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Georgia football winners and losers from first day of 2020 Early Signing Period
Winner: Georgia’s wide receiver room
With the additions of 4-star wide receivers Jermaine Burton and Arian Smith, Georgia will now be bringing in four 4-star wide receivers. Burton and Smith join Marcus Rosemy and Justin Robinson, who signed their letters of intent on Wednesday.
Burton, Smith and Rosemy all rate as top-100 players, while Robinson is a talented target in his own right. They all bring a diverse set of skills to the team next year. Robinson’s 6-foot-4 frame will allow him to play outside. Smith might be the fastest recruit in the country. Burton can play inside and outside. Rosemy has shined making acrobatic catches all season for one of the nation’s top high school teams.
“Really excited about those guys,” Kirby Smart said yesterday. “We’ve been excited about Justin (Robinson) for a long time, Marcus (Rosemy) too. They both came to our camp over the summer and were as competitive of kids as you’ve seen. Out there, one-on-ones, and both of them had good senior years.”
Smart couldn’t yet comment on Burton when he committed but with Smith, he invoked Mecole Hardman’s name.
“Arian (Smith) is a kid who’s got a lot of speed. It’s pretty obvious that he can run fast. He wants to be able to run track here, which we’ve been very open to and had success with Mecole (Hardman) doing that.”
Both Burton and Robinson have a connection to former Georgia wide receiver Terrence Edwards, as he helped train both players over the course of their youth careers. And he could not have been more proud of both ending up at Georgia.
💥….. A very proud moment for me right now. Both of these guys started training with me in middle school now both of them will attend the same school I did. #TEwracademy #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/TRMR4QttQG
— TE Wr Academy (@TEwracademy) December 18, 2019
Wide receiver was a huge need heading into the 2020 season after what happened in 2019. The room badly needed an infusion of talent and it got that on Wednesday.
“We’ve had a lot of other kids join us today that we think are going to help us,” Smart said.
Loser: Georgia’s offensive line for the Sugar Bowl
On Tuesday, Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson both declared for the 2020 NFL Draft and announced they would not be playing in the 2020 Sugar Bowl. Those two have been stalwarts for Georgia in each of the past two seasons.
Then the offensive line took another potential hit on Wednesday with regards to Ben Cleveland. According to a report from 247Sports’ Jake Rowe, Cleveland will be academically ineligible for the Sugar Bowl.
Smart did not outright confirm the report, but Rowe stated he had spoken to Cleveland’s dad about the issue.
“Because there’s still things out there. Nothing’s final yet,” Smart said.
Rowe did add that Cleveland does intend on returning next year, as he has another season of eligibility. Cleveland started in seven of Georgia’s 13 games this season and played in each game. Assuming Cade Mays moves to left tackle, Jamaree Salyer could fill in at either right guard or right tackle. Damarcus Hayes and Xavier Truss could also fill in at tackle for the game.
The depth on Georgia’s offensive line has been a strength all season. But that will be tested against a capable Baylor front that had the Big 12’s best defense.
Winner: Those hoping for changes at on the offensive staff
Outside of Matt Luke taking over for Sam Pittman, the offensive staff has remained intact following Georgia’s loss to LSU. Smart admitted that he spoke to now South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, but it was not about a possible job on the Georgia staff.
But Smart did not completely rule out that there would be no staff changes to come.
“As far as any other changes or anything like that, that’s decided after the bowl game, after we look back at the whole year,” Smart said. “We’re working really hard right now on Baylor, on giving our opportunity to play, and that’s where our focus is.”
Last year, Georgia did replace its offensive coordinator but that was because Jim Chaney left to take the same position at Tennessee. Chaney leaving also created a vacancy at the tight ends coach position, which was filled by Todd Hartley. Defensive backs coach Charlton Warren was also hired after the bowl game last year, even though Mel Tucker left before last year’s Sugar Bowl.
Something has to change regarding the offense given the way this season finished. Whether that is a coaching change, that is yet to be seen.
Loser: Georgia’s 5-star streak
For the first time since the 2017 National Signing Day, Georgia did not land a commitment from a 5-star prospect on a signing day. In Feb. of 2019, it was George Pickens. In Dec. of 2018, Nakobe Dean announced he was a Bulldog. Feb. of 2018 Tyson Campbell picked the Bulldogs and in Dec. of 2017, Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer committed to and signed with Georgia.
The Bulldogs usually create a lot of fireworks during these signing days, given Smart and Georgia have reeled in a number of big targets. And to an extent, Georgia did that on Wednesday when it landed Burton, Smith and offensive tackle Austin Blaske. Georgia did enough to move from the No. 6 recruiting class to the No. 4 recruiting class.
But the lone 5-star target that the Bulldogs were a finalist for — Jordan Burch — stayed home with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Georgia got the last visit for Burch but it wasn’t enough to land the nation’s No. 5 prospect.
Now Georgia isn’t done chasing 5-stars, as Kelee Ringo and Darnell Washington are both still on the board. Both players indicated that they signed their letters of intent on Wednesday. Ringo — the No. 1 cornerback in the country — will announce on Jan. 4 and Washington — the No. 1 athlete — is set to announce on Jan. 2.
Georgia can still mathematically finish with the nation’s top class, but without Burch that is going to be a tall task.
Winner: Those intrigued by Georgia’s future quarterback situation
Georgia missed out on 4-star quarterback C.J. Stroud, when he committed and signed with Ohio State. That means Georgia’s 2020 signing class will include just one quarterback in Carson Beck. He is a 4-star prospect out of Jacksonville, Fla., and already on Georgia’s campus.
Check the location 📍🐶
— CB (@carsonbeck01) December 19, 2019
Of course, there’s still a lot of intrigue regarding Jake Fromm‘s future and how that pertains to the 2020 team. Fromm is pretty regularly being mentioned as a second-round pick should he declare. Fromm could still return for his senior season, but he would be doing so without both his starting offensive tackles, wide receiver Lawrence Cager, tight ends Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf and possibly star running back D’Andre Swift.
If Georgia is without Fromm next year, it will have options. There’s Beck, Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis — should he be medically cleared —already on Georgia’s roster. But there are also transfer options out there. Most notably, Houston quarterback DeRiq King.
Another big name reportedly entered the transfer portal, as AL.com’s Matt Zenitz reported that Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello entered the transfer portal. He battled injuries this past season at Stanford, but in 2018, he threw for 29 touchdowns to 11 interceptions while completing 65 percent of his passes.
I’ve watched a good amount of Stanford football and seen Costello play. I have no idea what his intentions are. But Costello is a very good quarterback and in the event that Fromm leaves, he would be a very good replacement for Fromm.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Kirby Smart puts a wrap on Georgia 2019 early signees: ‘a good, balanced class’
- WATCH: Kirby Smart vague on Georgia coaching changes, denies interest in Mike Bobo
- Early Signing Day: Georgia football recruiting live blog and updates
- Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland academically ineligible to play in Sugar Bowl
- 3-star OT Austin Blaske makes an emotional decision to commit to Georgia
- Georgia star D’Andre Swift biggest bowl decision surprise among permanent captains, so far
Dawgs on Twitter
It feels so great to be a……….🖋
— Kelee Ringo (@KeleeRingo) December 18, 2019
— DBA_UNO (@_Dwfootball11) December 18, 2019
This is huge 💯 Congrats bro 🐶 https://t.co/0eWo0pS41X
— CB (@carsonbeck01) December 18, 2019
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 18, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
— WeRateDogs® (@dog_rates) December 19, 2019