Whose heart will some teenage boy break today?

uga arch redWell, it’s here. That day so many college football fans view with a somewhat intoxicating mix of joy and anxiety, sort of a combination of Christmas morning and final exam time rolled into one.

Who’ll live up to their virtually worthless verbal commitment, and who will flip at the last minute? Will the most wanted names on UGA’s big board fax that all-important signature over to Butts-Mehre … or somewhere else?

As I said to a friend Tuesday evening, “Tomorrow we’ll find out whose heart some teenage boy has broken.”

But, sounding a rare note of pragmatism amid all the strong emotions that characterize this annual rite of passage, my friend answered, “Your heart can only be broken if you let someone break it.”

Me, I’ve never subscribed to the notion that signing day is the most important date on the college football calendar.

I recognize there are plenty of people who disagree with me, and many of them pay big money to keep on top of all the twists and turns of every recruiting saga as some high school kid plays the game, flirting first with this school, then with that one, making a commitment that will last only until he decides to withdraw it and look elsewhere.

I find the day-to-day, almost hourly updates on which way the wind is blowing with this recruit or that recruit and the debates over what might be meant by some sought-after recruit’s tweet or offhand comment to be overblown and even tiresome. I don’t care to base my happiness or state of mind on the will-o’-the-wisp whims of some kid who might not yet be old enough to drive after midnight.

If the courtship by big-name coaches isn’t enough to overinflate those young egos, there’s always the breathless coverage of the live television reports in which they reveal where they’ll play college ball. And that whole game of putting out multiple caps on the table at the announcement, building the anticipation of which one he’ll put on, reeks too much of some cheesy game show for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the results of signing day don’t matter, and that recruiting isn’t worth covering. Obviously, if you consistently sign upper-echelon athletes, you improve your chances of success. It’s certainly notable that Alabama routinely wins both signing day and championships.

And I’m happy that Georgia goes into today’s signing day with most of the experts ranking it as having a Top 10 recruiting class, with the possibility of ranking even higher if some last minute pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

But, as our UGA beat writer, Chip Towers, noted, it’s all relative. As signing day arrived, six other SEC schools were ahead of UGA in those projected class rankings — so Top 10 can still translate to seventh-best signing class in the conference.

Or not. I think the horse-race mentality of ranking the various signing classes before they’ve even enrolled, much less taken the field, has been overemphasized. Frankly, it’s mostly an exercise in guesswork. Just like some of those spring practice wunderkinds don’t end up even as starters come the fall, so the stars of all the signing day drama don’t necessarily become the program saviors many might wish them to be.

Remember UGA’s Dream Team? No, it wasn’t a complete bust. No class that produced the likes of Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Amarlo Herrera, Ramik Wilson and Justin Scott-Wesley can be called that. But, considering the number of players who on that signing day looked to be world-beaters but aren’t even enrolled at UGA three years later, it wasn’t exactly the stuff of dreams, now, was it?

Those signing day highs don't always last. (Associated Press)

Those signing day highs don't always last. (Associated Press)

Today’s celebrated five-star signee, whose signing day announcement has the recruitniks dreaming of national championships, might wind up being tomorrow’s transfer to a FCS school. Some just won’t click with the program or will move on because they don’t get enough playing time. Some will flunk out. Others will be behavior problems and get kicked off the team (and probably wind up starring at Auburn).

Conversely, some of those unheralded players who the recruiting services didn’t think that much of might turn out to be gridiron heroes.

I know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of signing day, whether you’re among those who’ll gather in the lobby of Butts-Mehre today or simply tune in to the live TV coverage or constantly keep updating your browser, waiting with bated breath to see who the latest future Bulldog is.

And I’ll be as happy as all those fans if Mark Richt and his staff sign a class that not only has highly rated prospects, but seems to address the program’s particular needs (which to me is much more important than how ESPN ranks the class in relation to other schools’ classes).

UGA may have a great day, even stealing a prospect away from a rival. Or one of those kids who’s professed for months that he’s a Dawg may turn around and sign with Ole Miss, or whoever turns out to be this year’s hot-new-recruiting magnet.

