Georgia football recruiting: 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period
The book is closed on the 1st day of the Early Signing Period for Georgia. All told, Kirby Smart and his staff have locked in the No. 4 recruiting class in the country and the No. 3 class in the SEC according to 247Sports.com. Everyone pledged to the class, save 1, signed on Wednesday (more on that later). And there was a key pickup from one of the country’s elite players who entered the day undecided.
Is this the class that helps Georgia bring home that long-awaited national title? Here are 5 takeaways from this edition of the Early Signing Period for the Dawgs.
1. The next great LB out of Athens? Xavian Sorey makes the call for Georgia
The big news of the day centered around Xavian Sorey. Would the 5-star outside linebacker, rated the top player at that position by 247Sports, sign with Alabama, Florida or Georgia?
During a commitment ceremony at his hometown of Graceville, Fla., the IMG Academy product announced that he would be playing for Georgia, joining quarterback Brock Vandagriff, offensive lineman Amarius Mims and fellow OLB Smael Mondon as 5-star pledges to Smart’s 2021 recruiting class.
In the end, Smart and his staff, specifically co-defensive coordinators Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann, were able to push this one past the line. And it adds to a terrific incoming linebacking corps that includes, along with Mondon, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Chaz Chambliss.
It’s a position that has long been a strength for the program, and that doesn’t seem to be ending anyime soon.
2. Dawgs miss out on Top 5 running back Donovan Edwards, and that’s okay
This isn’t the end of the world for Georgia, as the addition of Donovan Edwards, the Detroit-area prospect (West Bloomfield) who stayed in-state and pledged to Michigan, wasn’t an absolute necessity for this particular class.
The Dawgs are stacked at this position already, even if James Cook and Zamir White exit to prepare for the NFL Draft. They have to be pleased with the emergence of true freshman Kendall Milton, despite injuries that have held him out of the latter portions of the season. Fellow freshman Daijun Edwards has impressed when handed the ball, while sophomore Kenny McIntosh has set himself up for a terrific junior campaign. Four-star Lovasea Carroll will be joining the fold as well.
Of course, if Cook and While return in 2021 — I personally feel they will — that’s all the better.
3. Maason Smith spurns UGA push, signs with LSU
It wasn’t likely that Maason Smith, the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country, would leave Louisiana and play for Georgia over LSU, even with the controversy surrounding the Tigers’ program. And during a commitment ceremony at his high school, the Houma, La. product made it official: He will indeed play for the Tigers.
It’s no big surprise despite the Dawgs making a major push for his services. Seeing him in Athens next year would have raised some eyebrows, although maybe not as many considering some of the news coming out of Baton Rogue lately.
4. From SEC to ‘Primetime’: Dawgs CB pledge flips, signs with Deion Sanders and Jackson State instead
“Primetime” has landed another SEC-bound player. This time it’s one of Georgia’s own. De’Jahn Warren, a JUCO cornerback who played at Lackawanna Community College in Maryland, will instead sign with Jackson State and 1st-year head coach Deion Sanders. Warren was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 JUCO cornerback and No. 2 JUCO player regardless of position.
The outspoken Pro Football Hall of Famer hasn’t been shy about raiding the SEC cupboard as he looks to put his fingerprints on the HBCU program. Aubrey Miller, a former linebacker at Missouri, announced on Dec. 13 that he was transferring to Jackson State. And on Wednesday, Sanders’ son Shilo, a cornerback at South Carolina, revealed on Twitter that he would head to JSU to join his father and his younger brother Shedeur, a 4-star quarterback ranked as the No. 15 pro-style signal-caller in the class of 2021.
Playing in the SEC is a major draw for recruits. But for Warren, the opportunity to instead play for Sanders was apparently too good to pass up.
5. A relatively drama-free day for Smart and the Bulldogs, with 1 big splash
Outside of the flip by Warren to Jackson State, Day 1 of the Early Signing Period went as well as expected for the Bulldogs. Of course, adding Sorey to an already stacked recruiting class made the day that much better.
In the end, the Dawgs locked down the state of Georgia — the Peach State’s top 3 players, along with its No. 7, No. 9 and No. 10 players, will wear the red and black — and beat out both their division rival and the conference’s traditional power for another enormous piece.
It’s the same as it ever was in the Smart era: Recruiting continues to click at a high level. Add these players to an exciting, talented group returning in 2021, and it should be relatively easy for the team to turn the page on a year that, while not awful, saw it fall short of its primary goals.