ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia showcased one of the most talented wideouts in the last few years in A.J. Green. So why are the Bulldogs not stacked three deep with elite receivers trying to be the next big star? And is an early college signing period good for college football? ESPNDawgNation answers these questions and more in this week’s recruiting mailbag.
Dawgontap: By my count, in the 300 kids being evaluated for the top 150 ... 33 are designated as WR (doesn't count the ATH that might play WR), 8 of these guys have committed verbally. It seems that even with Tramel Terry probably being a WR for us (although an ATH) that this is a position that the Dawgs tend to have the most trouble really attracting true interest from the top players. Other positions, we seemingly get quite a few top-5 guys in the country at most other positions. While we have had a few -- A.J. Green comes immediately to mind -- why is WR a position we don't tend to get as many top guys as most others?
KA: I think Georgia has done a solid job bringing in top local talent at wide receiver, and supplementing it with out of state guys when possible or needed. That has been the Bulldogs’ formula for success over the last decade with guys like Green, Mohammad Massaquoi and recently Marlon Brown. As far as elite wideouts go, there are really only a few each year, and in Green’s case, possibly less than 10 a decade. When you look at local talent, the state of Georgia has produced just six top-10 wideouts in the last five years -- Malcolm Mitchell, Da’Rick Rogers, Markeith Ambles, Tai-ler Jones, Brce Butler and Joshua Jarboe. Two of those years there were no receivers listed among the top-10 wide receiver rankings. Georgia signed Malcolm Mitchell, lost Rogers at the last minute, did not target Ambles or Jarboe, and did not really push for Jones and Butler. A case could be made that most of those are wise decisions based on production to date.
So really looking at how UGA does compared to most programs, getting solid production from the position should be considered a success when the state has not produced as much talent at the position compared to others in the deep Peach State. Lower rated in-state prospects like Michael Bennett and Chris Conley have bright futures ahead, and Green’s success has created much more national interest in the Bulldogs, as several wideouts -- current commit Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) included -- have mentioned Green as a showcase for looking closer at Georgia. Whom they bring in for their remaining receiver spots in the 2013 class is one of the more intriguing questions for Georgia recruiting moving forward.
DaProphetHo: Kipp with you being around recruiting 365 days a year, what are your thoughts on an early signing period for football?
KA: I can see why there are still some who are opposed to it. The process continues to accelerate, and coaches often are still trying to get info and develop a relationship with many prospects during the fall. But when a prospect decides to commit early, college staffs have to continue to spend time and money either trying to seal the deal until February, or trying to flip the prospect, which just adds stress to a student-athlete who had hoped to end the madness. Another factor that has become more public recently are the situations which cause schools to have to stop recruiting prospects, whether they run out of room at a position, find someone else they like more or have a coaching change. Without an early signing period, recruits run the risk of being left out to dry and having to find new spots with sometimes only a day or two before signing day.
I am in favor of an early college signing period because it not only has a chance to provide some much needed security for the student athlete, but it also gives college coaches a chance to move on to other senior targets, as well as finish up their class and move on to the underclassmen.
shockley atl: As of today, how would you rank our chances with the OL prospects we are after? How many do you think we will realistically sign?
KA: Wow, you guys are throwing straight daggers this week. I will slightly dodge this by saying Georgia appears to be in great shape with offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), Delando Crooks (Atlanta/Carver), DeVondre Seymour (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), Aulden Bynum (Valdosta, Ga./Valwood), and interior linemen Brandon Kublanow (Marietta, Ga./Walton), Josh Cardiello (Buford, Ga./Buford) and Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King). If juco prospect Trenton Brown (Albany, Ga./Georgia Military College) can graduate in December, he could be an option as well. The Bulldogs would like to bring in five to six offensive linemen, and obviously they would love them to be from this initial group. While that may not happen, being among the top teams for eight linemen in a solid, deep year in-state gives UGA a chance to minimize the extra evaluations that will need to be done over the next nine months to fill those five to six spots.
Socrates1956: Why the change to a more national recruiting stage for Georgia than from years past? Is this a result of the positive changes in the recruiting office for Georgia?
KA: I think Georgia has always recruited on a national level, but coaching changes in the last few years have really hindered the ability of the staff to evaluate the talent outside of the southeast. And while there have been no new hires/changes made in the recruiting office, returning the assistant coaches this year has allowed UGA to play catch-up and start looking for talent from coast to coast. More of the national offers seem to have gone out to defensive players, which makes sense given the success and prestige of the Bulldogs’ top-five defense last year. While the Georgia staff has done a great job extending offers out quickly during the 2013 cycle, once Mark Richt makes his Director of On-Campus Recruiting hire, and it should be soon, the staff should be able to develop a more in-depth recruiting board than last year, where there were not a lot of “plan 1B” targets to fill spots when other prospects committed elsewhere.
jloggins1229: Well the obvious question we tend to like to ask is if you guys are aware of any guys that are strongly considering making their decision soon? I know there are a lot of recruits that are talking rather glowingly about UGA. Just hoping some of these guys go ahead and pull the trigger and secure their spot. Another question would be if there is one particular recruit (Reuben Foster, Robert Nkemdiche) that you guys believe will cause a lot of other "dominoes" to fall. Is there an OL guy that could influence some other OL to come and join him in Athens?
KA: Hard to know when prospects will decide they are ready to announce a commitment. Typically it is out of nowhere this time of the year. A few guys to keep an eye on are Seymour, Cardiello, Kublanow, athlete J.J. Green (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County), lineman Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer) and ouside linebacker Naim Mustafaa (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) None of them have specifically said when they plan to make their decision, but all of them seem to have a good general idea which school or schools they prefer.
Really looking at Georgia’s class so far, the dominoes are already in mid-motion. With nine commitments on board, the Bulldogs have seven more than they did at the same time last year, and five months ahead of when commit No. 9 occurred in the 2012 class. If Georgia is able to add a couple more from the list above by the end of the spring, it will be well on its way to one of the best classes in school history. The potential is definitely there.