Georgia will need a strong finish over the next six weeks to maintain its record-breaking streak in football recruiting. The Bulldogs are the nation’s only team to place in the top 10 of the Rivals.com recruiting rankings each year since 2002.
Georgia has struggled some in assembling this year’s recruiting class, with the team’s 0-2 start and speculation over Mark Richt’s future as contributing factors.
The Bulldogs dropped back to No. 22 in this year’s Rivals rankings before bumping up to No. 16 after recently landing 5-star tailback Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C.
Here are five of Georgia’s top remaining targets:
Todd Gurley, RB, Tarboro, N.C.: The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is one of the Southeast’s hottest prospects after leading his team to the state championship (242 yards rushing and four touchdowns) and winning MVP honors at the Shrine Bowl all-star game for players from North Carolina and South Carolina (119 yards and two TDs). While his buddy Marshall is known for his raw speed, Gurley is a big and physical runner who also has respectable speed — he ran track for Team USA in the 110-meter hurdles last summer in Europe. North Carolina and Georgia are rumored to be the frontunners for Gurley, who also has Clemson and N.C. State on his short list. Marshall, who took an official visit to Georgia the same time as Gurley in September, has gone public with his intentions to recruit his buddy to play with him in the Bulldogs’ offensive backfield.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB-S, Lowndes: The 6-5, 200-pounder is an AJC Super 11 selection and one of the state’s most versatile athletes. Both Georgia and Florida are recruiting Harvey-Clemons at outside linebacker, while Alabama projects him to play wide receiver. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is in charge of recruiting Harvey-Clemons, who will visit Georgia on Jan. 20. “Bobo has done a good job in South Georgia with the last couple of recruiting classes, and it looks like this one might come down to Georgia and Florida,” said Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports.
Jordan Jenkins, DE-LB, Harris County: There may not be another top prospect who Georgia has made bigger strides in recent months than Jenkins, another AJC Super 11 selection. The 6-3, 250-pound Jenkins nearly canceled his official visit to Georgia on two separate occasions due to speculation about Richt before finally making the recruiting trip last month. Jenkins and his family are especially high on Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and spent most of the visit with him. Alabama has been the longtime frontrunner for Jenkins but Georgia has made advances. “Ever since making that visit, in talking with Jordan or a family member, Georgia has been mentioned,” Mansell said. “Georgia hasn’t given up on Jordan. They are recruiting him as hard as anybody. Right now, I still see Alabama as the team to beat, but Georgia has made a lot of progress in recent weeks.”
Avery Young, OL, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.: The 6-6, 270-pounder is the nephew of former Georgia standout Thomas Davis and lived in the Atlanta area when he was younger. The Bulldogs are determined to sign six offensive linemen, and have four committed, with Young the top remaining priority. Young has already taken official visits to Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Florida. He may visit Clemson or Oklahoma in January. “Avery is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the Southeast at any position; after seeing him play, he can pass block as well as anybody,” Mansell said. “He told me last week that Georgia and Auburn were his top two, and then [Auburn offensive coordinator] Gus Malzhan left for Arkansas State. I would think that would open up a little room for Georgia. Florida will be in the mix once they hire an offensive coordinator, and Alabama has been down there to talk to him in person. He’s definitely going to wait to announce until signing day, but Georgia will definitely be in it for him.”
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Hutchinson, Kan.: The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder is considered the No. 1 overall prospect out of the junior-college ranks. He’s an explosive playmaker, returning six kickoffs for touchdowns and setting several offensive records at Hutchinson. “He is a game-changer, and he can play immediately — wherever he chooses,” Mansell said. “It looks like a Georgia-vs.-Tennessee battle, and Arkansas could come into it.” Patterson’s quarterback from high school, Justin Worley, plays at Tennessee, which may factor into the decision. Patterson was going to be a mid-year transfer but will wait until the summer to enroll in his new school.
What about Georgia Tech? Check back next week for who is on the wishlist for the Yellow Jackets.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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