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Thursday, April 18, 2013
ESPN 150 targets: Georgia

By Kipp Adams

With today’s release of the ESPN 150, we thought to take a look at where the Georgia Bulldogs stand with their targets on the list.

1. QB Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) 6-foot-3, 196 pounds
ESPN 150 Rank: 13

Deshaun Watson
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Clemson commit with a lot of teams hot on his trail.
Why they want him: Watson is the only quarterback with an offer from the Bulldogs, and deservedly so. He can beat teams with his arm or his legs, and is fundamentally sound in all aspects of the game. The most prolific high school passer ever in Georgia with one season left to play, Watson has already etched his name as one of the best prep quarterbacks in Peach State history. The University of Georgia would like him to do the same down the road in Athens.

Who else wants him: Clemson got a commitment from Watson on signing day 2011, but programs like Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State and Oregon are hoping he reconsiders the early pledge. He intends to take all five official visits, possibly to the aforementioned schools. An early enrollee, the battle for Watson could get very intense over the next few months.

Odds they get him: 20 percent

2. DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) 6-5, 229
ESPN 150 Rank: 14

Why they want him: If a quarterback is the most important position on the field, then a pass rusher who can get to the quarterback could be a close second. Coming off an 18-sack and 45 tackle-for-loss junior season in the highest classification in Georgia, Carter is able to use his extremely quick first step and long reach to wreak havoc in opponents’ backfields. His frame should allow him to continue to add weight and become a force to be reckoned with in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense, a scheme that features the DE/OLB position that Carter best projects to.

Who else wants him: Short answer: everyone. Carter has well over 30 offers, but like former Norcross teammate Alvin Kamara in 2013, this is shaping up to be another Alabama/Georgia battle. Some feel the Crimson Tide lead, but this one is far from over.

Odds they get him: 45 percent

3. LB Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) 6-2, 249
ESPN 150 Rank: 15

Why they want him: During the Mark Richt era, middle linebackers like Dannell Ellerbe, Tony Gilbert and Danny Verdun-Wheeler have thrived between the hedges. But since Daryl Gamble graduated in 2010, the Bulldogs have been without that true thumper in the middle. McMillan fits that description to a T. He is physically ready right now, and if he were able to suit up for Georgia right now, he would actually be the biggest inside linebacker on the team. With his size, speed and sound tackling ability, there is little doubt he could help Georgia in 2013. They would be happy to add him for 2014.

Who else wants him: McMillan stopped counting offers recently, but he was approaching 50 at the time. Ohio State has taken an early lead, with Clemson and Alabama pushing the Buckeyes. Georgia has some work to do to get into the top group, but with a decision not coming until the Under Armour All-America game, the Bulldogs have time on its side. McMillan admits his family and friends are hoping he suits up in the red and black.

Odds they get him: 30 percent

4. RB Sony Michel (Plantation/Fla./American Heritage) 5-11, 195
 ESPN 150 Rank: 16

Why they want him: Georgia typically identifies its top running back target very early in each recruiting cycle. Marcus Lattimore in 2010, Isaiah Crowell in 2011, Keith Marshall in 2012, Alvin Kamara in 2013, and for the 2014 recruiting cycle, Michel has been their No. 1 guy for some time now. Like Watson at quarterback, Michel is extremely talented in all aspects of being a running back, and he would be needed at Georgia with the possible early departure of Todd Gurley and/or Keith Marshall after the 2014 season.

Who else wants him: Offers came in from programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida and FSU, but this is shaping up to be a Georgia-Miami battle. A trip to Notre Dame is planned for this weekend, with Michel expected to announce his decision on ESPNU on April 26 at 4:30 p.m. ET. His decision could be a huge momentum-maker for the Bulldogs’ recruiting efforts.

Odds they get him: 80 percent

5. DE Kentavius Street (Greenville, N.C./J.H. Rose) 6-2. 264
ESPN 150 Rank:34

Why they want him: The 2013 Georgia Bulldogs will be the first team in which almost all of the defensive players were recruited under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Getting players that fit the 3-4 scheme has been a priority, and in Street they have targeted a defensive lineman who is physically able to hold up at the point of attack. His strength should allow Street, a Georgia native now in South Carolina, to take on blockers while attacking the run, which is a premium in the SEC.

