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:
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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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