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Who are the most important prospects left on UGA’s recruiting board?

Cy Brown

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, y’all. His legacy remains as important as ever.

Top (potential) Dawgs

Another Monday, another round of Top Dawgs. Well, potential Dawgs at least. We’re taking a look at the top remaining targets on UGA’s 2017 recruiting board as of Monday. With only a few weeks until signing day, and only a handful of scholarships left to give out, there are only a few names who are left to consider. They’re all names you’re probably familiar with if you follow Georgia recruiting.

Instead of ranking them best to worst, I’m ranking them based on which ones would, in my opinion, be the biggest gets for Georgia. Those criteria definitely have their similarities and crossovers, but my rankings will be more focused on Georgia’s needs and what I believe will help the program the most going into the future. And while I normally rank five players, I’m only doing three this week because I think this trio sticks out head and shoulders above any of the other remaining targets. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

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1) Aubrey Solomon, DT — This is an absolute no-brainer. Solomon is not only the best football player left on Georgia’s board, but he also plays one of the most important positions on the football field. Having a stellar defensive line is of the utmost importance to top programs. With the unit Georgia has on campus right now, the Bulldogs are well on their way to that status. But what separates teams like Alabama and Clemson from the other top programs in college football is the ability to reload that talent year after year.

Aside from the fact that he’s just the best player left on UGA’s board, he’s also the exact kind of player Georgia needs. Clemson’s domination of the Bama D-line went a long way to showing a trend that’s been surfacing for a while: Humongous defensive linemen are falling out of vogue. The best DTs in college football used to be mammoths such as Bama’s Terrence Cody. Now, they must be more agile in order to deal with tempo and spread offenses that rule college football, like Clemson’s Christian Wilkins. Solomon fits the Wilkins mold with his quickness on the line. He’s the prototype DT for this day and age of college football and could go down as the most important player Georgia signs this year, full stop. That is if Georgia can sign him.

2) Markaviest Bryant, DE/OLD — No one is likely to disagree with my assessment of Solomon at No. 1, but the rest of these spots are pretty up for grabs and yours could be completely different than mine. I’ve got “Big Cat” Bryant out of Crisp County at No. 2 for the same reason I had Solomon No. 1, other than his obvious talent. Defensive line is just so important in college football and I’m a true believer that a top DL can make up for a lot of other weaknesses a team has. So, a program should sign as many talented DL prospects as possible.

Bryant is not as talented as Solomon from a pure football standpoint, but the dude is an athletic freak. He projects as either defensive end or outside linebacker and has the frame and athleticism to excel at both spots. Although I think he would be a fine DL, I think his future lies at OLB. Bryant can get off the ball in a blink and cause chaos in the backfield, which is exactly what Lorenzo Carter does for the Bulldogs currently. With his length, Bryant seems like he could be a like-for-like replacement for Carter. But I wouldn’t be unhappy to see him play with a hand down. Those long arms would be fantastic at swatting down passes into the flat.

3) Nico Collins, WR — It should be obvious to anyone who watched Georgia this season that the team needs to make some serious upgrades at receiver. And not just in the talent with its wideouts, but also the type. For the last three or so years, UGA has suffered because of its diminutive wide receiver corps. These small receivers have trouble when getting jammed at the line by aggressive defensive backs. They can’t shrug off defenders to make catches in traffic and they hurt the running game by naturally being weaker blockers than large receivers.

Collins is the type of player who could be a remedy to all of these problems. He is a big, aggressive target who could play on the outside for Georgia. He can make catches in congestion and bully some of the smaller backs he faces. I know nothing about his blocking ability, but just based on size, it has to be an upgrade over a small dude such as Isaiah McKenzie. Most importantly, Collins could give Georgia a legitimate receiving threat on fades in the end zone. UGA was abysmal in the red zone this season, partially because the composition of the team made the available options so predictable. Just having a WR with his build as a legit threat will change the way defenses play UGA in the red zone, which could make it slightly easier for the Dawgs to punch it in.

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For more on these players, and others, chances of signing with the Bulldogs, check out Jeff Sentell of DawgnNations’s top 5 remaining targets list.

Bad weekend for Bulldogs

Not much went right for UGA sports this weekend:

  • Georgia men’s basketball looked to be on the cusp of an important upset against Florida as it hunts for an NCAA Tournament berth. But, instead, the Bulldogs’ woes against the Gators continued with their 14th consecutive loss to Florida in Gainesville as they fell, 80-76, in overtime. Yante Maten fouled out with just under nine minutes left on the clock. He’s simply too important a player for the Bulldogs to miss for that stretch of time. Had he played a little longer this game could very well have ended with a UGA “W.”
  • A poor season for Lady Dawgs basketball continued as it lost, 82-61, to Kentucky in Lexington to move to 10-8 on the season. The Wildcats opened the game on an 8-0 run and never looked back.
  • Georgia swimming and diving was swept by Texas this weekend in Athens, ending an NCAA record 102-meet home winning streak for the Lady Bulldogs that dated back to 1995. They are now 104-2 all time at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
  • The Gymdogs rebounded from a season-opening loss to LSU with a win at Auburn on Friday to get one of only a few UGA wins this weekend. Sydney Snead and Lauren Johnson tied for the top spot on vault, while Snead had the best score on bars and Rachel Schick led the crowd on the beam. The Gymdogs face N.C. State in their home opener Monday at 2 p.m.
  • Georgia men’s tennis won two singles matches against the Columbia Lions on Day 2 of the MLK Invitational in Atlanta. Wayne Montgomery defeated Victor Pham, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. Jan Zielinski beat Richard Pham, 6-1, 6-4.

When you know it’s about to be a glorious week

ICYMI

Good dog

Falling asleep on the job. SMDH.