Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Signing day primer: Georgia
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- With national signing day exactly two weeks from today, DawgNation looks ahead to what Georgia has coming and who the Bulldogs still need, and why.
Team needs: Georgia has a number of holes to fill, considering the defense is losing 10 players who started last season. All-American junior Jarvis Jones and two-year leading tackler Alec Ogletree have declared for the NFL draft, which means the incoming prospects will have to be ready to play early.
Also, consider that Georgia only signed one player for the secondary, one wide receiver and not one inside linebacker in the class of 2012. Those positions are a priority. The secondary is in special need of attention as both starting safeties and two starting cornerbacks were seniors this past season. The Bulldogs have decent depth at the outside linebacker spots but the SEC championship game proved Georgia needs help on the defensive line. Junior nose Kwame Geathers has also opted to leave early for the NFL, so Georgia needs to sign some quality prospects to fill in the defensive trench.
From just a numbers perspective, Georgia went into the season with only 69 players on scholarship whom the coaches recruited out of high school. A number of walk-on players were awarded scholarships and have become contributors, but the Bulldogs are well shy of a full roster. The Class of 2013 needs to replenish those low roster numbers and allow the coaches more options on the depth chart.
Help is on the way: In fact, help has already arrived. Georgia had 13 prospects enroll early, including some of the Bulldogs’ highest-rated players, such as wide receivers Tramel Terry and Jonathon Rumph. Secondary help is also at hand with safeties Tray Matthews and Quincy Mauger, along with cornerback Reggie Wilkerson all enrolled and preparing to go through spring camp.
The defensive line will get a 600-pound boost from early enrollees John Atkins and Chris Mayes and inside linebacker Reggie Carter is taking classes at Georgia as well. All in all, Georgia has five safeties committed, including ESPN 150 standout Johnny O’Neal, and three cornerbacks committed, headlined by UGA's top-rated commit Shaq Wiggins. From a sheer numbers perspective, the Bulldogs are looking at signing more than 30 players, and that will replenish their shrinking roster.
Other key commits: Wiggins has company in the ESPN 150, as he is joined by quarterback Brice Ramsey and offensive guard Brandon Kublanow. Ramsey is one of the 13 early enrollees -- a move that's practically mandatory for quarterbacks at Georgia. Kublanow is a fighter, and, despite the best offensive line depth Georgia has had in years, he could make noise as a freshman. Georgia commits also dot the ESPN 300 list, with running back A.J. Turman, wide receiver Reggie Davis and inside linebackers Tim Kimbrough and Ryne Rankin. The arrival of outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and safety Shaq Fluker will also go a long way in rebuilding the defense.
Other key targets: With 29 commits so far the Bulldogs are down to their last few spots, and the targeted recruits just happen to be the some of the best at their respective positions. Georgia is after the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil, the No. 1 inside linebacker, Reuben Foster, the No. 1 outside linebacker, Matthew Thomas, the No. 2 defensive tackle, Montravius Adams, and the No. 4 running back, Alvin Kamara. For an immediate impact on the defensive front the Bulldogs lead for Toby Johnson, the No. 2 junior college defensive tackle. Tunsil just completed his official visit to Athens and Foster, Kamara and Adams are all scheduled to take their official visits to Georgia on Friday. Outside linebacker Davin Bellamy will also visit at that time.