Merry Christmas. To you and all of yours.
The second day of our Christmas-themed content across SEC Country and Landof10 has another holiday theme. We pondered what scenario could mean a few lumps of coal for Georgia’s highly-rated recruiting class on Christmas Eve.
What’s up for today? We’re chopping up what would make the best Christmas present for Georgia and Kirby Smart.
DawgNation thinks Smart ultimate wish list present would be a six-pack (details below) on Christmas morning.
But before we do that, let’s check out whether or not Smart has been a good head coach after his first full year in the SEC?
Is he on the nice list because of the on-the-field product? Some might debate that considering those outings against Georgia Tech, Nicholls State and Vanderbilt.
Has he been an excellent recruiter for Georgia? There’s no doubt about that. Georgia’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 was a 5-star gem in Richard LeCounte III.
LeCounte has said Smart is the single biggest reason why he chose Georgia. He loved the thought of playing at Alabama mostly because of Smart and yet he also wanted to represent his home state.
Smart + Georgia = Committed. That meant a pledge that’s as strong as any recruit makes to a school these days. If that didn’t happen, his family told me they thought he would eventually wind up at Ohio State.
That didn’t happen.
If we’re being honest, Smart and Georgia have already filled up all the room under the tree with a class that’s currently ranked No. 3 nationally. But then a late December surprise meant the return of four senior stars to the roster in 2017.
That bumped up the Bulldogs into the clear SEC East favorite zone.
But for the sake of being greedy, the best thing left for Smart and Georgia would be seeing a six-pack that contains these elite recruits under the tree.
The dream six-pack for Georgia at Christmas
5-star DT Aubrey Solomon (Lee County / Leesburg, Ga.)
How UGA could wind up with Solomon: He takes a planned series of unofficial visits and decides there’s no place like being home around Smart and other Southwest Georgia boys. The Bulldogs slide past Alabama, Florida and Michigan to land the nation’s No. 2 DT.
4-star S DeAngelo Gibbs (Grayson / Loganville, Ga.)
How UGA could wind up with Gibbs: His head might say Alabama, but his heart eventually tugs to Georgia on New Year’s Day at the Under Armour All-American Game. He sees the most inherent value in being a part of a standard setter for the Georgia program instead of being another in a series of assembly line championship players in Tuscaloosa.
4-star ILB Nate McBride (Vidalia / Vidalia, Ga.)
How UGA could wind up with McBride: The nation’s No. 1 ILB decides there’s no place like playing at home. He becomes another South Georgia Bulldog that’s reshaping the roster. Auburn and Oregon have made a run, but the fastest linebacker we all shall ever see wants to be in Athens.
4-star WR Nico Collins (Clay-Chalkville / Pinson, Ala.)
How UGA could wind up with Collins: The nation’s No. 13 receiver opts to run fade routes a little closer to home than perceived favorite Michigan. I’ve long held the belief the race was always between Georgia and the Wolverines. Collins has always seemed to me like he wanted to play out-of-state. Then there’s the reality that Alabama has already squared away elite receivers like Saban’s middle name was Scrooge.
He’d be a part of the pack in Tuscaloosa, but the 6-foot-5 wideout would be a primary outside receiver in Athens by the end of his freshman season.
4-star ATH Tray Bishop (Terrell County /Dawson, Ga.)
How UGA could wind up with Bishop: He decides that the place for him is in Athens. Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker convince him that the best lottery ticket for his NFL dreams would be manning the secondary in Sanford Stadium.
The nation’s No. 4 ATH has all the size (6-foot-3) and speed (4.4 in the 40) necessary to blanket defenders in the SEC. His recent de-commitment from Auburn means this race is down to Florida and Georgia. The influence of lead recruiter Kevin Sherrer also nails this talented size athlete down.
4-star DE Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant (Crisp County / Cordele, Ga.)
How UGA could wind up with Bryant: Bryant told me after his final high school game that Georgia should be perceived as the team to beat for his decision. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has all the size and length to really patrol the edges and rush the passer in Athens. Auburn and Florida fail to match the home state feel that he already enjoys in Athens.
Sherrer has been another strong recruiter for the Bulldogs here in this one, too.
Greed is good in recruiting
We’ll add one more name to this list. That’s the nation’s No. 8 ILB who was nestled snugly inside Smart’s stocking. Brookwood 4-star ILB Leonard Warner III would prove that the recruiting staff in Athens is already following the Alabama blueprint.
Add this list to the 19 guys that are already in the class. That would please even the staunchest follower of Georgia recruiting.
That’s the wish list for Smart and Georgia for 2017. And then some.
But for just this one day, I’ll add this: We’re going to focus on stars today. Same as every day. But this time it will be that one in the sky that led three very wise men to a newborn child lying away in a manger. That’s why that star is atop everyone’s tree.
Happy Holidays from all of us at DawgNation!