Mark Richt didn’t get his wish. Woodrow Clemons has his fifteen minutes of fame. Ultimately, I expect this to be a tempest in a teapot. The kid sounds like he’s coming to Athens and as long as that’s how he feels, that’s where he’ll wind up – the NLI isn’t a requirement to play for a school on a scholarship, so he can come even if grampa never signs on the dotted line.
Aside from the drama, here are a few observations:
- There’s a lot to like about this class. Grantham cleaned up on candidates for the defensive line and outside linebacker and sounds very happy about it. Marshall and Gurley shore up the tailback slot. The Dawgs didn’t screw around on the kicking spots, either. As far as signing for need, mission accomplished.
- If you want to pick nits, it would have to be over the class size. I do think that there was an intent all along not to offer every available scholarship to this year’s class, based on the quality and size of the 2013 talent pool, but the reality is that Chester Brown’s slot wasn’t filled after it unfortunately came open. Signing only three offensive linemen – even though at least two of the three look to be immediate contributors – is the kind of move that you fear comes back to bite this program in the butt two or three years down the road. (It’s not like that hasn’t happened before.) Not signing Avery Young was by far the biggest disappointment of the day.
- Richt thinks the hot seat talk had an effect: “I think ‘the noise’ probably hurt us a little on the front end. But once we had the season that we had, we did something we hadn’t done since the early 1980s, winning 10 in a row, and returning a lot of players and all that. I think maybe some of the guys in a wait-and-see decided they were very comfortable with where Georgia is now and where Coach Richt and the staff are. I think that had a little something to do with it.” Maybe so, but you’d have to think that was the case the year before as well and that didn’t slow the staff down.
At the risk of being accused of sunshine pumping, I’m a little surprised at how much disappointment has been expressed over the class of 2012 on message boards and comment threads. Admittedly, you can knock the numbers a bit, but the quality is excellent, both from an absolute standpoint and in terms of meeting needs. And I don’t think you can pass final judgment on Richt’s overall 2012 recruiting strategy until the hay is in the barn on next year’s bunch. If Georgia gets aggressive enough, signing a class approaching 30 with a number of early entries, then there would seem to be little to be concerned about in future years.
And while I’m on the subject of the virtual Dawgnation, I’m not sure there’s anything funnier than reading the whining about recruiting rankings coming from the same people who spend the rest of the year knocking the recruiting services and how so many kids with lots of stars never work out.