Note: This recruiting recap is brought to you by the 2018-2019 University of Georgia men’s basketball team, freeing up sports writers to focus on other more pleasant subjects since the start of conference play.
Georgia came into today’s Signing Day having done the heavy lifting to put together an elite 2019 class. Remaining on the agenda were an elite wide receiver to replace some of the production lost to the NFL Draft and a tight end to stanch the bleeding at that position.
Kirby & Co. checked one of those off in a big way, then they checked off the other. Then they got back to work on the class of 2020. Because recruiting is over. Long live recruiting!
The commitment of Hoover, Alabama five star receiver George Pickens was as welcome as it was surprising. Pickens has good hands, a great frame, and solid hops. He gives the Bulldogs a third 6’5 receiver in a suddenly taller rotation. And it’s always nice to grab a national top 30 player the War Tiglesmen thought they’d nailed down.
Tight end Brett Seither brings versatility and athleticism to Athens and will get a look in the tight end rotation behind presumptive starter Charlie Woerner. Georgia will be looking to sign at least one tight end for 2020, but whether they sign another will depend on how underclassmen like John FitzPatrick, Ryland Goede, and Seither develop. Georgia may remain in the market for a graduate transfer at the position, but will have to fight off Alabama in that as they fought off the Tide for Seither.
It wasn’t all wins on the day. Coveted cornerback Kaiir Elam did sign with Florida as expected despite a hard push from the Athenians. But it’s not like the cupboard is exactly bare in the defensive backfield at Georgia. Dan Mullen signed the fifth best recruiting class in the SEC, which should get him to second/third in the SEC East perennially until fans in Gainesville get sick off him (that’ll be 2022, by the way).
Mullen was joined among the relative winners by Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee, who signed a pair of five star offensive tackles on the way to a #12 247Sports ranking. That’s good for Tennessee. It’s not good enough to avoid consistently getting pantsed by Georgia and Alabama over the next few years.
247Sports ranks Georgia’s class 2nd in the country right behind Alabama’s. Rivals has the ‘Dawgs edging out the Tide. The difference is academic. The bottom line is that the two schools are racing away from the competition at an alarming rate, hoovering up an increasing percentage of the Southland’s prime football talent and leaving their regional coevals in the dust.
The Silver Britches signed the top two players in the state of Alabama, Pickens and center Clay Webb, both five star recruits. Tide and Tiger fans may shrug that off, but it’s the first time the state’s top two recruits both left the Yellowhammer State since 2003 (Chad Jackson to Florida and JaMarcus Russell to LSU). Georgia signed the top player in not only Alabama but also Mississippi, Florida, Kansas, and Rhode Island. That’s right. Kirby’s building a fence around Rhode Island.
The Red and Black will enter 2019 with a roster loaded on both sides of the ball. There are question marks at receiver and corner. And if anything happens to Jake Fromm, we’re truly and righteously screwed. But Kirby Smart just laid another layer of national title caliber talent atop the highest stack of talent any UGA coach has ever commanded. One could easily deduce what that should lead to.
Kirby Smart is winning multiple national titles if he continues to recruit like this.— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) February 6, 2019
For my part, I just want one. Let’s start there. If Georgia doesn’t win it all in the next three years it won’t be for lack of talent. This 2019 class was a clear step in the direction of a title, and you can’t ask more of a staff than that. Until later...