Just how important is Georgia’s 2015 recruiting class?

I’m not asking that question in a “oh, gosh, can Georgia finish in the top three in recruiting rankings?” sense.  I’m talking about the only sense we should really care about in the short-term, namely, how much of a contribution can the next class make to a successful 2015 season?

Per Ed Aschoff, start here:

Georgia: I took some heat for writing on Monday that the Bulldogs might be a quarterback away from taking the SEC and making a legitimate playoff run. I stand by that, and still believe that the Bulldogs have enough pieces in place to be the top SEC at the end of 2015. Nick Chubb is the league’s top returning running back and will be a Heisman Trophy candidate, while the defense is stacked at linebacker and in the secondary. There’s work to be done along a defensive line that lacks adequate depth, but a loaded D-line class is on the way. With a host of talent coming back on both sides and a more than manageable schedule, Georgia has no choice but to be the East favorite.

As I noted in today’s Buffet, Weiszer points out that Georgia’s gone two straight seasons with almost no undergraduate defections – and this year’s will be replaced by Chubb – which means there is decent depth in key areas.  But the defensive line isn’t one of those.  And when Aschoff points out that “a loaded D-line class is on the way”, you have to wonder if what’s coming in is really going to be able to make any sort of significant contribution to a position that had its weak moments against the run in 2014.

But then you read something like this and reflect that maybe there’s something to what Aschoff writes.

He doesn’t mention other immediate needs, like wide receiver and secondary, but those are other areas where Georgia appears to be loading up with this next class.  I expect some of those kids to slot in to the two-deep pretty quickly.

Anyway, the dead period is over, so I thought I’d give y’all the chance to spend some time discussing what you’d like to see happen in the next month for Georgia on the recruiting front.  Have at it in the comments.

62 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

62 responses to “Just how important is Georgia’s 2015 recruiting class?

  1. SCDawg

    4-5 quality offensive lineman per class-always. Offensive lineman are so hard to evaluate that you have to recruit a lot of them. And don’t forget how snakebit we were with shoulder injuries a few years ago.

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  2. Doubledawg09

    Offensive Line. I think we have 2 committed there. The new staff is trying to get in state guys to flip from other sec schools to get some more lineman, so that is interesting. But, my goodness, why do we not have more lineman committed…?

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    • Mitch Hyatt is a Clem’s Son legacy. Edoga heavily considered Georgia but decided he wanted to go away for college. It’s the hardest position to recruit because the top prospects get away with using their size rather than learning good technique. That’s why I think the o-line coach is maybe the most important position on the staff. If you don’t get that hire right, it will handcuff your program.

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      • Doubledawg09

        I agree completely, but I’m just confused as to why the new staff comes in and looks at a day of tape and makes two offers to kids committed to UT and AU who were never offered before by UGA. These are 4 star kids. I just don’t understand why we weren’t after them in the first place. I’m not trying to knock Bobo/Friend here, I just wondered if anybody has any insight on what it is we are exactly looking for in a lineman….

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        • Chi-town Dawg

          I’ve been a Bobo fan, but was never sold on Friend and posted such when he announced he was leaving for CSU. The OL has been a real weakness for us going back to the days when Stacey Searles was coaching it. We’ve got to do a better job recruiting and developing OL and getting more CONSISTENTLY good play from the O-line.

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          • Brandon

            Friend was never much of a recruiter. However he was an outstanding coach and developer as UGA’s lines have steadily improved in his 4 years here. You are blind if you can’t see that

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            • Chi-town Dawg

              Not saying the line play hasn’t improved, but then again we were horrible (not to mention filled with shoulder injuries) when he took over for Searles, so nowhere to go but up. Friend was hired at a time when CMR was on the hot seat and our choices were limited. However, if you look at his talent evaluation results and line play compared to other SEC schools, we’ve lagged. Way too many “highly rated” guys who didn’t pan out (Danzler, Long brothers, etc.) and although the line has shown flashes of great play at times, they’ve also been terrible at other times when we needed them, which is why I noted “consistently” above. Certainly respect your opinion, but I’m less impressed with Friend – good coach yes, outstanding coach, no way.

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              • Russ

                I’m not a line coach, but I think one big key to our OL success this year was lack of injuries. Stability and consistency seems to be even more critical on the offensive line. If we can stay healthy, we can have a great line.

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        • RocketDawg

          Some of it could be desperation since we only have 2 commits, you also don’t know if these kids maybe had grade or character issues that needed to be resolved. Evaluating O Line in my opinion is the single hardest thing for coaches to do. Where one coach might see potential another might see a guy who just bullies because of his size relative to the competition.

