Amarius Mims and Von Lassiter Discuss Major Recruitment and Georgia

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In the past 13 months, a lot has changed for Amarius Mims. January 14, 2019, was the day that both Georgia and Florida offered a young sophomore, still developing into a complete player. Mims described that day by stating, "I remember the moment. It just shocked me, I didn't expect it. Especially as a sophomore, I didn't expect it."

Since then, Amarius Mims has gone from a 6'7" 285-pound sophomore just starting to get invites to showcases and postseason classics, to a 6'8" 320-pound blue-chipper, and the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle in the 2021 class. The rising senior at Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Georgia is as high-profile of a prospect as it gets. Not only is Mims physically imposing with tremendous measurables, but he has the ridiculous talent to match.

Recruiting at this elite level can come at a young man both fast and furious. Mims is fortunate to have a Head Coach in Von Lassiter that has been closely involved in some very high profile recruitments recently. Lassiter was the Head Coach at Houston County when 4-Star Trey Hill and 5-Star Jake Fromm came through.

When asked about the nature of the recruitment of Amarius in comparison to Trey Hill's and Jake Fromm's, Lassiter explained the similarities and differences.

" Jake was a little different. Quarterbacks you know they're different as far as the the recruiting process. The steps with them are, most most universities want a quarterback to go to their camp. Or, they're going to send somebody to watch them work out and throw. So, that kind of narrows the field because they've got a you know they need a quarterback and then those guys have to see them in person. Then, you know, Jake was kind of limited in in who he wanted to work out for who he wanted to play for."

Trey Hill and Amarius have been a lot like. You know, as far as recruiting goes , whenever you're 6'8" 320 pounds, then you're one of very few humans on earth (that size), and especially when you're as athletic as a Amarius is. Trey wasn't as big as Amarius is, but he's obviously big and he's a good player. So when you have that frame and that skill set as an offensive linemen, then that opens the door for a lot of people to come in and and to recruit a guy like that. So those two have been a lot alike. All the universities are coming around, they offer before they come, and then they come and want to try to build that relationship." - Von Lassiter

Amarius acknowledged that a major recruitment, such as his, can be a lot at times. When asked if he has a hobby, if he likes to play video games, read, hunt, or fish to clear his head and get away from things, Mims quickly responded, "I'm not going to say I hunt, but I try to hunt! I play basketball sometimes, ride the four-wheeler most of the time and do stuff like that outside. I definitely try to hunt, but I don't kill nothing."

Georgia is certainly in the hunt for Mims when it comes to the top schools remaining in his recruitment. On February 4th, the Cochran, Georgia native released his top 12 schools, with Dawgs making the cut. Amarius shared some insight into how his relationship with UGA has developed since Dan Lanning offered him via a phone call to Coach Lassiter over a year ago.

Amarius explained what drew him toward Georgia so strongly initially was the bond created with Sam Pittman, his initial main recruiter, and former Georgia Offensive Line Coach. "We had good conversation when I would go up there to Athens," said Mims. "We talked a lot. He really got to know me as a person rather than a football player. The conversations we had, they had a lot to do with outside of football, and I just got close with him."

Mims went on to admit that Georgia took a hit among his other top choices when Pittman left, but that he was quickly reassured by the interaction he had with Matt Luke. When asked what advice that he imparted to Amarius during this time of transition, Coach Lassiter shared wisdom that comes with being a 20-year veteran of a very volatile profession.

"You know, coaches change and Amarius hasn't been through that. He's had to deal with a little bit of change as far as position coach wise. He had a new offensive line coach that we added this year, but for the most part his coaching staff has been in intact for the years he's been in high school. But I've been in the business for 20 years and I know how coaches change and how things move. There's a lot of moving parts in a staff and so my advice to him has always been, make sure that you're in love with the university, make sure you're in love the culture that the head coach puts forward, and make sure that where you end up is where you want to spend 4 years of your life.

