Published February 3, 2011 - 3:40pm
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Mark Richt hears the rumors around Athens. He undoubtedly feels the pressure. He knows what will happen if the 2011 season is anything like 2010. However, if you listen to Richt speak he sounds as cool as his always perfect spray tan. On signing day, Richt stared all of his critics in the eye and did not blink. It would have been easy for the Bulldogs to fall off the recruiting map in 2011. Granted, they just finished their second straight disappointing season, capped off by a loss to UCF in the Liberty Bowl. Yet Richt did not let this faze him.
Richt went out on the recruiting trail and sold what only the best salesmen can sell: a dream. He successfully convinced the nation’s top recruits that if they came to the University of Georgia they would be part of a “dream team.” The coaches and recruits believe this dream team will be the class to bring the Bulldogs back to greatness. Whether they do or not remains to be seen. On paper, it’s hard to deny their promising future. The star studded class is ranked 5th by Rivals and 6th by Scout, sporting two 5 star players and eleven 4 star players. Coach Richt summed up his feelings on the dream team: “I just came with the idea that this is my Dream Team. This is Georgia’s Dream Team, to where we literally had names and pictures targeted that we would shoot for and we nailed it pretty good. We didn’t get them all, but we came pretty darn close and I certainly think the dream team came true today.” Richt further believes that this class has the potential to be the best that he has ever recruited, but he wants Georgia fans to tamper expectations for their immediate impact.
Nevertheless, many of these signees should be able to come in and contribute immediately for the Bulldogs. Mark Richt said that he wouldn’t be surprised if heralded running back Isaiah Crowell scored a touchdown on the first drive against Boise State in September. The nation’s top defensive end prospect, Ray Drew, should make an immediate impact on the defensive front for the bulldogs as well.
What shouldn’t be disregarded by bulldog fans is that this is the first time that the team has been able to recruit to fit the needs of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defensive scheme. In a 4-3, defensive lineman and linebackers are built more for speed than size. In a 3-4 scheme the defensive lineman need to be much bigger in order to protect the linebackers. The linebackers are utilized to get most of the pressure on the quarterback and stuff the run. Linebackers do not drop into coverage as much in a 3-4 scheme. Coach Richt stressed the importance of recruiting the proper types of athletes to play this scheme, and he believes that they did just that. As you’ll see below, this recruiting class is star studded with defensive players.
Mock Depth Chart using only Georgia’s Class of 2011 Signees
- QB: Christian LeMay, Matthews, NC: 4 star prospect
- RB: Isaiah Crowell, Columbus, GA: 5 star prospect
- OL: David Andrews, Norcross, GA
- OL: Watts Dantzler, Dalton, GA
- OL: Zach DeBell, Tarpon Springs, FL
- OL: Hunter Long, Eads, TN
- OL: Nathan Theus, Jacksonville, FL
- TE: Jay Rome, Valdosta, GA: 4 star prospect
- WR: Chris Conley, Dallas, GA
- WR: Justin Scott-Wesley, Camilla, GA: 4 star prospect
- WR: Sanford Seay, Leesburg, GA
- DT: Chris Mayes, Griffin, GA: 4 star prospect
- DE: Sterling Bailey, Gainesville, GA: 4 star prospect
- DE: Ray Drew, Thomasville, GA: 5 star prospect
- LB: Amarlo Herrera, College Park, GA: 4 star prospect
- LB: Kent Turene, Lauderdale Lakes, FL
- LB: Ramik Wilson, Tampa, FL: 4 star prospect
- DB: Quintavious Harrow, Columbus, GA
- DB: Malcolm Mitchell, Valdosta, GA: 4 star prospect
- DB: Corey Moore, Griffin, GA: 4 star prosepct
- DB: Damian Swann, Atlanta, GA: 4 star prospect
- ATH: Devin Bowman, Rossville, GA
- ATH: Nick Marshall, Rochelle, GA: 4 star prospect
- ATH: Chris Sanders, Tucker, GA
- OL: Xzavier Ward, Moultrie, GA
*Note: the signees spot on the depth chart is not indicative of who the better prospects are. This depth chart was simply made for the purposes of seeing how the class was balanced position by position. Some positions on the depth chart are left open because there were not enough recruits to fill those spots. Others, like OL had more than 5.