Georgia football: The 6 ways for the Bulldogs to slay early signing day
J.R. Reed populated the phrase “Eat greedy” for the Georgia football program on the field. It worked and was highly popular with its own viral meme.
Well, this is the day for Kirby Smart and black belt recruiters on the Georgia staff to “eat greedily” on the recruiting trail.
Smart wants to eat.
But he wants Cortez Hankton to eat. At least two big helpings.
He wants Charlton Warren to eat. He wants Tray Scott to go back for a few helpings of 5-star cereal today.
He also definitely wants Todd Hartley and Matt Luke to eat but also save a lot of room for a hearty meal in February, too. Don’t know exactly what we are talking about with that? Check out the DawgNation timeline and announcement primer for the first day of the early signing period.
Heading into the early National Signing Day, Georgia’s 2020 recruiting class was projected to be sixth according to the 247Sports composite rankings, but the Bulldogs are aiming to move up that ranking list. Let’s take a look at what needs to happen in order for Georgia to land a top five class.
- Snag that Shhhh signature (Hello Kello Ringo!)
This relates to filling the defensive back room with not just another elite talent, but the No. 1 cornerback in the nation. That’s 5-star cornerback Kelee Ringo. Ringo told DawgNation on Tuesday afternoon he still plans to sign during the early period and not release that decision until a live announcement on Jan. 4 from the All-American Bowl out in Texas.
Oregon and Texas also loom large here, especially the Ducks.
We’re calling it the Tyrique Stevenson scenario since that is exactly what the elite cornerback prospect did last December before keeping all of that on the “DL” before he chose Georgia on the live NBC broadcast.
The wrinkle here is that Ringo is even faster (4.35 speed in the 40) and even more highly-rated (No. 1 CB and No. 8 overall) on the 247Sports Composite rankings than Stevenson was a year ago.
- Change the WR room
Remember that early James Coley UGA catchphrase? Change the game. That was what Coley said to his charges when he was leading the wide receiver room during Kirby Smart’s first two seasons in Athens.
This is the most important signing day makeover project for the 2020 class.
Georgia needs to change the wide-receiver room with this class. That means not only adding two very promising commitments in the nation’s No. 7 WR in Marcus Rosemy and 4-star Justin Robinson to the class, but it also means pulling the flip of LSU commit (and Atlanta native) Jermaine Burton and adding 4-star speed merchant Arian Smith to the class, too.
That would give the Bulldogs a trio of the nation’s top 75 prospects at receiver (Burton, Rosemy, Smith), giving the Bulldogs several more true vertical threats and keeping SEC defensive coordinators from manning up their wideouts on the edge and stacking the box with extra defenders to smother the bread-and-butter Georgia run game.
- Pull a familiar 5-star out of South Carolina
This is the Jordan Burch column. Will he choose LSU? Will family ties keep him home in Columbia to play for South Carolina? Those are possible outcomes for the nation’s No. 2 strong-side defensive end and No. 5 overall prospect in this class.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder from Hammond School in Columbia will make his decision known at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2 and also the DawgNation video channels via a live stream. Georgia can always use another elite edge defender for its defensive line.
It also means the tried-and-true “follow the visits” recruiting staple will get a stiff flex today with Burch. Burch made it to Athens for a Junior Day, G-Day, the May scavenger hunt, the July cookout, an unofficial visit for the South Carolina game and the final official visit before the dead period just this past weekend.
The Burch recruitment is as tight-lipped as it ever gets in this industry. If anybody says they know anything about where this thing is going to go, they are just guessing.
- Address the second QB in this class
This one may or may not get checked off during the early signing period. The Bulldogs are definitely a final contender for California QB C.J. Stroud. He’s set to decide on ESPN2 between Georgia and Ohio State and, to some degree, Michigan from a live 12:30 pm feed from Rancho Cucamonga High School in California.
Carson Beck is in the class. He will sign, report early for bowl practices and be on campus as a mid-year enrollee in January. But what about Jake Fromm? What about the health of D’Wan Mathis? The Bulldogs definitely need more scholarship arms in that room for 2020 spring practice and beyond.
Stroud wasn’t expected to tell any of the programs who were chasing him where he was heading prior to his announcement Wednesday. The nation’s No. 3 pro-style QB prospect is a top 100 prospect who will enroll early. He also won the Elite 11 QB derby out at the Opening Finals in Texas this past summer.
If you are looking for the “wow” or “big boom” of the class, it looks to be Stroud. That’s because quarterbacks are always the golden boys. And maybe because all 15 of the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” predictions for Stroud have him choosing Ohio State.
- Focus on O-line commitment retention in February
No matter what happens today, there’s a decent chunk of Georgia’s class that won’t put pen to paper during the early signing period. That would be 5-star OT commitment Broderick Jones and elite OL pledge Sedrick Van Pran.
The coaching transition from Sam Pittman to Matt Luke slowed a late push for Georgia to get Jones to sign during the early period. That now means the Bulldogs must now hold off Auburn until February to sign Jones. That seems like it could and will happen, but that doesn’t make DawgNation any less apprehensive about that in-state recruiting battle.
Van Pran is about as loyal to his Warren Easton High School program as any recruit we’ve tracked in recent memory. He didn’t take any visits during his senior year because he didn’t want to take anything away from that state title push and weekend film work and prep with his team. Eaton also has a tradition where all of its seniors sign together in February, and Van Pran didn’t want to buck that team staple, too.
Those two guys will keep first-year offensive line coach Matt Luke and Smart very busy in January. Both Jones and Van Pran still have yet to take their official visits to UGA.
- The Darnell Washington decision that now looms over the 2020 board
Remember that part about “Changing the room” up above. That’s what Hartley wanted to do with several elite TE targets (Arik Gilbert, Theo Johnson and Darnell Washington) in this class. Gilbert chose LSU. Johnson chose Penn State.
That leaves the 6-foot-7 Washington. The 5-star ATH shared via his social channels on Tuesday that he was not signing anywhere on Wednesday during the early period. What does that now mean? It means he’s not set (at least publicly) to follow the Kelee Ringo silent sign strategy this week.
Does that mean he will stick to a tentative plan and still announce at least a commitment during the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 2? That is also not known.
Washington will not enroll early. So there’s really not a timetable that forces his hand here. He can certainly follow the same path as Jones and Van Pran now and make that old school signing day of February 5th a very big day for every DawgNation calendar, too.
Smart and the staff need to “eat greedy” but that certainly leaves a lot of 5-stars on the table to continue to recruit heavily all the way to February.