4 | Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | The Red & Black
‘Dream Team’ two big-time prospects away from reality
MAPPING IT OUT
By TRAVIS RAGSDALE The Red & Black
National Signing Day crucial for Bulldogs Regardless of what happens today, this recruiting class will go down as one of the better efforts of head coach Mark Richt’s tenure, especially coming off an extremely disappointing 6-7 season. For the first time in a while, the Georgia coaching staff has focused all its efforts on protecting the Bulldogs’ home turf first, and it’s paid off in a big way.
8, 9, 10
18 19, 20
HUNTER LONG, OG
CHRISTIAN LeMAY, QB
DEVIN BOWMAN, CB
WATTS DANTZLER, OT
11 STERLING BAILEY, OLB
CHRIS CONLEY, WR
13 DAVID ANDREWS, C
AMARLO HERRERA, ILB Hometown: College Park High School: North Clayton Measureables: 6-foot-2, 215 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Herrera is a physical inside linebacker that loves to hit and will bring some needed toughness to the teeth of the Georgia defense.
CHRIS MAYES, DT
COREY MOORE, S
NICK MARSHALL, CB
QUINTAVIOUS HARROW, S Hometown: Columbus High School: Carver Measureables: 5-foot-10, 180 pounds; 2-star recruit At a glance: Harrow is the high school teammate of Isaiah Crowell that received an offer from Georgia late in the process. He possesses a great deal of speed but is undersized.
MALCOLM MITCHELL, CB/S Hometown: Valdosta High School: Valdosta Measureables: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: The biggest question mark for Mitchell may be which side of the ball he plays on, as he figures to factor into the rotation immediately at wide receiver or in the secondary.
NATHAN THEUS, snapper Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla. High School: The Bolles School Measureables: 6-foot-3, 252 pounds; 2-star recruit At a glance: Theus is considered one of the elite long snappers in the country, and it doesn’t hurt that his little brother is a five-star junior offensive tackle.
Hometown: Rochelle High School: Wilcox County Measureables: 6-foot-2, 186 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Marshall is an athlete that could play multiple positions, but projects to cornerback. He should have little trouble making the transition to the defensive backfield.
JAY ROME, TE Hometown: Valdosta High School: Valdosta Measureables: 6-foot-6, 240 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Regarded as one of the nation’s top tight ends, Rome is a talented pass catcher but needs to add weight to become a complete tight end.
Hometown: Griffin High School: Griffin Measureables: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Moore is a physical safety prospect that has all the tools, but will need to get stronger and put on weight at Georgia.
Hometown: Norcross High School: Wesleyan School Measureables: 6-foot-2, 276 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Andrews projects at the center position, where he can use his intelligence to make the offensive line calls, but needs to add weight before seeing the playing field.
DAMIAN SWANN, CB
RAY DREW, OLB Hometown: Thomasville High School: Thomas County Central Measureables: 6-foot-5, 255 pounds; 5-star recruit At a glance: Drew is an explosive pass rusher that figures to factor into the outside linebacker rotation immediately and may even start as a true freshman.
Hometown: Griffin High School: Spaulding Measureables: 6-foot-5, 295 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Mayes is an athletic specimen, but has only been playing football for two years and will need to work on his technique before seeing the field at Georgia.
Hometown: Dallas High School: North Paulding Measureables: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Conley has all the tools and is the most likely of the wide receiver group to see the field as a true freshman.
Hometown: Atlanta High School: Grady Measureables: 6-foot, 175 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Swann has great speed, perfect for cornerback, but is electric with the ball in his hands and will likely see time on both sides of the ball and be a factor in the return game.
Hometown: Gainesville High School: East Hall Measureables: 6-foot-4, 230 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Bailey could project at outside linebacker or defensive end in Georgia’s 3-4 scheme, depending on how much weight he adds. But either way, he’ll need to add strength.
CHRIS SANDERS, S Hometown: Tucker High School: Tucker Measureables: 6-foot, 175 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Sanders is a blazing safety prospect that projects best at the free safety position, where he’ll need to add 15-20 pounds before he sees the playing field.
Hometown: Dalton High School: Dalton Measureables: 6-foot-7, 310 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Dantzler has collegeready size but needs to get stronger in the weight room before waging war in the trenches on the collegiate level.
