Talk with our helmets? Georgia football is doing some talking on the trail with its commitments right now

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Kirby Smart has his eyes on more 5-star commits in the 2020 class.

Editor’s Note: DawgNation will publish a timely snapshot every so often during the recruiting cycle which gauges where the Bulldogs are as a class. Consider it a big picture overview of how the next wave of Georgia football talent is coming together. 

Georgia and Florida. Florida and Georgia. That saga goes on and on.

It might be even a little more radioactive of late. Everything the rivalry touches, including a potential change of venue, invokes some strong opinions.

The recruiting trail is no exception.

Remember the subtle and not-so-subtle jabs from Florida coach Dan Mullen this spring?

There was the talk of transfers, pulp fiction spring game attendance and now almost everything Mullen says these days gets analyzed for hidden meaning.

Kirby Smart had a viral reply earlier this year in regard to any apparent “trolling” attempts. He told ESPN’s Paul Finebaum that words don’t affect what happens on the field.

“We want to talk with our helmets,” Smart said. “That is what we always talk about – we want to play a physical brand of football and not do it with our mouthpiece.”

It seems like Georgia is letting its wins on the recruiting trail do a certain level of talking in this rivalry, too.

Trendspotting the latest UGA-Florida battles on the trail 

When 4-star WR Marcus Rosemy chose the Bulldogs over the in-state Gators earlier this month, it seemed like a playlist tune stuck on repeat. The sample size here really only needs to go back to March.

  • Elite QB commit Carson Beck kicked off the trend. The nation’s No. 4 QB prospect chose UGA after having Florida in his final group. It was even circulated in the recruiting industry the Gators were his perceived leader, but Beck was not aware of how that came about. 
  • Elite Texas CB Jalen Kimber took an unofficial visit to Florida for its spring game weekend on April 13. He committed to Georgia on April 17. Kimber was then at G-Day on his only official visit on April 20.
  • Jalen Carter, a 4-star DT, named a final group of Alabama, Clemson and Georgia on May 19. Carter is rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 player in Florida for 2020. He chose the Bulldogs on May 20. The Gators didn’t even make his final group.
  • Former Georgia commitment Warren Brinson announced he was down to a final two of Florida and Georgia on May 31. The Savannah native plays for IMG Academy in Florida. He chose the Bulldogs on June 1.
  • Florida resident Josh Braun was seen by many as Florida’s top target at tackle for 2020. He had a final three which included Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. His father, Mike, coaches high school football in Florida. His Dad even grew up a Gator fan. Braun chose to be Georgia’s third tackle in the class on June 20.

Rosemy gave several interviews after his official visit in Gainesville earlier this month that summarized that he was down to Florida and Georgia.

He’s the highest-rated receiver in Florida for this cycle. If he had chosen Florida, the nation’s No. 6 WR would have been the top-rated recruit for Mullen in the 2020 class at this time. 

All told, the optics look like six of the last nine UGA commitments can be seen as some sort of “talking” on the recruiting trail.

Want a speed read over the last week? Here are a few of the bigger stories of late on the recruiting trail:

Check out the latest “Before the Hedges” on UGA recruiting

Did you see “Before the Hedges” this week? Brandon Adams hosts a weekly UGA recruiting show called Before the Hedges at 3 p.m. every Wednesday on the DawgNation Facebook page.

It also streams each Wednesday on the DawgNation YouTube channel.

Where UGA recruiting ranks for 2020

Georgia has 14 commitments for 2020. Corey Wren, the nation’s No. 35 ATH for this cycle, was the most recent pledge back on June 21.

Rosemy, the nation’s No. 39 overall prospect, was just a day prior to that on June 20. 

UGA sits at No. 4 nationally for 2019 in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings. That places the Bulldogs third in the SEC.

Alabama and its 20 pledges rank No. 1 in the SEC. Clemson sits at No. 1 nationally, followed by Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, Michigan and Texas A&M. 

Georgia is the only school in the top 4 that does not have at least 18 commits. The top five teams in those rankings have 18, 20, 21, 14 and 14 respectively.

How far away are the Bulldogs from taking over that No. 1 spot? It would take quite a lot.

The current gap here shows how well programs like Clemson and Alabama have been recruiting and what a difference those four commitments they have on the Bulldogs count for at this time.

If Smart and company could add a quartet of its highest priority 5-star recruits to the board right now, it would just be enough. That would give the Bulldogs a 298.56 score on the 247Sports Team Composite ratings. Clemson would still be just behind with a 297.92 score.