Either way, Georgia still will field a team this fall in the most beautiful college stadium. Thousands still will flood into the coolest college town in the country and enjoy the tailgating and the traditions and all the color and pageantry that is so much a part of college football.

No matter who signs today, at some point this fall, the Dawgs will thrill us by winning one they weren’t expected to win. Chances are, they also might dash our hopes by losing one (or two) they shouldn’t have lost.

And I’ll be just as wrapped up in the emotional ups and downs of Georgia football as I’ve been for more than five decades now.

Heartbreak? Yeah, I’ll probably experience that at some point during the season.

Just not today.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

84 comments Add your comment

PMR

February 5th, 2014
12:59 am

PMR

February 5th, 2014
1:13 am

I think it’s important to remember the point you made in that even though critics of the program always want to point out that UGA always gets a top ten recruiting class, there might be 5 or 6 in conference who are better. And if you don’t have the horses you can’t pull the wagon. Doesn’t matter if both Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry are driving the wagon (coaching). Many times when it comes to the better prospects their decision is based strictly on the depth chart. If there is a big time player who is going to be in front of you for two or three years, the better prospects are going else where for playing time. Many times it comes down to what schools will take what academics. For example UGA gets both Nkemdiches if the eldest one has good enough grades soon enough. Ole Miss was willing to take him before UGA was. So a lot goes into it. But one thing is for certain you don’t win consistently against top competition when you don’t have the best players.

7576DAWG

February 5th, 2014
3:10 am

Georgia always ends up top ten but only half of the class are great players. Georgia can compete with any school in the nation if you compare our first team to anyone else. What separates teams like Alabama from Georgia is their second and third teams. They can rotate a lot of players throughout the game without any reduction in talent on the field. Georgia get’s tired and the game is over.
It has taken Richt a lot of near misses to realize that you can’t stop recruiting great players after you get about 15 in place. Giving more than one walk-on a Scholarship will only hurt your own team when the lack of depth shows up on the field AND it is better to give a 2 or 3 star recruit a Scholarship than to only have 75 players on the roster. We have seen a huge change in our recruiting philosophy in the last 2 years and I think we will see the results pay off on the field with more wins.

Columbus Dawg

February 5th, 2014
5:24 am

7576, You are correct, sir. Depth is the thing, but 2014 looks to be the deepest team in quite a while at UGA, and Richt need not screw it up this time around. Next year will be right back to rebuilding, so the pressure is mounting among most for Richt to actually accomplish something in 2014. 2013 was not going to be the year without a defense, but there is ample two deep talent for Pruitt to choose from right away. Richt will have to bite the bullet and not let favoritism and promises to players pull him down in 2014. Chubb said coaches told him that he is expected to come in and compete for the starting job at tailback, if this is true, then Richt is serious about the season. What this means is they are looking for the top #2 behind Gurley, and the redshirt for Marshall may be a reality. It also will go a long way in getting Gurley back in football shape because from what I have seen of Nick Chubb, he has a MUCH better chance at Gurley’s job than Marshall ever did. Chubb is much like Gurley in that he fights his way through the line of scrimmage, won’t be denied. Marshall has never been able to run between the tackles well, he looks as if he has a balance problem. Goes down way too easy. It would be sweet to get Andrew Williams from Auburn. Carter is coming. Sony’s WR team mate is coming. He may just be the return man UGA has been missing for years!

NoAxeoGrind

February 5th, 2014
5:33 am

If you were a highly recruited pospect, which team/coach would you rather play for? A team annually a national champonship and BCS bowl contender or one that isn’t, all other things being equal?

Larry W Tucker

February 5th, 2014
6:19 am

I agree with what your saying about how they are rated, but just look at Georgia Tech as an example of why it’s important to land top prospects. If Paul Johnson could recruit, he would be in the Orange Bowl almost every year. Alabama by far gets the best players and signs at least 25 of them every year and gets around the 85 scholarship limit. I just wish Georgia could sign more of the top in state talent. It just makes you want to scream to see all those guys playing for Auburn, Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, and on and on and on. Maybe one day we can get some of Auburn’s Divine Intervention and with our talent and win it all. Maybe it will start today.

