UGA’s class has ‘wow’ factor; Tech’s high on versatility

Spent a lot of the day Thursday catching my breath after national signing day. But, in case you didn’t see a print edition of the newspaper Thursday, here’s an analysis piece I was asked to write for it. I’d love to get your thoughts. . . .


Thumbs up: To the “Dream Team” theme. Rival recruiters and a lot of media-types scoffed at the notion of placing a hokey name on UGA’s recruiting class in a year in which the state was supposed to be stocked with talent. But there is no denying the effectiveness of the tactic as the Bulldogs inked eight of the state’s top 12 players, including three who were ranked No. 1 in the nation at his position (running back Isaiah Crowell, defensive end Ray Drew, tight end Jay Rome).

Thumbs down: At this point at least, there does not appear to be any immediate help on either line of scrimmage. That will be remedied somewhat if the Bulldogs land junior college nose guard John Jenkins (6-4, 340), who will choose among UGA, Florida, Auburn and Miami on Saturday. In the meantime, their only interior defensive lineman, Spalding’s Chris Mayes (6-5, 295), has played football for only two years and won’t be ready to help next season. And the five offensive linemen coming in all are likely redshirt candidates.

Georgia Tech

Thumbs up: For athleticism and versatility. The Yellow Jackets team is filled with recruits who are designated as “athletes” (four) or “linebackers” (eight),  and in many cases it is unclear whether they’ll play defense or offense. That’s gives Tech coaches the flexibility to fit a large number of players to fill in wherever there is a deficiency. Guys like Corey Dennis (6-2, 205) and Tyler Marcordes (6-4, 215) played quarterback in high school but are more likely to play defense or receiver with the Yellow Jackets. Quarterback Vad Lee and linebacker Jabari Hunt-Daysare players who could play for any team.

Thumbs down: For perception. There’s no denying the Jackets’ class unraveled a bit toward the end. The reasons for their decisions can be debated but, the fact is, five players who were committed to Tech over the last three weeks signed somewhere else on national signing day. The Jackets recovered nicely, even getting a quality player like Anthony Harrell of Tampa to flip their way in the 11th hour. But, right or wrong, the perception is that Tech stumbled to the finish line.


Thumbs up: To Alabama and Auburn. The bitter rivals emerged once again as the class of the conference and were battling into Wednesday night over the final pieces that could put one over the other. is going to rank the Tigers No. 1 in the nation if they actually sign five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who committed to them but didn’t sign Wednesday. His brother Arie already attends Bama.

Thumbs down: To Florida and new coach Will Muschamp. Granted, the Gators have had to weather a coaching change and were coming off a No. 1-ranked recruiting class just a year ago. But when’s the last time they didn’t sign a single player from the state of Georgia? And with a new, young coach from Georgia, no less? They also didn’t close strong, contrary to tradition. And they had their hands on some good ones late.


Thumbs up: Florida State is generally getting credit for doing the best job in the league — and arguably in the country — but it’s hard to think of anybody doing a better job than Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. Coming off a disappointing season and with Swinney’s job security in doubt, the Tigers managed to sign three out-of-state, five-star prospects and five overall. Most surprisingand unexpected was stealing five-star linebacker Tony Steward from FSU. . . . North Carolina’s Butch Davis did pretty well despite the chatter of NCAA violations.

Thumbs down: While they were burdened with late-year coaching changes, neither Maryland’s Randy Edsall nor Miami’s Al Golden were able to rally and distinguish themselves with their first recruiting classes. And Duke and Wake Forest were unable to overcome the constraints of higher academic standards to land a class that would appear to lift them toward the top of the league.


Thumbs up: To the Southeastern Conference. There’s a reason why the league has won five consecutive BCS titles and it starts on the first Wednesday in February every year. Concentrating mainly on players from the South — a great deal of them in Georgia — Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU are all going to end up with consensus top 10 recruiting rankings nationally. It would appear that the strong only got stronger this year.

Thumbs down: To the Big Ten. Outside of Ohio State, which cleaned up in-state as usual, no team really stood out with its 2011 recruiting effort. Penn State had a small class devoid of any real star power and Michigan appears to have waited too long to make a change at head coach and didn’t get the players it will need under new coach Brady Hoke.

211 comments Add your comment


February 3rd, 2011
5:08 pm

There can only be 1 rep out of the SEC West in the SEC Champ game, and 1 out of the SEC East.

Looks like Auburn won the West, and Georgia dominated the East.


