to sign All-American Nick Cross in 2019, but he stayed home and signed with Maryland.

The two safety prospects UGA signed in 2020 are no longer with the team. Both Daran Branch and Major Burns were traded prior to last season.

Arnold and Williams were the big fails in safety recruiting in the 2021 cycle.

Georgia signed Woodstock resident David Daniel in the 2021 class. The former 4-star prospect played in seven games last year, including the Orange Bowl win over Michigan. He was a key win in the state on the trail despite Georgia shuffling its defensive back coaches over the past few recruiting cycles.

Daniel was one of the top 100 prospects sought nationally by Alabama and Clemson, among others.

Wilson was the big miss of the 2022 cycle. The ‘Dawgs also had a 2022 commitment from the nation’s No. 7 safety to Deyon Bouie. Bouie, who grew up in Bainbridge, eventually moved on to Texas A&M.

Add it all up. The latest miss with Downs only reiterates the importance of Aguero’s commitment earlier this month. The work that defensive co-coordinator Will Muschamp has done there over the past two years to help the ‘Dawgs has been vital.

Expect the Bulldogs to now go down their board to consider another safety option for the 2023 class. Isaac Smith, a 4-star prospect from Mississippi, is a possibility. He ranks 11th in national safety prospects and 174th overall. Smith has planned to make an official visit to Athens during the season.

A last line of perspective also seems necessary here. Despite the news from the Downs, it’s a good thing the ‘Dawgs are recruiting the defensive side of the ball like no other team in the country right now.

While focusing on the big misses from Downs and Haynes here, it’s also worth noting that Georgia got commitments of six major 2023 goals this month, including three All-Americans on defense who all went among the top 60 recruits in the country.

No team will win every recruiting battle, but Downs and Haynes are sure to make plenty of field plays in Tuscaloosa.


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