This Sentell’s Intel rep takes a good look at the Georgia football recruiting class on the last day of the term for the 2024 cycle.
That’s a question nestled snugly in that headline up there.
And here is a Daniel Harris-Anthony Evans III-Dwight Phillips Jr.-Arian Smith relay quicksilver answer to that topic.
Not at all.
How could it?
Georgia not only aced that exam with the best grade in the whole school but was THAT student who flexed on the whole class by finishing 30 minutes early.
The National Signing Day buzz in February has gone the way of iPods and six-disc CD changers. When the NCAA created the early signing period in December 2018, the migration to a day like today was swift.
This is no longer known as National Signing Day. It is Late Signing Day. The one in December is National Signing Day.
That’s apparent looking at the nation’s top 100 recruits for the 2024 class (247Sports Composite) and seeing all but four players have waited until this week to sign.
The power teams of the new Power 2 want it that way. The sooner they get their next class signed and on campus in January the better those talented young men can restore the plunder the transfer portal and the NFL did to their rosters after the 2023 season.
February signing day buzz? That was replaced by a lone potential storyline for the ‘Dawgs to convert a 4th-and-25 and flip 5-star ATH Terry Bussey from Texas A&M. That didn’t happen, but it was the one thing to monitor for the day.
That type of juice is outdated. It’s hard to believe just five or six years ago a lot of die-hard Georgia football fans took a PTO day to gather in bars to celebrate the class coming in via the fax in the Butts-Mehre building.
The fact that 22 of the team’s 28 signees are already on campus is enough buzz for Georgia’s top-rated class.
Georgia can stand pat today and still finish with the nation’s No. 1 signing class for 2024.
It remains a historic class for the ‘Dawgs at that.
The best way to establish that is to agree on the following principle: What Kirby Smart has done since the 2016 recruitng cycle (his first abbreviated class) is shift UGA recruiting into overdrive. It is at a whole new level.
We can stretch history and say the era of modern recruiting and recruiting rankings goes back to the 2010 recruiting cycle. That’s a leap, but there are ranked classes going back that far in the 247Sports database.
Georgia has finished in the top 3 in the national rankings six times in the eight cycles Smart had led the program. The lone finish outside the top 5 was when he had all of two months to build his first class and retain the core of Mark Richt’s commitments in 2016.
Smart’s classes have finished sixth, third, first, second, first, fourth, third, second and project to stay at first this cycle.
Before his arrival, the ‘Dawgs never finished higher than sixth in the national 247Sports Team Composite recruiting rankings.
Georgia’s national recruiting ranking average finish:
2010-2015: 8.8 (Six classes)
2016-2023: 2.5 (nine classes)
That’s a significant upgrade from those Richt teams that had their share of future NFL stars but weren’t deep enough on the lines of scrimmage to finish first or second in the SEC recruiting rankings.
Those numbers quickly illustrate how impressive the recruiting has been for a long time in Athens with Smart.
Let’s wind the clock back 10 years ago. That’s when the ‘Dawgs had Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as three of only five combined Top 100 signees that the program had in the 2013 and 2014 cycles.
In comparison, Georgia has signed 22 of those Top 100 prospects in its 2023 and 2024 classes.
Why the 2024 Georgia football recruiting class sets a new standard
Yet looking squarely at the 2024 class, there was one specific question this class needed to answer: Was it a special class given Smart’s sterling track record?
To put it bluntly, could DawgNation look at 2024 and say that’s a class the back-to-back national champions on top of the mountain in college football should have produced?
The answer is a resounding yes. For a lot of reasons.
Let’s look at the bigger benchmarks or “Bulldog points of pride” for this class and compare that to the last time that happened in Georgia football recruiting history dating back to 2010.
The accomplishments for the 2024 Georgia football class ...