February 3rd, 2011
5:10 pm

Watch the Dream Team turn into a nightmare.


February 3rd, 2011
5:12 pm

#14 coming to a Wal-Mart near you. Roll Tide!!

Chip Folendore

February 3rd, 2011
5:13 pm

excellent work all year on your coverage.
think you are a true five star
thank you.


February 3rd, 2011
5:15 pm

Palm City Dawg

February 3rd, 2011
5:15 pm

There will be help on both sides of the ball and in a BIG way. 2011 will be a dream year for the DAWGS! I have suppported Richt and will always support him and respect his coaching abilities.


February 3rd, 2011
5:16 pm

No More 10 @10 on Tues. and Thurs. Come on we need them. Don’t make us go cold turkey.


February 3rd, 2011
5:20 pm

I think one of Richt’s best jobs of recruting was keeping the 3 starting O Lineman from going pro. And landing the #1 ranked RB didn’t hurt the run game. Added a lot of depth to the O-Line if injuries hit with the 5 top ranked recruits. Kudos to Richt on that one.

If Richt also gets the #1 ranked DLineman NT Jenkins, along with Drew at #1 ranked DE, he really shored up both lines.

He actually couldn’t have drawn it up any better, if Jenkins joins Saturday.


February 3rd, 2011
5:23 pm

Chip Towers…….” placing a hokey name ” Virginia Tech or hockey ? Roll Tide #1 regardless of what Kouandjio does…….Coming back after Georgia recruits again this year , this should be fun.


February 3rd, 2011
5:27 pm

Our recruiting class shouldn’t scare you. But our reinvigorated CMR should. How quick you forget.


February 3rd, 2011
5:27 pm

Worst 10 @ 10 EVER!


February 3rd, 2011
5:30 pm

We don’t need an OL coach. Garner can coach the OL, Grantham can coach the DL, and then we can bring in Ralph Friedgen to assist on the Offensive side of the ball. Bobo should be our official recruiting coordinator.

all the pieces are falling into place!

Frank Lane

February 3rd, 2011
5:34 pm

I think that the concept of the Dream Team now belongs to UGA and can be repeated every year as Dream Team 2012, etc. And should have even more power to recruit next year, particularly if the key members of this year’s class produce next year. You could only do this in one of three states with enough top recruits; Texas, Florida or Georgia, and we did it first.


February 3rd, 2011
5:35 pm



February 3rd, 2011
5:39 pm

To the Southeastern Conference. There’s a reason why the league has won five consecutive BCS titles and it starts on the first Wednesday in February every year.

Perfect statement Chip.


February 3rd, 2011
5:39 pm Top 20 players in GA next year. I wonder how many Bama / UGA battles are in this top 20 ?

Vick=Dog killing Thug

February 3rd, 2011
5:41 pm

You have really done a good job Chip.. Thanks


February 3rd, 2011
5:41 pm

I’m very happy with the class but it’s only a dream team if we sign jenkins. What happened to some of the rumored suprises? I’m not complaining but there were no shockers as some had predicted. I have been out of the loop the last few days as my wife went into labor and I had my first child. I missed signing day but I sure am not complaining about it because I now have a wonderful baby boy.

joe suggs

February 3rd, 2011
5:41 pm

The city of Columbus,Ga. should just move itself to Alabama !

joe suggs

February 3rd, 2011
5:43 pm

Layinlow, who cares about your baby boy !!!

Tech Fan Since 1950

February 3rd, 2011
5:45 pm

Now, who has responsibility for “perception?” Tech has always recruited differently and not conventionally. The Triple Option, based on Coach Johnson’s style for targeted ingredients and commitment, requires a more versatile student/athlete. This may be one of the tallest and fastest Tech classes in Tech history, based on the facts provided. It is certainly a very athletic class. Tech will be better overall on offense and will retain its number one ranking in rushing. If I have a disappointment, it is on the defensive side where we lost out on the defensive ends. BUT, I think Coach Johnson has been clever in his efforts to redshirt defensive lineman so we have some guys standing in line who haven’t played. This Tech team will be better next year if just a little bit more improvement on defense can be attained. Sounds like we got character guys who can also make the grades. GO JACKETS!


February 3rd, 2011
5:47 pm

layinlow…….Congratulations on your baby boy.

Roll Tide


February 3rd, 2011
5:55 pm

Thank you, Chip, for all your hard work this recruiting season. I really enjoyed your column.

All thumbs up from me on the class coming to Athens this year. And if we get good news on Saturday it will be even sweeter. Go Dawgs!