Yes, that’s correct. Georgia would see its total of 5-star pledges rise to six for this cycle and it would just barely be enough to overtake Clemson at this time.

The current UGA recruiting commits for 2020

(presented in order of their 247Sports Composite ratings)

Mekhail Sherman/5-star OLB/St. John’s College/Washington, D.C.: Speedy hybrid LB has the tenacity to play inside but the wheels and length to also work out on the edge with his 4.5 speed. The nation’s No. 2 OLB recruit chose UGA in May. Rates as the nation’s No. 10 overall prospect. Check out the essential DawgNation read on Sherman. 

Mekhail Sherman is the top-rated commitment in the Georgia class at this time. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Broderick Jones/5-star OT/Lithonia/Lithonia, Ga:./Rates as the nation’s No. 2 OT prospect and as the nation’s No. 19 overall recruit on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He can enroll early at UGA and play quickly at tackle. Check out the latest from DawgNation on Jones. 

Tate Ratledge/4-star OT/Darlington School/Rome, Ga.: Physical athlete is listed as the nation’s No. 5 OT recruit for 2020. That places him at No. 38 overall in the class. He should do well at the Opening next week and move up to 5-star status. Still hard to believe the near 6-foot-7 bruiser also punts for his high school team. Check out his commitment day overview story. 

Marcus Rosemy/4-star WR/St. Thomas Aquinas/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: The nation’s No. 6 WR is also on the cusp of 5-star status this weekend out at The Opening. Rosemy rates as the nation’s No. 39 overall prospect for this cycle. Great size (6-2 and 190) and is also a polished route runner.

Jalen Carter/4-star DT/Apopka HS/Apopka, Fla.: Impressive size athlete who has put together a ton of highlight dunks on the basketball court. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound prospect rates as the No.7 DT for this cycle on the 247Sports Composite. The pure 247Sports rating even pegs him as the nation’s No. 2 DT.

Jalen Kimber/4-star CB/Mansfield Timberview/Arlington, Tex.: Kimber is shooting up the prospects ranks. Now all the way up to the nation’s No. 6 CB for 2020. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Texas resident has true 4.4 speed in the 40. Kimber is a driven young man motivated to honor his grandmother’s memory. 

Carson Beck/4-star QB/Mandarin HS/Jacksonville, Fla./The nation’s No. 4 pro-style QB also checks in at No. 94 overall. Beck wields a strong and accurate arm and good size at 6 feet, 4 inches. The scouting comparisons for Beck are pretty much off the charts for his position. 

Nazir Stackhouse/4-star DT/Columbia HS/Decatur, Ga.: Nation’s No. 23 DT prospect also checks in at No. 271 overall. Stackhouse will also be at the Opening finals next week in Texas. He was the first pledge for the 2020 class back in December of 2017. He chose UGA on the day the Bulldogs toppled Auburn for the program’s first SEC title since 2005.

Joshua Bruan chose UGA over Florida and South Carolina earlier this month. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Joshua Braun/4-star OT/Suwanee High School/Live Oak, Fla.: This 6-foot-6, 350-pound mauler is as versatile as it gets for his position. Expect him to play guard and tackle in Athens. He doesn’t do camps but still rates as the nation’s No. 25 OT and No. 282 overall prospect. This young man has a 33 on his ACT, a 4.0 GPA and is on the No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles slots for his varsity tennis team.

Jamil Burroughs/4-star DT/McEachern HS/Powder Springs, Ga.: Burroughs has seen his ratings dip over the first half of 2019, but he will still be at the Opening finals in Texas next week. He clearly has great feet for his size. Still rates as the nation’s No. 29 DT and No. 325 overall prospect. He was at one time rated as a top 5 DT for this class.

Warren Brinson/4-star DT/IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.: Brinson de-committed and re-committed back to the UGA class in June. He did so a day after naming Florida and Georgia as his top two schools. The Savannah native rates as the nation’s No. 30 DT and the No. 330 overall prospect for 2020.

Justin Robinson/4-star WR/Eagles Landing Christian Academy/Stockbridge, Ga./Nation’s No. 63 WR despite having just played one season of varsity football up to this point. Big upside for this young man.

Corey Wren/3-star ATH/John Curtis/New Orleans, La.: The nation’s No. 35 ATH is explosive in the open field and it is all because of his rare speed. He’s been timed this spring at 10.41 seconds in the 100 meters. He chose the Bulldogs over Arizona State largely because of his relationship with receivers coach Cortez Hankton and his desire to play around a roster flush with NFL talent.

