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Georgia coach Kirby Smart enters his fourth season as Georgia's head coach.

Georgia missing out on commitment of Andrew Raym is all part of being an elite recruiting power

Connor Riley

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Georgia football missing out on commitment of Andrew Raym is all part of being an elite recruiting power

On Wednesday, Georgia football missed on one of its biggest offensive line recruiting targets in 4-star offensive guard Andrew Raym. He was the No. 3 offensive guard in the 2020 class and ended up picking the Oklahoma Sooners.

To the untrained eye, Georgia shouldn’t have had a chance at landing Raym. Oklahoma is one of the few schools in the country that can compare its offensive line success to that of Georgia under Sam Pittman. The Oklahoma offensive line won the Joe Moore Award in 2018 — which goes to the nation’s top offensive line — and then saw four members of said line get drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Georgia has had a total of just three offensive linemen drafted since 2013.

Raym is also from the state of Oklahoma, as he comes from Broken Arrow, Okla. It was always going to be a tough get for the Bulldogs. And yet Georgia still tried and almost pulled it off anyway. Raym gave Georgia serious consideration for his services, as he visited the school multiple times during the month of June.

“There were 2 weeks I didn’t think I was going anywhere but Georgia,” Raym told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “I loved Georgia, but the love for OU just ran so much deeper.”

This process, of going into a state or area that doesn’t have a deep connection to the Georgia program and seriously getting them to consider playing in Athens, Ga., is part of what has made Georgia one of the best teams in the country. You don’t win SEC and national championship games with just a team made up of local kids. You need to go out and try to sign some of the best players from across the entire country.

Nick Saban’s dynasty wasn’t built because he’s some tactical genius. Alabama won all those titles because Saban knew the game of college football is about getting the best players. That line of thinking is clearly ingrained in Kirby Smart, as the Bulldogs have been one of the best recruiting teams in the country since he took over as head coach. Georgia is the only team in the country to sign a top-three recruiting class in each of the last three recruiting cycles.

Some might wonder why try and target a player like Raym, who was already previously committed to Oklahoma. But you only have to look back to last December when Georgia landed a commitment from a 5-star offensive lineman from the state of Alabama. He was the No. 1 player in the state at the time and someone Alabama and Auburn both wanted. Yet Pittman and Smart came away victorious in the recruitment of Clay Webb. 

Georgia still has three very good offensive line commits in the 2020 cycle in Broderick Jones, Tate Ratledge and Joshua Braun. And the Bulldogs are in very good standing with Sedrick Van Pran, the nation’s No. 3 center out of New Orleans. And peeking ahead to the 2021 recruiting cycle, Georgia has set themselves up well for the likes of 5-star prospects Amarius Mims and Micah Morris as well as 4-star Donovan Jackson.

When you go deep-sea fishing, you’re not bragging to your buddies about all the 14-pound trout you caught. You trying to real in that 300-pound marlin. With regards to Raym, Georgia came up empty. It should be regarded as a miss. But Georgia shouldn’t, and isn’t going to, pack up its rod and head home. It’s going to continue to try and reel in all the big fish it can get its hands on.

And so long as Georgia continues to win with those elite recruits, it’s going to have a big enough boat to reel in a lot of 300-pound fish.

D’Andre Swift named top SEC player by many pundits

As talking season rolls on, we’ve reached the point where a number of pundits have begun putting together their list of top players for the 2019 season. And on Wednesday, Georgia running back D’Andre Swift came up on a number of lists.

Former Georgia quarterback DJ Shockley put out his list of best players in the SEC on Wednesday and one Georgia player made his top-5. Shockley listed Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the conference’s No. 1 player, followed by Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown. The lone Georgia player to make the cut was D’Andre Swift, who came in it at No. 3.

Swift also made SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic’s top-5 as well, though Swift came in at No. 5 on Cubelic’s list.

Sports Illustrated has spent the week counting down the top-100 players in the country for the 2019 season. Swift came in as the No. 37 overall player, which seems low especially when considering that the site had another SEC running back, Vanderbilt’s Ke’shawn Vaughn, ranked ahead of Swift.

Swift is a decisive runner with devastating cuts at the point of attack and the speed to make defenses pay for taking poor angles. At 5’9” and 215 pounds, Swift is able to shed would-be tacklers with ease and finish runs with authority. He split carries with Elijah Holyfield last season, but Holyfield is now in the NFL, which should elevate Swift into a more prominent role for a Georgia offense that’s breaking in some new receivers.

Related: Sports Illustrated has high expectations for 3 members of Georgia’s 2019 defense

Swift ran for 1,049 yards a season ago, with many of his best games coming in the back half of the season. He ran for over 100-yards against the likes of Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. Given Georgia’s losses at the wide receiver position, Swift will also be a big member of the passing game for the Bulldogs.

And while there have been some injury concerns about Swift, he says he’s ready for more in 2019.

“Whatever workload he gives me, it’s my job to be ready for that … I stayed prayed up, put God first,” Swift said this spring. “I get to show everybody in the country what I can do with a high workload.”

Swift and the Bulldogs open the 2019 season against Vanderbilt. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Aug. 31.

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