At the start of the week, there were still questions about how Georgia’s tight end room might look moving forward. Brock Bowers is almost certainly off to the NFL after this season and Georgia saw 5-star prospect Landen Thomas flip to Florida State in Apri.
Tight ends coach Todd Hartley emphatically answered any doubts one might have had about the future of the tight end position. On Monday, Colton Heinrich announced his commitment to the program. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native held offers from Ohio State, Alabama and North Carolina, yet he elected to commit to Georgia. He is the No. 31 overall ranked tight end in the class.
“The entire weekend coach [Kirby] Smart and coach [Todd] Hartley really did make me feel like a priority,” Heinrich told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “I was sitting next to Coach Smart at dinner. We were talking during dinner.”
“Right now I don’t think there’s a better place for a tight end to be other than Georgia right now. They know how to use the tight end and they will.”
On Wednesday, Hartley doubled down, adding the nation’s No. 3 overall tight end in Jaden Reddell. The Peculiar, Mo. prospect, likewise, had offers from many of the elite programs in the country.
In the span of a week, Hartley once again reminded everyone why the tight end position has been a strength for the Bulldogs. Even with Todd Monken moving on to the Baltimore Ravens, it’s clear the tight end position is going to be in good hands on the offensive side of the ball.
Georgia has had a tight end taken in each of the last five NFL drafts. That is the longest such streak in the country at this point, with Darnell Washington landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking Darnell Washington in the third round of the most recent draft.
Georgia can recruit any tight end it wants at this stage. That speaks to how gifted Hartley is when it comes to the art of recruiting. His draft record shows he’s a very capable developer as well.
Hartley is already the highest-paid tight ends coach in the country, as he’s set to make $850,000 this coming season. Hartley plays a key role in Georgia’s various special teams units as well. It’s fair to say that Georgia would not be a two-time defending champion without the contributions made by Hartley.
Like all assistants, Hartley won’t remain at Georgia forever. Even if it is his alma mater. The success of Sam Pittman and Shane Beamer shows that the leap from elite position coach to head coach is not as steep as it once was. Should Hartley continue to produce as he has, some program is going to take notice and let him run his own shop.
For now, he’ll continue to have the Georgia tight end room on the shortlist for the best position group in the country. That’s been the case for a while now and with Hartley’s latest recruiting haul, there’s a good chance it stays that way for the foreseeable future.
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