In each of the past two cycles, Tray Scott has brought in 5-star defensive line prospect. The 2019 class saw Georgia land Travon Walker, who went to make a handful of big plays, including the game-ending sack against Auburn.
Then in the 2020 class, Georgia landed Jalen Carter, a 6-foot-4, 300 pound brickhouse of a human being. Of the prospects at the Under Armour All-American Game, he was perhaps the most dominant.
While Scott’s recruiting chops have been dinged in the past, it’s clear he’s shown he’s capable of landing the best prospects in the country, while also continuing to develop players like Jordan Davis, Tyler Clark and Malik Herring.
So how will Scott go about re-tooling the defensive line in the 2021 class? Well, he’s already secured two commitments, as the Bulldogs landed 4-star prospect Jonathan Jefferson and 3-star prospect Marlin Dean during the month of March.
Jefferson is 6-foot-4 and 255 and is ranked as the No. 142 overall prospect. At the next level, Jefferson is expecting to slide inside and play at the defensive tackle spot. Jefferson plays for Douglasville High School and is rated as the top defensive lineman in the state for the 2021 cycle.
Dean, who plays for the same Elbert County program that produced Mecole Hardman, is listed at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. He is the No. 421 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings and expects to start as a 5-technique — the same position Herring lines up at — when he gets to Georgia.
And Georgia isn’t done on the defensive line for the 2021 class, given Herring, Julian Rochester and Devontae Wyatt all graduate while Davis is a draft-eligible junior. After the Bulldogs brought in three defensive linemen in the 2020 signing class, look for Georgia to try and bring in a total of four to five defensive line prospects in this cycle.
So which prospects are still available and Georgia has a chance, however big or small, at landing in the 2021 class? Only some of the top prospects in the country.
We’ll start with the No.1 player in the country because that seems like a good place to do so. That would be Korey Foreman, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound prospect from Corona, Calif.
He committed to Clemson in January but just backed off that pledge last week, largely so that he could take visits to other schools. The problem at the moment for Georgia, and every other school pursuing Foreman, is that visits aren’t allowed at the moment as the NCAA has mandated a dead period until May 31. Coaches are allowed to talk with prospects, but obviously not meet face-to-face with them.
USC seems like the favorite to now land Foreman, given his proximity to the school and relationship with defensive lineman Drake Jackson.
But there might be an even more important prospect for Georgia to land than Foreman. And that is 5-star defensive tackle Maason Smith.
He is still a 5-star prospect and the No. 25 overall prospect in the class. He hails from Houma, La., and yes LSU will be a huge factor in his recruitment. Georgia does have some recent success recruiting Lousiana thanks to wide receiver coach Cortez Hankton, as the Bulldogs landed three players from the state in the 2020 cycle.
The reason why Smith might be seen as a more crucial prospect than Foreman for Georgia is that Smith fills a perhaps more immediate need. Smith is already 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds. There are not many humans on this earth at that size who can move like Smith does.
One of them is Davis, who has become a critically important part of the Georgia defense in each of the past two seasons. As mentioned above, Davis is a draft-eligible junior and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if 2020 ends up being his last year at Georgia.
That nose tackle, inside presence, is a huge part of the Georgia defense under Kirby Smart. The 2017 team that went to the national championship game had John Atkins manning that spot at a high level. When the defense struggled against the run early in the 2018 season, prior to Davis’ ascent, the lack of an interior force on the defensive line was a big reason.
Similar to Foreman, Georgia needs to be able to get Smith on campus if it is going to have a shot at prying him away from LSU. Since the 2015 recruiting cycle, the state of Louisiana has produced seven 5-star prospects. All seven went on to sign with LSU.
Another player who could potentially fill the role of Davis, is South Carolina prospect Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins. He’s listed a 6-foot-5, 290 pounds. He’s rated as the No. 429 prospect in the country.
— Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins ⁹⁰ (@TyrionI27) April 21, 2020
A third 5-star prospect to know in the 2021 cycle is Leonard Taylor out of Miami. He’s listed at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds and is the eNo. 28 prospect in the country. Early on, it is shaping up as a Georgia-Florida battle for Taylor.
A final name to keep an eye updated his recruiting status over the weekend, as 4-star North Carolina Jahvaree Ritzie product released a top five that included the Bulldogs, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio State and Tennessee.
Dear lord🙏🏽, THANK YOU 🤟🏽🌍💕
•Top 👑5️⃣ WE LIVE ✌🏽🤩 pic.twitter.com/NI6lQHjeIH
— Jahvaree Ritzie 👑5️⃣ (@jahvaree) April 26, 2020
While the Bulldogs have done well to impress Ritzie, North Carolina should be seen as a major factor for his services. the Tar Heels have done very well keeping the top prospects at home this cycle, as the Tar Heels have commitments from eight of the top 15 players in the state, and all of them are rated as 4-star prospects.
More Georgia football 2021 recruiting stories
- Georgia football 2021 offensive line recruiting will rely heavily on in-state talent
- Georgia football looking west again for tight end position in 2021 class
- Where Georgia football turns at the wide receiver position in the 2021 recruiting class
- Where Georgia football turns to now at the running back spot in the 2021 class
- Richard Young: Georgia extends an impactful offer to a future 5-star RB
- Elijah Jeudy: The 5 things you haven’t read yet about the newest Georgia commit
- Moliki Matavao: Nation’s No. 4 TE prospect includes Georgia among his final six
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: Anonymous coach blames UGA offense for Jake Fromm’s draft slide
- WATCH: How Georgia defense sets up record-breaking 2021 NFL Draft class
- What the 2020 NFL Draft tells us about the state of the Georgia football program
- Why UGA’s 2020 secondary could be equivalent to 2019 offensive line
- J.R. Reed lands with the Jacksonville Jaguars as undrafted free agent
- Georgia football 2020 NFL Draft and free-agent signings
- WATCH: Hilarious Isaiah Wilson moment highlights Georgia draft, 3 things
- Tae Crowder taken as Mr. Irrelevant by the New York Giants in 2020 NFL Draft