THE TEN AT 10:
1. I’ve been asked by my editors this week to examine Georgia’s recruiting classes over the last few years and try to determine whether mistakes in that arena are the reason for the Bulldogs’ collapse in 2010.
I’m still early in my research and I don’t want to give away the whole shooting match, but I will share a little with you. The bottom line is either Georgia’s recruiting classes either didn’t live up to their billing or the the Bulldogs’ coaches didn’t get enough out of the talent they brought to Athens.
The average recruiting ranking for Georgia’s classes — taking ratings from Rivals, Scout and ESPN since 2006 — is a little above 8. Now it has definitely been trending upward of late (or should that be downward?). Last year’s class averaged out at No. 16, with a high rating of 21 coming from Scout. 2007 was also a down year by the Bulldogs’ standards with an average ranking of 13. The other three classes were all top-10 ranked.
Meanwhile, many of the seniors on this year’s squad were members of Georgia’s 2006 class, which received a consensus No. 4 rating. Of course, a lot of those guys are also gone, including QB Matthew Stafford, TB Knowshon Moreno and FS Reshad Jones. But numerous starters remain, including Chris Davis, Josh Davis, Akeem Dent, Demarcus Dobbs, Darryl Gamble, Shaun Chapas and Kris Durham.
Notably NOT starting out of that group are two five-star recruits: LB Akeem Hebron and DT Brandon Wood.
Of course, recruiting is an inexact science and it’s always interesting to look back. So stay tuned this week as I parcel out my findings here while putting together a full report for Thursday’s print edition.
2. Alabama is reaping recruiting dividends of a big win Saturday over Florida before a throng of blue-chip recruits. The Crimson Tide received at least two commitments since then. CB Chris Jones, a four-star safety from Adamsville, Ala., for 2011 and Caleb Gulledge, a 2012 defensive end from of Prattville, Ala.
3. The Tide has their eye on at least one more this week and it’s a big one. Four-star running back Dee Hart of Orlando will announce between Alabama and Michigan on Friday. Hart was also in Tuscaloosa this past weekend visited this past weekend and eliminated Auburn and Arkansas from his list after the visit, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
4. Four-star offensive tackle Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County was also among the Tide visitors. He didn’t commit but has set up his first official visit to Alabama in January, according to TideSports.com. Ward plans to attend to the Florida-LSU game in Gainesville this Saturday.
5. Someone who was NOT in Tuscaloosa on Saturday was AJC Super 11 athlete Damian Swann of Grady. Swann, who is deciding between the Tide, Florida and Georgia, said he decided not to make the trip. But he’s also not planning on going to Athens this weekend. And Swann told me reports that he was ready to make a commitment, possibly this week, were untrue.
6. By the way, Colorado got a commitment coming out of its big victory over Georgia. According to ESPN, the Buffaloes landed Alex Kelley, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound offensive lineman from Vista, Calif. It wasn’t a remarkable coup, however. His father, Karry Kelley, played right tackle for the Buffs.
7. The recruiting battle intensifies between Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Georgia for South Atlanta basketball star Nick Jacobs.
8. The Wolfpacker.com reports that Dave Mann, a 6-4, 230-pound defensive end out of Lithonia, has committed to N.C. State.
9. Clemson got commitment from LB B.J. Goodson of Lamar, S.C., according to PalmettoSports.com. Goodson is the 19th commitment for the Tigers and chose them over LSU and Tennessee.
10. OL Will Sport (6-6 275) of Pace, Fla., committed to South Carolina, per Palmetto. He is No. 19 for the Gamecocks.