JUSTIN SCOTT-WESLEY, WR Hometown: Camilla High School: Mitchell County Measureables: 6-foot, 202 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Scott-Wesley is a track star that is widely regarded as the fastest player in the state, but he’ll need to work on his route running to see the field at Georgia.
Hometown: Rossville High School: Ridgeland Measureables: 6-foot, 175 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Bowman is blessed with tremendous change of direction that should allow the high school running back to make a quick transition to cornerback.
XZAVIER WARD, OT Hometown: Moultrie High School: Colquitt County Measureables: 6-foot-7, 245 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Ward has the athletic, massive frame that colleges covet in offensive tackles, but he’ll need to put on a lot of weight before he ever sees the field.
Hometown: Matthews, N.C. High School: Butler Measureables: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: This talented quarterback prospect didn’t play football his entire senior year after being suspended from his high school and will likely redshirt his freshman year.
SANFORD SEAY, WR Hometown: Leesburg High School: Lee County Measureables: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Seay was an unheralded prospect that received an offer from Georgia after blowing up his senior season with 1,180 yards receiving.
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn. High School: Briarcrest School Measureables: 6-foot-4, 290 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Long is the brother of Georgia offensive tackle Austin Long, although Hunter projects best on the interior of the offensive line, likely as an offensive guard prospect.
— Nick Parker
RAMIK WILSON, LB Hometown: Tampa, Fla. High School: Jefferson Senior Measureables: 6-foot-3, 228 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Wilson is an athletic linebacker prospect that could project inside or outside on the next level depending on Georgia’s needs.
The Red & Black | Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | 5
ZACH DeBELL, OT Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Fla. High School: Tarpon Springs Measureables: 6-foot-7, 265 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Debell is intense and has great athleticism and footwork for an offensive tackle but needs to put on weight.
Today, Georgia players and coaches will join each other for what they hope will be a joyous celebration of the recruiting success the Bulldogs have achieved this offseason. As it stands now Georgia has 23 committed prospects, two of which have enrolled early, leaving Georgia with room to add four to five more prospects to the “Dream Team” recruiting class. Head coach Mark Richt’s concept of signing a recruiting class full of the best players in the state of Georgia to form a socalled “Dream Team” seems to be paying dividends with the prospects of this class, but perhaps even more importantly with the high school coaches of the prospects as well. “I think it was a great idea,” said head football coach Matt Land of Dalton High School and coach of offensive line recruit Watts Dantzler. “It’s pretty clear that these guys are buying into the idea of coming to play for their home state. I think it will pay off in the years to come as well simply because other instate players are going to want to join with the great class Georgia has put together.” For the players themselves, the possibility of playing for their home-state school with other instate players was too much to pass up. “I like [the Dream Team]. Georgia boys are about to take the country by storm,” said fourstar cornerback Damian Swann of Atlanta. If Georgia is able to sign the final players on its board today, then the 2011 class would compare favorably to the 2006 class, which would eventually lead Georgia to a No. 2 final national ranking as well as a victory in the Sugar Bowl. The 2006 class included the likes of Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Asher Allen and Reshad Jones; all of which are now playing in the NFL. Rivals.com national recruiting expert Barry Every said he feels the recruiting class put together thus far can be successful, and there are several players he said he believes will see the field right away. “I would say Corey Moore because he is ideal for kick coverage and is willing to hit and either Ramik Wilson or Amarlo Herrera,” Every said. “Georgia is in need of some tough jokers to bounce around between the tackle box and make plays. They should also excel on kick coverages.” Other likely immediate gamechangers will include recently committed defensive end Ray Drew and Malcolm Mitchell, who could play wide receiver or cornerback in Athens. Every said he believes that Mitchell can help Georgia win games this year if he sticks with one position. “I would not be jerking this kid around,” Every said. “Stick with either WR or DB and maybe kick or punt return. Then if he excels at his main position maybe let him see the other side of the ball.” But it’s two players yet to make decisions — Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins — that Every said he believes could be the biggest factors for Georgia if they end up deciding to don the red and black. “Georgia’s biggest holes this past season were along the defensive front and at tailback,” he said. “It became pretty clear early on that they were going to address those issues this off-season. If Georgia does land Crowell and Jenkins, it will be a step in the right direction.” Another hole Georgia has sought to address is along the offensive front, where it already have five offensive lineman committed and are waiting to hear from massive left tackle prospect Antonio Richardson of Nashville, Tenn. “They need offensive lineman badly in my opinion, so Richardson would add some needed depth and improves the chances of someone in this class making an impact early in their careers,” Every said. Even if Georgia strikes out on all its remaining prospects today, which is extremely unlikely, but signs everyone it already has committed, Richt and the staff will have put themselves into a position to win right away, something that has been missing from Athens for the past several years. “With the class we put together, we want to make a dynasty,” linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “We want to win everything — SEC, National Championship. We got the players now, but we just got to all get to campus and work hard this summer.”
