Georgia football: How the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class for 2019 was built
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. This play sheet calls for the annual National Signing Day star-by-star construction of how the 2019 Georgia football class came to be.
Let’s start the day with some perspective. The Minnesota maple syrup version.
What would Bulldog legend Larry Munson think about a signing day like this one?
Would he deem the sky fell through the roof if that corner with NFL blood in his veins chose Florida today? What about the same for that speedy safety from Maryland? And will the Crimson Tide really beat the Bulldogs to the wire yet again for a mere 3-star TE?
Those are all plausible scenarios.
Or maybe would he realize something pretty sweet had still fallen from the sky? No matter what, the Bulldogs at the end of this day should have no worse than the nation’s second-biggest set of 2019 blue chips.
I’d bet the latter.
The Bulldogs have still signed more 5-stars (five) than any other program in the nation this year. That’s even with seeing an elite signee lose a star as well as endure the sight of seeing two former 5-star commits wind up with other teams.
The 2019 class definitely stands as one of the most unpredictable in my time covering Georgia recruiting. When the first commitment came in the middle of a birthday surprise for a key member of my family, it now seems like an omen.
This class was going to go high on the labor pains for fans to endure. Not to mention the overtime for a scribe to cover.
That followed suit from the first commit on to those “True19” days to the moment when the nation’s eventual No. 1 overall prospect Nolan Smith committed way back on January 29, 2017.
There are at least 2-3 targets still left out there for 2019, but consider the following:
- Georgia signed 11 prospects in 2019 that rate among the nation’s top 5 players at their position
- UGA also signed 16 prospects which rate among the nation’s top 10 players at their position
- With this class, the Bulldogs have now signed the top player in 10 different states (at the time of their decision) during the time Kirby Smart has been the head coach
- Don’t expect the Bulldogs to add another in-state player today. All of the top targets left to announce today are from out-of-state
It has been an up-and-down class given the turns provided during this cycle. Luke Griffin was the first pledge for the class back on June 11, but he would later de-commit and wind up signing in the SEC with Missouri.
Georgia football: How the 2019 class has been built
This 2019 class will always stand out to me for the three commits that the Bulldogs picked up on that same July day right after the “West End Zone” reveal.
Fans probably don’t realize how many of the eventual signees were on hand that day and helped cut the ribbon before heading into that facility.
That is a clear high point, but there were also several lows.
Remember when the Bulldogs saw three of their 2019 pledges de-commit during the same week during the 2018 season?
Those are two crazy data point for a cycle that still rates as the second-best recruiting class in the time since the star rating system was implemented back in 2000.
Let’s take a good look at it.
Here is the annual DawgNation timeline of how the 2019 class came together.
- June 11, 2016: 4-star tackle Luke Griffin (North Murray/Chatsworth, Ga.) commits to UGA (Class count:1)
- Jan. 29, 2017: 5-star DE Nolan Smith II (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) commits to UGA (2)
- Feb. 18, 2017: 4-star DT Rashad Cheney Jr. (Washington High/Atlanta) commits to UGA (3)
- March 16, 2017: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood (Cedar Grove/Ellenwood, Ga.) commits to UGA (4)
- July 15, 2017: 4-star LB J.D. Bertrand (Blessed Trinity/Roswell, Ga.) commits to UGA (5)
- July 16, 2017: 5-star WR Dominick Blaylock(Walton/Marietta, Ga.) commits to UGA (6)
- Oct. 30, 2017: 4-star CB Jalen Perry (Dacula/Dacula, Ga.) commits to UGA (7)
- Jan. 25, 2018: Rashad Cheney Jr. de-commits from UGA (6)
- Feb. 7, 2018: 4-star TE Ryland Goede (Kennesaw Mountain/Kennesaw, Ga.) commits to UGA (7)
- March 18, 2018: 4-star DE Bill Norton (Christian Brothers/Memphis, Tenn.) commits to UGA (8)
- April 1, 2018: Luke Griffin de-commits from UGA (7)
- April 27, 2018: 4-star ATH Trezman Marshall (Clinch County HS/Homerville, Ga.) commits to UGA. (8)
- June 15, 2018: 4-star ATH John Rhys Plumlee (Oak Grove HS/Hattiesburg, Miss.) commits to UGA. (9)
- June 17, 2018: 4-star OT Xavier Truss (Bishop Hendricken/Warwick, RI) commits to UGA (10)
- July 15, 2018: 3-star strong-side DE Zion Logue (Lebanon HS/Lebanon, TN) commits to UGA (11)
- July 16, 2018: 4-star OT Warren McClendon (Brunswick HS/Brunswick, Ga.) commits to UGA (12)
