Even though Georgia hasn’t gotten past Alabama yet on the field these past couple of years, the Bulldogs did win the recruiting battle in 2018, finishing first in the 247Sports team composite rankings. Several freshmen from that class made huge contributions during Georgia’s 10-2 regular season.
Georgia isn’t going to beat Alabama in recruiting in this 2019 class, but it’s possible Georgia won’t finish too far behind. This class is ranked No. 3 nationally and the Dawgs actually have more 5-star commits (3) than Alabama (2). And for Georgia to win the SEC and return to the College Football Playoff next fall, many of these incoming recruits are going to have a big impact, too.
Several did this year, like quarterback Justin Fields, offensive lineman Cade Mays, cornerback Tyson Campbell, linebacker Channing Tindall and running back James Cook. They added immediate depth and had their fair share of big plays. Without a doubt, the youngsters made Georgia better.
As we near Early Signing Period (Dec. 19-21), here are five potential recruits who can make an immediate impact:
1. Nolan Smith, DE from Savannah, Ga. (also IMG Academy)
The Early Signing Period starts Dec. 19 and that’s the day Georgia’s coaching staff is hoping that Nolan Smith signs on the dotted line. He has been a Georgia commit since January 2017 but the Savannah native, who spent this season at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has been taking official visits elsewhere recently. Alabama is still in the mix, as is Penn State. Tennessee and Florida got official visits earlier.
If signed, the 6-3, 232-pound defensive end who is the No. 1 overall recruit in the country would help immediately with a Georgia pass rush that was ranked dead last in the SEC this year with only 20 sacks. D’Andre Walker was the only Bulldog with multiple sacks this season, so some help in that area would be good.
If Nolan Smith ends up committing, along with 5 ⭐️ recruit Brandon Smith and Micah Parsons showing what he was capable of this year…. that is going to be one scary defense over the next few years
— David Pollak (@David_Pollak097) December 3, 2018
2. Jermaine Johnson, DE from Independence CC
Another target who could help that pass rush immediately is Jermaine Johnson, a defensive end from Independence (Kan.) Community College. He’s the No. 2-rated JUCO prospect. “There was no other place like it,” Johnson told 247Sports of his Georgia visit. “The moment I stepped on campus I knew. They treated me like family. They treated my family like family. There are no other coaches like them. It makes you want to go play for them and put your heart on the line for them.” In Georgia’s 3-4 defense, he’ll probably play a pass-rusher role from the outside linebacker position. He’ll fight for immediate playing time, too.
3. Travon Walker, DT from Thomaston, Ga.
Travon Walker is a 5-star recruit who’s ranked No. 2 in the country among defensive tackles. Georgia was hurt the most this season with injuries was along the interior of the defensive line, so it’s imperative that the depth issues get fixed there. Walker would be a huge improvement there. “For the simple fact that I was wanting to come into a well-built program, “ Walker told reporters after committing. “All of my schools honestly were like that, I just wanted to compete against the best to make me a better player and hopefully one day get to where I want to.”
4. Dominick Blaylock, WR from Marietta, Ga.
One thing we learned this year is that Georgia likes having plenty of weapons on the outside. Dominick Blaylock is a playmaker, and he’ll fit right in with this group. He’s been through all of this, because he had two older brothers who played at Kentucky and his father, Mookie Blaylock, played in the NBA for years. Blaylock is a 6-0, 187 and Georgia’s lone 5-star commit on offense. You can expect him to show up on campus and fight for playing time immediately.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 6, 2017
5. Lewis Cine, S from Cedar Hill, Texas
The importance of the safety position is obvious in Georgia’s defense, and there was solid proof of that this year when J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte had big years in what was supposed to be an area of concern. Lewis Cine, 6-2, 180, should be able to fit in quickly, too. The No. 3-ranked safety in the class of 2019 selected Georgia over Penn State, Florida, Michigan and Texas after making official visits to all five schools. He committed in October. “I committed to Georgia because I felt comfortable there,” Cine told reporters. “I always wanted the best of both worlds, which is football and the educational aspect, and they provide that.” Cine played at Everett High in Massachusetts before transferring to Trinity Christian in Cedar Hill, Texas, where he plays for former NFL star Deion Sanders.