Editor’s Note: From time to time, the staff at DawgNation will answer direct questions from readers about subjects pertinent to UGA football. This installment reflects an insider’s view of UGA recruiting in regards to how many of the team’s 2019 commitments plan to enroll early.
DawgNation doesn’t mind taking requests. Especially when it comes from the valued members of the DawgNation message board forum. Even the down-vote crowd.
This query came from a gentleman (I think) with more than 550 posts on that board. “Acrum21” wanted to know what the early enrollee picture looks like for UGA in the class of 2019.
DawgNation message board member Acrum21 supplied the “Ask the Experts” question on recruiting for this week. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
That’s a good question.
It is actually the more pressing number to focus on these days instead of the actual number of signees the Bulldogs will eventually have in the class.
The number of slots the Bulldogs will have available for early enrollees in this class is a number to consider.
It is just as important as the number of prospects that will sign on Dec. 19 on the first day of the early signing period and on the traditional Feb. 6 National Signing Day for football for the class of 2019.
Why? Because I think the number of early enrollee slots the program will have available will influence that final number.
The NCAA only allows its Division I Football BowlSubdivision programs a maximum of 85 student-athletes on scholarship at one time. That number is not applicable when they sign, but at the time they wish to enroll. That’s what football programs like the one at UGA have to be keenly aware of how much room they have and will have under that scholarship cap.
5-star OLB Nolan Smith (left) is the highest-rated UGA commitment for 2019. He plans to enroll early in January. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
That number of available scholarship slots will increase through the number of graduating seniors. Those scholarships now become available for the #NewBreed19 Bulldogs.
That’s not the only factor to consider here. How many draft-eligible Bulldogs will declare for the NFL Draft after their junior seasons? How many scholarship players will decide to move on so they can continue their playing careers at other programs?
Those are all numbers which will influence how many players the Bulldogs can enroll early and eventually sign in the class of 2019. Those last two numbers are not known. That makes it harder to figure out.
To the best of my knowledge, it looks like Georgia has 16 seniors and also 19 draft-eligible juniors who could factor into that equation. That math here should look like this: Departing seniors (16) + NFL early entries (x) + Program transfers (y) = Number of scholarships available for the class of 2019.
UGA recruiting early enrollment for 2019
Commitments who plan to enroll in January
Major UGA recruiting targets who plan to enroll in January
The quick UGA recruiting things to remember here:
- An early enrollee is a term widely used for a midyear enrollee that was able to complete their required high school coursework after their fall semester and graduate early. They will enroll in January of 2019 and acclimate to college life.
- Those true freshmen are able to participate in spring practice. Brenton Cox, Jacob Eason, Justin Fields, Jake Fromm, Trey Hill, Kearis Jackson and Isaac Nauta are examples of recent “EEs” in the program.
- There are strong UGA commitments who plan to enroll early and a few other strong UGA targets that will also look to enroll early.
- If UGA doesn’t have enough slots for the players wishing to sign and enroll early, there will likely be some players that choose another school rather than wait until May to enroll.
- A full class per NCAA standards is 25 signees. Back counts are allowed to the 2018 class with mid-year enrollees. The thinking here is that the Bulldogs only have maybe 1-2 slots to count back to the 2018 class. According to data published by 247Sports, they signed 30, 21, 26 and 26 prospects over the last four cycles, respectively.
- DT prospect Tramel Walthour, a 3-star signee in 2018, cannot be counted in the 2018 and 2019 classes. Walthour only counts one time. He did not enroll at UGA but spent the fall semester in junior college. That’s the same path that sophomore DT Devonte Wyatt followed to Athens.