ATHENS — Several times, Kirby Smart has said that he wants to build his teams around the line of scrimmage. His first Georgia signing class accomplished half of that, he said.
“That’s probably the area I’d say if we’re most disappointed in it’s on the offensive line. We’ve got to improve the offensive line,” Smart said Wednesday at his signing day press conference.
Georgia signed three defensive lineman in this class, including four-stars Julian Rochester and Michail Carter and three-star David Marshall. It missed out on five-star Derrick Brown.
Meanwhile, even though Georgia also signed three offensive lineman (four-star Ben Cleveland and three-stars Solomon Kindley and Chris Barnes), it was pretty clear that it fell short of what Smart wanted. As he spoke, four-star target E.J. Price was less than an hour from announcing his pick of Southern California, and it seemed Smart knew that was coming.
“We want to get bigger up front on both sides of the ball. I would say we’ve most certainly addressed that on the defensive line. I think when you go to the offensive line, it’s not exactly what we want,” Smart said. “We want some offensive tackles. If you say what’s the number one need going into 2017? It’s offensive tackles is what we need. That’s the most deficient area on our front.”
As for overall numbers, Georgia has signatures or commitments from 20 players.
“You’d like to add a few more, but we’re not in desperation mode by any means,” Smart said. “I’m not in a hurry, I’m not in a panic mode. I’m completely comfortable if we end up anywhere from 18, 19, 20, 21, anywhere in there I’m good with that. Because I’m not gonna rush off and make any reaches. …
“To have those spots available for next year when you have a full recruiting cycle, I think I talked to a lot of guys who have been in a similar situation that I’m in, a mistake that they’ve made is to try to fill holes or fill spots. And when you do that, you hurt next year’s signing class, which I anticipate being one of our better ones, because it’s our first full recruiting cycle.”