- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Julian Rochester, the No. 4 prospect in the 2016 class, is staying in the Peach State.
The five-star and No. 2-ranked defensive tackle prospect committed to Georgia Thursday night after an unofficial visit to Athens with his parents.
The 6-foot-6, 323-pound Rochester was considered a lean to Auburn for a number of months before the Bulldogs closed the gap quickly this spring and surged into a lead they would not relinquish. Rochester's commitment to Georgia is yet another feather in the cap for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who has made an otherworldly impact on the Bulldogs' defensive recruiting since taking over in Athens last spring.
Rochester becomes the ninth ESPN 300 commitment for Georgia as the Bulldogs have become a legitimate threat to finish with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the 2016 cycle. The Atlanta-area product joins quarterback Jacob Eason as five-star verbals for Mark Richt. Rochester now leads an impressive group of in-state commitments, which includes six ESPN 300 members.
Beefing up the defensive line has been chore No. 1 for Georgia in the past two classes, and Rochester is a key piece to add to a class that already boasts two defensive line commits after signing eight players in February that could play on the line or at linebacker.
The Bulldogs finished No. 8 in the 2015 RecruitingNation class rankings and were No. 4 in 2016 prior to the Rochester pledge. Georgia is a virtual lock to finish with a sixth straight top-10 recruiting class come February 2016.
While the prospects for the Bulldogs look potentially special in the 2016 class, there is the possibility that Georgia could lose one ESPN 300 pledge. Running back and No. 58-ranked B.J. Emmons will visit Alabama this weekend with the potential to flip to the Crimson Tide.