You've gotta like that town, you've got to like that school, you like the degree you can get from there, you like how you can get back home or you like being far away. Those are the things that I'm encouraging him to to look at. You know, Coach Pittman is a head coach now, Matt Luke has been a head coach, so I mean those things change. Guys are gonna do what is best for their families, and recruits have to do what's best for them as far as where they want to go to school, where they want to play, and where they want to have the biggest impact. All those things have to be at the the front of their minds, not necessarily what position coach a lot." - Von Lassiter

In terms of Mims's comfort level with Athens and Georgia coming off his most recent Junior Day visit, he indicated more good vibes. Amarius said, "I enjoy it every time I go up there (Athens), I have good conversation with all the coaches. Of course, me and Brock (Vandagriff, 5-Star Georgia QB Commit) are really close and we talk a lot, so I like going. I like everything about Georgia."

Amarius expounded upon the growing relationship with Brock Vandagriff and how the only 2021 offensive commit for Georgia is pitching Athens to him. "We talk three times a week, maybe twice a week sometimes. We just talk about how he wants me to come up there and start something good. He's the only offensive commit in 2021. So he's just like, if I come up there and commit, we could get the 2021 class rolling."

The conversations that Amarius has with Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart are something that Mims enjoys as well. Mims divulged that he and Coach Smart, "talk a lot. We talk about a lot of stuff. Life after football, if I don't make it to the NFL, how I could be set up to be successful in life. And, then me coming in and potentially playing early.  If I leave mid-year, later this year actually, then I have a good chance of coming in (and playing). I'm going to have to work for it, but I'll have a chance."

Mims acknowledged that in terms of personality and approach, that Kirby Smart and Nick Saban are similar. However, the Bleckley County Royal gave the edge in these departments to Georgia because "I've been there (Georgia) so many times and I've gotten so familiar with Georgia."

Through all of this, Coach Lassiter is most proud of the fact that Amarius has not changed since the time he walked into their program as a 14-year-old freshman. Lassiter describes Mims as, "one my favorite players I've ever coached. He keeps you on your toes. He's joking around and playing around. He's always on time, he's never changed and that takes a special person. Because, when everybody in the world is telling you how good you are, sometimes its really easy to believe that and to stop working. He hasn't done that. I've been really proud of how he has continued to work and tried to become a better person and a better player every day."

Mims and Lassiter
Amarius Mims and Bleckley County Head Coach Von Lassiter

Mims has both personal and team goals that he wants to obtain during his time remaining at Bleckley County. The massive tackle explained, personally, he wants to model his game after current Jacksonville Jaguar Cam Robinson. Also, he is not done working on his body. In college, Amarius feels that he could add muscle and maintain his athleticism. Mims said, "I'd like to play (in college) around 335, 340. I can move well at 320, so another 20 pounds of muscle, I should be good."

As a leader for the Royals, Mims makes it clear that the team goal for 2020 is a GHSA State Championship and this is not surprising given the culture that Von Lassiter puts forth. Lassiter wants to see Mims and all of his players leaving the program after high school to grow in terms of independence, communication, and personal accountability.

"Being on time (which he said Amarius always is), having great body language, having the eagerness to continue to learn. Even when I have a skill that I feel I'm pretty good at, find a way to improve and ask how can I make that skill even better. Those are things we work on with all our seniors, including Amarius. We want them to continue to add to our culture, to continue to set an example for and teach the younger kids by their actions. Those are the things that we are going to continue to work with him on, as well as his teammates, that will help him and others at the next level so when coaches are asking them to do things they may not quite be used to, that they be able to adapt and continue to get better every single day because of it." - Von Lassister

Despite some widespread speculation about the timeline for a commitment from Mims, the 5-Star made it clear that he's not in a hurry and does not necessarily have to commit before football season starts. Originally Amarius was dead set on getting things decided so that he could be, "stress-free" and "just focus on football."

Mims will be narrowing down his choices from the top 12 at some point sooner rather than later but a commitment is not imminent.

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