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Georgia football 2021 signing class continuing to build through in-state prospects
The 2017 Georgia football signing class produced a number of great players. There’s quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift and offensive tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, who were all key members of the Georgia offense in each of the past three seasons. They’re all preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft.
That class — Kirby Smart’s first full-time signing class as a head coach — also boasted a number of talented defenders. Monty Rice, Richard LeCounte, Malik Herring and Eric Stokes all figure to be leaders for the Georgia defense in the 2020 season. And the Bulldogs might have the best unit in the country because of those 2017 players.
Smart’s class that year was made up largely of in-state products. Of the 25 players signed in that class, 16 came from the state of Georgia. And Smart landed a majority of the state’s top players, as the Bulldogs signed 13 of the top 21 players in the state that year using the 247Sports Composite rankings.
And if the start of the 2021 cycle is any indication, this current Georgia recruiting class is shaping up to be a lot like that fruitful 2017 class.
At the moment, the Bulldogs have five commitments with the latest coming on Wednesday night in the form of offensive lineman Micah Morris. All five players in the class come from the state of Georgia.
Whenever Georgia landed a commitment in the 2017 class, LeCounte — the class leader and first public commitment to Smart — made it a point to say the Bulldogs were not done yet. With regards to the in-state products that is certainly the case for the 2021 class.
Georgia has commitments from four of the top 12 players in the state of Georgia. The only other program that has even one commitment from a player in that range is Clemson, who has secured the services of cornerback Jordan Hancock.
The Bulldogs are in strong standing with a number of the state’s top uncommitted prospects, such as 5-star prospects like Amarius Mims and Smael Mondon, to metro-Atlanta stars like Barrett Carter and Cody Brown. While there is still a long way to go before National Signing Day, the Bulldogs figure to bring in a haul similar to what they did in the 2017 class.
This would be a slight departure from what has happened with Georgia in its previous two classes, as the Bulldogs have landed more out of state prospects. The 2019 class saw Georgia sign nine players with ties to the state. The 2020 class also had Georgia bring in just nine Peach State products.
Smart attributed that to Georgia becoming a bigger national brand while also stating that you can’t win every battle in the state of Georgia.
But he’s also maintained that recruiting the state of Georgia is his top priority.
“I would never change how we recruit the state of Georgia. It’s home base, it’s primary, it’s A-number-one, most important,” Smart said.“It doesn’t mean we’re going to get every kid.
“I mean, there’s some good players in the state that have left and we’ve fought to get.”
Even beyond the in-state success, there are similarities between some of the players Georgia landed in that 2017 class and the one it is recruiting in 2021. The longest commitment in the 2017 class came from LeCounte, an in-state safety.
At the moment, the longest-tenured commitment is David Daniel. He projects to play safety at the next level and has been very vocal in his recruitment of other players.
— David Daniel (@David_X_Dope) April 9, 2020
Fromm was originally committed to Alabama before flipping to the in-state Bulldogs. Georgia’s quarterback in the 2021 class, 5-star dual-threat quarterback Brock Vandagriff, was an Oklahoma commitment. But he backed off that pledge and ultimately picked the Bulldogs.
The 2020 class though is far from finished yet, as the Bulldogs have only five commitments. But some of the targets out there could end up being similar to players Georgia landed in 2017.
We’ve established that Swift was the running back from that class. He was the No. 5 overall running back and the No. 33 overall prospect. Georgia’s top running back target at the moment is Donovan Edwards, who is the No. 4 running back in the class and the No. 38 overall prospect. Swift left Philadelphia while Edwards would be leaving Michigan if he came to Georgia.
And if you want another Philadelphia connection, Georgia is one of the finalists for 4-star edge rusher Elijah Jeudy.
— Elijah Jeudy1️⃣6️⃣ (@ElijahJeudy) April 9, 2020
Georgia’s top prospect from that 2017 class though was not a player form the state of Georgia. It was actually Wilson, who was the No. 17 overall player in the class. If the current rankings hold and Georgia is able to land either 5-star cornerback Tony Grimes or 5-star safety James Williams, Georgia’s top 2021 signee will be an out of state prospect.
These two classes won’t be identical though. The 2021 class figures to be much heavier on the defensive side than the 2017 class, given Georgia’s needs along the defensive line and at both linebacker spots.
The 2021 class though can do two things that the 2017 group did not. First, if Georgia were to land Mims, or see Vandagriff move up in the rankings, Georgia would land the No. 1 ranked player in the state of Georgia for the first time under Smart. The top player in the 2017 class was Davis Mills, who went to Stanford.
There is also the possibility of Georgia landing the No. 1 overall class for the 2021 cycle. The Bulldogs still have a long way to go to catch Ohio State and its 15 commitments. But if Georgia were able to land a significant share of its top targets, there’s an outside chance the Bulldogs pass the Buckeyes. As of this writing, only Clemson and Ohio State have a higher average commitment than Georgia.
The 2017 signing class ended up finishing as the No. 3 overall class. But it won and will continue to win a lot of games for the Georgia program.
And the building blocks of the 2021 class look to have that same kind of potential for Smart and the Bulldogs.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football lands commitment from 4-star OL Micah Morris
- Georgia football podcast: One mistake Kirby Smart won’t ever make
- Georgia football could have record 2020 NFL Draft class on tap
- Former Georgia QB Jake Fromm identifies deep ball issue — it’s not his arm
- Georgia football’s most underrated defensive player: Malik Herring
- Georgia football podcast: UGA might get unexpected NFL draft success story
- Why Isaiah Wilson was always going to move up in 2020 NFL Draft process
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