- Kipp Adams, Reporter, RecruitingNation
With the initial release of the ESPN 300 for the 2014 class, the recent recruiting momentum by the University of Georgia shows the Bulldogs could close with another top class, even with less than 22 spots to fill.
At the top of the commitment list is running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), the No. 17 prospect in the country. He is followed by athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County) at No. 69, who is expected to play cornerback for Georgia. Tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) is No. 94 in the latest rankings and new running back commitment Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) jumps into the ESPN 150 at No. 142. Georgia has less than one third of last year’s class (33) committed so far, but only one less ESPN 150 commitment with four pledged to play for Mark Richt at this time. Quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) committed to Georgia on Friday, giving the Bulldogs the No. 182 prospect in the country, while defensive line commitment Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) is No. 263 in the initial ESPN 300.
Georgia has a shot to land several more ESPN 150 prospects as well. New five-star prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) has a spot reserved for him in Athens, Ga. Another five-star target, defensive lineman Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) has Georgia on top and the No. 12 prospect in the country could decide in July.
There is some ground that will need to be made up for Georgia to secure commitments from the No. 13 (Raekwon McMillan), No. 14 (David Sharpe) and No. 18 (Damien Prince) prospects in the country, but the Bulldogs are still in the mix for each. At the moment, it appears Georgia is looking at defensive linemen other than Kentavius Street (Greenville, N.C./J.H. Rose) and Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), although things could easily change over the next few months. ESPN 150 wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish) competed at the Mark Richt Camp two weekends ago, but it remains to be seen if any ground was made up on Alabama for the No. 63 prospect in the country.
At No. 75, Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) remains one of the most highly sought after defensive linemen in the country, but he could be a victim of a numbers’ crunch if Georgia gets a commitment from Gaillard and another defensive line target. Linebacker target Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C/Spring Valley) plans to look at schools like Alabama and Georgia, but could still end up at Florida, where the No. 76 prospect in the country decommitted from in May.
D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton) and Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) are rated No. 86 and No. 113 overall in the updated rankings, but could be headed out of state to SEC East rivals Tennessee and South Carolina, respectively. Georgia has stood out to offensive line target Isaiah Wynn (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) for some time now, but the No. 115 prospect in the country wants to take his official visits before making his decision. Speaking of official visits, Georgia is the first to secure one from the No. 126 prospect in the country, wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp), putting the Bulldogs in the coveted wideout target’s top five when he trims his list down.
Although Georgia has a pair of ESPN 150 running backs committed already, West Coast sensation and No. 137 overall recruit Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) still has Georgia atop his list, along with UCLA and possible favorite Oregon. Georgia is still in the mix for pass rushers Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy), Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) and Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla./Hardee County), the No. 163, No. 164 and No. 208 prospects in the initial ESPN 300. The top safety target on the board remains Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove) at No. 221, but Georgia will have to fend off programs like Tennessee, FSU and Vanderbilt for his signature.