After reeling in the top recruiting class in America in 2018 I hope you didn’t expect Kirby Smart to take his foot off the gas.
The Bulldogs picked up another big commitment last weekend when Memphis (Christian Brothers) defensive end Bill Norton picked the Red and Black over offers from the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State, and LSU. Ohio State had been a strong contender, but Norton built a strong relationship through the recruiting process with UGA defensive line coach Tray Scott. Scott and Norton’s high school position coach both learned their craft under legendary LSU defensive line coach (and Macon, Georgia native) Pete Jenkins.
Norton is ranked among the nation’s top 247 recruits by 247Sports. He slots in as the #3 player in the Volunteer State and the #11 strong side defensive end. While Norton also plays offensive tackle, he looks ticketed to be a big defensive end in Georgia’s system. The Bulldogs have slots both for more compact third /passing down defensive ends who dip and rip their way to the quarterback, and guys like Norton who can cave in offensive tackles with a quick first step and brute force.
Georgia has only eight pledges so far for 2019 but remains on top of the 247Sports rankings just ahead of Miami (11 commits). There’s then a pretty solid drop down to Wisconsin, Ole Miss, and Michigan. Norton’s an exciting prospect both because of what he can do on the field, but also because he’s the type of player Jeremy Pruitt would like to have at Tennessee and Nick Saban wants at Alabama. With Saban acolytes continuing to take over the SEC, winning recruiting battles throughout the region to keep the best players coming to Athens could be what helps Kirby Smart’s program take the next step. Until later . . .