Who else wants him: Close to 20 programs have targeted Street, with Florida State posing the biggest threat to Georgia at the moment. Ole Miss and Virginia Tech are also in the mix. The Bulldogs lead, however, and the relationship they built up early with Street could pay off in the end.

Odds they get him: 70 percent

6. DE Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) 6-3, 250
ESPN 150 Rank: 42

Why they want him: Sawyer is a disruptive force, spending most of his time in an opponent’s backfield, wreaking havoc and tackling ball carriers and quarterbacks alike. Sawyer is not a speed guy, rather he relies on leverage , use of his hands and his ability to make quick redirects to get the job done. He can play defensive end or outside linebacker, which is where the Bulldogs are projecting him. Georgia wants him to continue the line of top sack specialists like Justin Houston, Jarvis Jones and Jordan Jenkins.

Who else wants him: Sawyer has 17 offers from the likes of USC, Alabama, Ohio State, and LSU. But right now he has Alabama tied with Georgia on top, with Tennessee right behind those two. He has multiple friends on the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide squads trying to convince him to join them.

Odds they get him: 50 percent

Elisha Shaw
Mammoth defensive lineman Elisha Shaw has a top three of Georgia, Alabama and Florida State.
7. DT Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) 6-6, 295
ESPN 150 Rank: 60

Why they want him: Shaw should not be able to fire off the ball as quickly and as low as he does considering how big he is. We have seen him drive blockers straight into the quarterback with his natural bull rush. Shaw commands a double team on just about every play -- and usually that is not enough to stop him. Georgia needs a premiere defensive tackle after missing out on its top targets last year and losing a number of players to the NFL.

Who else wants him: Shaw has double-digit offers from top programs such as Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Ohio State and Arkansas. He has Alabama and Georgia as his top two, but recently added Florida State in a top three, after the Seminoles’ coaches sold him on the idea of being the next big FSU defensive lineman.

Odds they get him: 50 percent

8. CB Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County) 5-10, 185
ESPN 150 Rank: 70

Why they want him: A versatile playmaker with not just speed but quickness? Yes, Georgia will take a player like that every day. Parrish is not a big cornerback, but size is overrated when a player like that is locking down a top receiver. His acceleration is impressive, but more importantly, he knows where he is going. Georgia needs a cornerback who can keep up with the SEC’s speedy wide receivers.

Who else wants him: Parrish also has offers from Georgia Tech (as a quarterback) , Kentucky and Tennessee. With the spring evaluation period underway and Parrish lighting up the camp circuit, expect that number to grow exponentially over the coming weeks. The Bulldogs were the first to offer, but more importantly for Georgia, Parrish’s mother is a fan of the program.

Odds they get him: 60 percent

9. CB Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) 5-11, 162
ESPN 150 Rank: 110

Why they want him: Green is the prototypical cornerback who is ready to play early. With his ball skills, zone coverage ability and strong man-to-man coverage credential, college coaches will be comfortable playing Green early in his career. Georgia needs immediate help at cornerback, and Green could provide that from the start.

Who else wants him: Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, Missouri, Arkansas, USC, Virginia Tech and 13 other schools have offered Green. Clemson is his leader at the moment, but Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee are in the mix.

Odds they get him: 30 percent

10. TE Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) 6-5, 230
ESPN 150 Rank: 90

Why they want him: Georgia will return three tight ends in 2014, including 2013 signee Jordan Davis who is set to arrive this summer. With the two-tight end sets the Bulldogs often employ, getting at least one elite prospect at the position is a priority for John Lilly and the rest of the staff. Blazevich is a versatile prospect who can help Georgia as a pass catcher and as a blocker, and the Under Armour All-American is well-liked by prominent recruits throughout the southeast.

Who else wants him: Plenty of options are available for Blazevich, but with a decision likely coming soon, a three-way battle has developed between Clemson, Georgia and surging Ole Miss. Blazevich has family connections to the Tigers and Rebels, but the connection he built with the staff in Athens could give Georgia a slight edge.

Odds they get him: 60 percent