          FWIW we have 5* Ben Cleveland committed for 2016.

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          • Macallanlover

            I think it is more the desperation factor as you state and related to the lateness of the process and who we did not get/lost. Whatever it is, we need to sign some OL candidates and coach them up. Our success in winning via the run will help draw more candidates, especially if the media starts praising the ol’s contribution. In the meantime, we may need to reach more into the Midwest and JUCO. We have a few OL players in the NFL, getting Andrews and having talk of 2-3 more will help us get more respect with recruits. Just keep winning, grab a couple of titles the next 3 years and play in some big games, that is what the top guys are influenced by.

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          • Bobby

            The Mountain will be our starting LT in the 2016-17 season.

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      • W Cobb Dawg

        We’ve had such crappy OL recruiting for so long, its hard to remember we once had players like the Stinchcombs, McIntyre, Jennings, …

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        • Will (The Other One)

          I think Theus and Max Jean-Gilles are the only top-rated HS OLinemen we’ve had over the past decade plus. Maybe I’m forgetting some, but I know neither Searles nor his predecessor were that great on the recruiting trail.

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          • playmakers in space

            I think Sturdivant was pretty highly regarded, and he would’ve been a great one if he could have stayed healthy. That kid out of Bolles in Jax was also very highly rated before he tore up his knee in his senior year of HS.

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    • I agree 100%. I always want to see us sign 4 0r 5 kids at the OL position every February. We just have to have depth and rotation with our offensive line. We definitely need some more bodies in this class.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Per the roster, we have 17 OL returning….if we bring in these two, that puts our OL at over 20 % of 85…how many should we have?

      This does not count 3 lond snappah’s…

      My count per the Rivals roster.

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  3. DawgPhan

    Need to close well and flip some guys before NSD. This class is going to be great. If we find 4-5 guys that can contribute at a high level like we found in the last class we are going to be really good.

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  4. OL recruiting has been poor. Hopefully that changes with Rob Sale and Schott.

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  5. DawgFaithful

    He does mention the secondary. He seems to think we’re “loaded” there. Other than that I agree with his assesment. Hopefully we can land Donte Jackson or Rico McGraw. Give me one of those guys, Roquan Smith and 1 more solid OL prospect and i’ll be happy.

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  6. The other Doug

    How many more spots do we have?

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  7. RocketDawg

    I think every recruiting class is important due to the fact that kids are coming into school ready to play. With the advancement in strength training and nutrition that has trickled down to the HS level as well as kids having personal coaches from their early years and the growing trend to specialize in one sport from a young age these kids aren’t your typical freshmen. Offensive line and QB are really the only positions where you would really want a prospect to Redshirt.

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  8. ClydeBoogie

    Wow!! Trent blasted that rb and he was a big boy. This kid will be special when Rocker get him in practice.

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    • pete

      I met Trent and his mom in the Sams in Albany, before his commitment. His baby face is misleading. This kid is put together well. Both he and his mom were very humble and seemingly gracious when I spoke to them. I let them know that we (Dawg fans) were pulling for him to go to UGA but wished them well no matter. They seemed like really good people. I hope he reaches stardom at UGA (I have my selfish reasons of course).

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  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    Offensive linemen are tough for us to find because all the good ones want to play in the SEC West.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Interesting that you mentioned SEC west, as this, unquestionably, is the popular or en vogue division of the conference; particularly among impressionable recruits.

      This is why I continually stress that rooting for the SEC, notably the SEC west in bowl games, is myopic and can only hurt UGA, not help them. With that said, I was smiling ear to ear when AU, Bama, Ole Miss, LSU, and MSU got their collective asses handed to them a few weeks back.

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      • Cojones

        The initial and continued problem of SEC West “superiority” was and continued to be from ESPN in their frenetic overbloviation of the West while trying to create a watchable sensation. Many of us did not buy it because we are familiar each year with all teams in the SEC and no way did the Miss teams plus A&M, LSU and Aub click with their recruits and coaching as portrayed on ESPN. I felt badly for those who could not see the West leveling out (as it would have from the season’s beginning) since the teams were scheduled such that their hardest games in their div were played last. The cacophony from ESPN swelled each week with the easy front-end scheduling most had. It was shameful and misleading on ESPN’s front as they created the “superior West” meme out of thin air.

        It only fueled the hoax when other East teams decided to make UGA their “war” game.

