Weiszer notes that Georgia will only sign one JUCO player in this year’s class, cornerback commitment Shattle Fenteng. That’s a sizeable drop off from last year’s group of five transfers, but it’s actually a return to form for Richt’s recruiting. As I noted at the time, last year’s JUCO class was larger than Georgia’s previous four combined. Richt explained why:
“If you remember, we had some guys from the ‘Dream Team’ class that, you know, some DBs that ended up not being with us anymore. So those are guys that would’ve been ready to step into the role (as a starter next year with) a little bit more maturity. Since we had a void in that area, we wanted to make sure we brought in some guys that were a little bit older and a little bit more mature in their ability to play the game. But the other thing we knew is that we were going to try to sign a very large class. And the goal was to break up the class. We didn’t want every single guy to be a freshman. We wanted to break it up a little bit, where it we’d have enough junior college guys that would be two years old older than the other guys in the class.
“The other thing that really came out really well for us was the midyear enrollees. Having 13 come in (and enroll in January) was tremendous for us. All of those guys seem to be doing extremely well. And that broke up our big class as well. We have 13 guys now, and we’re indoctrinating them the Georgia way academically and physically — and they’re getting a head start on football, of course.
“So now that rest of the class is going to be closer to 20, instead of 32 or 33 rolling in all at one time. We’ve got it broken up because of the number of midyear players, which I think is working out very well for us so far.”
This year’s class is much smaller, of course. But I think the single JUCO transfer indicates that Richt is more comfortable with the spacing of his team’s experience. Hopefully, it’s another indication that he’s aware of the mistakes that were made managing roster size.
I hope it also indicates that Fenteng can contribute quickly. Per Richt on JUCO transfers to Georgia, “A lot of times it is a need-basis issue,” Richt said. “If you need a mature player at a position, then you will do it.” It’s not like they can’t use the help.