Much is made in the media about Kirby Smart’s ability to close the deal with elite recruits. Dell McGee has had more blue chippers in his running back room than you can count. Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann routinely land top defensive talent, and Matt Luke has landed more five star linemen in two seasons than some coaches do in a career.
But another member of the UGA staff has quietly produced some impressive results in recruiting, and on the field: defensive line coach Tray Scott.
Consider Scott’s resume since he arrived from North Carolina prior to the 2017 season. Scott didn’t join the staff until after the 2017 class signed. That group included only one true defensive tackle, Liberty County’s Tramel Walthour, who was forced to junior college. That meant Scott had to hit the ground running for 2018 to avoid a depth crunch in his position group.
He responded by resigning a newly eligible Walthour, along with perennial starter Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis, a three star recruit labeled a project by some who became a freshman All-SEC selection. Davis turned down potential first round NFL money to play in Athens in 2021 and is a potential preseason All-American. Not bad, right?
In 2019 Scott landed Upson-Lee’s Travon Walker, a consensus national top 20 recruit wanted by every program in America. And four star defensive linemen Bill Norton, Zion Logue, and Tymon Mitchell out of Tennessee. Walker of course has been a playmaker from day one in Athens. The others are set to play a major role in 2021.
In 2020 Scott secured five star Jalen Carter, who made an immediate impact in 2020, along with four star contributors Nazir Stackhouse and Warren Brinson.
You’d think all that talent would have scared off elite defensive linemen in 2021. You’d be wrong. In addition to 247Sports five star recruit Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, Scott was also the primary recruiter for four star defensive end Jonathan Jefferson of Douglas County and Elbert County/IMG Academy standout Marlin Dean. Noticing a pattern?
What’s more, Scott has already secured verbal pledges for 2022 from Texas five star nose tackle Bear Alexander and Tift County four star Tyre West, the #6 player in the Peach State according to 247Sports.
If you’re scoring at home, Tray Scott has landed a five star defensive lineman in every recruiting class save his first one, and has managed to restock the depth chart up front with even more blue chip recruits, most of whom are still in Athens and playing for him.
The Bulldogs has 12 different defensive linemen record a tackle in 2020. All but senior Malik Herring are set to return in 2021. Did I mention that Georgia led the SEC in rush defense in 2019 and 2020? I should have mentioned that, too.
All of which is to say, Tray Scott has quietly emerged as a rock star recruiter and a solid developer of talent after coming to Athens as a relatively unproven addition. While I don’t anticipate him leaving anytime soon, when and if he does I’m going to be a bit worried about his replacement. Because landing both five stars and under-the-radar gems the way Scott has is rare in college football. Frankly, it’s something we should probably be talking about more. Until later...