Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. We have a huge week ahead. Signing day and whatnot. Lots to get to. Recruiting. Basketball. Goldberg. You know the drill.
We are getting down to it, folks. It is the week of all weeks for recruitniks. Signing day is Wednesday. There still are a couple important slots for coach Kirby Smart to fill in the Class of 2017, and there still is some major talent left on Georgia’s Big Board: Aubrey Solomon, Markaviest Bryant and Nico Collins. You can, and should, read everything Jeff Sentell writes between now and Wednesday and stay tuned to DawgNation to keep on top of any major news that comes out.
But we’re not going to talk about that on Monday. Today, we’re focusing on the players Georgia has locked up. Or, at least players who are on campus committed and expected to sign. (Recruiting is weird, though. Anything can happen.) Specifically, which recruits have the most potential star power.
Now, there’s a difference between which players are the best and which ones have the best chance to be stars. There has to be some overlap, of course, but it’s hard to be the latter without being the former. Obviously, the position you play will have some bearing on how much of a star you can be. Skill position players have an advantage. You just don’t hear the name of offensive linemen that often, so it’s harder for them to be stars.
Star power is about more than just skill, though. It’s about who can shine more than the rest of the players on and off the field. The it factor, to use a cliche. So, here are the guys in UGA’s class who I think will stand out above the rest. If there’s anyone you think deserves a place on the list, let me know in the comments section.
5) Devonte Wyatt, DT — Only a few years ago the premium at defensive tackle was in size. (Remember Terrence Cody?) These days, it’s mobility. Defensive lines need more quickness to deal with spread option offenses. Players in the Christian Wilkins or Ed Oliver mode. Wyatt doesn’t project to be quite as good as those guys, but he is built in that mold. He moves sideline to sideline easily and can close down on a tackle. His commitment seems up in the air at the moment, though. If Georgia is somehow to land Solomon, he’s in the same mold, only better.
4) Isaiah Wilson, OT — I said it was hard to be a star offensive lineman. Not impossible. And the Brooklynite may have what it takes to overcome the offensive lineman’s barriers to star power. On top of having the size and talent, the man cuts a killer promo, to steal a pro wrestling term. Look up any interview with Wilson and his personality pops off the page. If he keeps giving killer quotes and throws down even more killer blocks, Wilson will be a name on everyone’s lips.
3) Richard LeCounte III, DB — LeCounte has already made a name for himself among recruitniks. He was the first player committed in the Class of 2017 and has recruited just as hard as any coach to get top talent around him. He endeared himself to UGA fans before he ever stepped on campus. He’s also a guy who you can tell is interesting from the many interviews he’s already done. Add in that he’s uber-talented, in Athens right and battling for playing time this season, and you have to think LeCounte is destined for big things.
2) Jake Fromm, QB — It’s the quarterback, and the quarterback is always a star. Well, unless you absolutely hate them, which happens sometimes. Fromm has the potential to do wonders with the Bulldogs offense, though. He’ll get to sit behind Jacob Eason and learn for a couple years before taking over the role in what should be a much-more defined offensive system. The Eason-Fromm succession also reminds me of what we saw with Matt Stafford to Aaron Murray. Stafford had the plaudits out of high school and all the NFL potential in the world, like Eason, and was eventually succeeded by Murray, a less-heralded but ultimately more successful college QB, potentially like Fromm.
1) D’Andre Swift, RB — This is UGA, and the running back is always the star of the show. And Swift looks like he will be a worthy member of the UGA Tailback Fraternity. Over the weekend, he won MVP honors for the USA U-19 football team, rushing for 109 yards on 12 carries against Canada. It’s Canada, so that probably won’t impress you, but his highlights surely will:
More commitments for the Dawgs
Georgia secured three commitments over the weekend, but they don’t seem to be anything to write home about. At least not yet.
The most notable of the trio was Class of 2019 prospect Nolan Smith out of IMG Academy. The native of Savannah is rated as a 4- or 5-star prospect by most services. He projects as an OLB but could play defensive end if he adds some more weight. He’s only a high school sophomore so there’s certainly room to do that. I mean, if he’s still too young to drive, he might not have discovered the wonders/horrors of the Taco Bell dollar menu. That’ll add a solid 15 pounds to his frame by itself.