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        • Macallanlover

          True, and what really changed was driven primarily by the WWL’s misjudgment of the two Mississippi schools. They missed on LSU, we all did, and jumped off the cliff on A&M’s crushing of SC on opening night. Then the SEC West schools bought into the hype and began trashing the SEC East. This was a continuation of the theme due to Florida and TN being weaker.

          The debate over “stronger/weaker” divisions is as shallow as that between conferences, there are usually teams in both divisions, and all conferences, that are capable of competing in other leagues. The actual depth of talent can vary but the top teams could compete anywhere. We have Vandy and KY in the East and they are the weak sisters in football, but all other East teams can knock your jock off if you don’t bring it most weeks. To that degree, the West has an edge, but that is larger at the bottom than the top. Same with Big 12, Big?, and PAC 12, they can all send their top teams anywhere and give you a helluva contest.

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      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Actually I was talking about the great state of Alabama, although Ole Miss certainly picked off Tunsil.

        All you have to do is look at Bama and Auburn’s commit list, you will find most of the better offensive linemen in Georgia.

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        • Macallanlover

          Follow the money? You can add Clem’s Son, and probably for the same reason. May not apply to all, some genuinely want to leave the hometown area, or could be influenced by other factors but you have to wonder why a player leaves their home area when they have a competitive opportunity closer to them and can go home and get to be the big man in town. How many of them don’t want that kind of adulation, and playing closer to family and friends for the state’s primo team in big time games?

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          • Uglydawg

            A lot of kids want to get away from home. They don’t want mom dropping in on them while they’re living the college life.

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            • Macallanlover

              Undoubtedly that is true for some but it just doesn’t wash for the vast majority of signees in Georgia, or nationally. Look at how well FSU does in south Ga, or Aubie does in west Ga, or TN in north Ga. Geography is still a serious factor, if not, Teams away from the fertile states would not struggle more. Colorado and Nebraska are just one of many examples, too far from California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, or Georgia. We can both point to exceptions, but staying within a reasonable drive for game day Saturdays is still a significant driver in decisions.

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          • Bazooka Joe

            Its easy…. they go with the flavor of the day. They couldn’t care less about the in-state school stuff. Its all about who is winning. Why does Bama have the #1 class every year ? 3 nattys in 5 years, that’s why. They don’t win those, they do not have the #1 classes.

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      • Dawgfan Will

        THANK YOU. As I always tell my Dawg fan friends who root for the SEC: Screw ’em. If they recruit against, their winning benefits us in no way.

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        • Bazooka Joe

          I pull for the SEC if it benefits Georgia, other than that some teams I am indifferent about, some I wouldn’t pull for if Osama coached the other team.

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  10. I’d like to see us go out and find a nasty ol fullback. Quavon obviously has skills, but something is holding him back (problems grasping the blocking schemes?), and lacks a little common sense (cough, special teams, cough). Maxey has been pretty damn good for a former walk on – but time to get the next hard nosed blocker developing.

    A couple of stud Safeties wouldn’t be bad either.

    Does anyone think that the UGA penchant for developing stud running backs hurts our WR recruiting? I know we get talented guys, but the stud WR guys all seem to pass us over. I know that having a “pro-style” instead of spread hurts us with some guys. Thoughts?

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    • pete

      I haven’t noticed any FB’s on the target list but Roundtree could be one of those safeties. And Terry may be developing into a good safety…he laid the wood on a special teams play a couple of games back.
      WR? maybe recruiting the elite QB will help. Recruits recruiting recruits you know. I would like a couple of those big-bodied type receivers (AJ, C. Johnson, etc) mixed in with some of the speedy ones.

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    • Cojones

      Recruiting is cyclical if you haven’t noticed. Before worrying about how many WRs we get , we should look at what’s returning and how the small number of new recruits can fit in to that position. Things that miss the eye with our recruits includes that we have a fast safety coming in who is capable of doubling up at WR whenever necessary. There are a couple more who were recruited mainly for speed with the good possibility of coaching them into good or great WRs or D secondary. If you look only at their HS-designated position, you will wonder that so many DEs, LBs and secondary players could be recruited in one class until you begin to look at them in positions they have comparable talents to play.

      Just embrace this class for what you see as a group and we got talent running from our ears. I could have sworn at one time that we had two 4-star linemen and two 3-star linemen for the O. I know one decommitted in order to look around, but I thought we were on the verge of getting a fifth OL in this class. Oh, well. Just when I thought the brain cells were getting more O2 now. Sheesh.

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  11. W Cobb Dawg

    I don’t feel we’re weak on the DL. Mayes, Atkins, Gaillard, Dawson, Bailey, Deloach. With Ledbetter and Barnett already enrolled, and Thompson leading another incoming batch before camp. Landing an extra DL or two in last year’s class would’ve greatly helped, but Pruitt’s getting this all worked out.