Jim

February 5th, 2014
6:19 am

Best view of NSD I have ever read. I still get caught up in the excitement of this day, to a point, but approach it with far more wisdom than in years past. Regardless of how things shake out for my beloved Dawgs, I will enjoy my day and look forward to the rising of the sun on February 6th. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!

Bama Fan #2

February 5th, 2014
7:01 am

NSD is Nick Saban Day to us Alabama fans!! Good luck to the dawgs
and hope you sign the Carter kid. The best news for Georgia is getting
Jeremy Pruitt as DC!! RTR

Macclenny_dawg

February 5th, 2014
7:19 am

We have the skill players we need. We just need the beef up front. It starts and stops at the line of scrimmage!!! Go Dawgs!!!

dawgfan

February 5th, 2014
8:36 am

Fair analysis Bill. As long as Mark Richt is their coach we can expect the same ole same ole. 2 or more losses and only beating about 25% of the ranked teams that we play.

That’s Mark Richt Football.

maconexpress

February 5th, 2014
8:38 am

UGA lands Isaiah McKenzie! I love this kid. CMR, change your offense for this kid!

dawgfan

February 5th, 2014
8:41 am

“CMR, change your offense for this kid!”

Let me guess. He’s about 6′6″, 240 lbs. with a laser rocket arm, runs a 4.4 forty and would be the top QB taken in the NFL draft.

Sounds like a tight end in Richt’s system.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
8:43 am

Look what won the Super Bowl…. was it the QB? The WR’a ? RB’s? Or was it the DEFENSE?

DAWGS need to concentrate on the DL & OL . McCarron was not better than Murray, Yelden was not better than Gurley, Bama’s WR’s were not better than UGA’s. They were better on the OL and the OL won their last BCS championship.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
8:46 am

dawgpoop – McKenzie is actually 5′8″ WR…. but a 4 star on the same team as Sony Michel.

maconexpress

February 5th, 2014
8:55 am

dawgfan, I know CMR can be stubborn but I notice a positive change in the man. I think he need to hire an offensive advisor who is capable of assimilating an offense in order to utilize players like Isaiah McKenzie. McKenzie is a BIG TIME game changer. Just my opinion.

Bulldawg35

February 5th, 2014
9:08 am

I’m already disappointed with this class…way to many *3 star players!!!! Get on the ball Richt. I bet Andrew Williams signs with auburn! Help help help!!!!!

dawgfan

February 5th, 2014
9:13 am

Oh great. Another undersized receiver. He’ll look great on the sidelines while we get our brains beat in by teams that know how to win big time SEC football.

I’m stoked.

UGA Insider

February 5th, 2014
9:30 am

Don’t expect too much today guys…. Auburn, Tenn, LSU, UF and of course Bama smoked us this year in recruiting. They outworked us and that’s about all you can say. until Pruitt arrived we have a very passive staff which is accepted by McGarity because he is a passive guy.

I have heard that many coaches are telling kids that 2014 or 2015 is going to be the last for CMR so that is the word that is out there being used against us. I guess we will see.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 5th, 2014
9:51 am

And thank YOU, Insider, for helping SPREAD the baseless RUMOR, genius.

old dog

February 5th, 2014
10:00 am

We need more o-linemen, folks….more o-linemen. This is one of our weaker areas, and I am seeing us out-recruited by other SEC teams in this category…..

SimpleDawg

February 5th, 2014
10:15 am

Bill, I’m with you. The televised hat dance is almost too much frivolous drama for me.

You can usually tell the solid kid by how little he is affected by all of the hoopla.

old dog

February 5th, 2014
10:55 am

We do okay on skill players, but we really need to go hard after o-linemen. We oughta be on the top o-linemen like Candy Crowly on a Reese Cup. If we were as successful at bringing in the big guys up front as we are at bringing in skill players, we would dominate……

LOS matters in the rugged SEC

February 5th, 2014
11:28 am

Clemson was more physical than UGA and Clemson was no big deal. Their QB outplayed our choke artist QB, TG and G he is gone.

