Georgia looks to drill into the Philadelphia area recruiting pipeline yet again to receive a pledge from a coveted receiver.
The Bulldogs landed running back D’Andre Swift just two weeks ago, and they’re now chasing after his cousin, four-star wideout Mark Webb Jr.
Webb is at the top of Georgia’s list of priorities, and while the family connection helps, there’s another program that Webb has keen interest in. Webb’s father, Mark Webb Sr., spoke with The Telegraph about his recruiting process and the interest in some of the programs he highly favors.
The younger Webb will announce his commitment on Friday when he plays Swift in a high school match-up between his Archbishop Wood (Pa.) team and Swift’s St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) The announcement will be nationally televised on ESPNU and will take place at halftime.
Georgia is a program in which has plenty to offer for the Webb family, and many different factors could appeal the younger Webb to call Athens his home for the next few years.
"The recruiting process became hectic when his offers came in the latter part of his junior year," Mark Sr. said. "In regards to Georgia, he loves the atmosphere of the college itself, the academics, the relationship with the coaching staff and the program’s history as one of the top collegiate contenders. These are some of the reasons they’re high up on the list of his top six."
There are many that believe that the younger Webb is headed to Georgia, including the 247Sports.com crystal ball projection, which currently gives him an 87 percent chance to commit to the Bulldogs behind Penn State.
His father, however, believes it’s fairly even between two SEC schools, and the hometown team trails behind.
"I look at it as Georgia and Alabama with a tie for first and Penn State holding second," Mark Sr. said.
Alabama may have a leg up on Georgia in terms of its recent success and multiple appearances in the national championship. The Crimson Tide coaching staff also appeals the younger Webb, as the experience and legacy of their head coach is to their advantage.
But the elder Webb believes both of his top contenders resemble each other in many areas, and the decision is truly even at the top.
"Personally, I like mainly everything he does in terms of Georgia, especially their academic programs" Mark Sr. said. "In regards to Alabama, this is why they’re so close at the top, because they offer a lot of the same things. In regards to the coaching staff in Alabama, I believe it’s an advantage with (head coach) Nick Saban."
Regardless of who the younger Webb chooses, his father said he will take his allotted five official visits as time permits. The four-star recruit has Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State and Temple in his top six in addition to Alabama and Georgia. The elder Webb said that the family will take the opportunity in order to see the rest of the universities in their entirety.
Georgia is in frequent communication with the 19th-ranked wide receiver nationally, according to the 247Sports’ composite rankings. He is high on the priority list for the Bulldogs, and the elder Webb believes they have a strong and effective pitch to try and land him.
"Georgia has spoken to Mark about early playing time and the quarterback prestige," Mark Sr. said. "They’ve told him that he can be one of, if not the top receiver there and that helps. If he went to Alabama, he wouldn’t be the top guy because they have top-tier guys there. For quarterbacks, Georgia has the top-ranked guys coming in from 2016 to 2018, so that’ll be big."
The younger Webb has expressed a desire to follow his cousin Swift based on their close bond. While that is of importance to him, it doesn’t seal the deal for the Bulldogs.
The expectation of a package deal with the two Philadelphia recruits isn’t fully the case. The elder Webb believes that more factors will come into play than just playing with Swift. Nonetheless, it will play a role in the decision.
"It does play a part but I don’t know if it plays a major part," Mark Sr. said. "They’ve played together all of their lives and it helps with drawing him to Georgia. But at the end of the day, he has to look out for himself and his best interest. It’s a plus, but not a guarantee."
A big decision is forthcoming for the younger Webb as each university that currently contends each has their own appealing factor. It seems as if he has weighed the pros and cons and is ready to halt his recruiting process.
The university that the Archbishop Wood senior chooses is getting a talented player as he has shown his ability on the prep level. In the 2015 season, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound wide receiver amassed 559 yards and caught 10 touchdown passes.
Regardless of where his son ends up, the elder Webb is thankful for the opportunities given to his son.
"Overall, it’s a true blessing for my son to have scholarship (offers) from Alabama, Georgia and these other top-tier schools," Mark Sr. said.