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Friday Crootin’ Tidbits: Receivers Wanted, Elite DBs Welcome

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 19 UL Lafayette at Georgia Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re less than a week from the early National Signing Day on December 18th, which has come to be THE de facto National Signing Day.

Georgia currently has 14 commitments for the class of 2020 and, with the apparent transfer of Robert Beal and expected NFL Draft entrants, has anywhere from 8-10 spots left in its signing class. That’s easily the most of any school in the top ten in recruiting rankings.

I expect Coach Smart and his staff to hold at least a couple of slots open for players entering the transfer portal. The ‘Dawgs have had as much luck in evaluating and integrating those players (Cam Nizialek, Maurice Smith, JR Reed, Lawrence Cager, Eli Wolf) into the roster as anyone in the country. Don’t expect that to change.

But the focus in Athens remains on identifying, signing, and developing talented high school players. Starting today we’ll be periodically updating you on what’s happening on that front.

The biggest target remaining on the Bulldogs’ board is South Carolina defensive end Jordan Burch. The five star target is a consensus top five recruit in the country and would be a huge boost for the Red and Black recruiting class. His three finalists appear likely to be Clemson, LSU, and Georgia. Dabo Swinney visited one final time on Wednesday, Ed Orgeron will come calling on Friday. But Kirby was there to watch Burch play basketball last night.

Clemson has long been considered the favorite here, but LSU is making a late push. If distance from home is an issue (and it could be) Georgia just might emerge as the compromise choice.

The Bulldogs have also been passing out an unusually high number of late in the cycle offers. I have to be honest: that worries me. It indicates that we aren’t 100% confident that some of the blue chip top targets we’ve been pursuing are coming to Athens. The bright side is that some of the recent offers have been to late bloomers who could turn out to be steals.

One of those would be Savannah wide receiver Sam Brown, who yesterday received offers from Georgia, Florida, and Ole Miss and unsurprisingly backed off his prior commitment to UCF. Busy day, huh?

At 6’3, 195 pounds Brown is a bigger receiver with solid breakaway speed. He already counted offers from Michigan, Oregon, Kentucky, and Virginia among others. It will be interesting to see if the ‘Dawgs can swoop in here.

Georgia has also turned up its pursuit of Jones County receiver Jontavis Robertson.

Robertson had a huge senior season for the Greyhounds and first year JoCo Coach Mike Chastain. Chastain was an offensive assistant at Houston County when Jake Fromm was Bear, before taking the head coaching position at Warner Robins and leading the Demons to two straight state title games with current Mercer QB Dylan Fromm.

Robertson has flourished in Chastain’s wide open attack. The compact 5’11, 180 pound slot man caught 66 passes for 1162 yards as a senior, good for a 17.6 yard per catch average and 9 touchdowns. While the three star prospect might not juice Georgia’s recruiting rankings, he has the potential to join the receiving rotation sooner rather than later.

Also, it should probably be heartening to Bulldog fans to see Kirby Smart out beating the bushes for pass catchers. The strategy here is pretty clear.

The Bulldogs also had a recent in home visit with one Louisiana defensive back and will be hosting a blue chipper from the Midwest on campus this weekend.

Major Burns (who has the best wide receiver name ever) recently decommitted from home state LSU, and it’s looking like the Red and Black have a solid shot at landing the four star safety (though Texas A&M is also in pursuit, among other SEC/Big XII powers).

Four star safety/corner Dontae Manning out of Kansas City decommitted from Oklahoma over the summer and has since been pursued by a who’s who of college football’s elite. Kirby Smart and Charlton Warren will get a crack at convincing him to don the red and black beginning today.

If they can remove his concerns about distance from home and secure the signature of the #6 cornerback in the country it would be a huge late recruiting coup.

There may be more moving parts to this 2020 recruiting class than any other in recent UGA memory. It’s going to get interesting. Check back here through the weekend as we get you ready for our annual Signing Day festivities.

Go ‘Dawgs!!!