As we told you yesterday, recruiting is what's going on in the football world around Athens right now. And recruiting is looking forward to the future, but you can't plan too far ahead with so many unknowns going on out there. We'll take a look at the already promising 2015 class after signing day, but this should whet your whistle a bit in terms of what the 2015 needs will be. We'll also revisit these looks over the spring and summer when position battles warm up and that date with the Clemson Tigers gets a little closer. Right now though, let's focus on what we'll have for 2014 and what we might still need for next season. I'm using the current roster from georgiadogs.com, and including the 2014 signing class commitments as of the time of writing (since that can change). We've covered our QBs, and our RBs, and the WRs, time to finish up the scoring side of things by looking at the OL and TEs.
TE: Jay Rome (Jr) Jordan Davis (rsFR) Jeb Blazevich (Fr) Jake Loonam* (Jr) Jared Chapple* (So)
OL: David Andrews (Sr) John Theus (Jr) Watts Danztler (Sr) Kolton Houston (Sr?) Brandon Kublanow (So) Mark Beard (Sr) Hunter Long (Jr) Xzavier Ward (Jr) Zach Debell (Jr) Greg Pyke (So) Josh Cardiello (rsFr) Aulden Bynum (rsFr) Kendall Baker (Fr) Dyshon Sims (Fr) Isaiah Wynn (Fr) Jake Edwards (Fr) Eddie McQuilen* (Jr) Billy Seward* (rsFr) Michael Scullin* (rsFr) Thomas Swilley* (rsFr) Glen Welch* (rsFr)
* = walked on
I'll get the easy part out of the way. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME AT TE?!?!?!
Does anyone even know if I'm right for including Flournoy-Smith in this, because I couldn't find anything yeah or nay there and we clearly need him. He's had a pretty solid year at Georgia Military from what I can tell, so it'd be nice if he did make a return As styraciflua points out in the comments, he's Ole Miss bound, and now I'm really unhappy with the TE situation. Jay Rome is able to do it all, but he's yet to put it all together. Davis is a bit undersized but was spoken of highly while he redshirted. And some consider Blazevich the best TE in the 2014 class, but he's also still a freshman. We've got a pair of walk-ons who can probably help some but not much. With pro offenses utilizing the multi-faceted weapon that a great all around TE can be, our lack of depth here inhibits our ability to truly have a pro-style offense. I hope Flournoy-Smith makes it back, and is the real deal. And all 4 3 stay healthy so we can use them as the weapons they're all capable of being down the field. But to do so, we'll also need to have our OL step up and handle guys with just 5 so the TE won't be needed to pass block as much as has been the case of late.
And that question friends, comes down to John Theus as much as anyone. The Bolles School product may be the most important player for Georgia's 2014 season. Can he finally step up and be that potential NFL LT he was hyped to be out of high school? We need him to do so, because there really is no other option on the roster.
Alongside him looks to be Kublanow at LG, Andrews at C, Dantzler at RG, and Houston at RT. Kublanow looked very promising in his extended late season looks. Andrews will be the main man as a senior in the middle. Dantzler has shown the ability to really use his size well at RG, and we can hope that after a year finally back on the field and an off season to add a little more good weight, Houston can step up at RT. Perhaps Theus flips back to this side, but then who's LT? Houston is listed a senior, and we'll see if the NCAA shows a heart and gives him back one of the year's they stole for shenanigans after 2014.
But those five will face some competition. Beard came from JUCO looking to make an instant impact. He hasn't done so, but will compete for a starting spot at LT or LG. Pyke has good size and has waited patiently for his chance to win some time at RG. I'd expect Long and Cardiello to work behind Andrews and get limited time at G. Bynum probably waits like Pyke's done, while Debell has yet to win a role. Ward was said to be in line for time at RT, until some health issues bothered him. It'll be interesting to see if the long framed Colquitt County product, or Debell from Tarpon Springs, can win a job at tackle. At 6'6 and 6'7, but needing to add weight on arrival, both were considered long term projects when signed and now would be the time for the project to start paying off.
It's hard to say who, if anyone, plays as a freshman. Baker has ideal LT frame and athleticism, but likely is far too raw to play right away. I'd expect Edwards to fit into the Pyke/Bynum mold and redshirt while growing into his frame and hopefully contributing more as a junior and senior. Wynn and Sims may be the most ready to contribute guys. Wynn has a big reputation out of Florida, and could easily work his way into a starting role at LG or RG before the year ends. And as said, we're desperate for a top quality tackle and Sims has a good pedigree. Whether he can, or should, start as a freshman is something we'll wait and find out. Like with Wynn, it shouldn't be expected but also shouldn't be a surprise if he's starting before 2014 ends.
So, will our OL and TE be strong enough along the lines of scrimmage to allow our insane amount of skill at WR and RB to produce at their best? If so, we're championship contenders. If not, then fans will be wondering what finally needs to be done to fix Richt's never-ending issue.