Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Summer Recruit Wrap: Georgia
By Kipp Adams
With the camp season over and the fall season rapidly approaching, DawgNation takes a look back at the biggest recruiting news of the summer.
Class of 2014 RB Sony Michel is one of the many big names in Georgia's class.
1. Summer has been very, very good to Georgia Heading into June, Georgia had five commitments, after going without one in May. Some analysts had pegged the Bulldogs as being off to a slow start for 2014, but with a class of 33 in 2013, Georgia has had to be very selective with this class. Even with a decommitment last week, the Bulldogs have added 12 commitments in June and July, headlined by the additions of five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) and ESPN 300 athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). As August approaches, Georgia can realistically pick and choose to fill its remaining spots.
2. No recruiting dropoff after DL coaching change For the past decade at Georgia, Rodney Garner has been one of the top recruiters in the country and as a position coach, he has put several in the NFL. His departure to Auburn, his alma mater, put Georgia in the position of having to replace someone who had been on staff longer than head coach Mark Richt. While his departure might have hindered the Bulldogs’ chances with 2013 ESPN 300 defensive lineman Montravius Adams, who joined Garner at Auburn, his replacement, former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, has been, thus far, an upgrade in recruiting. Wilson helped reel in top juco Toby Johnson to close out the 2013 class, and has gotten commitments from Gaillard, ESPN 300 defensive lineman Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) and three-star prospects Kendall Baker (Atlanta/Marist) and Detric Dukes (Tucker, Ga./Tucker). Wilson also recruited ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver commitment Christian Owens (Griffin, Ga./Griffin). Wilson’s high energy personality is a refreshing change from Garner, and it has made him very popular among recruits.
3. Never count UGA out to sign a QB In 2009 and 2011, Georgia entered the summer not planning to sign a quarterback for the respective 2010 and 2012 recruiting cycles. Yet before the end of each year, the Bulldogs had added commitments from Hutson Mason and Faton Bauta. With Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville), the lone quarterback target for Georgia heading into the summer, sticking with his commitment to Clemson, it once again appeared that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo would not take signal caller in 2014. But during the spring evaluation period, Bobo had gone to see ESPN 300 prospect Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) and left intrigued. Park would earn an offer at the Mark Richt Camp in June and he committed a week later.
4. Best OL in Georgia might be underclassmen Looking at the 2014 rankings, no offensive lineman is listed among the top 39 prospects in Georgia. Georgia did not extend its first committable offer to an in-state senior offensive lineman until May, when it targeted emerging tackle Dyshon Sims (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), the No. 40 prospect in Georgia. At Dawg Night, Sims was impressive, but he may have been overshadowed by a trio of underclassmen in 2015 offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), 2015 offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) and 2016 offensive tackle Ben Cleveland (Toccoa, Ga./Stephens County). All three are in the ESPN Junior 300, and Cleveland has already been offered by Clemson, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.
5. Supersized camps Over the past five years, the Mark Richt Camp and Dawg Night have brought the talent to Athens in droves. But while both camps typically total between 150 and 200 prospects, this year both events saw a record number of participants register and show up. The Mark Richt Camp had around 300 in attendance, while Dawg Night had more than 530 athletes on the Georgia practice fields. With the two events netting six total commitments, there is no question that those events were an absolute success.
6. OLB class could be special On its face, this statement is a tough sell, considering Georgia has yet to reel in a commitment from a target. But at the moment, Georgia leads for ESPN 300 targets Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) and Keyon Brown (Wachula, Fla./Hardee County) and are in the top five for ESPN 300 targets Christian Miller (Spring Valley, S.C./Spring Valley) and Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has built his 3-4 defense around the outside linebacker making plays in the backfield, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that he would take all four prospects in order to find an eventual replacement for standout Jordan Jenkins.
7. Another RB duo for the future Getting ESPN 300 running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) in April was nothing short of a coup for running backs coach Bryan McClendon and the staff. But earning a commitment last month from Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), the top running back prospect and leading rusher in Georgia, could be just as big a difference maker for the Bulldogs’ offense down the road. Known as an extremely strong runner between the tackles, Chubb showed the country earlier this month that he is also one of the top overall athletes in the 2014 class, finishing third in the SPARQ rating championships at The Opening. Georgia signed a duo in 2012 in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley that is considered the top pair of running backs in college football and they might be saying similar things about Chubb and Michel in two years.
8. Great start for 2015 With the release of the ESPN Junior 300, Georgia appears to be in great shape with several of the top juniors in the country. Georgia has a commitment from Owens, leads for Trenton Thompson (Albany, Ga./Westover) Terry Godwin (Hoganville, Ga./Callaway) and Edoga, is in the top group for Natrez Patrick (Atlanta/Mays), D’Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes), Albert Huggins (Orangeburg, S.C./Orangeburg-Wilkinson), Taj Griffin (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) and Devonaire Clarington (Miami/Westminster Christian). They are also in the mix for Hyatt, Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure), George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and Jacques Patrick (Orlando,Fla./Timber Creek), among others.
9. 2013 season will be important While obviously every season is significant for a program with such high annual expectations, but this season a pair of highly coveted targets have mentioned that their decisions will be affected by just how successful the teams in their top group are. After Dawg Night, Raekwon McMillan stated that if Georgia won the National Championship, it would be very difficult for him to go elsewhere. At the Dekalb County Media Day last week, Elisha Shaw echoed the same statement, saying that he would be watching Ole Miss, Alabama and Georgia to see which program has the best season.
10. Tough decisions ahead Georgia could only have five spots remaining in the 2014 class at the moment. Unless some unforeseen attrition occurs between now and signing day, Georgia will have to be highly selective on whose commitment it accepts. It is a great situation for Richt and his staff to be in, but they have to be careful to bring in the right fits for their needs.