As Mr. Sanchez noted last week, the Georgia Bulldogs have 17 commitments for the class of 2014. With 68 athletes on scholarship that should mean that the Bulldogs are very close to being done on the recruiting trail. Different sources will cite different numbers for what constitutes "full" in this class. For my part, I think you can expect Georgia to try to sign 3 to 4 more players, though that will depend in large part on who those players are. Two weeks out from National Signing Day, here's a quick look at some of the most likely candidates:
Tavon Ross, Safety/QB, Bleckley County. Every year there are a couple of players who blow up right before NSD based on strong senior seasons. This year Ross is that guy. He's been committed to Missouri since late August*, and for a long time the Tigers were his only major offer. The the 6'1, 200 lb. star embarked on an unbelievable senior season which saw him pick off 6 passes, returning 4 of them for touchdowns. Since New Year's he's picked up offers from Georgia, Miami, and Alabama, which is pretty improbable in this age of voracious football recruiting coverage. If you want to know why Ross has become such a hot commodity, just watch the first 1:30 of his Hudl highlight video.** Ross took an official visit to Athens the weekend before last and seemed to bond well with Bulldog commits, including new commit Rico Johnson. It will be a chore to pry Ross away from Mizzou. He's been committed to the Tigers for almost five months, after all. But I think it's worth the effort.
Lorenzo Carter, Defensive end/outside linebacker, Norcross. We've been watching Carter since early in his junior season, along with college recruiters from around the country. At one time Carter seemed a safe bet to head to Alabama, but the Georgia coaches have done a great job of recruiting him and have done a good job of recruiting Carter's whole family. The hire of FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt hasn't hurt the Bulldogs' chances, such that SBN's own Bud Elliott now projects Carter to the Bulldogs in a close one over a crowded field of suitors.
Wesley Green, cornerback, Martin Luther King, Jr. (Lithonia). Green is a four star cornerback who was being pursued hard by the prior defensive staff. He recently named South Carolina as his leader over Georgia, citing the recent coaching changes. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Green, who's rated by most recruiting services between the tenth and fifteenth best prospect in the state of Georgia. Personally, I think the corners in Athens will improve significantly in 2014 with good coaching, I like what Reggie Wilkerson and Paris Bostick could do coming off injury, and think current commits Shattle Fenteng and Malkom Parrish are better prospects for our defense. That said, turning Green would be a win on paper in recruiting rankings.
Derrick Kelly, Jr., offensive tackle, East Gadsden H.S. (Havana, Florida). Kelly is a 6'5, 295 pound offensive tackle prospect sporting offers from not only the Bulldogs but also Florida, LSU, and Florida State (perhaps the favorite for his services, along with the Bayou Bengals). Kelly is a prospect I really like, who plays with great pad level and moves his feet very well for his size. He also has a build to handle 20 to 25 more pounds and remain mobile (though he's strong enough to play in college as a freshman). While he's not the most highly rated prospect still on the board, Kelly is a guy who could make a huge contribution anywhere along the offensive line, and that versatility makes him valuable.
Brujoun "B.J." Bonner, safety, Lakewood (St. Petersburg, FL). Bonner is a really intriguing prospect, a 6'3, 193 pound safety and high school teammate of current Bulldog commit Isaiah Wynn. Bonner has length that you just can't teach, a huge asset in coverage. Bonner's also more physical than his lanky frame would initially lead you to believe. He's committed to Memphis and recently took an official visit there, and claims additional offers from the likes of Bowling Green and Ball State. Georgia hasn't offered him yet, but they have contacted him, and Bonner is a good candidate for one of those last minute "take it or leave it" kind of Signing Day offers.
Dominick Sanders, cornerback/safety, Tucker. Sanders is the brother of former Bulldog recruit Chris Sanders, who showed a lot of promise before he and Nick Marshall decided to deviate from the accepted norms of American property law. The younger Sanders is, like his brother, a combo player who could be plugged into any of the defensive back slots eventually. He doesn't have a Bulldog offer, and in fact his only SEC offer is from Arkansas. I think Sanders is another guy who might get a last minute offer if a scholarship becomes available.
T.J. Harrell, safety, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, FL). Harrell is another physical safety who received a late offer from the Bulldogs. Sensing a pattern here? Harrell has offers from Florida State, Texas, Louisville, Miami, and Michigan State among others. He's not as long as Bonner, and I don't know that he has Ross's ball skills, but his offer makes it pretty clear that Georgia is taking another safety in this class. It may be a first come/first served situation among Harrell, Ross and Bonner.
Part of the fun of recruiting is that this list will inevitably be outdated by the time you read it. That's what the last few days before Signing Day look like. We'll be here over the next week and a half to bring you profiles of current commits, look at the latest news, and analyze where the Bulldogs stand in the race to secure the players necessary to win SEC and national titles. For now, feel free to drop your thoughts on the above prospects, and any other names you've heard (or think should be considered) in the comments. Until later . . .
*Fun fact, Missouri has actually signed several players out of Cochran in the past, especially in the early 90's when Bleckley County was coached by Dennis Roland, Sr., the father of former Bulldog Dennis Roland.
**I just assume Bama is recruiting him solely based on the play at the 2:56 mark.