In the past 4 days Mark Richt and crew have secured verbal commitments from 3 additional prospects for the class of 2010. Frostproof, Florida cornerback Nickell Robey, Douglas defensive tackle Garrison Smith, and Southwest Dekalb defensive end T.J. Stripling. That brings the total of players in this class to 17, and should bring the coaches to within 2-3 prospects of being done with recruiting for the class of 2010. Given the shadowy nature of the recruiting business (the underlying reason behind my mandate to cover this aspect of the college game sans creepiness) we could in fact be done with the class of 2010 and those remaining scholarship candidates haven't come forward yet. There's been some speculation for example that M.L. King tailback Mack Brown may have already decided to attend Georgia, but that's pure speculation and tiptoes right up to the creepy line. So let's back away from that.
As we were winding up the class of 2009 last season, I opined that this would be a tough recruiting cycle for our coaches. I reasoned that the limited number of scholarships available and the depth created by the 2007 and 2008 classes would mean that some very good players would look elsewhere and that we'd have to turn others away for no other reason than that arithmetic is a real witch who loves nothing more than to hamper your plans and ruin your fun. Unless you're Wilt Chamberlain, in which case mere numbers are no real obstacle. But I digress.
Granted, there's still plenty of time for our current verbal pledges to decide they'd rather play at Montana Tech, or join the Hare Krishnas, or knock over a Piggly Wiggly. Granted additionally, recruiting rankings are helpful though not exact. However at this moment Georgia's recruiting class is currently ranked #2 by Scout.com, which is quite a feat. Especially when you consider the small total number of recruits involved.
Other schools will likely pass us in the rankings as they add commits and we stand pat, but there is little reason to believe that this class will not finish the year ranked in the top 10 in the country. If UGA is in the top 10 compiled by Rivals.com, Georgia will have finished the recruiting cycle as a member of Rivals' list of top 10 classes every year since 2002, and would be the only football program able to say that. It's also worth noting that Georgia currently has commitments from 5 of the top 50 players in the country according to Rivals (by ranking that is, not by actual talent, and do I even really need to make that explicit?) which is the most of any program in the country. All of this is perhaps more interesting given that Georgia appeared to be stuck in neutral a mere 6 weeks ago and has since picked up 13 verbal commitments. I suppose that in Athens these days when it rains tall fast receivers, it also pours mobile defensive tackles. That's quite a weather pattern.
Why is this significant? First, I guess it means that if Mark Richt or Rodney Garner called you recently and asked if you'd like to play football in the Classic City, you should probably call back and accept now. Because the offer may not stand for very long. But also because as Bear Bryant once noted, you can't make chicken salad without the chicken. Though his exact words were a bit more colorful, and he probably said it as he stubbed out a Chesterfield on some reporter's forehead. While lights out recruiting is no guarantee of a National Championship, the failure to recruit well year in and year out is one way to guarantee you won't win one. Until later . . .