- Kipp Adams, Reporter, RecruitingNation
While the summer months are considered downtime, the Georgia Bulldogs have continued their torrid recruiting pace this summer, picking up several commitments from prospects in several states. With the ability and, arguably, the dire need to bring in more than 30 signees for the 2013 class, the Bulldogs have been aggressive with offers. That has paid off with a group that already dwarfs that of the freshman class now on campus. As football season approaches, DawgNation takes a look back at the goings on and decisions made in the past few months, along with a look ahead at what to keep an eye on this fall.
Commitments piling up
As school let out across the country, prospects seemingly lined up to make their commitments known to the Bulldogs. ESPN 300 wide receiver Uriah LeMay (Matthews, N.C./Butler) committed to Georgia on June 1. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound wideout picked the Bulldogs over Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Ohio State, among others. Two days later, another ESPN 300 receiver secured a spot, as Reggie Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) verbally committed. The 6-foot, 162-pound four-star prospect is considered one of the top deep threats in the always-loaded Sunshine State. Less than a week later the Bulldogs picked up their top outside linebacker target, Naim Mustafaa (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta). It was a rare in-state battle for the 6-foot-4, 235-pound four-star, although SEC rival Tennessee continues its pursuit.
At the Mark Richt Camp, another wideout joined the class. Rico Johnson (Swainsboro, Ga./Swainsboro) is the sleeper speedster who came off standout performances at the Nike Camp and GHSA state track meet, and earned an offer with blazing times and impressive catches in front of Georgia’s coaching staff. He would show out again at Dawg Night, as would several others who soon joined him on the commitment list.
Before the elite prospect camp started, safety Quincy Mauger (Marietta, Ga./Kell) let head coach Mark Richt know he wanted to accept his "dream offer" to play for the Bulldogs. Mauger, like Johnson, had earned his offer a month earlier in Athens. At the end of Dawg Night, ESPN 300 linebacker Tim Kimbrough Jr. (Indianapolis/Warren Central) announced he and his family had seen enough, and the Bulldogs beat out Arkansas, Florida, Indiana and UCLA to add the 6-foot, 228-pound run-stuffing linebacker.
Another linebacker in attendance impressed defensive coordinator Todd Grantham so much that the coach had little choice but to extend an offer. Shaun McGee (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood) had no shortage of options coming into the camp, with close to 30 programs extending scholarships, including the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. But a day after visiting Tuscaloosa, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect announced he would stay close to home and play for the Bulldogs. At one point it appeared Georgia might not take a tight end in the 2013 class, but Jordan Davis (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) earned an offer at the Mark Richt Camp. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound prospect decided two weeks ago that he wanted to be a Bulldog.
Last week, the Dawgs earned a huge addition to the class in juco offensive lineman Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College), with the 6-foot-8, 350-pound prospect selecting Georgia over Texas A&M, Florida and Ole Miss. His addition, the 24th commitment of the class, gives Georgia the second-largest class in the country to date, behind only Texas A&M’s 27.
The summer has not been without its hiccups, however, as two prospects removed their names from Georgia's recruiting class in June. ESPN 300 wide receiver Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood) backed off his commitment and now could be leaning toward South Carolina. And after two visits to Knoxville and a trip to Tuscaloosa, ESPN 150 athlete Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) decided to reopen his recruitment. The Bulldogs now trail the Tide and Vols for the 6-foot-3, 245-pound prospect.
More additions soon?
With Brown's commitment, August has started out strong for Georgia, and several others could follow suit. ESPN 150 defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin (Hoschton, Ga./Mill Creek) has maintained for a month now that Georgia is his leader, although South Carolina continues to make a push for the 6-foot-2, 290-pound prospect. Griffin has mentioned a possible August decision if he feels sure of his decision. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jay Woods recently announced a top six of Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt, and the 6-foot-2, 280-pound prospect is likely to make a decision this month. A trip to Athens to take in a practice before his decision is possible.
