Georgia finished first in the recruiting rankings in the 2018 class. Expect the Bulldogs to be at the top in 2019, too. DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or the DawgNation Message board forum. Previous QODs can be found on our question of the day archives page.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
DawgNation message board user “TheOneKnownasBrian” writes: What is the typical target number of scholarships do coaches aim for at each position? Each team has 85 scholarships available. Out of those, how many would you want at each position? I’d guess 3-4 QBs, apparently, 5 seems to be the magic number at running back . . . But how many O-linemen, safeties, inside linebackers, etc.?
Great subject. I’ll begin this trek with a disclaimer. I don’t sit in on the coaches meetings at UGA and am not privy to the best practices for roster allocations. But I’ve picked up a few morsels of knowledge on the beat based on what the coaches have told prospective recruits at each position.
A lot can be ascertained from that, as well as just paying attention to what Kirby Smart says in news conferences.
The effort to provide a detailed answer here is based on a few fundamental points:
- Since this is a UGA recruiting blog, we will focus on what best fits that program and the offensive and defensive schemes that show up the most on Saturdays.
- Georgia, a run-first physical team, will seek more running backs and tight ends than a spread team that slings the ball around to five receivers 30-40 times per game.
- The Bulldogs are spread too thin at quarterback. They are top-heavy with two elite future NFL talents, but that is it on the scholarship front. There is also less-than-ideal class separation.
- Some positions, such as long snapper, holder and fullback, are no longer scholarship spots.
- Georgia will stock its roster with more of a 55/45 percentage split that favors the defense. That makes sense given Smart’s background, but also ensures that the special teams are flush with rangy linebackers and defensive backs who can run and cover and tackle.
- Georgia has a unique plan with its specialists. The Bulldogs have juniors at punter and kicker, plus an incoming freshman who could man either spot in a pinch.
- The defensive end spot will always look thin at Georgia. The Bulldogs traditionally employ their outside linebackers in the Jack position in their base schemes. They will typically always have more outside linebacker than defensive end position fits on the roster in their base 3-4 front.
For Georgia, my best answer about an ideal scholarship spread calls for this:
- QB: 3 (Currently at 2)
- RB: 5 (Currently at 5)
- C: 2 (Currently at 2)
- OG: 7 (Currently at 7)
- OT: 6 (Currently at 5)
- TE: 5 (Currently at 5)
- WR: 10 (Currently at 12)
Ideal offensive allocation: 38 (Currently at 38)
- DT: 8 (Currently at 9)
- DE: 4 (Currently at 4)
- OLB: 7 (Currently at 8)
- ILB: 8 (Currently at 7)
- CB: 9 (Currently at 9)
- S: 9 (Currently at 8)
Ideal defensive allocation: 45 (Currently at 45)
- P: 1 (Currently at 2)
- PK: 1 (Currently at 1)
Ideal specialist allocation: 2 (Currently at 3)
NCAA member schools are compliant when they have 85 student-athletes enrolled on scholarship at one time for football. Depending on various accounts, the Chris Barnes news and his intention to transfer now places the Bulldogs at either 85 or 86 scholarships.
Georgia only needs to be compliant with that 85-man figure when all of its 2018 signees enroll in late May. The Bulldogs have managed to acquire several adaptable players who can slide over and cross-train at multiple positions. That sort of roster flexibility is vital these days.
Incoming freshman Jake Camarda can punt and kick at an SEC level. Several of Georgia’s defensive backs can play corner, man the Star position or line up at safety. Georgia has also stacked up 3-4 players who can line up at center or guard. Kendall Baker was also getting work at guard and tackle in spring practice. He can be used in the same vein as Dyshon Sims was last season.
The Bulldogs have seen three former scholarship players announce their intention to leave the program over the last 10 days. There are others who still need to be sorted out. For instance, what becomes of senior wide receiver Michael Chigbu? Will prized defensive back recruit Deangelo Gibbs re-enroll for the May semester or the summer semester?
BONUS: What does the current UGA roster makeup look like? I’ll share this with you from my files.
- Seniors: 16
- Juniors: 19
- Sophomores: 18*
- Freshmen (includes redshirts): 34*
* Could hinge on a potential redshirt ruling for freshman/sophomore ILB Jaden Hunter. He only played in the first game last season.
- QB (2): Sophomore Jake Fromm; Freshman Justin Fields.
- RB (5): Junior Brian Herrien; Junior Elijah Holyfield; Sophomore D’Andre Swift; Freshman James Cook; Freshman Zamir White.
- C (2): Senior Lamont Galliard; Freshman Warren Ericson.
- G: (7): Senior Kendall Baker; Sophomore Ben Cleveland; Sophomore Solomon Kindley; Sophomore Justin Shaffer; Redshirt freshman Netori Johnson; Freshman Trey Hill, Freshman Jamaree Salyer.
- T: (5): Junior D’Marcus Hayes; Sophomore Andrew Thomas; Redshirt freshman Isaiah Wilson; Freshman Owen Condon; Freshman Cade Mays.
- TE (5): Senior Jackson Harris; Junior Isaac Nauta; Junior Charlie Woerner; Freshman John FitzPatrick; Freshman Luke Ford.
- WR (12): Senior Michael Chigbu; Senior Ahkil Crumpton; Senior Terry Godwin; Senior Jayson Stanley; Junior Mecole Hardman Jr.; Junior Riley Ridley; Junior Tyler Simmons; Sophomore Trey Blount; Sophomore J.J. Holloman; Redshirt freshman Matt Landers; Freshman Tommy Bush Jr.; Freshman Kearis Jackson.
Offensive scholarship allocation: 38
- DT (9): Senior DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle; Senior Jay Hayes; Junior Michael Barrett; Junior Michail Carter; Junior Tyler Clark; Junior Julian Rochester; Sophomore Devonte Wyatt; Freshman Jordan Davis; Freshman Tramel Walthour.
- DE (4): Senior Jonathan Ledbetter; Junior David Marshall; Junior Justin Young; Sophomore Malik Herring.
- ILB (8): Senior Natrez Patrick; Senior Juwan Taylor; Junior Tae Crowder; Sophomore Nate McBride; Sophomore Monty Rice; Sophomore Jaden Hunter*; Freshman Channing Tindall; Freshman Quay Walker.
- OLB (7): Senior Keyon Rutledge; Senior D’Andre Walker; Sophomore Walter Grant; Redshirt freshman Robert Beal; Freshman Adam Anderson; Freshman Brenton Cox; Freshman Azeez Ojulari.
- CB (9): Senior DeAndre Baker; Junior Tyrique McGhee; Sophomore Ameer Speed; Sophomore Mark Webb Jr.; Redshirt freshman Eric Stokes; Freshman Tyson Campbell; Freshman Nadab Joseph; Freshman Christopher Smith II; Freshman Divaad Wilson.
- S (8): Senior Jarvis Wilson; Junior J.R. Reed; Sophomore Deangelo Gibbs; Sophomore Richard LeCounte III; Sophomore William Poole III; Redshirt freshman Tray Bishop; Redshirt freshman Latavious Brini; Freshman Otis Reese.
* Could hinge on a potential redshirt ruling. Hunter only played in the first game last season.
Defensive scholarship allocation: 45
- P (2): Junior Marshall Long; Freshman Jake Camarda
- K (1): Junior Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship
Specialist scholarship allocation: 3