Rivals100 ATH Malaki Starks commits to UGA over Bama and Clemson
The lure of home proved to be too much to beat when it came to the decision of Rivals100 athlete Malaki Starks. The Jefferson, Georgia-based star announced his commitment to the nearby Bulldogs on Thursday evening.
"I really feel like I'm not just another athlete to them. It feels like family," Starks said on Sunday. "It feels like they're nearing their goal of winning a (national title)—just the way they play. They want me on both sides of the ball, also. They like me on offense and defense and as a returner, so that's the thing going for them.”
Georgia’s ninth commit of the Class of 2022, the nation’s No. 76 overall player, brings versatility—doing all of the above, aided by exceptional speed, playmaking ability, and a 6-foot-2, 191-pound frame.
That skill set was something Kirby Smart spotted early on.
"Well, Coach Smart got the thing kind of turned around at Georgia. He's an amazing guy. I met Coach Smart over the summer, and when I got there, he watched me run my 40, and then he stayed on me all through camp," Starks said in December. "Me and him talk a lot. He called me not too long ago, actually. He's a great coach. I feel like he really cares about his players, and he pushes them. He's a defensive guy, which I love, and he just pushes people to be the best, and I want that."
A lack of long term depth in the Bulldogs’ secondary also played a role in the decision for the four-star athlete, as Starks likely projects to safety upon arrival to campus.
"I want to go somewhere where I can play, or I can show my talents to people as early as possible,” he said.
Assuming he goes the route of defensive back, he becomes Georgia’s third commitment in the secondary for 2022, joining fellow four-star prospects Deyon Bouie and Marquis Groves-Killebrew.
The reveal was held at the Jefferson Civic Center, less than thirty minutes from Sanford Stadium.