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5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. chose UGA last week. That was the latest in a staggering run of 5-star prospects.

Smael Mondon Jr. adds to staggering number of 5-stars who chose to play for Kirby Smart

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry puts a focus on the staggering amount of 5-star recruits who have made the decision to commit to playing for Georgia for Kirby Smart. 

Smael Mondon Jr. chose Georgia last week. 

He chose to be the third prospect with a 5-star ranking to join the 2021 class for Georgia, but there’s a story here that goes dozens and dozens of layers deeper than that.

Like 41 guys deeper.

Mondon, upon a great degree of further review, was the 42nd prospect with a 5-star ranking from one of the major recruiting services to choose Georgia since Kirby Smart became head coach in December of 2015.

When looking for all of those for the last few days, we had rankings from 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals.com and the no longer active Scout.com to track. Those who qualified for the list had to be a 5-star either on any of those services or the 247Sports Composite at the time of their decision or their final high school ranking when they transferred to UGA.

What’s the significance of that? Well, we’ve got three quick ways to look at that.

  • Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee have managed to beat Georgia during Smart’s tenure as head coach. Those six programs have combined to sign a combined total of 19 prospects with that coveted 5-star ranking as recognized by the final 247Sports Composite rankings during Smart’s run in Athens.
  • Georgia also signed a grand total of 22 prospects with that sterling 247Sports Composite 5-star recruiting ranking during that same stretch. That number moves to 25 when counting the three current 5-star commitments for the 2021 cycle. That’s 25 of the most highly-sought players in American during that six-year run of signing classes under Smart in Athens.
  • The previous coaching staff at UGA also signed a grand tally of 27 recruits with that 247Sports Composite 5-stars across the 15 recruiting classes from 2001-2015. 

DawgNation immediately pegged that number at 38 guys prior to Mondon’s decision but further digging revealed that former signees like Robert Beal Jr. and Deangelo Gibbs were also rated by at least one service as 5-star recruits when they signed with Georgia, among others.

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it. 

Smael Mondon Jr. was just the latest. That number could soar up to 44 or 45 in this cycle, too.

What does the complete listing of all those guys look like? Want to make sure we didn’t forget anybody? Check it out below.

Smael Mondon-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Smael Mondon Jr. provided a memorable recruiting day moment when he reached for the LSU hat but had the Georgia hat underneath last week at his commitment ceremony. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The List: 5-star commits to UGA

(since Kirby Smart took over as coach in December of 2015)

That is a lot of 5-stars. How did we add up to that total? In order to canvas the maximum amount of stars for this project, we included a  few stipulations. They are as follows. …..

  • The list tracks any public decision to play for Georgia

 

  • The following charting will also include signees who never committed anywhere prior to this decision

 

  • It will include 5-star portal transfers or future decommitments

 

  • It will include a player who was rated by any of the national services (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN, Scout) as a 5-star recruit at the time they chose UGA

 

  • *Indicates a player rated as a 5-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite

2016 class (5)

(Ranked as nation’s No. 6 recruiting class)

  1. *5-star QB Jacob Eason (SIGNEE)Committed to Mark Richt but signed with Smart’s Georgia. Later transferred to Washington. 

  2. *5-star WR Demetris Robertson (TRANSFER)Chose Cal but transferred to Georgia. Formerly rated as the nation’s No. 1 WR. Had a good game last Saturday against Mississippi State. 

  3. *5-star TE Isaac Nauta (SIGNEE) Committed at U.S. Army All-American Bowl and signed with UGA. Now in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. 

  4. *5-star ATH Mecole Hardman (SIGNEE)Committed to UGA on the February National Signing Day. Drafted in the second round and No. 56 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. 

  5. 5-star OT Ben Cleveland (SIGNEE)Rated by 247Sports as a 5-star recruit. Still starting at right guard for UGA in 2020. 

2017 class (6)

(Ranked as nation’s No. 3 recruiting class)

6. *5-star OT Isaiah Wilson (SIGNEE) Committed to UGA during an unforgettable Christmas pageant. Was selected in the first round by the Tennessee Titans in the 2020 NFL Draft.  

