Monday, July 22, 2013
Roundtable: Filling out the class
By Radi Nabulsi and Kipp Adams
ATHENS, Ga. -- With 16 commitments so far in the Class of 2014, spots are quickly becoming limited at Georgia. The commitment of five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) on Saturday was just another in a long line of recruiting wins over the last two months that has quadrupled the size of the recruiting class since May. Even if the Bulldogs lose several juniors to the NFL, there appears to be only five spots remaining. With that in mind, this week’s DawgNation Roundtable question is: Assuming five is the correct number, who do you see taking Georgia’s last five spots?
Radi Nabulsi’s predictions: The fifth prediction is the hardest for me. I still think Georgia has a good chance to land five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter. Another five-star prospect, inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan is holding the Georgia option open until the very end. Maybe the Bulldogs add wide receiver Josh Malone. Either way, I have a lot more confidence in the first four at this moment.
DE Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla./Hardee County): Brown stated Georgia as his leader and can fill the role Cornelius Washington played for the Bulldogs. He recently brought a large family contingent to Athens and they all left impressed.
OLB Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C/Spring Valley): Miller has Georgia in his top five and said that his fit in the defensive scheme is “perfect.” Miller described his first visit as “phenomenal” and said his mother liked Athens, too. Tight end commit Jeb Blazevich has been working on Miller for months.
DT Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker): While Georgia will have to wait until the Army All-American game to catch Shaw’s announcement, I think they will be happy with his decision. Shaw has Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss as his top three, a list that has barely changed since last October. Teammate and Georgia linebacker commit Detric Dukes will continue to push Shaw to Athens.
DE Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn): Despite the fact that Evans’ entire family went to Auburn and the potential commitments of Brown and Miller could cloud the depth chart for him, I will pick Evans for the fifth spot simply because at this moment he says Georgia is his leader.
WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) – The ESPN 300 wide receiver does not talk much so it is tough to gauge exactly where he is in the process. Georgia and his home state Tennessee Volunteers seem to be the teams to beat with FSU making a push. The Volunteers took six side receivers in last year’ class and have three more committed for 2014. Malone could decide to pick Georgia based on location and depth chart.
Kipp Adams’ predictions: What a difference a year makes. At this point in 2012, Georgia still had 13 more additions to go for the 2013 recruiting cycle, and they still left a spot or two on the board on signing day. Now the Bulldogs can afford to be very picky with who they take to fill out their 2014 class. To suggest that no new offers or surprising changes in recruiting will occur over the next six-and-a-half months would be somewhat naïve, but as it stands now, projecting four of the final five seems as clear cut as it has ever been for Georgia in June.
DE Keyon Brown: Brown has Georgia on top and plans to make his announcement on his birthday, Sept. 28. The Bulldogs’ coaching staff believes his talent and size are a perfect fit for what they want to do on defense.
OLB Christian Miller: While Miller has been very careful not to name a leader since decommitting from Florida, there are many reasons to believe the ESPN 300 linebacker is leaning toward the Bulldogs. His visits with his family have been very positive, Georgia has sold him on playing a big role in their 3-4 defense and he knows he is a top priority in Athens.
DT Elisha Shaw: Ole Miss has given Shaw a lot to think about, and the decision to wait until the Army All-American game all but assures that he would take one of the final spots in Georgia’s class, were he to select the Bulldogs. In the end, Shaw could decide to stay home and play with several of his friends also committed to Georgia. Their success in recruiting is something he is paying close attention to, as is five-star linebacker McMillan. The addition of Shaw would give assistant coach Chris Wilson a defensive line class that includes five-star Gaillard, ESPN 300 prospects Shaw and Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) and Kendall Baker (Atlanta/Marist).
WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp): A week ago, Webster would be included here, but he is likely to select Ole Miss very soon. Malone has Georgia as the only school in his top five, meaning the Bulldogs have secured an official visit from the ESPN 300 wideout. His visit to Georgia earlier this month went very well, and if his next trip goes off just as well, Tony Ball could have a very impressive set of wideouts to work with in Malone, four-star Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland) and Sunshine State sleeper Gilbert Johnson (Miami/Southridge).
LB Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County): It is so tempting to put Evans here, purely on the fact that Georgia is his leader as of now. Instead, this projection doubles up on the unpredictability that is recruiting, where two elite prospects change their mind and both decide to stay home and commit to the in-state program. McMillan has given the Georgia staff reason to think they are in it as much as any program, and if Georgia has the season they hope to have, they might give him little reason to want to go elsewhere.