Published February 11, 2013 - 11:35am
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Biggest Needs: The good news for Georgia and Mark Richt is that only one main starter in receiver Tavarres King doesn’t return in 2013. Even though returning starters are plentiful, UGA had to sign several players to build depth to replace upperclassmen in two years. The Bulldogs had to sign a top quarterback to help provide depth for the rising senior Aaron Murray, as well as depth for offensive linemen Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee and Kenarious Gates.
Unlike the offense, Georgia loses nine starters on defense. All three defensive linemen, three of four linebackers and three secondary players are gone. Linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, along with nose guard John Jenkins and safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, will all play on Sundays in ‘13. Furthermore, Georgia is losing 12 players on defense who started at least two games or more. Not only is there a lot of talent lost, but experience and depth also take a hit.
Needs Met: Georgia signed their target quarterback in in-state star Brice Ramsey, as well as a future star receiver in Tramel Terry. The Bulldogs only signed three offensive linemen, but they missed on the biggest running back on the board in Alvin Kamara and the biggest offensive lineman on the board Laremy Tunsil.
However, Georgia knew they had to load up on defensive prospects. And load up they certainly did. The Bulldogs signed 19 defensive players that made up nearly 60 percent of the class. UGA signed four defensive linemen in JUCO transfers John Atkins and Chris Mayes, and high schoolers DeAndre Johnson and Davin Bellamy, and all will have an opportunity to contribute. Richt also signed six linebackers, headlined by Ryne Rankin and prep schooler Leonard Floyd. Among the nine defensive backs signed, safety Tray Matthews and corner Shaq Wiggins are two players who will have an impact in 2013. There’s depth and talent in this deep defensive class.
Biggest Get: The biggest impact freshman in the ’13 class may be corner Shaq Wiggins. With Sanders Commings and Branden Smith gone, Wiggins should get early playing time. Wiggins is one of the more underrated stars of the ’13 class, and it was a big get for Richt to land arguably the state’s top corner prospect. Safety Tray Matthews belongs in the conversation, too.
Biggest Miss: As signing day approached, it was very evident Georgia had to land DT Montravius Adams. Losing both tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers hurt with impact players and depth, and the in-state star Adams became the biggest priority on the board. However, Adams signed with Auburn, following former defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
Final Evaluation: Georgia played the 2012 season with fewer than 70 players on scholarship, and with so much in-state talent in the 2013 recruiting class, the Bulldogs were thought to be the early favorites to finish with the top class of the recruiting cycle. However, eight of ten top prospects in the state of Georgia went to other schools. Losing Rodney Garner to Auburn hurt, and the Todd Grantham rumors concerning the NFL certainly didn’t help either. But through all the smoke, Georgia landed a full class of 32 prospects, which included 13 early enrollees.
Final Grade: B+
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