Old Dawg

February 3rd, 2011
5:55 pm

Nice work, as always, Chip. I know keeping up with all of the players, coaches etc isn’t easy, but you got it all done in a timely manner.

Kudos to you and everyone at the AJC!


February 3rd, 2011
5:56 pm

And congrats to you and your wife, layinlow!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Go UGA Football!!, Sean Womble, John, Peet Yssel, Chip Towers and others. Chip Towers said: UGA’s class has ‘wow’ factor; Tech’s high on versatility [...]

Dawg 4 Life !

February 3rd, 2011
5:57 pm

just a fan

February 3rd, 2011
6:01 pm

congrats layinlow and I hope you are looking forward to sleepless nights


February 3rd, 2011
6:05 pm

Chip I just want to say you did an excellent job keeping all us DAWG fans informed on signing day. Thanks for all the hard work… I really enjoy your blogs, keep up the good work… And Go DAWGS!!!!

Vandy Dawg

February 3rd, 2011
6:05 pm

Great job Chip. Thanks for all the tireless work you do for the Dawg Nation. Skip has been following you all season and finds you to be right on. Go DAWGS. Looking forward to the 2012 Dream Team. I hope Richt and Bobo put Saban and Kirby in their place again next year.

Beast of the East

February 3rd, 2011
6:06 pm

gators are done! A loser Georgia player as coach..what a joke! FSU will now rise to the top and the gators will be the gators of the 80’s!


February 3rd, 2011
6:07 pm

Amazingly the Vols are headed for probation and scholly reductions-ONE day after signing day?

Why did I even bother?

February 3rd, 2011
6:08 pm

U said thumbs down? It’s a good thing if all of our linemen redshirt. This does’t deserve to be a “thumbs down”.

5150 P.O.A.D

February 3rd, 2011
6:09 pm

The nightmare is Tech’s class! Ain’t got nothing!!

Dawg 101

February 3rd, 2011
6:12 pm

joe suggs at lease it is only his son and not his nephew too!! And I care. Congrates layinlow!!

Dawg 101

February 3rd, 2011
6:13 pm

Enter your comments here


February 3rd, 2011
6:15 pm

Just in. Richt has arranged with the University of Georgia to give credit to players spending time in Clark County Correctional. Players will be given credit for hours served that can be used on any degree program. Richt believes this new program will help recruit Dream Team II and will help the Univerisitys diversity program. Richt stated we should help our players become useful citizens and earn credit at the same time.

Coach Hewitt...

February 3rd, 2011
6:17 pm


February 3rd, 2011
6:18 pm

AJC Top 50 commits by school
In parentheses: Stars, Rating, Nat’l position rank, overall nat’l rank according to

1. RB Isaiah Crowell (5, 6.1, 4, 23)
2. DE Ray Drew (5, 6.1, 1, 9)
3. TE Jay Rome (4, 5.9, 4, 56)
5. ATH Nick Marshall (4, 5.8, 15, NR)
6. WR Malcolm Mitchell (4, 6.0, 1, 30)
9. OL Xzavier Ward (3, 5.7, 42, NR)
11. WR Chris Conley (3, 5.7, 37, NR)
12. CB Damian Swann (4, 5.9, 3, 47)
22. S Corey Moore (4, 5.8, 5, 103)
25. DE Sterling Bailey (4, 5.8, 8, 105)
27. ILB Amarlo Herrera (4, 5.8, 13, 230)
29. WR Justin Scott-Wesley (4, 5.8, 32, NR)
30. OT Watts Dantzler (3, 5.7, 44, NR)
33. ATH Chris Sanders (3, 5.7, 24, NR)
41. C David Andrews (3, 5.7, 9, NR)

17. OLB Jabari Hunt-Days (4, 5.8, 11, 187)
19. ATH Chris Milton (3, 5.7, 22, NR)
39. RB Zach Laskey (2, 5.4, NR, NR)
49. RB Broddy Snoddy (3, 5.6, NR, NR)