(All historical rankings data sourced via the 247Sports Composite)
- Finished ranked No. 1 nationally (First time since 2020)
- Signed the program’s No. 2 all-time recruit in Ellis Robinson IV (247Sports Composite ratings)
- Signed the No. 1 or No. 2 overall prospect in Robinson (First time since Nolan Smith in 2019)
- Signed two of the nation’s top 5 prospects (Robinson and LB Justin Williams) for the first time
- Signed three of the nation’s top 15 prospects (Robinson, Williams and S KJ Bolden) for the first time since 2018
- Signed four of the nation’s top 25 overall prospects (Robinson, Williams, Bolden and DE Joseph Jonah-Ajone) for the first time since 2020
- Signed five or more 5-star recruits (For the third straight cycle)
- Signed seven or more of the nation’s top 50 prospects (Also for the third straight cycle)
- Signed four prospects rated No. 1 overall at their position for the first time since 2018
- Signed the nation’s No. 1 CB in Ellis Robinson IV for the first time since 2020
- Signed the nation’s No. 1 LB in Justin Williams for the first time since 2010
- Signed the nation’s No. 1 S in KJ Bolden for the first time
- Signed the nation’s Nos. 1 and No. 3 LBs for the first time
- Signed the nation’s Nos. 1 and 3 Safety (Demello Jones) prospects for the first time
- Signed the program’s highest-rated RB (No. 2 RB Nate Frazier) since 2018
- Signed 19 prospects that were named to the All-American Bowl or Under Armour All-American Game
- Signed seven or more Top 100 prospects to play defense
- Signed 15 of the nation’s top 125 overall prospects for the first time
- Signed 16 of the nation’s top 150 overall prospects for the first time
- Signed three All-American RB prospects (Frazier, Chauncey Bowens and Dwight Phillips Jr.)
- Signed an All-American RB with a verified 10.24 time in the 100 meters (Phillips)
- Signed a 5-star DL (Joseph-Ajonye) who just turned 17 years old in November
- Signed six OLs who are all at least 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weigh more than 320 pounds
- Signed three OLs who are all listed at 6 feet, 7 inches or taller
Those are 24 bullet points for the 2024 class. We could’ve kept going, but we like the symmetry with that.
We could’ve taken a third of the accomplishments off this list and this class would’ve been worthy of what a class for a back-to-back national championship Georgia football program would look like.
That said, we could’ve added elements like Georgia signing a pair of 5-star teammates or an entire class of high school DBs that rated as top 100 overall prospects. There were 23 multi-sport athletes in this class.
Those additional elements don’t come around quite a lot. Even with Smart’s track record on the trail in Athens.
The only thing worth watching today was waiting to see if the Bulldogs will continue their two-year streak of landing a 5-star commitment in the junior class on the traditional signing day for high school seniors.
The ‘Dawgs picked up a commitment from 5-star DT Bear Alexander in 2022 and 5-star CB Ellis Robinson IV in 2023.
Near misses: The rest of the story for Georgia’s 2024 class
The Bulldogs had a chance to pull off a very rare feat in signing a pair of Top 10 quarterback prospects in the same class. That’s going to be all but impossible in the days ahead, but the ‘Dawgs held long-standing pledges from 5-star Dylan Raiola and 4-star Ryan Puglisi.
Raiola was a polarizing late flip for the fan base to endure. But that came down to his family’s roots (Uncle on staff, father a former All-American) and a likely NIL component to boot. That’s a rare flip convergence of events there.
The other thing is that Georgia signed five prospects with a 5-star rating despite losing three 5-star commitments (Raiola, TE Landen Thomas, LB Demarcus Riddick) at the time of their decisions. It is quite a feat to see a program lose three highly-rated prospects like that and still lead the nation with their five signees that still held the 5-star rating.
The other thing to make note of there is that in each of those cases, the Bulldogs actually upgraded that spot in the class with a higher-rated prospect at each position. In the case of Riddick, the Bulldogs wound up singing two higher-rated LBs,
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with key 2024 prospects like Daniel Calhoun, Dwight Phillips Jr., Dylan Raiola and Sacovie White.
(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)