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    • pete

      I feel pretty good about Bailey and I’m hopeful the other guys step up. But I wonder about Mayes. He’s been in the system and it seems like someone is always put ahead of him in rotation. It maybe that Pruitt/Rocker are still working on him to slim down. If Atkins/Gaillard pass him in the spring we’ll know he’s not cutting it. I’m definitely pumped about the crew coming in.

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  12. Cojones

    I view this class as composed of some missing building blocks plus good recruits going forward into next year’s class. We all are looking forward to Eason, but that is unfair to him and to the 3 QBs we have. They are not only good enough to carry us through this season, but certainly someone will be in place for Eason’s Freshman year. That’s two years of service we should plug in for our next designated QB. Whomever it is, we should start getting excited in April for his continued development.

    We should allow time for Eason to become the QB everyone seems to think he is, but let’s don’t count all our Dawgs before they are weaned. Our leff’over experienced team is pretty good plus others are waiting in the wings with 2-3yrs training and periodic game experience. I was surprised how many played early last year and hoping for the same surprise this year. Anyway you look at it, we are going to be fast this year.

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    • Bazooka Joe

      Ande you don’t just hand the keys to Eason – he has to earn it and beat out the other QB’s – that may not be so easy, at least with Park…..

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  13. TJ

    Don’t think we’ll have a big recruiting year on the offensive side with the departure of Bob and Friend. Guys just got too late of a start on new blood. Going to be thin at WR. Defensively, need some depth and new blood on dline and ILB. Need to replace Swann.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “Need to replace Swann.” Somebody said that here, on this blog?

      Funny how things work out.

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      • Cojones

        Yep. Before this last year and Pruitt’s validation, he was lambasted wrongly from one end of this blog to the other. Seems he was Grantham’s best excuse for not communicating correctly and he was playing more than one player’s position each down. How he got through that and proved he was great in the secondary is a feather in his cap. Damn Fine Dawg!

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        • A10Penny

          “great in the secondary”

          Much improved under Pruitt, but still calling Swain great is a ridiculous statement.

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          • Career stats: 114 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 17 passes defended, 8 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. He had one bad season but overall he compares favorably with guys like Patrick Peterson and Demarcus Milliner who are often described as “great.”

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  14. RAY DRUW

    Recruiting classes don’t mean jack, if you cant coach them up. Just ask me

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  15. joe

    Trent Thompson will start day 1 and will be all sec. He is a DT version of aj green or champ bailey. He destroyed all those elite ol at the army game.

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    • I and my 4 brothers all graduated from Westover in Albany. Word is he could play NFL today.

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      • Macallanlover

        I need to go take a shower after you and Joe’s comments.

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        • Dawgoholic

          Saw TT and Ray Drew both play in person in HS. TT made a much bigger impact than RD.

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          • Macallanlover

            I have heard so many great things about his talent and character that he must be special. He and the stud TN recruit coming into the East the same year, at the same position. This is really an area of need for UGA so we may get more out of him right away.

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  16. As wonderful as it is to read about how “stacked” we are for the future, I sure would like to see these predictions finally pay off with a title one of these days.

    I wouldn’t mind losing a ton of undergrads and having an occasional rebuilding year if it meant we were winning titles. 😦

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    • Cojones

      It isn’t necessarily “stacked” , but this year combined with last year is a step up in recruits who can sub and play for First Stringers such that the ’13-’14 team injury disaster can be better averted.

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      • Bazooka Joe

        That’s the difference between the championship caliber teams and the middle of the pack. Look at South Carolina – they have habitually been middle of the pack – why ? Their starters are/were as good as other teams but a big drop off to 2nd and third team so they didn’t have the depth to hang all season long.
        An ex-gator once said in response to a question about why they (South Carolina) could play us so tough every year (even before SOS) but end up in the middle of the pack every year. His response was “lack of depth/big drop-off in talent from 1st team to 2nd and third. By the time the season wears on and all teams are subbing more due to injuries, etc…. South Carolina would falter. The last few years they seem to have addressed that problem. Lets hope its temporary…

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  17. Gravidy

    I’ve never seen any commentary by Edward Aschoff that made me think he is particularly astute, and this piece is no different. I’d like for him to fill me in on exactly how this team is “stacked at linebacker and in the secondary”. Certainly, the team is stacked at outside linebacker. But when I look at the returning talent at inside linebacker, cornerback, and safety, I can only conclude that his definition of “stacked” must be radically different than mine.

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