You may or may not be aware that, February 3rd, is a crucial day of the year for all college football programs. That’s because February 3rd is national signing day. I am not totally sure how long this has been this case, but national signing day seems to get bigger and bigger every year. It should be no secret that I am a huge Georgia fan, and a big fan of college football in general. But I have to admit that I have mixed feelings when it comes to national signing day. There are positives and negatives to the whole recruiting process, but sometimes the negatives really do stand out. First of all, let me make it clear that recruiting is vital to the success and longevity of any college sport. That is the cold hard truth. I fully understand this, and I enjoy following it to some degree. But nowadays, it seems we are turning high school athletes into regional and in some cases national celebrities. I have no doubt in mind that this is not a good thing, and it places even more importance on the young man’s maturity and upbringing. That being said, please indulge my hypocrisy while reading this blog about some high school kids. Besides, I am reaching a point in my life where the only athletes older than me are either golfers or bowlers. And since Georiga just found out which kids are coming to Athens, let’s take a look at Coach Smart’s first recruiting class
Overall Ranking: 7th in Nation
My Ranking: 5 Stars and Well Done
These rankings are really silly, and created by self-appointed recruiting “gurus”. Regardless, it does create buzz and excitement when a program’s class is highly ranked. But please understand that I am not a “guru” of football recruiting. I am just a fan who loves to talk Georgia football. I know a hell of a lot more about real estate than I do about recruiting. Well that sounds kind of arrogant. What I should say is that college recruiting is not something I follow closely. In reality, one cannot determine the ranking of a recruiting class until after a few years have past. What happened yesterday is not as important as what happens with these young men over the next 3 to 4 years. Nevertheless, I think Coach Smart has done an excellent job thus far. So let’s take a look
- Jacob Eason QB – Jacob is a 5 Star Quarterback from the state of Washington.
UGA fans have to be excited about this young man. He committed early to UGA, and only waivered briefly after Mark Richt was fired. He is ranked by some as the Top QB prospect in the country. Truly a great addition to this class, and without a strong QB in the class UGA would have failed to fill a big need.
- Ben Cleveland OL– Ben is a HUGE kid from Toccoa, GA. He stands 6-6 and over
300lbs. Offensive lineman are a big need in the class. This seems like a great get for UGA especially since he is in state.
- Chris Barnes OL– Chris is from Leesburg, GA and is another offensive lineman that this class desperately needs.
- Julian Rochester DT– Julian is out of Powder Springs. I mentioned earlier that UGA needs O lineman, but they also need defensive lineman. He is ranked in the Top 100 and already on campus.
- Riley Ridley WR/DB– Riley is from down in Florida. I am guessing he will play WR. He is also already on campus which should speed up his development.
- Chad Clay CB– Chad is from Suwanee, GA and played at Peachtree Ridge. He was only given 3 stars, but who cares. Thomas Davis and Tim Jennings weren’t given many stars either. Chad is another recruit that is already enrolled.
- Chauncey Manac DE– Chauncey is from South Georgia or God’s country. A Homerville boy with 4 stars. I hope we will be able watch him grow and develop over the next several years into a top notch SEC end.
- Isaac Nauta TE– Some people have Isaac ranked as the #1 Tight End in the county, and a 5 Star prospect. This was a huge get for Coach Smart because Nauta did not make his decision until after Richt was fired. Tight Ends are a scary weapon when they are good. I hope that Coach Smart remembers that because the last
staff sure forgot.
- Charlie Woerner WR– Charlie is tall wide receiver out of Tiger, GA. He has family ties to UGA. Remember Scott Woerner? His height should be a huge advantage against smaller DBs.
- Elijah Holyfield RB– Elijah is out of Woodward Academy and of course has a very famous dad, Evander. But Elijah is an elite recruit in his own right.
- Jaleel Laguins LB– Jaleel comes right from the backyard in Watkinsville, GA. He chose Georgia over Florida and Alabama. Let’s hope this local kid will thrive under the new regime.
- Tyler Clark DT – Tyler is from Americus, GA another South Georgia town. A big defensive tackle from Georgia is something us dawg fans are always excited to see wearing red and black.
- Javon Wims WR – Javon is transferring as a JUCO wide receiver which could be smart because he may play immediately. I just hope it goes better for him than it did for recent transfers.
- Tyrique McGhee CB – Another long time commit from the state of Georgia. Tyrique is a 3 star prospect from Peach County.
- Solomon Kindley OT – This guy was a late addition added by Sam Pittman, the offensive line coach. He is a big guy standing 6-4 and 350 plus pounds. The staff says they want to get bigger and tougher on the line. Solomon appears to fit that mold and may be a great player.
- Marshall Long P – Marshall is a top ranked punter from China Grove, NC. He was another late addition by the new TE/Special Teams coach, Shane Beamer. This guy has two cool things working in his favor. First of all, he is from China Grove, NC. Ever heard of the Doobie Brothers? Lastly, he is a punter with the last name LONG. Seldom do I get excited about a punter, but if he can punt well it may help transform the special teams for UGA.
- Mecole Hardman ATH – Mecole is another athelete from UGA’s backyard in Elbert County, GA. He declared on signing day at 8:30 and started off a great signing day for the Dawgs. A 5 star prospect that can play defensive back or receiver. A great get for the Bulldogs.
- Michail Carter DT – Michail is yet another prospect that announced on signing day. He chose UGA over Alabama and Clemson. He is another Georgia boy coming to Athens, and a 4 Star prospect according to rivals.
- Tyler Simmons WR – Tyler was a Alabama commit that flipped on signing day. Apparently, a fast guy and another great pick up for the class on the last day.
- David Marshall DE – David is a 3 Star Defensive end from Thomaston, GA. He was an Auburn commit until signing day. He represents another flip from an SEC school. Exciting to Georgia keep yet another in state player.
Georgia missed on a few recruits later in the day. Derrick Brown chose to go to Auburn, and EJ Price chose to travel out to Southern Cal for school. These are often hard decisions for young men. Of course, I want them all to choose Georgia but that is not realistic. I wish Derrick and EJ the best except when they play the Dawgs. Georgia’s class ended up ranked in the Top 10 which is good, but many fans expect UGA to be in the Top 5. While I do agree that UGA should be in the Top 5, I think what Kirby and staff have accomplished with this class is stupendous. Not many first year coaches can pull in a Top 10 recruiting class during a transition from one staff to the next. I am officially impressed, and I continue to be enthusiastic. The energy around the program is growing fast and becoming infectious. But the next step is up to the fans. We all know that fans can impact a program with money, but they can also make impact with energy, support, and enthusiasm. That being said, Coach Smart challenged the fans a couple weeks ago with regard to the annual Spring Game. (See Below)
Well you heard the man! Let’s see if we can fill up Sanford Stadium on “G” Day come April 16th. Go Dawgs!