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Dan Lanning is the defensive coordinator and one of the top recruiters for the Bulldogs.

Georgia football recruiting: Linebacker is Bulldogs’ most important 2021 position

Kirby Smart wasted no time in stressing the importance of linebacker recruiting in the 2021 cycle.

While recapping Georgia’s 2020 signing class in February, Smart made it a point to highlight the lack of linebacker depth in the 2020 class.

Mekhail Sherman was the Bulldogs only signee at inside or outside linebacker this past cycle.  That number will be much greater in 2020.

“Those are two areas that, as far as inside linebacker and outside linebacker, that we probably didn’t feel like we had to have as much immediate help,” Smart said. “Those will be huge opportunities for kids in the next signing class that want to play outside linebacker and inside linebacker because now we do have holes to fill.”

This coming season, outside linebackers Walter Grant and Jermaine Johnson will exhaust their eligibility as will inside linebacker Monty Rice. There are also a number of draft-eligible juniors, such as Azeez Ojulari, Quay Walker and Adam Anderson.

So it’s clear that the Bulldogs will be bringing in quite a bit of talent at both positions in this coming cycle. Expect the total number of combined inside and outside linebacker prospects to be at five when it is all said and done on National Signing Day in 2021.

The Bulldogs already have one commitment at this position, as the Bulldogs landed 4-star prospect Elijah Jeudy. He hails from Philadelphia and is the No. 166 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Jeudy is listed at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds.

He is Georgia’s most recent commitment.

“He has that same mentality as D’Andre Swift,” Jeudy’s high school coach Troy Gore said. “The same thing. The work ethic. You see their Dads look exactly alike with the big arms. The same thing, man. It is the same type of family and home structure. Very humble and polite kid. But when those lights are on in that rectangular turf and Astroturf they are just straight ‘Dawgs. Relentless.”

Related: The 5 things you haven’t read yet about recent OLB commit Elijah Jeudy

As for the other outside linebacker spot, a big name to know is Dallas Turner. He plays for South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, the same high school that produced 2020 Georgia signee Marcus Rosemy.

Turner is rated as the No. 90 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings, but he’s made a huge move up in the rankings in recent months. He checks in at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds.

For Turner’s services, it appears that Alabama is the top competitor with the Bulldogs to land his services. Turner recently told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell that Alabama’s draft success and championship pedigree were why the Crimson Tide lead for his recruitment.

Related: Dallas Turner: Why Alabama has a slight lead on UGA for the elite pass rusher

Some other names to note and monitor when it comes to the outside linebacker position include Chaz Chambliss and Quintin Somerville. Chambliss plays for Georgia power Carrollton High School in Carrollton, Ga. He is the No. 250 ranked prospect in the country and listed at 6-foot-2, 239 pounds.

Somerville is from Scottsdale, Ariz., and plays for the same Saguaro High School that 2020 Georgia signee Kelee Ringo played did. Somerville is listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. He has placed Georgia in his final eight.

At the inside linebacker spot, there are two big names to know and both are in-state prospects.

The first is Smael Mondon, from Dallas, Ga. Mondon is the highest rated Georgia linebacker target, as he is the No. 26 overall prospect and a 5-star player.

“I like the direction the program is going in,” Mondon told Sentell. “I feel like in the next couple of years they are going to get a national championship for sure.”

Prior to the shutdown, Auburn, Florida and Oklahoma were the standouts for Mondon’s services along with Georgia.

The other big-time in-state prospect is Barrett Carter. He plays for one of the top teams in the state in North Gwinett. He’s the No. 55 overall prospect in the country and the state’s No. 6 ranked prospect. But in terms of pure football rankings, there might not be a better player in the state.

He’s not quite as physically impressive as Mondon as Carter is listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, but he should still be seen as one of Georgia’s top targets. Had North Gwinnett matched up against Marietta High School in the 7A state title game, Carter would’ve drawn the task of matching up against Arik Gilbert, a 5-star tight end who signed with LSU.

The chief competition at the moment for Carter’s services is Clemson. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers have a strong track record of recruiting wins in the metro Atlanta area and already have a commitment from Carter’s North Gwinnett teammate in 4-star cornerback Jordan Hancock.

A final name to know at the linebacker spot is Xavian Sorey. Like Turner, Alabama and Florida are seen as the top competition for his talents. One only needs to look at what Sorey has done on the basketball court to see what kind of freakish athleticism he possesses. He’s the No. 60 overall prospect and hails from Graceville, Fla.

Georgia football 2021 recruiting stories