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Georgia coach Kirby Smart is getting ready to sign another treasure trove of prospects this week. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Georgia football recruiting: The early buzz on early signing day for the #Bo22Moves class

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest less than 34 hours until early signing day kicks up for the 2022 class.


Happy Early Signing Day Week.

That seems right. Smith is a hyperfast former Florida commitment. When we say fast, we do mean a 99-speed rating on the NCAA Football and Madden games of one’s choice. Smith has clocked a verified 10.28 for the 100 and a 20.69 in the 200.

Both of those times are blazing. That’s why it makes sense why he will be out in front of everybody else to make their decisions this week. If Georgia is to add what would be the fourth receiver to its class in this cycle, it looks like CJ Smith is the best name to watch there.

(Side road: If Smith does sign with UGA, he will become the third “CJ” in this class with long-time commits Carlton Madden from Cedar Grove and CJ Washington of Cedartown.

With that, there are about eight names to monitor for the closing kick of Georgia’s 2022 class heading into the week. Those are just the prospects of the undecided realm.

There will be another handful of committed prospects to watch. Georgia might lose a DL commitment to either FSU or Florida or both. Tyre West, a longtime 4-star commit from Tift County, has been heavily courted by FSU over the last few months. Shone Washington, a recent 3-star commit from New Orleans, just gave his final official visit to Florida over the weekend.

There are two flip possibilities that are still in the mix here to varying degrees. DeMario Tolan, a 4-star LB from Florida, is still committed to LSU. He visited the new staff in Baton Rouge this weekend, but Georgia does remain a possibility there.

It would be the biggest flip of the Smart era in Athens, but there remain enough embers to consider 5-star FSU commit Travis Hunter as another name to keep an eye on. The Seminoles had a few members of their staff at Center Parc Stadium on Saturday to watch him in the GHSA 7A state championship game. Georgia did not have any staff members there.

If the unthinkable happens here, it will be a flip pulled off like a thief in the night. Ninja style.

The Bulldogs also look to also possibly add another legacy commitment in Alabama OL Drew Bobo. Bobo is not likely to sign with Auburn, but he still remains publicly committed there.

He did take an important trip to Athens this past weekend for one last look at UGA.

Consider the above preamble to be merely that. That’s the surface-level stuff to know for the 2022 cycle. The main course follows below.

5-star senior Kamari Wilson is the nation's No. 1 safety prospect in the class of 2022 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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Early Signing Day 2022: The names to know for Georgia football

Picture yourself sitting in a large bunker.

Call it your own personal 2022 recruiting fan cave if you will. You are doing your best Bruce Wayne impersonation as you stare at two large screens. If necessary, cradling the chin rounds out that look.

The one screen shows the list of Georgia’s highest-rated current commits for the 2022 class. Alfred is not necessary to deduce that seven of those 10 highest-rated Bulldogs will play on the defensive side of the ball.

That number even expands out to nine of the top 12 commits.

It makes sense. That’s where Georgia’s All-Americans are this year. That’s where all of the high NFL Draft projections are, too.

Those positions are: Safety, Cornerback, Edge rusher, Linebacker, Defensive Tackle, Running Back, Quarterback, Tight End, Cornerback, Cornerback, Defensive Tackle and Linebacker.

The deeper dive unravels two more big data points: 1) Georgia has 10 commitments ranked among the nation’s top 102 overall prospects, including four committed to play in the secondary alone; 2) Georgia could sign five or six 5-star prospects this year and they will all play defense in Athens. All but one of those could be at DB.

Chew on all of that for a second.

It soon becomes time to shift the attention to the other large screen. It is the one with flashing red LED lights all over it.

It lists Georgia’s top remaining targets to watch for the early signing period:

  • 4:40 PM decision on Wednesday: 5-star EDGE Marvin Jones Jr./Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - Nation’s No. 2 EDGE and No. 22 overall (Georgia is going up against Alabama, his father’s FSU and USC here.
  • 4 PM decision on Wednesday: 5-star safety Kamari Wilson/Fort Pierce, Fla. - Nation’s No. 1 safety and No. 28 overall (Wilson’s final five are Georgia, Florida, FSU, LSU and Texas A&M)
  • 5-star CB Daylen Everette/Norfolk, Va. - Nation’s No. 6 CB and No. 29 overall (Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina are the schools to watch here.)
  • 6 PM decision on Wednesday: 4-star LB Shemar James/Mobile, Ala. - Nation’s No. 7 LB and No. 64 overall (He will decide between Alabama and Georgia.)
  • 4-star DT Christen Miller/Ellenwood, Ga. - Nation’s No. 18 DL and No. 107 overall (Miller is down to Georgia and Ohio State. Miller told DawgNation on Monday he still leans toward announcing his choice in January at the All-American Bowl and signing in February during the traditional period. The other possibility is signing silently this week and announcing his choice out in Texas. There will be no public ceremony for him this week.)
  • 4-star LB DeMario Tolan/Orlando, Fla. - Nation’s No. 21 LB and No. 202 overall (Tolan is sorting between a group of Auburn, LSU and Georgia.)
  • 4-star EDGE James Pearce/Charlotte, NC - Nation’s No. 22 EDGE and No. 307 overall. (Georgia, Louisville South Carolina and Tennessee are in the mix here.)

See the same overwhelming trend?

Georgia will not close out this class with explosive playmakers to keep up with the 2019 LSUs and the 2020 and 2021 Alabamas of the college football world.