Now, when UGA got back n the SEC, Vandy, Mizzo, LSU and Florida OUT MUSCLED UGA but won two of them BARELY. SC and Auburn were also muscle games.

UGA will continue to ATTEMPT to be a finess team in a very rugged PHYSICAL league. This fact alone is why UGA will be a 9-3 type of ball club under CMR.

UGA alumnus, class of 71&7

dawgfan

February 5th, 2014
12:29 pm

Bama killed it on the O-line, as usual. Saban better make some room in his trophy case.

Continuity is a good thing for Georgia.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
12:38 pm

AuBARN loses Reshaun Evans to Bama even though Evans went to AuBARN High School. AuBARN is headed back to mediocrity soon.

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
12:45 pm

McCarron was not better than Murray, Yelden was not better than Gurley, Bama’s WR’s were not better than UGA’s. They were better on the OL and the OL won their last BCS championship.
——
Ri-Da…….Y’all don’t have anyone better than Amari Cooper or Kevin Norwood. Christion(yes, spelled with an o) Jones is also more productive than any UGA WR.
But yes, you’re right about the O-Line.
……..And, uh, we just inked the greatest collection of O-Linemen in recruiting history!!

Class of '98

February 5th, 2014
12:45 pm

I’m a huge Georgia fan, but the term “Dream Team” is overused. That UGA class wasn’t even #1 in the country that year.

There is only one Dream Team, and they played basketball in Barcelona in 1992.

Bulldawg35

February 5th, 2014
1:18 pm

I will be fine with this class if we get Williams and carter. Next year we better work our tails off to get more OL……garner and Grantham really put us in a mess.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:27 pm

Big Crimson 75 – I hear you. I will take Murray over McCarron any day and that is not saying McCarron was bad but he had the BEST OL in the nation in front of him. He had a surprisingly poor game against Okie – homa, missed several receivers wide open.

I will take the “collective” group of WR’s at UGA (when they are healthy) over Bama’s. Cooper didn’t show up that well this year but a lot of that was McCarron going to the wrong receiver. Where was O.J. Howard… he was way under used.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:30 pm

Has Malkom Parrish signed yet? I see everyone that committed has signed but Parrish… maybe he has a later press conference or whatever.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:36 pm

Never mind I see now that Parrish has signed… that leave Lorenzo Carter as probably the last to sign.

Big blow that Rashaan Evans signed with Bama instead of AuBarn.

Saban is the best “closer” in the nation – no doubt. Maybe top 5 or 10 as a coach but #1 as a recruiter.

todd44dawg

February 5th, 2014
1:37 pm

Flo-Ri-Duh I could not agree with you more. Defense wins championships. Also look at the Superbowl champs special teams play. They did well in off, de, and spec teams. Also they never took their foot off the gas. UGA could learn a lot from that game.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:38 pm

How could Saban lose back to back games with all that talent? Like I said he was the best “closer” – not the best coach.

maconexpress

February 5th, 2014
1:39 pm

@Flo-Ri-Duh

@GentryEstes247 #UGA has now received signed NLIs from all prospects who are committed at this time. #SigningDay

17 minutes ago

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:42 pm

Dawgs started out strong in recruiting in 2013 off of their good showing against Bama in the SEC champ game. Then the injuries set in after the wins against S.C. and LSU. They should have definitely bet Vandy and AuBarn but let it get away. This had a detrimental effect on finishing their recruiting.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:44 pm

What gets me is how great a job of recruiting MusChump did despite his miserable losing season. It did affect him though as several commits flipped to other teams that had committed to MusChump.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
1:50 pm

20 have signed with UGA out of a possible 21 – 22 with two left open for Lorenzo Carter and Andrews.

RxDawg

February 5th, 2014
1:57 pm

LOL, I didn’t even know it was signing day today! I’m tellin ya, football is so much more enjoyable when you don’t follow recruiting. I gave it up last year.

