We all know something about wish lists by now, right?
We’ve got a doozy for you: Which uncommitted recruits are at the top of UGA’s wish list for 2016? We’ll add a dash of logic and not simply name the top-rated uncommitted recruits with a UGA offer at every position.
This list is a realistic best-case top 5 for UGA. We’re not talking about a few top-tier guys where the odds of landing them are a third-and-35 with the backup QB in the game. If Kirby Smart and his new staff can sign at least three or four of these prospects, then that’s a huge haul considering the turnover and transition. Add in 5-star QB Jacob Eason and there’s the chance that UGA could even sign a quartet of 5-star prospects in this class.
If they land all five? Well, that’s really going to ratchet up the expectations at UGA for 2017 and 2018.
UGA’s 5 most wanted
1a. Derrick Brown, 5-star DL
- Specs: 6-4, 315 pounds, (Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, Ga.)
- The one-sentence-why: He’s the top-rated player in Georgia, plays a premium position and had monstrous high school production.
- Teams to beat: Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee
- SEC potential: We’re talking Sunday potential given his size, strength and work ethic. He flashed a variety of skills including lining up as a “Wildcat” quarterback, catching a touchdown pass, clearing out would-be tacklers at fullback and snatching a Pick-6 on defense this season. That’s beside all the tackles-for-losses and sacks from his defensive line position.
1b. Mecole Hardman, Jr., 5-star ATH
- Specs: 5-10, 175 pounds, (Elbert County High School, Elberton, Ga.)
- The one-sentence-why: He will be one of the fastest players in college football the instant he signs his letter-of-intent.
- Teams to beat: Alabama, Michigan and Tennessee
- SEC potential: This young man is vital. Why? Because he can be an impact player at CB or WR for Kirby Smart. He’s also a very popular and well-respected national recruit in the Class of 2016. His intangibles — such as character and an insane competitive streak — are off the charts. It looks like UGA will have to hold off Jeremy Pruitt and Alabama to keep him in-state.
3. Isaac Nauta, 5-star TE
- Specs: 6-4, 237 pounds, (IMG Academy, Dacula, Ga.)
- The-one-sentence-why: Can beat 4 and 5-star defensive backs in coverage. Will also be a willing blocker when putting his hand in the run game.
- SEC potential: This guy also looks like a future first-round NFL draft pick as a rare 5-star prospect at tight end. He also checks off every intangible for a future team captain. He’ll make his decision on Jan.9 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. UGA appears to be in good shape, but Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have made it interesting.
4. Ben Davis, 5-star ILB
- Specs: 6-3, 240 pounds, (Gordo High School, Gordo, Ala.)
- The one-sentence-why: Davis is the nation’s top-rated prospect at his position and currently has UGA as his leader despite his Crimson Tide bloodline.
- SEC potential: If he signs with UGA, look for him to be placed all over the field to make plays like Rolando McClain was at Alabama. A few Alabama high school coaches told DawgNation he was the best prospect they have seen at that position. Davis recently trashed the rim in a high school basketball game. That’s pretty good hops for an inside linebacker. Davis recently said UGA was his leader, but expect a strong pull for him to stay in-state because his father is the all-time leading tackler in Alabama football history.
5. Demetris Robertson, 5-star ATH
- Specs: 6-1, 175 pounds, (Savannah Christian, Savannah, Ga.)
- The one-sentence-why: Robertson was one of the first recruits that Smart targeted to call with a phone call after he got the job.
- SEC potential: UGA needs more impact guys at receiver to pair with 5-star passer Jacob Eason. Robertson has great speed and playmaking ability. He could also line up at defensive back for UGA depending on the scheme fit. He will also be an asset in the return game. Sure, this is a collection of five stars but UGA really needs more firepower at receiver.
Honorable Mention: 4-star OL Willie Allen; 4-star DE/OLB Brian Burns; 4-star DL Michail Carter; 4-star OL E.J. Price; 4-star WR Tre’ Nixon; 4-star DB Nigel Warrior; 5-star OLB Lyndell “Mack” Wilson
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.