Georgia is one of the most talented teams in the country. That’s a big reason why many see the Bulldogs as perhaps the No. 1 team in the country for the start of the 2024 college football season.

But don’t expect a big bump thanks to the 36 new scholarship players the Bulldogs brought in this offseason. Even with landing the No. 1 signing class in the country for the 2024 recruiting cycle and eight players out of the transfer portal, ESPN ranked Georgia’s newcomer class No. 12.

That’s behind many of its contemporaries, including 2024 opponents Texas (No. 1), Ole Miss (No. 3), Alabama (No. 6) and Auburn (No. 10). Ohio State and Oregon, two fellow College Football Playoff contenders, were ranked No. 2 and No. 5, respectively.

The lower ranking may not be the worst thing. While everyone loves a shiny new toy, Georgia brings back plenty of talent from the 2023 team that went 13-1.

Quarterback Carson Beck is back for his second season as a starter, while the Bulldogs bring back four starters on the offensive line. Georgia hit the portal to add players at running back, tight end and wide receiver.

Defensively, Georgia is looking for more contributions from a host of players. The front seven for Georgia should be improved this season, with Mykel Williams and Jalon Walker entering their third seasons in the program.

While the secondary may have some new faces, Georgia also brings back All-American safety Malaki Starks. He might be the best defensive player in the country.

Starks knows what it takes to play early at Georgia, as he started 14 games for Georgia in 2022.

“I think you’ve got to know the defense. You don’t have to know it perfect, you don’t have to be a master of the defense,” Starks said on what it takes to play early at Georgia. “But you have to know what to do and when to do it and how to do it. You also have to have effort. People have got to be able to count on you. If I can look over there and know what you’re going to do and I can count on you to do your job, then you can play. That goes not just for freshmen, but anybody in the room. If you can be accountable and you have effort, you’ll play.”

Many of Georgia’s top freshmen are on the defensive side of the ball. KJ Bolden, Ellis Robinson and Joseph Jonah-Ajonye all had standout springs for Georgia. Offensively, look for running back Nate Frazier to contribute this fall. He did not practice with the team in the spring, as he was a summer enrollee.

Georgia faces a difficult schedule in 2024, with road trips to Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss all on tap. Before that, Georgia takes on Clemson on Aug. 31 to open the season. While Georgia may not be as reliant on its new faces, the veterans on the team may be better equipped to navigate such a tricky slate of games.