I love hard hitting safeties - Scott Cunningham
Georgia enrolled 13 young men this semester that will be getting their first taste of SEC football this spring, and hopefully contribute come the fall. With signing day less than a week away, we'll run down that baker's dozen worth of names to whet your appetite for the several more expected to join them in the 2013 class on Wednesday.
In about 5 days, everyone will go nuts about who signs where. The real work got put in months ago, and guys who committed way back when are just as important as guys who wait until the last minute. They just don't help sell. With that in mind, we wanted to introduce you to some of the important names that will be overlooked on Signing Day Wednesday morning and afternoon. DL Chris Mayes and John Atkins will compete for the vacant nose position. LBs Ryne Rankin and Reggie Carter will be looking to step in at LB. JJ Green hopes to make many big plays, while Tramel Terry is looking forward to doing the same. Aulden Bynum will keep the cupboard full on the front line. Jonathon Rumph brings size to the wide receiver position. With a need to replace both starting safeties from last year, playing time is there to be had in the defensive backfield, and on that note, I present to you, Quincy Mauger.
The Kell Longhorn (Marietta) was teammates with fellow recruit Brendan Langley, an over 6' CB expected to sign on the dotted line Wednesday. When Langley arrives in Athens, Mauger will be there waiting on him. After a solid senior season, that saw the defender also haul in 18 receptions for 325 yards and 1 TD on offense, the hard hitter should see action right away. If he's not playing a lot at S, he'll at least be providing special teams work. But as a defensive back, he brings a lot to the table. Just see his junior highlight reel below...
You can also watch full games of Kell (Mauger is wearing #20, Langley #21) against Pope, Gainesville, and Riverwood, thanks to the beautiful interwebs. Those always give you a better feel for a player, warts and all, than highlight reels do, but they are long (about 2 hours each).
Mauger has the physical tools, decent size at 6', and over 200, likely close to 215 or 220 by the time the season starts this fall. He has decent speed, although nothing electric. So he won't need a redshirt to get bigger, stronger, or faster before contributing. Kell is a top HS, that plays against the best in the state on a regular basis, so combine that with spring ball, and he should be well acclimated to competing against the athletes you'll see on a week in, week out basis in the SEC.
In coverage, Mauger shows a solid backpedal, and ability to read the QB before breaking on the ball. He appears comfortable in both man and zone coverages, and isn't afraid to come up in run support. His tackling isn't on par with a Blue, Davis, or Williams, but it's effective enough. And it should get better as he gets stronger and physically matures. He shows a good nose for the ball, and the hands to make a pick when the ball is in his area. He wasn't the highest rated S in the state, but there are no significant flaws there.
One thing at S though, is they tend to be the QB of the defense. They set the coverage, help align players, and have to make reads. At the HS level, you simply don't face the offensive complexity (except when facing a certain team out of Atlanta) you're going to see at the collegiate level. Freshman DBs often make mistakes, and in that position, a mistake often leads to points. That's where the early enrollment helps most, to correct those mistakes before they occur on fall Saturdays.
Mauger will join fellow Atlanta area product Tray Matthews in the competition to take over from Rambo and Williams. There is a good chance one of the two ends up starting in Clemson, although the safe money is on Matthews. But Mauger looks ready to play, although growing pains will certainly be there. At worst, we've got a solid special teamer that will develop and provide depth in the defensive backfield.