Lots of recruiting drama on horizon as Georgia welcomes national signing day

ATHENS – Happy National Signing Day to you.

For college coaches and recruitniks everywhere, today is the big day. Today we find out who’s going where and, in many cases, if they’re going where they said they would. The latter may apply quite often today for Georgia. The Bulldogs have been working hard to try to flip a few elite prospects who are committed elsewhere, while also fighting to hold onto some of their own, of course.

I’ll be at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall following the drama all day long, and there figures to be plenty. For up-to-the-minute news on commitments, be sure to follow me on Twitter.com @ajcuga and get the news as soon as I do.

Here’s what we know:

  • Georgia has 17 commitments coming into national signing day.

By rule it could sign as many as 10 more but is not expected to do so. But ideally the Bulldogs would land five or six more than they currently have — assuming, of course, all the commitments remain committed.

  • It appears to be a solid class that meets most of the team’s current needs.

The average ranking of the four main recruiting services is 14.75, with a high of No. 5 (ESPN) and a low of 22 (Scout). Tom Lemming, the recruiting expert for CBS Sports Network, has been doing this longer than almost everybody (38 years). He has the Bulldogs at No. 19 but list them among the teams that can rise the most today.

“They only have 17 players so theirs is one of the smallest classes so far,” Lemming said from New York, where he’ll be providing live recruiting coverage on Wednesday. “But they’re one of those are teams that could be moving up because they have room to maneuver.”

  • While Georgia lacks quantity, there is much quality already in the fold.

Lemming particularly intrigued by the two running backs the Bulldogs landed out of North Carolina.

“I saw Keith Marshall when I went to North Carolina and he’s probably the most exciting small back in the country,” Lemming said. “He has legit 10.6 100-meter speed. He’s got great vision. . . . Getting Todd Gurley is a big deal, too.

“[Gurley] is the biggest surprise in the country as far as running backs are concerned. I brought him to our Semper Fi game back in early January and he was one of our big stars. He was the star in the Shrine Bowl as well. So I think it’s a great combination of speed with Marshall and size with Gurley. . . . I’d say two of the top 6 in the country are both going to Georgia and are both impact players. Marshall is more of the now you see me now you don’t back and Gurley is more of the guy who can pound out those extra yards. Along with [Isaiah] Crowell from last year, they’ve got a stable now of running backs.”

  • Lemming has offensive lineman John Theus of Jacksonville rated his No. 1 tackle in America and the No. 7-ranked player overall.

“So I like him,” Lemming said. “I went to Jacksonville to see him and he reminds me of Joe Thomas, the all-pro with the Browns. He’s got those long arms and that aggressive style of play you rarely see in a big guy. He punishes everybody. Technically he’s one of the premier linemen of the last couple of years.”

Lemming is also impressed with the defensive talent the Bulldogs have assimilated, particularly with linemen such as Jonathan Taylor and outside linebackers such as Jordan Jenkins.

  • Georgia still needs offensive linemen.

They currently have three committed but lost one, Chester Brown, to a late-developing immigration issue. The Bulldogs set out to bring in at least five in this class, and they’re shooting high with targets that are on the board today. Four-star prospect Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is choosing between Georgia and Auburn (along with Florida and Miami) today at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs have also had a full-court press on longtime Alabama commitment Brandon Greene of Cedar Grove for weeks now.

  • A recruit who could move the needle on Georgia’s ranking is Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Considered by some services as the top prospect in the state, the outside linebacker from Valdosta’s Lowndes High is scheduled to announce his choice between UGA and FSU at 9:15 this morning. There has been more banter and speculation about this recruit than any player left in the state. There seems to be a consensus among analysts that he’ll end up at Georgia, but the pipeline from Lowndes to Tallahassee is well established and provides constant pull.

  • Georgia is also actively trying to flip several other high-profile commitments.

Among them are the state’s top receiver in JaQuay Williams of Sandy Creek (Auburn) and Tucker defensive end Josh Dawson (Vanderbilt). Williams was all over track coming down the stretch and nobody is sure what he’s going to do. Dawson, one of the state’s top student-athletes, is thought to be heading to Athens.

As always, there will be the usual surprises we no nothing about.

  • Head coach Mark Richt and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner are schedule to meet the press at 1 p.m.

So I’ll file a full report sometime after that. In the meantime, I’ll be tweeting signees and posting news to the blog here as soon as it becomes available.

Enjoy, and no nail-biting please.

