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What Georgia football has to do to have a successful National Signing Day
National Signing Day is here. And there’s very little fan fare that comes with it. All 22 of Georgia current 2019 class members have already signed. Of the top 100 players in the 247Sports Composite rankings, only 13 players did not sign in the Early Signing Period.
Georgia’s 2019 class is already a success, given that the Bulldogs have the No. 2 class in the country. Georgia is the only school in the last three recruiting classes to land a top-3 class in each of previous three classes. But there’s a chance for Georgia to have a happy ending on Tuesday. It still has a number of high profile-targets out there, and if it can land one or two, fans can call National Signing Day just as successful as the early signing period.
Sign one 4-star defensive back
The biggest target on the board on Tuesday is 4-star defensive back Kaiir Elam. He’s the No. 6 cornerback in the 2019 class. The battle for his services has long been between Florida and Georgia. The Bulldogs chances took a hit when defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was hired away to be Colorado’s head coach. Charlton Warren, who was the defensive backs coach at Florida, was hired to replace Tucker as the defensive backs coach, which helped Georgia’s chances.
Another reason Georgia has to land Elam is because the Bulldogs will see Elam every season should he pick Florida. And it will give the Gators even more hype heading into the 2019 season. Florida hasn’t beaten Georgia for a recruit very often under Kirby Smart, but the Gators landing Elam would certainly qualify as that.
Elam will announce his decision at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2. DawgNation will also have live coverage of the event on its numerous social channels.
But Elam isn’t the only 4-star defensive back that Georgia could land on Wednesday. Nick Cross, a 4-star safety out of Maryland, is set to sign as well. Cross’ recruitment has been all over the place. He’s been a long-time Florida State commitment. But is also giving serious consideration to Georgia and Penn State. He took an unofficial visit to Georgia on Friday and then took an official visit to Penn State over the weekend. Maryland is also a finalist for his services.
Cross is also teammates with 2020 5-star running back Marshawn Lloyd, who Georgia would also very much like to land. Cross has not yet announced a decision time on Wednesday.
Even if Cross and Elam elect to pass on Georgia, the Bulldogs will still have three 4-star defensive backs in cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, safety Lewis Cine and cornerback DJ Daniel. All three players are already on campus and working with the Bulldogs.
Smart has clearly made defensive back a priority in this class, and Georgia landing one more big-time prospect would be the perfect close for Georgia’s class.
Get some sort of pass-catching help
The Bulldogs almost certainly need to add some sort of tight end, given that Georgia enters spring practice with just three scholarship players at the position.
That’s why 3-star tight end Brett Seither has become such a priority for Georgia. His recruitment has taken off after the Early Signing Period, and Georgia has emerged as one of the front-runners to land him. The problem is that Alabama is the other front-runner.
Georgia and Alabama have battled for a number of prospects in the 2019 class, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re still pushing for a commitment against each other on National Signing Day. Seither will announce his commitment at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Then there is 5-star wide receiver George Pickens. He’s the highest rated player Georgia could possibly land on Wednesday, as he’s rated the No. 24 overall prospect. He’s also committed to Auburn and there’s some concern about grades with Pickens. But like Cross, Pickens is teammates with a major 2020 target, in quarterback Robbie Ashford. Landing Pickens would no doubt help in landing the no. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Of course, should Pickens stick with Auburn and Seither go with Alabama, Georgia can still make additions in the transfer market. The Bulldogs have already hosted wide receiver Lawrence Cager out of Miami and tight end Eli Wolf from Tennessee. Both of those could players could help Georgia in 2019 while also leaving a scholarship open down the road.
But much like the defensive back position, Smart and the coaching staff have made it clear that Georgia needs more depth amongst its pass catchers. After Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley all declared early for the NFL draft, Georgia needs to restock the cupboard at some point prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Kirby Smart won’t go after Missouri players
Last week, the NCAA dropped the hammer on Missouri football, issuing a bowl ban for the 2019 season as well as a reduction of scholarships. Due to the bowl ban, Missouri’s seniors are allowed to transfer elsewhere without having to sit out.
And according to a report, four SEC teams have reached out to Missouri about possibly recruiting the seniors on the Tigers’ team.
But per The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Dave Matter, Smart was not one of those coaches. In fact, per Matter, Smart called Missouri coach Barry Odom to tell him that they would not be trying to poach any players from Missouri’s roster.
Despite bringing in the No. 2 class in the country, Georgia still has a number of question marks, and has used graduate transfers in the past to strength the roster. The Bulldogs brought in Maurice Smith of Alabama in 2016 and Jay Hayes from Notre Dame in 2018.
Georgia pulled out a 43-29 win over Missouri in 2018. The Tigers brought in Kelly Bryant of Clemson to replace Drew Lock at quarterback. Missouri visits Athens on Nov. 9.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- LOOK: Former Georgia star David Andrews celebrates shirtless at Super Bowl parade
- As Georgia football prepares for ho-hum signing day, UGA basketball looks to reshape its future
- Georgia Bulldogs basketball looking to avoid some records of infamy as it heads to Alabama
- Former Georgia football star Isaac Nauta begins pro career by giving back
- WATCH: Georgia running back Sony Michel cuts up on Jimmy Kimmel Show after Super Bowl win
- Georgia football podcast: 3 things to know about UGA’s final pre-Signing Day recruiting weekend
- From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning
- Former Tennessee captain Eli Wolf high on Georgia football, Ohio State visit ahead
- Sony Michel gets his own redemption in Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) February 5, 2019
Coaches join us March 28th-30th !! More information at https://t.co/xDurqejFPv
Go Dawgs !! pic.twitter.com/jHuq2yoW6h
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) February 5, 2019
The Patriots know where to get their top talent.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 29, 2019
— Justin Dunham (@Justin_Dunham) February 5, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
This is Cooper. He likes to eat rocks. But today he didn’t. Wanted to show you he’s maturing. His churlish days are behind him. 13/10 pic.twitter.com/H1GO88cHu5
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 4, 2019