ATLANTA — Georgia football sits No. 8 in the current 2019 team recruiting rankings, though this hardly appears to be an off year.
The Bulldogs lead the nation with three 5-star commits. Their ranking is more a byproduct of having just 12 players in the class (as of July 21) while temporary No. 1 Alabama has used up 20 commits.
Georgia, clearly, is a safe bet for another top 5 signing. Coach Kirby Smart’s first three classes ranked at No. 6, No. 3 and No. 1 per the 247Sports composite.
Bulldogs defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter, a 4-star, top 100 prospect out of Tucker, Ga., shared how quickly Smart won him over.
“He’s a great guy, really good people person, he’ll talk to you, and he’s really personable,” Ledbetter said. “He wants to know the real you, he can see through a lot of stuff. He just wants to know deep down what you’re made of, and what kind of character you have.”
It takes an entire staff to recruit to a program effectively, and Georgia has three of the top assistant coaches in that respect.
Georgia football assistant head coach/running backs coach Dell McGee, co-offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks coach James Coley and offensive line coach Sam Pittman are regarded among the most effective recruiters in collegiate football.
Jeff Sentell, the top authority on Georgia football recruiting, said two things have separated Smart from the previous staff.
“Whenever there is anyone Georgia wants, anywhere, you always hear the recruits say ‘Georgia is recruiting me as hard as anyone,’ “ Sentell said. “So, number one, Georgia doesn’t get out-recruited any more.”
The second thing, which should become even more evident on the field this season, is the priority the Bulldogs have placed on the offensive line.
“They get the type of elite talent for the line of scrimmage that they used to get at running back spot and quarterback spot,” Sentell said.”Guys like Knowshon Moreno used to be running behind a bunch of 3-star guys and maybe one 4-star.”
Georgia has 18 players on its roster that were rated a 5-star prospect by one recruiting service or another, and that sort of depth has propelled the program into championship contention.
“Everywhere you look, when Georgia gets an injury or has someone out, it’s an opportunity to see the next big thing,” Sentell said. “It’s not necessarily going to be a drop off.”
Mike Griffith covers Georgia football for DawgNation. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32
Georgia football Jonathan Ledbetter