- July 24, 2018: 5-star DT Travon Walker (Upson-Lee HS/Thomaston, Ga.) commits to UGA (13)
- July 29, 2018: 5-star RB John Emery Jr. (Destrehan HS/Destrehan, La.) commits to UGA (14)
- July 29, 2018: 4-star ATH Makiya Tongue (University Lab/Baton Rouge, La.) commits to UGA (15)
- July 29, 2018: 4-star LB Rian Davis (Wekiva HS/Apopka, Fla.) commits to UGA (16)
- Aug. 2, 2018: 4-star DE Jermaine Johnson (Independence CC/Independence, Ks.) commits to UGA (17)
- Aug. 7, 2018: 247Sports reclassifies 2018 signee Tramel Walthour (Liberty County/Hinesville, Ga.) as a 2019 recruit and adds him to the commitment list for 2019. (18)
- Aug. 16, 2018: 3-star DT Tymon Mitchell (Franklin Road Academy/Nashville, Tenn.) commits to UGA (19)
- October 2, 2018: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood de-commits from UGA (18)
- October 4, 2018: 4-star CB Jalen Perry de-commits from UGA (17)
- October 5, 2018: 4-star ILB J.D. Bertrand de-commits from UGA (16)
- October 10, 2018: 4-star Texas S Lewis Cine commits to play for UGA (17)
- October 25, 2018: 5-star RB John Emery Jr. de-commits from UGA (16)
- November 6, 2018: 4-star JUCO CB D.J. Daniel flips from South Carolina to UGA (17)
- November 14, 2018: 4-star RB Kenny McIntosh commits to the Bulldogs (18)
- December 10, 2018: 5-star OL Clay Webb commits to play for Sam Pittman at UGA (19)
- December 19, 2018: 4-star QB Dwan Mathis flips from Ohio State to sign with UGA (20)
- December 19, 2018: 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean signs with the Bulldogs (21)
- December 19, 2018: 3-star JUCO QB Stetson Bennett IV signs with the Bulldogs (22)
- January 5, 2019: 4-star CB Tyrique Stevenson announces he signed with UGA (23)
- February 4, 2019: 4-star QB John Rhys Plumlee de-commits, flips to Ole Miss (22)
- February 6, 2019: 5-star WR George Pickens flips from Auburn to UGA (23)
- February 6, 2019: 3-star TE Brett Seither chooses UGA over Alabama (24)
Georgia football: The 2019 class by the numbers so far
- 5-star Bulldogs (247Sports composite): 5
- 5-star Bulldogs (any service): 6
- Flips: 3
- In-state Bulldogs: 8
- In-state high school seniors: 5
- Out-of-state Bulldogs: 16
- Decommits for the 2019 class: 7
- JUCO Bulldogs: 4
- Signees with nicknames: Rian “Trouble” Davis and Kenny “The Blueprint” McIntosh and George “The Goat” Pickens.
Georgia football: What positions were filled in 2019?
Which positions were the major priorities for 2019? The receiver spot was one and the Bulldogs landed 1 of their 2 long-term elite targets there.
When looking at the ILB and OLB haul, it clearly looks like the Bulldogs might have just recruited the LB position as well as any program in the country.
Here’s a quick snapshot as to how the position-by-position looks for the 2019 class:
- 2 QBs: This is the first time a Kirby Smart class has included two quarterbacks.
- 1 RB: Look for a major 5-star reload in 2020. McIntosh might be the best player with the least amount of hype in this loaded class.
- 2 TE: The Bulldogs signed Seither, but the TE room will still be a major emphasis for 2020 with 5-star in-state gem Arik Gilbert at the top of the board.
- 3 WR: The move to add Pickens on National Signing Day is a public relations win. At least. If he’s on the field this fall, then this position group just added two of the nation’s top 5 receivers for 2019.
- 3 OL: Versatility is the key here with McClendon and Webb. Truss is a true OT in the Isaiah Wilson mold. He might need a 2019 redshirt.
- 2 DE: Logue probably advanced father than any prospect in the class from where he was a year ago.
- 3 DT: Travon Walker is the long-sought 5-star DT for the program during Smart’s watch.
- 3 ILB: 5-star Nakobe Dean will be as advertised in Athens. Davis won’t be far behind. Marshall will do South Georgia football proud.
- 2 OLB: The crystal ball can see two future first-round NFL draft picks in Smith and Johnson.
- 2 CB: Stevenson just looks like a future ALL-SEC cornerback. Daniel will hold up well if he earns the right to play early in 2019.
- 1 S: Lewis Cine is the most under-the-radar “elite” player the Bulldogs. Great tackler in space and will run the alley. He almost more than held his own on the All-American stage in coverage.
Georgia football: The UGA geography class breakdown
The 22 current UGA signees broken down by state:
- Alabama: 2 (Webb and Pickens)
- Georgia: 8 (Bennett, Blaylock, Daniel, Goede, Marshall, McClendon, Walker and Walthour)
- Tennessee: 3 (Logue, Mitchell and Norton)
- Louisiana: 1 (Tongue)
- Michigan: 1 (Mathis)
- Florida: 5 (Davis, McIntosh, Seither, Smith* and Stevenson)
- Kansas: 1 (Johnson but he is a Minnesota native)
- Mississippi: 1 (Dean)
- Rhode Island: 1 (Truss)
- Texas: 1 (Cine but he is also a Massachusetts native)
*Smith went to boarding school at IMG Academy but is still a Georgia native.
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