7. *5-star S Richard LeCounte III (SIGNEE) Was the first 5-star commit to publicly choose Smart’s Georgia. Still a very valuable senior bouncing back from injury on this year’s team. 

8. *5-star RB D’Andre Swift (SIGNEE) – Chose UGA with one of the best commitment videos of all time at the start of his senior season. Was also picked in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. 

9. 5-star QB Jake Fromm (SIGNEE) Flipped from Alabama soon after Smart’s hiring. Was rated as a 5-star by Rivals.com. Scout.com also pegged him as a 5-star prospect when it was still a prominent recruiting rankings service at that time. Was selected in the fifth round by the Buffalo Bills in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

10. 5-star S Deangelo Gibbs (SIGNEE)This correspondent forgot Gibbs was an outlier 5-star on his first pass through this research. The former Grayson star transferred to Tennessee and opted out for this season. ESPN rated him as a 5-star and the nation’s No. 10 recruit in the 2017 class.

11. 5-star DE/OLB Robert Beal, Jr. (SIGNEE) Beal is another Bulldog who had a very lofty ranking from ESPN coming out of high school. The reserve OLB was ranked ahead of notables like Swift, Fromm, Andrew Thomas and former Ohio State All-American Chase Young at No. 15 overall. He is still on the 2020 Georgia roster and saw time in the most recent UGA game. 

2018 class (11) 

(Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class)

12. *5-star QB Justin Fields (SIGNEE) — Chose UGA in October of his senior season. The former Penn State commit would later transfer to Ohio State. He’s a bonafide Heisman Trophy contender this fall. 

13. *5-star QB JT Daniels (TRANSFER) — Chose USC and reclassified from 2019 to 2018 class. Wound up as the nation’s No. 3 QB and No. 16 overall recruit. Started last week against Mississippi State and played brilliantly in a 31-24 victory. 

14. *5-star RB Zamir White (SIGNEE) — Transcendent RB prospect was the nation’s No. 1 RB for 2018. Committed in late June before his senior season. Has bounced back nicely from those back-to-back knee surgeries. He’s the leading rusher for the Bulldogs this season. 

15. *5-star OG Jamaree Salyer (SIGNEE) — Nation’s No. 1 OG for 2018 has started every game this fall for UGA at left tackle. A highly versatile offensive lineman with a bright future in the NFL. 

16. *5-star CB Tyson Cambell (SIGNEE) — The 5-star CB prospect in the 2018 class has stared 21 games for Georgia over the last three seasons, including all seven UGA contests this season. 

17. *5-star LB Adam Anderson (SIGNEE) — The nation’s No. 1 OLB prospect for 2018 has played a lot over his three-year UGA career and is currently third on the team with his 15 QB pressures. 

18. *5-star OT Cade Mays (SIGNEE) — Former 5-star OT prospect. Started 18 games for Georgia in 2018 and 2019 before transferring to play for his father’s alma mater after the departure of offensive line coach Sam Pittman. 

19. *5-star DE Brenton Cox (SIGNEE) — Cox was rated by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 60 overall prospect. But the 247Sports Composite placed him as the nation’s No. 2 SDE and the No. 23 overall recruit. He transferred to Florida prior to the 2019 season. 

20. 5-star ILB Channing Tindall (SIGNEE)The South Carolina native was rated No. 23 overall by 247Sports in this class. That was ahead of other lumunaries like Anderson, Cox, Mays and the next guy on this list. He was No. 103 overall on the 247Sports Composite scale. 

21. 5-star OLB Quay Walker (SIGNEE)The Crisp County product was not a consensus 5-star on the composite, but did wind up as the nation’s No. 31 overall recruit with a 5-star rating from 247Sports. He was oddly still No. 31 overall on the 247Sports Composite, but not a 5 star on the composite.  

22. 5-star RB James Cook (SIGNEE)Was rated as a 5-star and the nation’s No. 1 APB for 2018 by Rivals.com. Wound up No. 41 overall on the 247Sports Composite. 

