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Thursday, February 28, 2013

What will we need in the 2014 class?

True, signing day is less than a month past, but recruiting never ends. And we already have commitments from a WR (Krenwick Sanders), RB (Stanley Williams) and DB (Nick Glass). So what should Georgia be targetting in a likely small class come 2014? We go position by position below.

QB- 1 - We return Mason, Lemay, Bauta, and Ramsey here.  You always want to keep 1 in every class for depth, and if Brice Ramsey wins the job next spring, we might need to load up in 2015 should Lemay transfer.  But adding 1 here should be more than enough to keep the depth chart strong.

TB- 2 - Gurshall will be rising juniors, with promising incoming players Turman and Douglas behind them.  But you need better depth than 4, and expecting Todd Gurley to leave after his junior season, if not both Gurley and Marshall, isn't a stretch.  So we'll need to sign at least two solid rushers here to keep the depth chart strong going forward.  We've already got a scat back type in Williams, and if he stays true, that should provide the speedy, Marshall-type, option, with the need for a bigger and more physical compliment to join him.

FB- 1 or none - We may be able to fill the spot with walk-ons, as has been very successful under Richt with current FB Merrit Hall, as well as guys like JT Wall and Jeremy Thomas in the past.  Adding one to work in with Hall and Quayvon Hicks would be nice, or if a current walk-on or 2 look like they can fill the job should need be, we can save this spot for elsewhere.

TE- 2 - Arthur Lynch will graduate, leaving behind Rome, Flourney-Smith, and Davis.  Flourney-Smith's recent legal issues shouldn't be too much, so hopefully he overcomes them and gets back on track.  But just 3 isn't enough.  They'll all have at least two years of eligibility left, so we might be able to get away with signing just 1 kid here.  But Georgia has no shortage of 6'3+, 235+ athletes around them, and with the increasing prominence of using TEs in an offense and the threats they provide, adding a strong pair here would be a good idea moving forward.

WR- 1-2 - This isn't quite the need it'll be in 2015.  We'll want to add one or two, to keep the depth chart solid moving forward, but the need just won't be that strong in 2014.  We already have Sanders on board, so one more to join him would be fine, especially if we can land an elite guy.  But with 2014 seniors Rumph, Mitchell, Conley, and Bennett (assuming Malcolm Mitchell doesn't have a big year and go pro), joined by a bevy of talented kids in the last two signing classes, the need isn't strong here.  Expect us to need to load up in 2015 at WR though.

OT- 2? -This spot is a bit of a mystery.  John Theus will be returning for his junior season, as will Mark Beard (who can also play G).  But does Devondre Seymour qualify?  Or if not, does he come back after a year at prep school, or have to spend 2 in JUCO?  Are Xzavier Ward and Zach Debell still fighting for playing time?  Is Aulden Bynum at T or G?  Does Kolton Houston ever get out of NCAA purgatory?  These are questions no one can answer right now.  You'd want at least 2, because you need to continually keep the OL depth strong, and sign 4 OL in every class.  But we could be OK with just 2, or if some of those questions have bad answers, be targetting 3 or 4 OT in the 2014 class.

C/G- 2-3? - Just like above, this is a big question mark.  We'll lose starters Burnette, Lee, and Gates.  But is Beard or Bynum helping here?  How does Kublanow and Cardiello look?  Is Houston able to play, and is so, is he at G or T?  Does John Atkins stick on the DL, or shift to the OL?  Just a bunch of unaswerable questions here again.  Judging by the depth, we'll need at least 2 interior OL, if not 3 or 4.  Likely at least 3, just to keep numbers strong.  With guys graduating or nearing graduation, having a strong, and large, OL class is right there with adding an elite rusher as the primary needs for offensive recruiting in 2014.

DL- 3+ - We'll return some strong players, but they'll be nearing graduation and we'll need to solidify depth here. With the last class loading up at LB and DB, this is the biggest need to be filled on the defensive side of the ball.  Expect a lineman heavy class in 2014.

OLB- 1 or 2 - Depending on how some of the kids step up, this is a spot where keeping depth strong is a good idea, especially if Jordan Jenkins blows up and is looking like a potential NFL early entrant after his junior season.  But the need for instant impact is likely minimal provided Jenkins, as well as guys like Josh Dawson, Leonard Floyd, and Davin Bellamy are looking as advertised.

ILB- 1 or 2 - Same as OLB.  We've just added a strong class here, so the need isn't huge, and the need for instant impact players minimal so long as the freshman play like they're capable.  Where Josh Harvey-Clemons plays impacts these numbers a bit, but while you always want to keep strong options at LB under, we'll have rising seniors in Herrera and Wilson, as well as the freshman Carter, O'Neal, Rankin, and Kimbrough.  A 3 man LB class should be good enough, especially if we can land a future star like Raekwon McMillan in the group.

CB- 1 or 2 - Second verse, same as the first here.  Just like LB, we've loaded up in the last class, making the need somewhat minimal here.  If Damien Swann has a season strong enough to consider going pro, the need increases.  But we'd still have Devin Bowman and Sheldon Dawson, to go with incoming guys Wiggins, Langley, Green, and Wilkerson, as well as JUCO Kennar Johnson who could end up at CB or S.  You'll want to sign at least 1, to keep the depth chart full in case someone leaves prematurely, or if JJ Green shows too much ball skills not to play offense full time.  But the need isn't that strong, provided everyone pans out as expected and if Swann returns for his senior season.

S- 1 or 2 - Third verse, same as the first.  We'll bring back Moore, Fluker, Matthews, Mauger, Bostick, Deas, and maybe Kennar Johnson.  Fluker, Deas, and Johnson will be rising seniors, so you'll want to sign at least 1 to keep the depth chart solid and to keep 2015 from being a huge need like 2013 was here.  But if we bring in Nick Glass, that could be more than enough talent to keep the spot as strong as we've grown accustomed to with Jermaine Phillips, Sean Jones, Thomas Davis, Greg Blue, Tra Battle, Rambo and Williams and the other stars Richt has had here.  We may have some guys leave prematurely, but otherwise, we should be able to get by with a minimal DB class of say 3 guys.

K/P/Sn- 0 - Collin Barber, Marshall Morgan, and Nathan Theus will all have mulitple years of eligibility left at these spots, so there's no need to look for anything more than walk-ons to work in here for at least another year or two.

Summary - Don't expect a big class, maybe 15, 20 at most but probably less than that.  We need lineman in a big way, so it likely won't be highly rated either.  We've got a nice start with Glass, Williams, and Sanders, and there is a ton elite talent already getting attention.  Thanks to last year's monster crew, we can focus on just a couple at select spots, and target the truly elite talents to fill those few needs.  A class somewhat similar to the 2012 crew is the likely haul in my uneducated opinion.

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