By now you’ve already heard that Kirby Smart and his staff are on the verge of signing one of the most decorated classes in UGA history. One interesting aspect of that class is that over the past couple of weeks and months it has improved without really even officially adding any new players. That’s because the various high school postseason all-star games have wrapped up, sending recruiting analysts back to their darkened film rooms and conference tables to debate just who the top prospects in the class of 2017 really are.
Several future Bulldogs have received favorable reviews in that process. You already know that early enrollee QB Jake Fromm for example received a coveted fifth star from Rivals. But to get an idea of the overall drift of the class I think it’s worthwhile to look at just one set of rankings, the 247Sports final rankings, to get an idea of where the class is headed.
New York offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson is now not only a five star prospect according to the service but is now Georgia’s highest ranking recruit (#16 on the Top 247). This is owing in part to his showing at the Under Armour Game where, irrespective of how he performed once the ball was snapped, analysts got a feel for exactly how massive a human being Wilson truly is. More than one scout noted that he looks like an NFL tackle right now, something which can’t really be taught. While Wilson still has some work to do in terms of technique and conditioning he clearly has the raw tools to become a multi-year starter in the SEC.
Richard LeCounte maintained his fifth star and showed the tenacity and athleticism at the Army All-American Bowl that convinced one former Bulldog staff member that he just had to get an offer.
D’Andre Swift stood out in San Antonio as well, then won the MVP award in a recent Under 19 game pitting US players against the best from Canada. He’s now ranked the #33 prospect in the class of 2017, the highest ranked player who did not get a fifth star. I think Houston standout Toneil Carter is going to be a good football player for Tom Herman at Texas. But if Georgia was only going to sign one running back in this class they’re signing the correct one. Swift has good instincts, runs well behind his blockers, has better hands than he gets credit for, and has the bulk and low center of gravity to get tough yards up the middle. There may be only one or two backs in the nation better-suited for what Georgia wants to do offensively.
Offensive tackle Andrew Thomas moved up to #42 after his own impressive showing at the Army game, flashing better measurable than expected, good feet, and surprising power. Jake Fromm slides in at #47, and coveted Grayson safety Deangelo Gibbs is #49. If you’re scoring at home, that’s six future Bulldogs in the top fifty. Seven if Georgia is able to sign Lee County’s Aubrey Solomon, who checks in at #25.
That’s all very impressive, but I think the thing that’s more impressive is that several of these guys were ranked significantly lower this time last year. But they didn’t become targets once they became national top 100 recruits. Instead the staff has been pretty consistent in putting in the work to find the right players early and not giving up on them. That’s an exciting development. Until later...