Handing out mid-term grades for Georgia’s Early Signing Period
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Grading Georgia’s early signing period score
The early signing period wraps up on Friday, which is the last day 2019 prospects can sign with a team prior to regular Feb. 6 signing day. Of Georgia’s 2019 recruits, 21 of the 22 players have already signed, with quarterback John Rhys Plumlee being the lone player who is still just a commit. With that in mind, let’s look back on the players Georgia did land and hand some grades by position group:
Prior to Wednesday, Georgia only had 4-star quarterback Plumlee committed — and he was not going to sign as the Bulldogs want him to take a blueshirt. By the end of the day, the Bulldogs added 4-star quarterback Dwan Mathis, who previously pledged his services to Ohio State, and JUCO Stetson Bennett, who was a one-time walk-on at Georgia. Fans were very excited by adding Mathis, and UGA’s players were likewise thrilled about adding Bennett. While none of the quarterbacks are as talented as freshman Justin Fields, who is exploring his transfer options, Georgia pretty clearly now has some depth at the position behind Jake Fromm.
Running back: C
This position was Georgia’s biggest miss in 2019. The Bulldogs at one point had a commitment from 5-star John Emery Jr., who is the nation’s No. 2 running back in this year’s cycle. But he flipped to LSU. The Bulldogs were also in the running for 5-star Trey Sanders, who is the No. 1 for 2019. But he ended up picking Alabama on Wednesday. Georgia was left with 4-star Kenny McIntosh, who is the No. 10 running back in the class. This grade is more due to what Georgia didn’t do, than what kind of player McIntosh can be going forward.
Wide receiver/tight end: B+
For the first time since 2009, Georgia signed a 5-star wide receiver, as Dominick Blaylock of Marietta, Ga., stuck with the Bulldogs. Georgia also added 4-star Makiya Tongue out of Baton Rouge, La., and 4-star tight end Ryland Goede out of Acworth, Ga. Goede could become more important depending on whether or not Isaac Nauta goes pro and if Luke Ford decides to transfer. This group could get bumped up should Jadon Haselwood, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver, pick Georgia; though he is trending towards Oklahoma at the moment.
Offensive line: B
Georgia brought in three offensive linemen for the class: 5-star center Clay Webb, 4-star offensive tackle Warren McClendon and 4-star offensive tackle Xavier Truss. Offensive line isn’t an immediate need for next year but it could be in 2020 should Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson turn pro early. Webb is the jewel of the group, as he was the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama and No. 22 player in the country. Georgia could possibly add 4-star Doug Nester or 5-star Darnell Wright in February, and make this group even better.
Defensive line: A+
This was the best position group of prospects Georgia brought in for the 2019 cycle. It landed the No. 1 player in the country in 5-star defensive end Nolan Smith. It has a 5-star defensive tackle, a first for Smart in his time at Georgia, in Travon Walker. It has the No. 1 JUCO player in the country in Jermaine Johnson. And it landed a trio of defensive linemen from Tennessee in Bill Norton, Tymon Mitchell and Zion Logue. Georgia got difference-makers and depth in this class for the defensive line. A truly great haul for Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott.
Georgia had a need at linebacker. So Smart went out and signed 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean, 4-star linebacker Rian Davis and 4-star linebacker Trezmen Marshall. When you factor in that Georgia also landed Channing Tindall and Quay Walker last year, Georgia’s inside linebackers have gotten a whole lot better in a very short amount of time. Other than maybe adding 5-star Owen Pappoe, who signed with Auburn out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., it’s hard for any linebacker class to get any better.
Georgia still has some work to do on defensive backs in the 2019 cycle. It has one signee in 4-star safety Lewis Cine out of Cedar Hill, Texas, but Georgia needs cornerbacks with senior Deandre Baker heading to the NFL. The Bulldogs will find out where one of their top targets are going on Jan. 5, when Tyrique Stevenson announces. Stevenson is the No. 38 player in the 2019 cycle and hails from Miami. Georgia is also still recruiting 4-star cornerback Kaiir Elam, who will decide on Feb. 6. If Georgia can land both of those Florida standouts, this grade will likely be an A.
This is probably a bit unfair. Georgia finished with the No. 2 class in the country. It has more 5-stars than the entire ACC, Big 12 and PAC 12. The problem is that the team the Bulldogs are chasing, Alabama, has the No. 1 class and will likely finish as such. Georgia’s class can still get better and possibly bump this grade up to an A, but for right now, we’re going to give it a very solid B+.
Disagree with my grades? Respond in the comments with how you thought Georgia did in it’s 2019 class.
Kirby Smart says linebacker signee may need shoulder surgery
Georgia signed three linebacker recruits on Wednesday, led by 5-star prospect Nakobe Dean. Another one of the linebacker signees, 4-star linebacker Rian Davis, is coming off an ACL injury, which leads to obvious concern about how available he will be as a freshman.
On Wednesday, GSmart also added that Georgia’s third linebacker signee, 4-star Trezmen Marshall out of Homerville, Ga, may end up needing shoulder surgery.
“When you look at the two guys we signed, one has an ACL and one is probably going to have a shoulder surgery,” Smart said. “So, when you add that up, we’re signing guys but they’re not going to be available immediately. Now, should they be back for the season, yeah; but it’s tough first season off of an ACL. It’s hard. I’ve watched kids for years struggle with that.”
Linebacker was a position of need in this year’s class, and given that Marshall and Davis are entering college injured, it makes signing Dean even bigger. The Horn Lake, Miss., product is rated as the No. 1 linebacker prospect in the 2019 recruiting cycle and the No. 14 player overall. Georgia beat out Alabama and Ole Miss for his services.
Georgia is losing Natrez Patrick and Juwan Taylor to graduation, so much will be expected of Dean — as well as Georgia’s current freshmen linebackers Quay Walker and Channing Tindall — in 2019.
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