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Georgia 2022 signees (from left-to-right) Big Bear Alexander, Daylen Everette, Jalon Walker, Branson Robinson and CJ Washington all pose after the 2022 Under Armour All-American Bowl at Camping World Stadium on January 2, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation)

Georgia football: National championship roster is splintered, but 18 new Bulldogs are already on campus

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest with the roster migration of the national championship roster and how the 2022 signing class was built to offset that.

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Picture two large display boards. Like the ones at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The twist is this will take stock of the 2022 Georgia football roster. With so much focus devoted to the players moving to the NFL or through the transfer portal, there’s a need to look at the big picture.

The big picture here leads this observer to the following conclusions:

  1. Georgia’s infusion of overall talent from the 2022 class looks to be the best of the Kirby Smart era, especially at a few game-changing positions. It boasts a top 100 overall recruit at every position except at wide receiver. There is always the 2018 class to use as the benchmark. That class included seven prospects with the coveted 5-star ranking, but five of those signees weren’t on the field in Indianapolis. (Sidebar: Georgia got a title with its first signing class to wrestle the No. 1 overall recruiting ranking from Alabama, but 11 of the top 17 highest-rated recruits in that year did not play one snap of that 33-18 win.
  2. The 2022 class is the best defensive class of the Smart era in Athens. There are top 50 overall prospects at DT (2), LB, EDGE, CB (2) and S in this class. The Bulldogs have never brought in the type of talent for all three levels of its defense that it has in this cycle.
  3. Georgia has never brought in a defensive back class like the 2022 group. It is not even close.
  4. Georgia has never brought in a pair of pass rushers quite like Marvin Jones Jr. and Mykel Williams in the same class. The ratings may compare, but not the size of the bodies. Jones and Williams look like Travon Walker did coming out of high school but move like they are 230-pound OLBs.
  5. There’s a unique way the numbers balance out here for Kirby Smart. The position groups have been restocked to replace the players that will not be on the 2022 roster. It is like the outgoing Bulldogs are being covered with the same number of new Bulldogs at each position.

With those pearls in mind, take a look at the board on the left.

Then take a breath.

Then take a look at the board and the right. It is perfectly acceptable to get a little excited about it all.

Those boards flow down the page below.

Past. Present. Future. There really hasn’t been a time like this in Athens since 1980.

Barking is perfectly acceptable after soaking it all in before heading to your desired gate at this terminal.

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.

DEPARTURES (23) 🛫

OFFENSE [10]

QBs (1): JT Daniels (Portal)

RBs (2): James Cook [NFL); Zamir White (NFL)

OLs (2): Jamaree Salyer (NFL); Justin Shaffer (NFL)

TEs (1): John FitzPatrick (NFL);

WRs [4}: Jermaine Burton [Portal; George Pickens [NFL); Jaylen Johnson [Portal]; Justin Robinson (Portal]

DEFENSE [13]

DLs (3): Jordan Davis [NFL); Travon Walker [NFL]; DeVont’e Wyatt [NFL]

ILBs (3): Nakobe Dean [NFL]; Channing Tindall [NFL]; Quay Walker [NFL]

DBs (6): Latavious Brini [Portal]; Lovasea’ Carroll [Portal]; Lewis Cine [NFL]; Derion Kendrick [NFL]; Jalen Kimber [Portal]; Ameer Speed [Portal]

P (1): Jake Camarda (NFL)

Here’s where one might gulp. Or take that breath. Expect to see more names added to this list over the next few weeks and months.

That’s a loss of a lot of scholarship personnel. Championship Bulldogs.

That said, the Bulldogs have already welcomed their largest class ever of early enrollees (18) to the program. The majority of those guys are high school All-Americans (11) and they are already on campus in Athens.

They were sitting in those team bleachers when Kirby Smart was at the podium for the championship celebration on Saturday in Athens. They were in those gray tracksuits. The rest of the team was in white.

To put that into perspective, the Bulldogs signed a total of 20 high school prospects prior to last season. That means there are almost that many early enrollees on campus right now as total scholarship players that the Bulldogs brought in prior to the 2021 season.

Check out the arrivals below. The star ranking used to gauge each new freshman is taken from the 247Sports Composite ratings.

