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Winners and losers for Georgia football from national signing day
Winner: The 5-star haul
Kirby Smart clearly has a way with the most elite prospects. Georgia signed five 5-star prospects on Wednesday: Defensive end Nolan Smith, linebacker Nakobe Dean, defensive tackle Travon Walker, center Clay Webb and wide receiver Dominick Blaylock. Dean was the only new 5-star addition on Wednesday, but Smith, Walker, Webb and Blaylock all had their letters of intent in by 9 a.m. None of them wavered from their commitment status.
And stop us if you’ve heard this before but Georgia isn’t done yet. 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood has not yet announced his decision yet, even if things don’t look great for the Bulldogs.
But after Wednesday’s early signing day, it’s clear that Georgia coach Kirby Smart has a way with 5-star prospects. Georgia’s stack of 5-star prospects is the most in the country — with Alabama, LSU and Ohio State all tied with three.
Loser: Georgia’s chances of finishing with the No. 1 class
Last year, Georgia closed both the early signing period and the final signing period with the No. 1 class. After Wednesday, that doesn’t look very likely. Alabama has a comfortable lead over Georgia, partly due to sheer numbers as the Crimson Tide have 26 commitments and signees, while Georgia has just 22. The Crimson Tide also have a higher average player rating per the 247Sports Composite rankings, as Alabama is No. 1 and Georgia is No. 2 in that as well.
Even if Georgia does land Jadon Haselwood and Tyrique Stevenson — who will both announce on Jan. 5 — it will still trail Alabama. And it’s worth mentioning that Alabama is still very much in on 5-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher of Amite, La.. While Georgia has targets of its own to still pursue, it doesn’t look like Georgia will be able to repeat with the No. 1 class in the country.
Winner: The Georgia quarterback room
Georgia has a need at the quarterback position with the news that Justin Fields is exploring his transfer options. Kirby Smart mentioned that Georgia would like to keep Fields, but the writing seems to be on the wall. DawgNation’s Mike Griffith has reported that Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCF and UCLA are some schools Fields is interested in.
But Georgia added two quarterbacks to its roster on Wednesday. The first was 4-star quarterback Dwan Mathis, who flipped from Ohio State to Georgia early on Wednesday morning. Mathis is the No. 9 pro-style quarterback in the country and is high school teammates with 2020 5-star offensive lineman Justin Rogers, who is coveted by the Bulldogs.
Mathis’ dad also spoke with DawgNation about what Dwan Mathis is expecting
“Dwan understands the program and the role he has been recruited for, to learn from the current quarterback and not be divisive or cause any problems,” Terrence Mathis, Dwan’s father, said. “He respects the head coach … and he is ready to come in and put his head down and go to work.”
Then the room got even better when former UGA quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was a walk-on on last year’s team, signed with the program to close things out on Wednesday night. And it’s safe to say Georgia players were very excited about the addition of Bennett.
Quarterback was a major question mark heading into Wednesday. That’s not the case after Wednesday. And that’s not even factoring in 4-star quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who we will get to in just a minute. The Bulldogs will also likely be in the running for an elite quarterback prospect for the 2020 class.
Every signing announcement is a little different. Some players like to play the hat game. Others like to pull off a shirt. Georgia linebacker Quay Walker famously flung his Tennessee hat last year to reveal he was wearing Georgia pants. And some, like Elijah Holyfield or Isaiah Crowell, pull out an actual Bulldog.
But sadly, there was none of that on Wednesday. The closest fans got to a prop reveal came when 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean pulled out a shoe box to make his pick. Could there have been a sweet pair of shoes? Or a baby bulldog? But alas, it was just a Georgia shirt.
Using props is what can make a commitment announcement iconic. Hopefully future Georgia commits feel inspired to get creative when they pick the Bulldogs. Props just make Signing Day more fun. DawgNation endorses them.
Winner: John Rhys Plumlee
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