Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry takes a good look back at the 2021 recruiting cycle for the latest crop of signees in Athens.
Georgia has now passed through both the early signing and the traditional signing period for the 2021 class. While it is still possible for the Bulldogs to find a gem in the 2021 class via the junior college, graduate transfer or junior college route, the time is ripe for a good look back at this cycle in Athens.
This was the COVID-19 class. The class that got less but did more with it. It went down over a Wi-Fi connection than ever before. There are members of this 2021 class that Kirby Smart has never met before. Imagine that.
This was the class that bought or needed their own tickets to watch their future team play inside a 20 percent capacity Sanford Stadium
These Bulldogs took no official visits. No May scavenger hunt. No July cookout or hang out annual event. They never saw a Georgia coach on the sidelines of their games during their senior season. Never felt the “love” from seeing a Georgia assistant show up to evaluate them at their spring practices.
They had multiple in-home visits every week with their top schools. It was just on a Zoom or a Facetime digital connection.
They didn’t get an Opening. Didn’t get the gear and lifelong memories of the regionals and finals. This was the class where the term “facemask” was a good thing. Rather than one set of irate coaches or teammates and penalty yards on a game field.
These recruiting stories and timelines tend to go back aways. Consider the offer that was extended to an eventual member of the 2021 class at UGA. It was a verbal offer that needed to go only 15 miles away from Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. That one was to Brock Vandagriff. What an important offer it would turn out to be.
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Top 4 moments for the 2021 recruiting class
- Brock Vandagriff’s quick January 2020 turnaround: Vandagriff de-committed from Oklahoma and committed to UGA in the span of a couple of weeks. When he did, he laid the brick-and-mortar foundation for the chance to greatly help reel in the eventual commitments of Brock Bowers, Chaz Chambliss, Dylan Fairchild and Amarius Mims, among many others.
- Amarius Mims gives the 2021 class a birthday present: This highly-contested recruitment was a Georgia win with a 5-star who grew up favoring Alabama. The highest-rated commitment in the class ensured UGA would have a top 5 class with his decision. Mims committed to UGA on his birthday, too. It was quite a gift for this class.
- Xavian Sorey Jr. winds up a Bulldog: Who can forget the drama of the first day of the early signing period? The 5-star wishful thinking for the likes of Korey Foreman and Maason Smith were decided. Foreman didn’t share his choice until 2021, but when Smith stayed home at LSU everyone knew all hope was already lost there. Sorey restored the momentum of the class on a day it was needed. It gave the Bulldogs their fourth prospect with a 5-star ranking and even offered some more hope for another All-American safety on Feb. 3, 2021.
- Terrion Arnold chooses Alabama: This recap isn’t going to be all good news. This is not an old school American history textbook. It would not reflect the wild 2021 cycle if it did. That All-American safety who had been linked to Sorey chose Alabama. It was a tough loss in an absolute position of need. Arnold would have easily been one of the four most important signees in this class.
Best position groups in the 2021 class
- OL – This one is easy. Georgia signed seven prospects ranked among the nation’s top 100 overall recruits in 2021. That figure had three future OLs for Matt Luke’s room.
- ILBs – The Bulldogs didn’t sign any ILBs in 2020 after a trio of signees in 2019. The recruiting industry ranks Smael Mondon Jr. and Xavian Sorey Jr. as OLBs, but they will play ILB for UGA. They were the third and fourth-highest rated signees in the 2021 class overall. That said, don’t be surprised if 4-star Jamon Dumas-Johnson gets on the field at ILB for game reps quicker than those two. “JDJ” rates as the nation’s No. 12 ILB and the nation’s No. 193 overall recruit. Think of a higher-rated Monty Rice type here.
- DBs – Nyland Green and David Daniel were Under Armour and All-American Bowl picks, respectively. Both were top 100 recruits on the 247Sports Composite, too. This overall group could have been much better, but look for versatile DBs Javon Bullard and Kamari Lassiter to decide how great this 2021 class eventually winds up defensively.
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2021 class by the numbers
- Offense: 9
- Defense: 11
- In-state: 10
- Out-of-state: 10* (includes two Georgia natives at boarding schools)
- SEC footprint: 18
- Beyond SEC footprint: 2
- Players who were once committed to other schools: 4
No. 3 class in the country but what if …
We will not pump sunshine here. The one position we highlighted in the previous group was also the one that could have been even more special.
It needed to be special with seniors D.J. Daniel, Richard LeCounte III and Mark Webb exhausting their eligibility in Athens. Now sprinkle in early NFL entries like Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes and transfer portal loss Tyrique Stevenson and it was a massive hemorrhage of DB talent in Athens.
The triage for those ills was very good, but it could have been out of this world. Especially given that Georgia pretty much led for 5-stars like Terrion Arnold, Tony Grimes Jr. and James Williams at one point during their recruiting journeys. What would have happened if Kirby Smart and his staff of driven closers would’ve gotten those scavenger hunt days, those July cookout days, those camp days and those official visits? This 2021 class could have been even more of an elite reload of the DB room in Athens.