Safety Peyton Woodyard, No. 43 in 2024 ESPN 300, commits to Georgia

Junior safety Peyton Woodyard committed to Georgia on Saturday.

Woodyard, No. 43 overall in the 2024 ESPN 300 and the safety ranked third highest in the cycle, made the announcement during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

He was one of two 2024 prospects to commit during the game and plans to enroll early in January 2024.

"Our defensive coordinator [St. John Bosco's Chris King], he goes up there all the time and he pulls from their scheme and he incorporates it in our defense every year," Woodyard told ESPN. "And it's Georgia; they win national championships every year, and why would you not want to be a part of that?"

Top-ranked Georgia (14-0) plays No. 3 TCU (13-1) on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship in search of a second straight national title.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Woodyard, from John Bosco High School (California), also considered Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan, USC, Florida, Texas and Notre Dame.

He's the third-highest-ranked prospect in the Bulldogs' 2024 haul and the sixth 2024 ESPN 300 recruit so far to offer a pledge to Kirby Smart. He would be the second top-three safety to sign with Georgia (Joenel Aguero; No. 23 overall, No. 3 S in 2023) in as many years.

Woodyard, outside linebacker Demarcus Riddick (No. 38 overall, No. 3 OLB in 2024) and tight end Landen Thomas (No. 45 overall, No. 1 TE-H in 2024) are ranked in the top three at their positions, and wide receiver Ny Carr (No. 26 overall in 2024) is the fifth-best wide receiver in the junior class.

"Just chopping it up with Coach Smart. He says the same thing that I say," Woodyard said. "He comes from a structured program like Bosco. I'd fit in well over there, and they run very similar stuff. It's like almost the same thing he sees on my film that he sees them doing out there at Georgia right now."

Relationships built with Smart, defensive backs coach Fran Brown, co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and defensive grad assistant David Metcalf were pivotal to Woodyard in his hopes to get up to speed quickly.

Woodyard had 54 tackles with 8 passes defended, 1 interception and 2 tackles for loss during his junior year for John Bosco, which went 13-1 and won a state championship in 2022.

"I try to make myself as well-rounded as a safety, as well as a well-rounded DB," he said. "Just be the complete DB and be able to cover, play deep at safety and also press, play zone coverage, just roll down and go to the post, go deep path. Be able to do everything."

Georgia's 2023 class, which sits second overall after the early signing period, includes seven defensive players ESPN has ranked within the top five at their position -- three linebackers, two defensive linemen, one cornerback and one safety.