Jared Zirkel/2-star/Tivy High/Kerrville, Tex: The 2-star kicker now rates as the nation’s No. 6 prospect at his position on the 247Sports Composite. The recruiting services which only rate kickers offer up a more comprehensive view here. Zirkel already has an NFL-caliber leg on kickoffs. He was only used for long tries last year as a junior, but he was able to drill a 59-yard boot.

The 2021 crop for UGA recruiting

This space will curiously seem rather sparse. That’s because this is the first cycle of the Kirby Smart era in Athens where the Bulldogs are not working at least one year away with at least one “anchor” recruit for the class or classes ahead of the current cycle.

There are currently no public commitments to UGA in the 2021 class.

The 2020 UGA recruiting class timeline

  • Dec. 2, 2017: 4-star DT Nazir Stackhouse (Stephenson/Stone Mountain, Ga.) commits. (Class count:1)
  • April 26, 2018: 5-star OT Broderick Jones (Lithonia/Lithonia, Ga.) commits. (2)
  • August 25, 2018: 4-star DT Jamil Burroughs (McEachern/Powder Springs, Ga.) commits. (3)
  • November 24, 2018: Unrated DT Warren Brinson (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) commits. (4)
  • January 29, 2019: Brinson de-commits from UGA (3)
  • March 2, 2019: 4-star WR Justin Robinson (Eagles Landing Christian Academy/Stockbridge, Ga.) commits. (4)
  • March 3, 2019: 4-star QB Carson Beck (Mandarin/Jacksonville, Fla.) commits. (5)
  • April 17, 2019: 4-star CB Jalen Kimber (Mansfield Timberview/Arlington, Tex. commits. (6)
  • April 20, 2019: 4-star OG Akinola Ogunbiyi (Kempner/Sugar Land, Tex.) commits. (7)
  • May 9, 2019: 5-star OLB Mekhail Sherman (St. Johns College/Washington, D.C) commits (8)
  • May 13, 2019: 4-star OT Tate Ratledge (Darlington/Rome, Ga.) commits. (9)
  • May 20, 2019: 4-star DT Jalen Carter (Apopka/Apopka, Fla.) commits. (10)
  • June 1, 2019: 4-star DT Warren Brinson recommits to UGA. (11)
  • June 10, 2019: 4-star OT Joshua Braun commits. (12)
  • June 13, 2019: 2-star PK Jared Zirkel (Tivy/Kerrville, Tex.) commits. (13)
  • June 20, 2019: 4-star WR Marcus Rosemy (St. Thomas Aquinas/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) commits. (14)
  • June 21, 2019: 3-star ATH Corey Wren (John Curtis/New Orleans, La.) commits. (15)
  • June 23, 2019: 4-star OL Akinola Ogunbiyi flips to Texas A&M. (14)

The big 2020 targets for UGA recruiting

There is still a realistic scenario where the Bulldogs wind up signing up to five more recruits with a 5-star rating for 2020. That’s for those who judge classes by the number of elite players at the very top of the board.

Let’s look at a roll call of several names for the class as it sets up right now. The big thing to comprehend here is that these are not the highest-rated targets with offers but more like a trickle of names with mutual interest who would fill major needs for the 2020 class.

8 BIG 2020 recruiting targets

  • Kelee Ringo/5-star CB/Saguaro High/Scottsdale, Arizona: The nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect now has UGA in his final five schools. Ringo and his 10.49 speed in the 100 meters will certainly belong in the discussion of the nation’s best overall football players. Not just as a recruit. But he does rate as the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect in that right, too.
  • Jordan Burch/5-star DE/Hammond School/Columbia, SC: Burch has seen his stock soar to the slot as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2020. He is essentially down to a Georgia and South Carolina choice, but Clemson is also in the mix here. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder is athletic enough to play all over the field, but he’s an elite interior line prospect.
  • Kendall Milton/5-star RB/Buchannan High/Clovis, California: The Bulldogs need a pair of elite RBs in the 2020 class and can certainly recruit that position on a national level. Milton has a longtime high interest in UGA and has taken two trips to check out UGA since April 17. The Bulldogs are among his final four schools. A decision is expected sometime over the next month.
  • Arik Gilbert/5-star ATH/Marietta High/Marietta, Georgia: Gilbert has been recruited HARD by the Bulldogs since he was coming out of middle school. 6-foot-5 and 250-plus. He’s the nation’s No. 2 ATH for 2020. Look for him to take his recruiting into the regular season now. He wants to see how his top schools use their tight ends under new play callers and coordinators.
  • Darnell Washington/5-star ATH/Desert Pines/Las Vegas, Nevada: Washington has recently earned the nod as the nation’s No. 1 ATH behind Gilbert. Projects as a lethal potential TE pairing for Todd Hartley with Gilbert. He plans to take an official visit to UGA for the Notre Dame game.
  • Noah Sewell/4-star ATH/Orem/Orem, Utah: Sewell will be an ILB in college but he’s an athlete that the Bulldogs probably don’t have in the program at this time. He’s right at 260 pounds but carries that weight with ease. When he camps against elite competition, he’s even working with the running backs and is quite fluid. His stock has soared over the last few months. Sewell’s process abounds with intrigue. He could very well be the only ILB in this class.
  • Andrew Raym/4-star OG/Broken Arrow High/Broken Arrow, Okla.: The nation’s No. 3 OG prospect is down to Georgia, Michigan and the in-state Sooners. Look for the decision from the nation’s No 90 overall prospect to come in the middle of July.
  • Sedrick Van Pran/4-star C/Warren Easton/New Orleans, Lou.: Van Pran rates as the nation’s No. 3 center for 2020. He can play either center or guard. This decision is essentially down to Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The Bulldogs were the first SEC school to offer Van Pran. There is strong mutual interest here from both parties.

