Good morning, Bulldog fans. We find ourselves in that interlude between college football’s regular season and the kickoff of another exciting bowl season. Traditionally, this time has been filled up with postseason awards, and 2023 is no different. However we also now find ourselves right in the heat of recruiting season, as Early National Signing Day is next Wednesday, December 20th. We’ve got news on both fronts.
As you have no doubt heard by now Brock Bowers was honored over the weekend as the winner of the Mackey award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. Bowers is the first repeat winner of the award. Certainly we all have our favorite Bulldogs of yore, but in the end analysis, I believe Bowers will go down in history as arguably one of the greatest to ever play the game in Sanford Stadium. His 2538 yards receiving place him fifth on UGA’s all-time receiving yards list, and there’s every reason to believe that if he (perhaps foolishly) decided to return for a senior season he would obliterate Terrance Edwards’ school and SEC record of 3093 yards. Truly, he’s one of the best of the Damn Good ‘Dawgs.
In other well-deserved award news, receiver Ladd McConkey was honored as the winner of the Wuerfell Trophy, which honors the college football player who makes the greatest impact on the field, in the classroom, and in his community. McConkey is still weighing his NFL Draft options, but selfishly I’d love to see Madd Ladd close out his Bulldog career with a healthy senior season to prove his durability to scouts.
As I said above we’re closing in on Signing Day ‘24 (which is in 2023, don’t overthink it…) and there’s not a lot of mystery about who will have the nation’s top class. Barring some truly wild gyrations it will be your Georgia Bulldogs. The Red and Black hold a healthy lead over second place Ohio State and third place FSU.
Georgia could really blow the roof off the rankings if Coach Smart and Co. could flip five star in-state safety KJ Bolden from the Seminoles. Personally I think that one is a long shot, especially with defensive backs coach Fran Brown headed to take over at Syracuse. But you never count out Kirby when it comes to getting blue chip football players to sign on the line that is dotted.
Of note to some is that Georgia only has commitments from one of 247Sports’ top ten players in the Peach State for the class of 2024. There are still those who grumble about “putting a fence around the state” and “getting players who bleed red and black”, but if we can go to California for the next Brock Bowers or Mississippi for another Nakobe Dean I’m great with that.
In 2023 roster building doesn’t just happen on Signing Day. The transfer portal is now a fact of life in big time college football (assuming you’re not named Dabo Swinney), and the ‘Dawgs have obviously been active in it in recent years. This offseason won’t be any different, and SI.com has a list of some of the players Georgia is likely to try to bring in from some SEC coevals.
You’ll notice that list is fairly heavy on the defensive line, which makes sense. Georgia is likely to lose some guys from the current DL group both to the NFL and transfers. What’s more, the Bulldog defense seemed to struggle this season without a true two-gap nose like Jordan Davis or Jalen Carter. Finding a couple of guys who can stay healthy and play maximum minutes controlling the A gaps may be the biggest job the staff has this winter.
Stay warm, stay healthy, and stay focused. And….