UGA recruiting: Present, future look extremely bright for Bulldogs
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Tuesday calls for a status check on where the Bulldogs stand after the early signing period as they prepare for the next open period on Jan. 11.
Georgia is alive in the College Football Playoff as it preps to face Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. The SEC title and a berth in one the national semifinals are proof that the program’s present is quite, ahem, rosy.
But so is the future. The Bulldogs have gotten help from their recruiting classes of recent years ― Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift, Andrew Thomas, Mecole Hardman Jr., Javon Wims and more ― to boost the roster to the stock of a championship contender. Plus, the Bulldogs have the nation’s No. 1 recruiting classes in both 2018 and 2019.
Here are a few things to consider:
- The Bulldogs lost a commitment on Christmas Day in 3-star S Aaron Brule‘ but still hold a 10-point edge on Ohio State for the nation’s No. 1 class for 2018. That decision was not a shocker; that commitment had begun to waver during the last few weeks.
- UGA has signed up a sextet of 5-star prospects for 2018. The rest of the SEC combined signed two 5-stars: one to Alabama, the other to LSU.
The rest of college football has 16 recruits for 2018 with a 5-star ranking. Clemson (4), Penn State (3), Ohio State (2) and USC (2) are the only programs with more than one of those elite signees.
- The Bulldogs have 20 signees for 2018. That means there are no more than four or five scholarship slots left in 2018. A glance to that list shows just two 3-star prospects ― offensive tackle Owen Condon and kicker Jake Camarda ― who have signed. The Bulldogs still have three unsigned 3-star pledges for 2018: defensive tackles Jordan Davis and Tramel Walthour and safety Rachad Wildgoose Jr. I’m not expecting all three of those commits to sign with the 2018 class.
- The dead period lifts Jan. 11. When it does, that means Georgia will have retooled its staff to add a 10th on-field coach. The Bulldogs will replace departed outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, too. That full staff will have to chase only a handful of players for those remaining scholarships.
- You should know those names by now. The targets list starts with a pair of 5-star cornerbacks in Tyson Campbell and Isaac Taylor-Stuart. Those two are followed by 4-star wide receiver Tommy Bush Jr., 4-star S Leon O’Neal Jr., 4-star linebacker Otis Reese, 4-star DT Rick Sandidge, 4-star DT Michael Thompson and 4-star OLB Quay Walker. The only 3-star prospects I can see UGA continuing to recruit are its commits.
- Georgia’s impressive list of signees during the early signing period gives the Bulldogs a luxury they had yet to experience during the Kirby Smart era. An elite program such as Ohio State seemed to have an advantage by locking down its big classes early during the last three to four recruiting cycles. That allowed coach Urban Meyer to chase the real big fish for the next recruiting class. Don’t think for a second that the Bulldogs won’t be doing that in January.
Postseason All-Star games are this week across Georgia
The high school schedule is full this week heading up to that bowl game in Pasadena, Calif. But the focus will shift away from the 2018 cycle and toward the 2019 and 2020 classes.
There will be a few very big names at each event that most of us who follow recruiting on a day-by-day basis will know, but that’s not the main purpose of these events. These events will lead to the discovery of the rest of the top talents from across Georgia who aren’t as well-known. Yet.
Here’s a quick look:
- The Elite Classic will feature games for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. This event looks to have spread across its four classes. Jadon Haselwood, a 5-star UGA commit for 2019, is scheduled to play in this game. He’ll be joined by a few more notable 2019 talents, such as 4-star Emanuel County Institute junior defensive end Curtis Fann, as well as Georgia’s 2017 sack leader, Logan Cash of Winder-Barrow. Check-ins for that game will take place at McEachern High School in Powder Springs around lunchtime on Tuesday. The Elite Classic games will take place on Thursday.
- The traditional Rising Seniors game has its check-ins this morning at Georgia Tech. That game will take place at Mercer University on Saturday. The biggest names at that event look to be Callaway 4-star OG Keiondre Jones, Brunswick 4-star OT Warren McClendon, Tucker 4-star DE/OLB Derrick McLendon and Riverdale’s 4-star DE Dante Walker.
- The Georgia Athletic Coaches Association also is offering a senior, junior and sophomore version of its North-South All-Star Game on Dec. 28. The GACA game has the best senior game, with the likes of UGA commit Tramel Walthour in the event plus other notables such as Auburn signee Zakoby McClain from Valdosta and Minnesota signee Rashod Bateman of Tift County.
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