2019 (10)

(Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class)

23. *5-star OLB Nolan Smith (SIGNEE) Smith, a Georgia native, rated as the nation’s No. 1 WDE and the No. 1 overall recruit for 2019. 

24. *5-star WR Jadon Haselwood (DECOMMITMENT) — The nation’s No. 1 WR for this cycle eventually chose Oklahoma but was committed to UGA for a long time. 

25. *5-star RB John Emery Jr. (DECOMMITMENT) — The nation’s No. 2 RB eventually chose to stay home in Lousiana to play for LSU, but was committed to UGA for about four months.

26. *5-star ILB Nakobe Dean (SIGNEE) — The team’s leading tackler this fall has been a force starting every game at ILB this season. He’s piled up double-digits tackles in each of his last three games. 

27. *5-star DT Travon Walker (SIGNEE) — The Upson-Lee High School product rated as the nation’s No. 3 DT and No. 22 overall recruit for 2019. 

28. *5-star WR George Pickens (SIGNEE)The nation’s No. 4 WR and No. 24 overall prospect has certainly flashed 5-star talent so far in his time at UGA. 

29. *5-star OC Clay Webb (SIGNEE) — The Alabama native was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 center prospect and the No. 26 overall prospect for this cycle. He’s worked at guard so far in Athens.

30. 5-star WR Dominick Blaylock (SIGNEE)Was rated as a 5-star receiver when he chose Georgia and for the next two years until the final rankings for 2019.

31. 5-star CB Tyrique Stevenson (SIGNEE)Was rated as the nation’s No. 2 CB prospect and No. 20 overall recruit for 247Sports in this class.

2020 (8)

(Rated as the nation’s No. 1 signing class)

32. *5-star CB Kelee Ringo (SIGNEE) — The nation’s No. 4 overall prospect is out for the 2020 season after surgery to repair his labrum. It had bothered him throughout his final high school season.

33. *5-star OT Broderick Jones (SIGNEE) — The Lithonia native was the nation’s No. 2 overall OT prospect and rated No. 11 nationally. He’s played in one game so far this year.

34. *5-star RB Zach Evans (RELEASED FROM LOI) — Evans is a loooong story, but he did sign with UGA during the early period. Georgia released him from that LOI and he’s now at TCU.

35. *5-star DT Jalen Carter (SIGNEE) — The nation’s No. 4 DT and No. 18 overall recruit was expected to play in every game so far and get early choice reps. Nobody expected him to catch a touchdown as a freshman fullback on goal line. 

36. *5-star ATH Darnell Washington (SIGNEE) — Washington is another one of a handful of true freshmen to play in every game this season. The future is very bright for the former No. 23 overall recruit.

37.  5-star OLB Mekhail Sherman (SIGNEE) — When he chose the Bulldogs in May of 2019, he was ranked as the nation’s No. 11 prospect on the 247Sports Composite rankings. He wound up as the nation’s No. 33 recruit and the highest-rated 4-star prospect for 2020.

38. 5-star OT Tate Ratledge (SIGNEE) — Ratledge was not a composite 5-star at No. 37 overall, but Rivals.com slotted him as the nation’s No. 2 OT and No. 12 overall prospect for 2020.

39. 5-star RB Kendall Milton (SIGNEE) — Milton was a composite 5-star when he committed to UGA in late July of 2019, but fell to No. 54 overall in the final evals. Rivals.com kept him as a 5-star as the nation’s No. 3 RB and No. 29 overall prospect for 2020.

2021 class (3)

(Currently ranks as the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class)

40. *5-star OT Amarius Mims (COMMIT): Currently slots as the nation’s No. 2 OT and the No. 6 overall player for 2021. 

41. *5-star QB Brock Vandagriff (COMMIT): The future under center in Athens rates as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style QB and No. 13 overall. 

42. *5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. (COMMIT): He’ll be an ILB in Athens, but currently rates as the nation’s No. 1 OLB and No. 25 overall recruit. 

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

 

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