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
3:05 pm

Flo….I changed my tune dramatically on Murray this past season.
Anyone who wouldn’t recognise what that guy was doing was simply hating.
I’m actually kinda glad McCarron is gone. No more over-throws to wide open WRs for easy TDs !!

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
3:11 pm

……..and we didn’t have the best O-Line in the nation this year.
In fact we didn’t have the best in the State.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
3:20 pm

Big Crimson 75- I sent you a message but blog monster ate it.

Agreed. AuBarn’s OL was the strength of their team but big Greg Robinson and Tre’ Mason are going pro. I expect the Tigras to take a step back in 2014. We’ll see.

Who is next in line for Bama’s QB? Is there a front runner? Who would be 2nd in line?

Bulldawg35

February 5th, 2014
3:35 pm

We didn’t get….

Tj Harrell
Tavon Ross

Andrew Williams

Dontavious russell

We won’t never win a national championship as long as we can’t recruit top 5!!!!!

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
3:44 pm

35….Focus on who y’all got. That’s all that matters.

Flo…..I’d take Robinson & Mason for the Falcons. Mason especially — he could help the Birds immediately!!
That’s the big question in Bama-Land. Those thinking this Coker transfer is gonna work out like Russell Wilson to Whiskey might wanna relax. It could very easily be more like Jeremiah Masoli to Oxford!!
We’ll lose 1 QB after Spring ball, maybe 2 to transfers.

Old Dawg

February 5th, 2014
3:55 pm

It’s all a crap shoot. You just never know. I’ve seen the best high school players go bust for one reason or another through the years, so I just sit back and wait. Every now and then you’ll get a player out of nowhere like Nate Taylor and he becomes a world beater. And then there’s Isaiah Crowell, who’s as talented as countless top-tier players and he gets kicked out of school.

There’s Terry Hoage, who received one D-I offer, and became an All-American at UGA and had a stellar NFL career, and many similar stories on positive and negative notes.

We’re talking about teenagers. They’re going to make mistakes. They’ll have ego issues. They’ll flunk. And they’ll get injured.

Like I said, it’s all a crap shoot and we need to sit back, relax and wait to see how this roll of recruiting dice plays out.

It’s that simple.

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
3:58 pm

Old Dawg……Well said — It’s still fun to project the possibilities, however.

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
4:00 pm

Carter is a good pickup for UGA.
It’s the smart choice.
UGA right now is the superior program to Fla.
I still say the DT y’all inked from NC is your best defensive recruit.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 5th, 2014
4:00 pm

Lorenzo Carter signs with the Dawgs! Saban can’t get them all!

This marks the end of the season for college football and on with recruiting for 2015

Next big thing up for the NFL is Free Agent signings and the combine.- and finally the draft will end the NFL season.

Big Crimson 75

February 5th, 2014
4:10 pm

What gets me is how great a job of recruiting MusChump did despite his miserable losing season.
——–
Flo…..Thankfully, All(or most All) of the SEC Schools have stopped the “Negative recruiting” nonsense that plagued our region for a number of years. Everyone was guilty of it, btw.
The new “It” thing appears to be the promise of early playing time!! Which in-itself is complete BS.
Our famed ‘08 Class came on the heels of .500 season in which we got boat-raced by LA-Lafayette(among others). UGA’s dream team came off Richt’s worst season in Athens.
Now No-Champ delivers a really good class coming off the worst Fla season since Pre-Galen Hall!!
Early PT is all these kids wanna hear.

Bulldawg35

February 5th, 2014
4:42 pm

I’m glad we got carter. But we still have a long ways too go.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 5th, 2014
5:47 pm

It’s too early to know for sure, but based on the ESPN rankings ours was not a “Great” recruiting class but we did make their top 10 at least. There in lies the problem. There are a whole bunch of SEC teams ranked ahead of us. Yes, our direct competitors and the conference “beast” Alabama at a distant number 1. The good news is it looks like we addressed a number of our needs, got some great running backs, a great defensive end and some other players that should definitely contribute to the program. With our new coaches, these recruits and our current talent, there is definitely reason for optimism.

It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog!!!