GEORGIA 2012 COMMITMENTS

  1. DT John Atkins (6-4, 300), Thomson
  2. P Collin Barber (6-2, 191), Cartersville
  3. QB Faton Bauta (6-3, 225), West Palm Beach, Fla.
  4. OL Mark Beard (6-4, 290), Coffeyville (Kan.) CC/Adamsville, Ala.
  5. ATH Sheldon Dawson (5-11, 178), Memphis, Tenn.
  6. DL James Deloach (6-3, 260), Jenkins Co.
  7. DE Leonard Floyd (6-4, 215), Dodge Co.
  8. RB Todd Gurley (6-1, 195), Tarburo, NC
  9. FB Quayvon Hicks (6-2, 245), Pierce Co.
  10. OLB Jordan Jenkins (6-3, 245), Harris Co.
  11. RB Keith Marshall (5-11, 190), Raleigh, N.C.
  12. PK Marshall Morgan (6-3, 195), Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  13. OL Greg Pyke (6-6, 315), Baltimore, Md.
  14. TE Ty Smith (6-3, 228), Colquitt Co.
  15. DL Jonathan Taylor (6-4, 315), Jenkins Co.
  16. OT John Theus (6-6, 292), Jacksonville, Fla.
  17. WR Blake Tibbs (6-2, 185), M.L. King

81 comments Add your comment

morgandawg

February 1st, 2012
6:13 am

first gooooooo dawgs

TampaGator

February 1st, 2012
6:23 am

I think Georgia will have a good day today. I think the Gators will not close as strong as predicted.

I hope I am fright about the first and wrong about the second.

TampaGator

February 1st, 2012
6:24 am

morgandawg…..

I was first but waited for you to post so I would not be. See….Gators are not so bad.

TampaGator

February 1st, 2012
6:25 am

Paul (You doesn't have to call me Johnson).

February 1st, 2012
6:27 am

Alabama once again will “Gump” everybody

TampaGator

February 1st, 2012
6:31 am

Looks like Miami stepped in and stole Tracy Howard from the Gators (ill father had a lot to do with it, I read).

A lot of people are saying FSU for Harvey-Clemons, but I still say it will be the Dawgs.

I also have Dante Fowler was not just playing the Gators. But he might have.

NGA DawgFan

February 1st, 2012
6:41 am

All comments that follow will fall into one these three categories: (a) CMR and staff are failures because they will be unable to sign every player in the state of GA and every 4-5 star player nationally, (b) the players they do sign are criminals and/or idiots, or (c) so what if they sign good players because CMR and CMB are to dumb to coach them. A lot of comments are expected today so please, for the sake of brevity, choose one of the above answers, a,b or c, so this process can move quickly and allow for more responses. Thank you.

Spike

February 1st, 2012
6:43 am

Should be fun.

NGA DawgFan

February 1st, 2012
6:46 am

Sorry, forgot (d) the players CMR signs are either overrated or no other major program wanted them. Please refer to earlier post for instructions. And once again, thank you for your cooperation.

VinnyD

February 1st, 2012
6:51 am

I hope this class is full of guys who make us proud to be Bulldog fans. Ya know, the Myron Rolle, Tim Tebow, David Pollack kinda guys.

Invictus mon

February 1st, 2012
6:57 am

Looking forward to the results of the day!

Vince

February 1st, 2012
7:00 am

UGA can sign 27 and we may sign 20. What a joke. Pansy Richt loves handing schollies to walk-ons

13-1

February 1st, 2012
7:14 am

I’m excited. None on FAX machine yet.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 1st, 2012
7:22 am

Did anyone else notice the height of the DB yesterday(5′10)? I thought we only recruited 6′2 DB’s?

I believe the Dawgs also close strong today and lets hope this Greene kid pulls a Stroud!

13-1

February 1st, 2012
7:29 am

d ? d was not a choice.

a, b, and c.

BobDawg

February 1st, 2012
7:34 am

CLOSE STRONG!!!

BobDawg

February 1st, 2012
7:35 am

e) for excited……

13-1

February 1st, 2012
7:35 am

BobDawg

February 1st, 2012
7:36 am

LOWCOUNTRY… I noticed the Memphis dude can “fly”… he is one fast dude….

SEC Football

February 1st, 2012
7:42 am

WR PATTERSON SIGNED WITH TENNESSEE!

13-1

February 1st, 2012
7:52 am

We don’t need another stinking WR

13-1

February 1st, 2012
7:55 am

John Theus 1st signed

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 1st, 2012
7:55 am

Also if Patterson was the JUCO guy he was believed to be one and done. I would rather let Mitchell,Conley,Bennett and King be the our WR.

Addison

February 1st, 2012
7:58 am

How can sheldon dawson (cb) be ranked so high by some people and so low by others?

RedandBlackDAWG

February 1st, 2012
7:59 am

UGA has 17 committed right now and if all sign as expected, UGA will have filled it’s need for this year and gotten a good start at depth for the future. Even the O line will have 17 folks committed, and although inexperienced, Coach Friend has a lot to work with and will have them ready come the fall. Any additional signers today will be for depth, and this is a positive sign, for UGA. You don’t need to fill out every scholarship you can offer, just to add numbers every year. Why give a scholarship to a kid, you know most likely will not succeed just to satisfy a number. 17 quality recruits is equal to a mixture of 25 kids that have some who will succeed or not, based on their on field performance, academics etc.
UGA wants team players, and that is what they are getting.

GO DAWGS and GATA

P.S. If you go to 247 DAWGS, they have a web page, that will keep you up to date on the signings.

Dap01

February 1st, 2012
8:00 am

Tennessee? Did he watch them last year?

Come on Williams, FLIP to UGA.

Vince

February 1st, 2012
8:08 am

red and black, more walk-ons. Special teams will still suck because of it.