DECISIONS, DECISIONS ISAIAH CROWELL, RB Hometown: Columbus High School: Carver Measureables: 6-foot, 215 pounds; 5-star recruit At a glance: Crowell can make an im-
mediate difference for Georgia and has drawn comparisons to South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore. He could be Georgia’s most important signature in years. Chances he’ll be a Dog: Crowell’s long-awaited decision is down to two schools: Alabama and Georgia. With his cousin and teammate Quintavious Harrow committed and a gaping hole at running back, it’s hard to imagine Crowell not ending up in Athens. Announcement time: Today at 1:30 p.m.
JOHN JENKINS, DT Hometown: Perkinston, Miss. Previous School: Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Measureables: 6-foot-4, 340 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Jenkins is the massive
space-eater up the middle that Todd Grantham needs for his 3-4 defense to be successful and could be a huge difference-maker as a freshman. Chances he’ll be a Dog: Jenkins visited four schools, but brought his mom on only one visit: Georgia. The Georgia coaches have made it readily apparent how much he is needed, and it’d be a surprise if went elsewhere. Announcement time: Saturday, Feb. 5
JEOFFREY PAGAN, DE Hometown: Asheville, N.C. High School: Asheville Measureables: 6-foot-4, 270 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Pagan is one of the
country’s top defensive end prospects, but he tore his ACL during his senior season, which caused some schools to back off. Chances he’ll be a Dog: Pagan previously committed to Florida, then later Clemson, and now it looks as if he will land at either Alabama or Georgia on signing day. Whoever he ultimately selects won’t feel secure until the ink is dry on his letter of intent. Announcement time: Today at 9 a.m.
ANTONIO RICHARDSON, OT Hometown: Nashville, Tenn. High School: Pearl-Cohn Measureables: 6-foot-6, 310 pounds; 4-star recruit At a glance: Physically, Richardson
looks ready to play right away, with the type of size offensive line coaches covet. But he’ll need to work on his footwork and technique. Chances he’ll be a Dog: Richardson is set to decide between Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. But it should be tough to pull him out of the Volunteer State. Announcement time: Today at 10 a.m.
KENT TURENE, ILB Hometown: Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. High School: Boyd H. Anderson Measureables: 6-foot-2, 235 pounds; 3-star recruit At a glance: Turene has a college-
level ready body and looks tailor-made for one of the two inside linebacker positions in Georgia’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Chances he’ll be a Dog: Turene decommitted from Southern California, but could still choose the Trojans over Georgia and Nebraska, who are also vying for his signature on signing day. Announcement time: Unknown
THE WHAT-IFs It’d be considered a huge upset, and major surprise on the national landscape, if Georgia didn’t get both Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins. The need is immediate for both and the signatures of the two would push Georgia into the top five in the country, if not the top three. Any others after those two would be simply icing on Mark Richt’s National Signing Day cake, as Crowell and Jenkins would fill the Bulldogs’ two biggest voids. The Georgia coaching staff has gone all in on both and appear poised to sign both. However, if Georgia did somehow miss on both, Georgia fans and coaches would undoubtedly walk away from this class with a bitter taste in their mouth, despite the strength of the remainder of the Dream Team.
• Check in with our Dog Days blog throughout the day for full coverage of National Signing Day •
RANK ’EM Georgia’s recruiting class unanimously ranks among the top 10 in the country and could move into the top five if Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins decide Athens is where they want to spends their college years. Either way, this class is poised to become the best class for head coach Mark Richt since 2006. Here’s how the recruiting experts have ranked the top 10 recruiting classes this year:
scout.com RECRUITING CLASS RANK
rivals.com RECRUITING CLASS RANK
UGA 2011 Signing Day section