Following Dawg Night, safety Paris Bostick (Tampa, Fla./Plant) was set to announce his commitment, likely to Georgia. But the 6-foot-1, 217-pound defensive back decided to hold off, though he has said it will likely be Arkansas or Georgia that wins his services. He hopes to commit before his senior season starts, possibly this week. Another safety, juco Shaquille Fluker, hopes to announce his decision this week, and Georgia is considered the favorite for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back, who is also looking at Kansas and Nebraska.
Were Georgia to reel in all four highly coveted prospects, it would likely start the season with 28 commitments, a class that would stack up historically as one of the Bulldogs' biggest. And that’s not all. John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) and Leonard Floyd (Eastman, Ga./Dodge Co.) signed with Georgia back in February, but the former four-star prospects are headed to prep schools this month in an attempt to qualify and return in December to Athens.
RB battles continue with Tide
Nick Saban and Mark Richt have won one game each against the other since Saban's 2007 arrival in Tuscaloosa, and each has won his share of battles against the other on the recruiting trail as well. Now it appears the two are going head to head for four of the nation's top 2013 running back prospects. As mentioned earlier, Henry is leaning toward Alabama after being committed to Georgia for almost a year. His addition could have a huge ripple effect for the Tide, who already boast two verbals from ESPN 150 running backs. One of them, Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton), has a teammate committed to each school: quarterback Parker McLeod (Bama) and offensive lineman Brandon Kublanow (Georgia). The state’s leading rusher as a junior, Jones was in Athens last weekend with Kublanow and 2014 cornerback target D.J. Smith, and it bears monitoring how he reacts, should Henry commit to Alabama as a third running back.
Interestingly, Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) plans to wait until late September to make his decision, and he is looking at Alabama and Georgia, along with Oklahoma State, Oregon and Tennessee. Since the departure from Georgia of former five-star Isaiah Crowell, the Bulldogs have been considered by many as the favorite to land Kamara, though he has yet to name any favorites. More intriguing: Recent Oklahoma decommit Greg Bryant lists Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina as programs he is considering, but Auburn could be in line to add ESPN 150 prospect Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and South Carolina is likely to focus on ESPN 150 tailback David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter), setting up another potential clash between Alabama and Georgia. The Tide are taking a unique route in their pursuit of Bryant, an ESPN 150 prospect, by recruiting the nation’s No. 2 running back as a cornerback.
Waiting it out
Several of Georgia’s top targets likely will head into the football season uncommitted. Two wideouts, ESPN 150 prospect Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) and juco Jonathan Rumph, are heavily considering the Bulldogs. North is looking at North Carolina and Georgia, while Rumph is looking at Mississippi State, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Either would fill Georgia’s need for a bigger, more physical downfield receiver.
With the offensive line being arguably the biggest position of need for Georgia in this class, the four commitments so far are a solid start. But the top target, five-star Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), is still on the board and likely will be until the end of the recruiting cycle. Once again, it appears to be a Georgia-Alabama matchup for the elite tackle. Interior line target Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond) visited Athens on the day of Dawg Night, and the ESPN 150 prospect said Georgia is going to get an official visit this fall. Programs including Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and North Carolina are also in the mix for Crowder. Reeve Koehler (Honolulu/St. Louis) says Arizona State, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas and Tennessee are his top five, and the 6-foot-2, 321-pound prospect will narrow it down before making his decision in January.
ESPN 150 defensive lineman Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly Co.) likely will wait until signing day, with programs like Auburn and Clemson as Georgia's greatest competition. Juco defensive tackle Toby Johnson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson Co. CC) has drawn scouting comparisons to former Alabama standout Marcell Dareus, the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman, a former Banneker (Ga.) High School player, plans to give his home-state program an official and make his decision before he graduates in December.
ESPN 150 linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) has said he'll give Georgia an official, but Florida State is considered the favorite to land the nation's No. 13 prospect.
More offers could be extended this fall after further evaluation by the Georgia staff.
2dSam Khan Jr.