13-1

February 1st, 2012
8:09 am

13-1

February 1st, 2012
8:12 am

Collin Barber Punter 6-2 191 Cartersville, Ga.

Faton Bauta QB 6-3 225 West Palm Beach, Fla.

Mark Beard OL 6-4 290 Adamsville, Ala.

Keith Marshall RB 5-11 190 Raleigh, N.C.

John Theus OL 6-6 292 Jacksonville, Fla.

Chip Towers

February 1st, 2012
8:13 am

OT John Theus, Jacksonville, and P Collin Barber, Cartersville, are in. Along with Mark Beard, Keith Marshall and Faton Bauta, of course. . . . Be sure to follow @ajcuga on Twitter.com

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

February 1st, 2012
8:16 am

Get rid of Gardner and Richt, Georgia will be fine with Grantham as head coach, I Promise. Its gonna take another BS year for the AD to realize Hey nice guys do finish last; especially when they don’t know what they are doing. For the Love of God. LEAVE

Kramer

February 1st, 2012
8:22 am

Ga/Fl.stillman, the only bs is your post. For the Love of God…LEAVE! Florida can always use more fans like you. Morons.

Chip Towers

February 1st, 2012
8:24 am

Lowcountry: You’re right. Word is Patterson is a one-and-done no matter where he went.

DAWG08

February 1st, 2012
8:26 am

Why worry about this Patterson that chose UT? We would only get a year and with a lot of luck maybe two years out of him. WE ARE LOADED with really good young WRs right now, and RB! We need OL, BAD!!!!

Kramer

February 1st, 2012
8:29 am

DAWG08, you said a mouthful brother!

sogadog

February 1st, 2012
8:29 am

For what its worth, Scout has UGA at 17 not 22.

Top Row Dawg

February 1st, 2012
8:29 am

Compare Georgia to Tennessee before and after Gardner left there and came here. Wanting to get rid of him and CMR is the height of stupidity. Turn in your GSEF membership card Stillman you ignorant slut.

DawginLex

February 1st, 2012
8:31 am

Fon’t kid yourself, UT getting Patterson is HUGE for them. They now have 3 stud WR’s with Bray back and they return a ton of young talent. don’t overlook them.

DawginLex

February 1st, 2012
8:33 am

Don’t not fon’t.

Kramer

February 1st, 2012
8:33 am

DawginLex, you are correct about not over looking them however, we need linemen bad! Plus, you just never know if Da’Rick is going to grow up or blow up over the next 2 years.

13-1

February 1st, 2012
8:35 am

Scout has had us at 17 sogadog, you’re right. Only 2 of the ones ahead of us though have as few as we do. What that means is Quality, like Chip said, not quantity. We don’t have the quantity because we have walk-ons on scholarship who don’t play offense or defense – just those # 80 nationally special teams’ we have. And, those walk-ons who were not seniors who Mark Richt promised us would be 1 year only, are multiple years – as you can see. You can see all on Scholarship at :

http://uga.rivals.com/content.asp?SID=878&CID=387116

Chip Towers

February 1st, 2012
8:37 am

Little glitch on georgiadogs.com signing central page. Briefly had Chester Brown up there. He’s already signed with UCF. Cleared up now.

BigGAdawg

February 1st, 2012
8:38 am

Vince, you weren’t paying attention to the instructions. Your comment should have read “a + d”.
We need to add another answer “e” “None of the above”.
This one is for those of us who aren’t namby-pamby, thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, pablum-puking, WHINERS who are only happy when fussing about how terrible UGA and all it’s coaches are (aka all those who go the DeVry-of-the-Hood and their ilk.)

bucket

February 1st, 2012
8:47 am

Good luck to all the players who sign a LOI today and Go Dawgs! And for the love of UGA, please give it a rest today 13-1!!!!

DAWG08

February 1st, 2012
8:52 am

Like Chip said, one and done. Do you really want a guy that gets you all excited and then after a year, by by? Our passing game isn’t our problem right now. That would be our running game. So we need an OL that will allow those stud RBs to get a little space and open up an even better passing game. That starts with the OL. IMO TN can have the guy for a year.

bucket

February 1st, 2012
8:56 am

The UGA coaches were looking for Patterson to help with kick returning next year so his LOI to Tennessee is a loss for UGA and a good get for Tennessee.

sogadog

February 1st, 2012
9:01 am

You cant blame Patterson. The Dawgs are pretty loaded with young talented receivers such as Malcom Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley etc. No doubt he starts at Tenn.

Bulldog on the Bayou

February 1st, 2012
9:09 am

@!3-1 Just beginning your pre-algebra course, huh? A+B+C =?

wth

February 1st, 2012
9:09 am

@ NGA DawgFan – You forgot one important answer choice – somehow, it is all Nick Saban’s fault. No matter what the problem is. He is evil. RTR

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 1st, 2012
9:13 am

Patterson may help UT but IMO it would have only stunted the development of our WR’s. He is a assest to Dooley who knows how Hunter comes back from the ACL injury. If he returns healthy UT will have potentially a great trio of WR’s but still they have tons of issues.