I know you're all as happy as I am with our 2008 recruiting class. Like Rodney Garner, I'm concentrating on the ones that are in Athens or on the way. It's an exciting group which includes instant impact players, athletes who could play a variety of positions, high motor guys and nationally known bluechippers.
But that doesn't mean I'm not looking ahead a little. Which brings me to an interesting point. I'm hoping we all enjoyed this recruiting season. Because the next couple could be a little different. Not worse, mind you, just different.
As has been widely chronicled, there are a total of 14 scholarship seniors on the 2008 roster. Assuming a medical casualty here, an academic straggler there, and an NFL departure for good measure, we should have between 15-18 scholarships to give.
That means that this class will be about getting the absolute best available players at each position. A word of caution: the players our coaches think are the absolute best may not be the ones Rivals or Scout identify as such. The classic case study will be at linebacker, where we might not take any one of the top 3 linebackers in the state of Georgia according to Rivals, and likely won't have room for more than 1 of the 3. The coaches have been recruiting (and though these things are a bit murky, appear to have tendered verbal offers to) all 3, but we're already loaded up with linebackers. Unless Dexter Moody (who's already committed) or Jonathan Davis (who we're pursuing along with Tucker teammate Drayton Calhoun) is going to play safety, we've basically already filled our allotment.
And 2010 is not going to be a big year, either. We currently have 13 scholarship juniors. Now, if we have the kind of year that so many of the national cognizanti seem to think we will, some of those guys (and some redshirt sophomores) may be moving to the NFL. But it's difficult for me to imagine us taking more than 20 recruits in either year. That means that when the final recruiting rankings come in, we're going to be somewhere down the list. Recruiting services rank based not only on per capita quality, but also on pure quantity.
That's not necessarily unfair, either. The alternative I think would be to evaluate not only the high school players in the recruiting classes, but also to do a team-by-team evaluation of needs versus how those needs are filled. And college football fans don't pay $9.95 a month to hear, for example, that Virginia Tech did a great job of getting players at positions of need. They pay to hear that the absolute greatest, oh my God, surefire Heisman winner may have taken an unofficial visit to their favorite school.
In other words, brace yourselves for Auburn and South Carolina fans to crow about their unbelievable recruiting classes and how they are so on the way to an SEC Title. Because by pure numbers one or both of them may well "outrecruit" us over the next couple of years.
But this is a good problem to have. We'll very likely enter 2008 as a consensus top 3 pick. We'll be equally loaded for 2009, barring any underclassman defections or unmitigated disasters of the scooterin', drankin' or ring sellin' on eBay variety. Credit should go to Mark Richt and his staff for keeping a lot of guys in school who would have freed up scholarships otherwise, and for getting an entire 23 man signing class in last year with no academic casualties.
Remember, even the recruiting gurus will tell you their ratings don't really mean that much. A series of top 10 recruiting classes is statistically more significant to onfield success than a single recruiting "National Championship". It's a great time to be a Georgia Bulldog. Keep that in mind next Signing Day.