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Signing Day shocker: 5-star receiver scorns Auburn, signs with UGA

Wideout George Pickens stood as the highest-ranked non-signee on Rivals.com's Top 100 listing (No. 7 overall).

Well, this comes as a major surprise.

Leading into National Signing Day on Wednesday, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that receiver George Pickens – the highest-ranked non-signee from Rivals.com's Top 100 listing for 2019 – would formally sign with Auburn.

But somehow, some way, Kirby Smart and the UGA coaches swooped in late and pulled off the once-implausible coup, convincing Pickens (Hoover, Ala. native) to bolt Auburn for Athens.

The 5-star wideout had verbally committed to Auburn nearly two years ago, but curiously, chose not to cement his plans during the Early Signing Period (Dec. 19-21).

In hindsight, the Auburn coaches had to know, deep down, that things were amiss.

According to UGA Insider's Anthony Dasher, Pickens was Auburn's first verbal commit for 2019. 

Other major suitors included Tennessee and Miami.

"I just felt it was the right fit for me, coaching-wise," Pickens told the media on Wednesday. "I just know Kirby Smart is going to be up there, national championship-wise. I also felt I had good communication with them throughout the recruiting process."

At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 190 pounds, Pickens seemingly has the physical upside to be a dynamic SEC receiver someday. 

Pickens won't be alone at Georgia, either, with the Bulldogs landing #Team11 alum Dominick Blaylock (No. 7 receiver) for 2019.

In essence, the highly touted Pickens fills the void of UGA losing Cedar Grove star Jadon Haselwood (Rivals.com's top-ranked receiver) last month. 

It's a seamless swap, regarding the Dawgs' long-term plans.

Pickens (No. 7 overall) joins Haselwood (No. 4 overall ... signed with Oklahoma), Theo Wease (No. 11 ... Oklahoma), Trejan Bridges (No. 21 ... Oklahoma) and Joe Ngata (No. 27 ... Clemson) as the five receivers ranked in Rivals' overall top 30.