ARRIVALS (18) 🛬

OFFENSE (8)

QBs (1): Gunner Stockton [4-star All-American]

OLs (4]: Aliou Bah [4-star expected to play OG]; 4-star Earnest Greene III [4-star All-American expected to start out at OT]; Jacob Hood [3-star OT]; Griffin Scroggs [3-star All-American C]

TEs (1): Oscar Delp (4-star All-American)

WRs [2}: CJ Smith [4-star WR]; De’Nylon Morrissette [4-star All-American WR]

DEFENSE [10]

DLs (3): Big Bear Alexander [4-star All-American DT]; Mykel Williams [5-star All-American DL]; Shone Washington [3-star DT]

LBs (3): CJ Washington [4-star All-American LB]; Carlton “CJ’ Madden [4-star OLB]; Jalon Walker [4-star All-American LB]

DBs (3): Daylen Everette [5-star All-American CB]; Malaki Starks [5-star All-American S]; Ja’Corey Thomas [4-star S]

P (1): Brett Thorson (Nation’s No. 1 punter from Australia);

INBOUND SIGNEES (6) 🛩

OFFENSE (3)

RB (1]: Branson Robinson [4-star All-American]

OL [1]: Drew Bobo (3-star]

WRs [1}: Cole Speer [3-star]

DEFENSE [3]

EDGE (1): Marvin Jones Jr. [5-star]

DBs (2): Julian Humphrey [4-star All-American CB]; Jaheim Singletary [5-star All-American CB]

COMMITMENTS [3]

OFFENSE (2)

RB (1]: Jordan James [4-star All-American]

WRs [1}: Dillon Bell [3-star commitment]

DEFENSE (1)

EDGE [1]: Darris Smith [4-star]

Georgia football roster: Key items to pay attention to

There’s a delicate yin-yang to look at here with these positions on the field for the Bulldogs.

We will point out some elements of symmetry for each position group. If there’s an area where the incoming and outgoing player movement is out of balance, then that’s a position to look to for future movement.

Or just maybe a slight adjustment to the number of scholarship players at each position group in Athens.

  • QBs: 1 departing, 1 arrival
  • RBs: 2 departures, 1 inbound, 1 committed
  • WRs: 4 departures, 2 arrivals, 1 inbound, 1 committed
  • OLs: 2 departures, 4 arrivals, 1 inbound (+3)
  • TEs: 1 departure, 1 arrival
  • DLs: 3 departures, 3 arrivals, 1 inbound (+1)
  • LBs: 3 departures, 3 arrivals, 1 committed (+1)
  • DBs: 6 departures, 3 arrivals, 2 inbound (-1)
  • P: 1 departing, 1 arrival

This defensive class, as far as elite talent goes, is unmatched across the Smart era in Athens. In the period from 2016 to 2021, the Bulldogs finished with an average overall team recruiting ranking of 2.8 across college football.

They wound up with the nation’s No. 1 class two times. In that span, they signed 11 defensive prospects with that coveted 5-star rating. Georgia has signed five defensive players in the 2022 class alone.

The Bulldogs signed 16 defensive players ranked among the nation’s top 50 recruits across those previous six cycles of gaudy recruiting classes. This year, the defending national champions signed seven of those top 50 overall recruits for the defense.

Let’s also place a special emphasis on how gaudy this defensive back class is for Smart and defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae.

This is an ELITE defensive back class if there ever was one for Smart in Athens. The numbers culled from the 247Sports Composite databases will back that up.

  • Defensive backs rated among nation’s top 100 players signed by UGA (2016-2021): 7
  • Defensive backs rated among nation’s top 100 players signed by UGA (2022): 4
  • 5-star defensive backs signed by UGA (2016-2021): 3
  • 5-star defensive back signees at UGA (2022): 3
  • 5-star cornerback signees at UGA (2016-2021): 2
  • 5-star cornerback signees at UGA (2022): 2

Feel better? Thought so.

If not, just go back and look at that arrivals board again. The re-up in terms of overall talent could not look much better than it does right now.

Give it a few years, it is not outlandish to expect the 2024 defense to be every bit as nasty as the 2021 team.

That’s the best measure here to convey that those expensive plane tickets to Indianapolis might require more of the same to Los Angeles in 2023, Houston in 2024, Las Vegas in 2025 and Miami in 2026.

Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with UGA names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon and Brock Vandagriff here.

Georgia 2022 signees (from left to right) Marvin Jones Jr, Julian Humphrey, Mykel Williams and Gunner Stockton pose for a keepsake after the All-American Bowl at the Alamodome on January 8, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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