UGA rescued its football season after an 0-2 start with 10 straight wins.
Can the Bulldogs have the same type of dramatic turnaround in recruiting? We’ll have a good idea within the next few weeks.
One year after hauling in the “Dream Team” recruiting class which was stacked with star power and ranked as one of the top 5-6 in the country, UGA is off to a struggling start with this year’s crop of talent. The Bulldogs have 15 commitments, with really only one big name — 5-star OL commit John Theus of Jacksonville.
How is UGA doing in the team recruiting rankings so far for 2012? They are No. 32 by Scout.com, No. 22 by Rivals, No. 22 by 247Sports.com and No. 15 by ESPN.
“Georgia is a little behind schedule with its recruiting class, compared to the last 4-5 years at this point,” said Chad Simmons, National Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com. “There were questions surrounding Mark Richt and his coaching status entering this season. With the way Georgia has played, however, I think Richt has solidified his spot. I think things will pick up and they’ll be back where they are used to being around signing day.”
Said Rusty Mansell of 247sports.com, “I don’t know if I’ve seen a Georgia class the last 4-5 years that had this many spots open this late. They could possibility have anywhere from 10-12 spots left to fill, depending on how they may want to fill it. Obviously, when you’re talking about offensive line prospects, it starts with John Theus. You’re talking about a kid who will probably be an NFL left tackle.”
“This class, whatever they end up with, this class will be known by whether or not they get Keith Marshall and another running back when it’s all said and done. I think it’s obvious to everybody who watches Georgia play that they need depth at running back, and they need it now.”
Who is Keith Marshall? He’s ranked as the No. 1 RB in the nation, and will announce his college decision on Dec. 6 between UGA and Clemson, along with Florida, South Carolina and Notre Dame. Georgia is rumored to be the longtime frontrunner for Marshall. Richt apparently wants Marshall so badly that he that he openly discussed the need for a “great running back” (without naming names) to reporters at a recent press conference.
Then on Dec. 10, UGA will have its biggest recruiting weekend of the year, trying to bring in as many of its current commitments and top targets as possible at the same time for official visits (we’ll discuss more in detail later).
Who are some of UGA’s top targets that could give the Bulldogs a big boost in the team recruiting rankings? There’s DE Jordan Jenkins of Harris County (considering Alabama, Florida, UGA and others), RB Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C. (UNC, UGA, others), LB-S Josh Clemons of Lowndes (top three are UGA, Florida and LSU), WR Cordarelle Patterson of Hutchinson, Kan., junior college (Tennessee, UGA, others), OL Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens, DE Kenderius Whitehead of ML King (Clemson, UGA and North Carolina), and DT Dalvin Tomlinson of Henry County (Alabama, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Indiana, UGA).
UGA is also flirting with several players committed to other schools, including WR Jaquay Williams of Sandy Creek (Auburn), LB Dillon Lee of Buford (Alabama) and LB Markuss Eligwe of Stone Mountain (Florida State).
Who else? That remains to be seen after the UGA staff sits down to evaluate and discuss specific prospects at length after the SEC championship game. There are plenty of committed prospects considering other options after coaching turnover at Ole Miss, Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina and UAB, among others.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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