What this recruiting class is doing is doubling and tripling down on what it does best. That will be to play stifling defense and hope to pair it up with a balanced offensive attack and a playmaker at quarterback.

The Bulldogs have that in a player like Stockton who ended his high school career with his name at the top of the several pages in the Georgia high school record books.

Make no mistake about that first part, though. Georgia will not sign all those defensive players on that big-name list for the early signing period. Yet the Bulldogs will get their share.

When they do, it will finish assembling the greatest defensive signing class of Kirby Smart’s time at UGA. There’s a chance that UGA could sign five or six of the nation’s top 102 players just for their secondary alone.

The Bulldogs already have commitments from a quartet of All-Americans, which includes a pair of 5-stars in EDGE Mykel Williams and DT Big Bear Alexander, to fill the depth charts of its front seven.

This thought might keep DawgNation up for the rest of the week. ... What if Georgia can mesh a secondary group far better than the 2020 edition of DJ Daniel, Tyson Campbell, Richard LeCounte III, Eric Stokes and Mark Webb Jr. with a front just as good as the 2021 group?

Lest we forget: 5-star FSU commit Travis Hunter will be a lockdown cornerback in college. If that happens, let’s go ahead and call that one Georgia’s all-time flip on the recruiting trail.

Hunter is the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle. Former 5-star George Pickens was just the nation’s No. 24 overall recruit when he flipped from Auburn to UGA in February of 2019.

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.

4-star All-American LB Shemar James will decide between Alabama and Georgia this week. He's pictured here on his UGA official visit from this past weekend. (Instagram)
Instagram, Dawgnation

Georgia football recruiting: The other quick-hit ESD things to know

With all those items covered, there are six popular reader and viewer questions to cover.

1) Georgia will not sign all of those top targets above. There are already 24 public commitments in this class and it would be a surprise to see Georgia finish up Wednesday night with more than 29 commitments. That number should eventually top out at 27 to 29 announced UGA signees this week.

2) Georgia will save room in this class for about three to five additions via the transfer portal. Look for this roster to see about 10-to-12 Bulldogs drafted by the NFL. The actual number should go higher than that.

I’d look for up to another dozen names to hit the portal in search of more playing time. There will be room to see all of these Bulldogs sign in the 2022 class by the time they show up in January or late May.

3) This class is heavy on decommitments and flips. This is just part of college football’s new world. The current crop of Georgia commits reflects eight Bulldog commitments that were once pledged to another school. It could go up to 11 by the time all the ink dries on Wednesday night.

4) Can this class finish No. 1? That does not appear likely. Texas A&M and its aggressive pitches with NIL this cycle are taking aim at a record-setting class for the industry. The Aggies could wind up with eight prospects that earned the coveted 5-star ranking. That class could even swell to 17 or 18 prospects ranked among the top 100 recruits in the country.

Georgia or Alabama would likely trail in second place. The only way the Bulldogs could top what the Aggies are piling up would be with a dream close of Hunter, Wilson, Everette, Miller and James. A&M could wind up signing 10 of the nation’s top 51 overall recruits by the time 5-star DE Shemar Stewart makes up his mind in February.

5) Where are the big-time OLs?: The All-American offensive line prospect is the biggest thing missing from this year’s 2022 Georgia class. It is also the big thing keeping it from signing the nation’s No. 1 class.

It would take a late reversal from All-American OL Earnest Greene III to preserve a Georgia OL streak under Smart’s watch. This cycle will mark the first time that the Bulldogs do not sign a top 100 overall prospect for the offensive line since his first recruiting class in 2016.

Georgia has signed a 5-star OL in every class dating back to 2017. Its average highest-rated signee over those last five cycles has been at No. 14 overall. This year’s top-rated OL is 4-star OG Aliou Bah out of IMG Academy.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound senior comes in at No. 340 overall. That’s not so much as a reflection on a poor performance by offensive line coach Matt Luke this year as much as it seems like UGA is hamstrung by his many previous wins on the recruiting trail.

Luke closed brilliantly in 2020 and 2021 with seven OL signees that ranked among the nation’s top 150 recruits. The depth chart has so much cordwood it has led the top guys to look elsewhere. When 5-stars like Broderick Jones and Amarius Mims can not crack the starting lineup, it shows how deep the Bulldogs are in Luke’s room.

That said, it doesn’t seem like Alabama is having that problem. The Tide signed a pair of 5-stars among four top overall 200 prospects in 2021. Alabama now has 2022 commitments from a pair of top 100 recruits for this cycle and could add a third in Greene this week.

The difference here is that Georgia had already stacked up two classes of overwhelming OL strength while trying to recruit this class. Alabama is in its second season of that trend, too.

6) Clemson and Florida’s losses might wind up as Georgia’s gain: There was a point of the season in early October when All-Americans Julian Humphrey and Shemar James were rated as two of Dan Mullen’s top three recruits. Chandler “CJ” Smith was also a speedy 4-star WR in this class. Those three could all be Bulldogs at the end of this week.

The chance to sign Everette has also been made possible by a coaching change. The 5-star CB decommitted from Clemson after its popular and well-respected defensive coordinator Brent Venables accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma.

The 5-star CB out of IMG Academy grew up in Virginia but decommitted after Lincoln Riley’s move from Oklahoma to USC opened up the chance for Venables to leave Clemson.

5-star ATH Malaki Starks, pictured here with his father Larry Starks, chose UGA over Alabama and Clemson back on his decision day on March 25, 2021. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)


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