February 3rd, 2011
6:21 pm

And just for kicks…
15. TE C.J. Uzomah (3, 5.7, 20, NR)
16. DT Gabe Wright (4, 5.8, 13, 141)
18. RB Quan Bray (4, 5.8, 5, 109)
31. OG Thomas O’Reilly (3, 5.6, 43, NR)
46. OLB Justin Garrett (3, 5.6, NR, NR)
24. WR Demarco Robinson (3, 5.6, NR, NR)
26. RB Marcus Caffey (3, 5.7, 37, NR)
44. RB Josh Clemons (3, 5.6, 54, NR)
50. S Ashely Lowery (3, 5.6, 59, NR)
28. QB Martay Mattox (3, 5.6, 27, NR
31. S Kadetrix Marcus (3, 5.7, 30, NR)
43. OT Quincy McKinney (3, 5.6, 61, NR)
47. OG Kyle Harris (3, 5.6, 37, NR)
7. ILB A.J. Johnson (4, 5.8, 8, 136)
14. S Brian Randolph (3, 5.7, 32, NR)
21. OT Alan Posey (3, 5.7, 46, NR)
40. ILB Christian Harris (3, 5.5, NR, NR)
48. ATH Vincent Dallas (3, 5.7, 35, NR)

West Coast Dawg

February 3rd, 2011
6:26 pm

Also just in…Tuscaloosa General has admitted 13 Alabama football players with what appear to be “career-ending” injuries…we’d give you there names, but, thankfully, none of them ever took the field for the Taaaahhhhhde. Luckily, the extra 13 players in the Bama signing class can step in and take their place.

St. Simon's rules...

February 3rd, 2011
6:33 pm

A list of committed 2011 prospects holding offers from both Tech and UGA: gt 0 for 29…

Sterling Bailey DE 4 5.8 GA Georgia
Devin Bowman ATH 3 5.7 GA Georgia
Chris Conley WR 3 5.7 GA Georgia
Watts Dantzler OL 3 5.7 GA Georgia
Zach DeBell OL 3 5.7 FL Georgia
Ray Drew DE 5 6.1 GA Georgia
Amarlo Herrera LB 4 5.8 GA Georgia
Nick Marshall ATH 4 5.8 GA Georgia
Xzavier Ward OT 3 5.7 GA Georgia
Justin Scott-Wesley WR 4 5.8 GA Georgia
Quan Bray ATH 4 5.8 GA Auburn
Chevelle Buie RB 4 5.8 FL East Carolina
Anthony Chickillo DE 4 5.9 FL Miami(FL)
Xzavier Dickson DE 4 5.9 GA Alabama
Erique Florence DB 4 5.9 AL Auburn
Taylor Gadbois OL 3 5.6 GA Miami(FL)
Doran Grant DB 4 6.0 OH Ohio St
Carlos Gray DT 3 5.5 NC NC State
Demetrius Hart RB 5 6.1 FL Alabama
Jeoffrey Pagan DE 4 6.0 NC Alabama
Brian Randolph DB 3 5.7 GA Tennessee
Terrance Smith LB 3 5.7 GA Florida St
Tony Steward LB 5 6.1 FL Clemson
Ja’Juan Story WR 4 5.8 FL Florida
Stephon Tuitt DE 5 6.1 GA Notre Dame
James Vaughters LB 4 5.9 GA Stanford
Jabriel Washington ATH 3 5.7 TN Alabama
James Wilder Jr. ATH 5 6.1 FL Florida St
Karlos Williams DB 5 6.1 FL Florida St


February 3rd, 2011
6:39 pm

West Coast Dawg…… Saban on these issues that you are talking about….yawn , would you like a stick to beat that dead horse with ?

LINK Basically, how do you know how many players are on scholarship at Bama ?

West Coast Dawg

February 3rd, 2011
6:41 pm

Exactly. It’s a dead horse. It’s an automated response. Mine’s funnier.


February 3rd, 2011
6:46 pm

This class may not have been big with o-lineman but we don’t need immediate help there. Last years class is ready to step in now. OL usually need a little seasoning anyway before they can play.


February 3rd, 2011
6:48 pm

Congrads. layinlow. Wish you and your spouse all the luck in the world.
DAWG 101, well said. LOL.


February 3rd, 2011
6:49 pm

Chip….it was a great ride. Now what am I going to do every evening? And any new info from Jenkins?

layinlow…congrats on the son!


February 3rd, 2011
6:50 pm

Still had a big Fish Fry at Tech Yesterday.All 3 members of the press who showed were fed a big plate of fried Catfish and Paul’s Favorite, Mullet. The hushpuppies ( They like to call them hushjackets)were big and plentiful, unlike the recruiting class. Al Groh polished off the day by taking everyone to the mall for some needed walking.


February 3rd, 2011
6:59 pm

Tech’s first rivals player was LB Hunt-Days at 187.


February 3rd, 2011
7:02 pm

Tech signing only 4 of top 50 in state is pathetic