Like I said, nothing to get too excited about, but these are just sparklers. The real fireworks come Wednesday.
Breaking down the offensive line class
Kipp Adams of Dawgs 247 has an excellent in-depth dive on UGA filling its biggest need this recruiting cycle: offensive line. I usually save things like this for “ICYMI” (see below), but this was too good to not have a stand-alone section. A preview, showing why Georgia need linemen so bad:
Offensive line coach Sam Pittman has put an emphasis on size at his previous stops, including having the biggest offensive line of any NFL or Power 5 team for two straight years.
Team/Year LT LG C RG RT Total Arkansas/2015 6-5, 340 6-5, 334 6-3, 322 6-5, 312 6-10, 331 1,640 pounds 2014 6-10, 326 6-5, 350 6-3, 315 6-5, 337 6-7, 314 1,642 pounds 2013 6-6, 318 6-4, 315 6-5, 315 6-7, 330 6-5, 345 1,623 pounds Tennessee/2012 6-6, 329 6-5, 310 6-3, 310 6-5, 324 6-6, 323 1,596 pounds
One thing the above offensive lines have in common — they led the SEC in sacks allowed per game. In 2016, even though Georgia was 10th in the SEC in pass attempts, the team was just seventh in the SEC and No. 47 in the country in sacks allowed per game.
Georgia/2016 LT LG C RG RT Total Starting lineup 6-6, 314 6-2, 285 6-3, 293 6-2, 301 6-6, 325 1,518 pounds
UGA hoops ends a bad week on high note
Georgia responded from a disappointing, potentially season-spoiling loss to Alabama with a late win Saturday against the Texas Longhorns. It’s not enough to turn around the season — Texas simply isn’t that good — but it could send the Dawgs in the right direction. And wins are always preferable to losses.
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) January 28, 2017
#SicEm17 get their introduction
UGA’s six early enrollees from the Class of ’17 also had their public introduction at halftime of the Texas game. Take a look:
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) January 29, 2017
Dawgs in WWE
I care nothing for the Pro Bowl, so instead of an NFL recap we get “Dawgs in the WWE” this week. Or rather “Dawg in the WWE.” It’s GOLD-BERG! GOLD-BERG! GOLD-BERG!
Former UGA defensive lineman Bill Goldberg is back for one final run in pro wrestling and his final tour continued Sunday night at the Royal Rumble. Goldberg entered the match at 28th and immediately speared and eliminated Brock Lesnar, who he beat in less than five minutes back at Survivor Series.
— WWE (@WWE) January 30, 2017
Good stuff, Goldberg. Unfortunately, the Undertaker left you little time to celebrate.
— WWE (@WWE) January 30, 2017
Expect to see Goldberg doing something at WrestleMania in April.
Frank Martin goes in
Apropos of nothing, South Carolina’s basketball coach decided to go scorched earth on recruitniks.
South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin opened a press conference this week with his own question.
“Just curious,” he said. “Why does anyone follow football recruiting? There’s got to be a better life than following committing and de-committing.”
That’s cold-blooded, Frank. He should’ve gone full Alec Trebek.
- How close have 2 SEC rivals made it with 4-star UGA target Markaviest Bryant? (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Kirby Smart’s recruiting success can’t mask issues with Mark Fox’s basketball team (Bill King, DawgNation)
- Tragedy continues to deny triumph for paralyzed Devon Gales (Steve Hummer, DawgNation)
- An update on Georgia’s kicking spots for 2017 (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)
- WATCH: Kirby Smart arrives at high school using helicopter (Connor Riley, DawgNation)
- What has Jake Fromm been doing since enrolling at UGA? (Jake Rowe, Dawgs247)
- Georgia commit D’Andre Swift wins MVP as USA Under-19 team downs Canada (USA TODAY High School Sports)
Deny ’til you die.
her dog likes to chew things up & then pretend she doesn't see them this is so cute pic.twitter.com/SZK4CeK5Zb
— Animals Galore (@AnimalsGalore) January 29, 2017