Today it was the groundhog’s day to provide grist for prognosticators, and tomorrow it’ll be the results of signing day.
From what I’m hearing and reading, a lot of UGA fans are feeling pretty depressed about the prospect of at least a couple of defections by high-profile recruits who’d given the Dogs a verbal commitment (which, considering these are 18-year-old kids, means about as much as an Urban Meyer resignation). Mark Richt has lost his touch as a recruiter, they’re saying. Why do Florida and Alabama get the five-star recruits? And what’s with the apparent recruiting surge of Auburn under Gene Chizik?
Of course, at the other extreme there are folks in the Bulldog Nation who think way too much is made of the annual rankings of recruiting classes. As Rex Robinson wrote recently, “The day I let a 17- or 18-year-old kid dictate the ebb and flow of my day, is when hell freezes over. Obviously, I want to have the best players possible. Some folks think that means 5 stars by a kid’s name. I think it’s about a kid with talent and a real desire to wear red and black.”
Put me down somewhere in the middle. Yes, a class stocked with a bunch of folks that everybody else would have loved to sign is a pretty good indication of a team’s future talent level. But highly touted recruits don’t always pan out (remember next-great-tight-end NaDerris Ward, who last I heard was listed as an offensive lineman for Oregon?).
And even if you do sign a highly ranked recruiting class (as Richt has done most of his seasons at UGA), fans of the Dogs have too much first-hand knowledge of the fact that talent doesn’t guarantee wins.
So try not to get your intestines tied in a knot if Da’Rick Rogers does wind up jilting the Dogs for the Vols. Or if Richt doesn’t pull off some last-minute coup raiding someone else’s verbal commitments for an unexpected Georgia signee.
Georgia’s class currently is ranked in the Top 10 by some recruiting gurus and even if it ends up dropping a few notches due to defections, it’s still going to be a pretty solid bunch of football players. It’s what the coaches do with them that’s going to count in the end.
For those who have the time to follow the progress of Georgia’s recruiting class during the day on Wednesday, over at Georgiadogs.com, the premium service GXtra will be providing free live video coverage availble to all fans (not just subscribers) from inside Butts-Mehre with hosts Chuck Dowdle and former Bulldog Kelin Johnson, starting at 7:45 a.m.
They promise you’ll see signee highlight videos, get in-depth analysis about this year’s class from several assistant football coaches, and see Richt speak to the fans inside Butts-Mehre live.
Somehow, no matter how the day goes, I don’t expect Richt to present the results as anything other than overwhelmingly positive. And, personally, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that and wait to see how this class pans out on the field.