The big misses so far for 2020: 5-star DT Bryan Bresee (Clemson); 5-star OT Myles Hinton (Stanford); 5-star WR Rakim Jarrett (LSU); 5-star DE Myles Murphy (Clemson)

UGA recruiting by position in 2020

Which positions are the major priorities for 2019? The running back and tight end spots are clearly two of the biggest left for this class.

Here’s a quick snapshot as to how DawgNation expects the position-by-position breakdown to go down the stretch:

  • QB: Beck (1/1)
  • RB: None (0/2)
  • TE: None (0/2)
  • WR: Robinson, Rosemy and Wren (3/3)
  • OL: Braun, Jones and Ratledge (3/5)
  • DE: None (0/1)
  • DT: Brinson, Carter, Burroughs, Stackhouse (4/4)
  • ILB: None (0/1)
  • OLB: Sherman (1/1)
  • CB: Kimber (1/2)
  • S: None (0/1)
  • K: Zirkel (1/1)
  • Totals: 14/24

That projected class slants to the offensive side of the ball. Bear in mind the Bulldogs signed two more defensive players in its 2019 class than they did for James Coley’s unit a year ago.

We also expect some of the normal attrition with the current commits as the Bulldogs find themselves a major option for higher-rated players than some members of the class.

Here’s a glance at what DawgNation sees as the positional priorities for the class:

  • RB (2 slots in the class)
  • TE (2 slots in the class)
  • DB (2 more slots in the class)
  • OL (2 more slots in the class)
  • DL: (At least two more slots in the class)

2020 UGA recruiting offers by the numbers

(as published by 247Sports)

  • Reported offers: 244 (only u some 20 offers over the last two months)
  • Florida recruits offered: 60 (+5)
  • Texas recruits offered: 35 (+3)
  • In-state recruits offered: 31 (+1)
  • California recruits offered: 15
  • Alabama recruits offered: 11 (+1)
  • Tennessee recruits offered: 10
  • Louisiana recruits offered: 9 (+3)
  • North Carolina recruits offered: 8
  • Receivers offered: 49 (+4)
  • Defensive tackles offered: 24 (+5)
  • Running backs offered: 20
  • Tackles offered: 19
  • Cornerbacks offered: 18 (+6)
  • Quarterbacks offered: 18
  • Athletes offered: 14
  • Safeties offered: 13 (+5)
  • Tight ends offered: 8 (+1)
  • Inside linebackers offered: 7 (+1)
  • Centers offered: 3 (+1)

Geographical UGA recruiting breakdown

The current UGA commits broken down by state:

  • Florida: 5 (Braun, Beck, Brinson, Carter and Rosemy)
  • Georgia: 5 (Burroughs, Jones, Ratledge, Robinson and Stackhouse)
  • Texas: 2 (Kimber, Zirkel)
  • Washington, D.C: 1 (Sherman)
  • Louisiana: 1 (Wren)

The back to normal UGA recruiting note 

Check out the recruiting ratings on the 247Sports Team Composite ratings right now.

  • Georgia: No. 4 overall
  • Georgia Tech: No. 20 overall

There was a time about two months when the Yellow Jackets were right there with the Bulldogs for this cycle. That’s a nod to the strong recruiting efforts for first-year coach Geoff Collins and his staff.

Needless to say, the market has corrected itself in regard to this sample size over time. Tech has just one 4-star commitment and 16 more pledges that currently hold a 3-star rating.

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