Georgia football: A host of major recruits still on the board for the Bulldogs
If the Early Signing Period were to begin now, Kirby Smart would be happy with the way his 2020 recruiting class turned out.
Georgia has the No. 5-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports.com. That’s ahead of Clemson, LSU, Alabama and Ohio State. And that’s with only 16 players committed.
That’s not a surprise from a coach who was hired for both the work he did with building a defensive powerhouse at Alabama and for his recruiting prowess. After 2016’s class ranked 6th, his first full recruiting class in Athens in 2017 was No. 3, followed by the top class in all of college football a year later. Last year, boosted by the No. 1 player in the class in Nolan Smith, the Dawgs finished second.
Obviously, recruiting rankings are subjective and don’t always equal success on the gridiron. But with so much elite talent still on the board, there’s a chance for Smart and his staff to close out the class in a big way.
Here are five names to know as we draw closer to the beginning of the early signing period in December.
Jordan Burch, DE, Hammond School (Columbia, S.C.)
We can’t do a list like this without addressing Smart’s bread and butter: defense. And if there’s any school that has a strong shot at landing one of the most heralded defensive recruits — and overall recruits — in the class, it’s the Dawgs.
Burch, who announced that Georgia was in his top 5 on Oct. 30, would be an instant contributor on the defensive line. Not only is he a force at stopping the run, he’s a powerful pass rusher who should be able to boost the Dawgs’ ability to get to the quarterback. He also has started at running back for Hammond, where he recorded 25 touchdowns as a junior.
Georgia’s already stacked with big-time recruits. Adding a player of Burch’s stature would simply be the icing on the cake.
Kelee Ringo, CB, Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
While Florida (or LSU, depending on whom you ask) is considered DBU, one of the top defensive backs in the country is very much up for grabs for the Dawgs.
A two-way star, Ringo has recorded 24 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions and a sack as a senior. He has also registered 34 carries for 616 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to earning a spot in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
It’s at the All-American Bowl in January where he’ll make his decision, but leading up to that date, expect Georgia and the other schools in his lead group, including Alabama, Texas and Ohio State, to make a heavy push.
Darnell Washington, TE, Desert Pines (Las Vegas)
Another big-time recruit out west is high on Smart’s recruiting board. I wrote about Washington earlier in the year as he was at the Notre Dame game along with another top tight end recruit, Theo Johnson. Rest assured, though, that Washington is the big prize between the two.
It looks as if the Dawgs will have to hold off Tennessee and Alabama to gain his services. And a decision may be coming soon: He has an official visit to Tuscaloosa this weekend, followed by one to Knoxville next month.
We know the role that tight ends play in Georgia’s offense (ask Isaac Nauta, for one). And with Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf leaving at the end of this season, this is a position that Smart and his staff are making a big priority before the cycle is up, especially after losing out on Arik Gilbert last month.
Zachary Evans, RB, North Shore (Houston)
Life without D’Andre Swift might be coming sooner than we think. And although Zamir White may be in line to get the lion’s share of the carries if Swift decides to declare for the NFL draft after the season ends, the Dawgs do have a running back pledged for the 2020 class in top-10 California product Kendall Milton.
If Georgia lands Evans, though, it will have brought in one of the prized recruits of the cycle. Ranked as the No. 1 running back in the country by 247Sports’ composite rankings, Evans took an official visit to LSU last month but had the Bulldogs among his top five as recently as this summer.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Dalton (Ga.)
Word is that the UGA staff is waiting to see what Evans’ next move is. If they aren’t able to get him into the fold, another option is reaching into North Georgia and making a play for Gibbs.
While Gibbs is already committed to Georgia Tech, according to Rivals.com, Georgia is his “dream school,” and an offer from Smart and his staff could be the mitigating factor in getting him to flip and choose Athens over Atlanta. Another point to note here is that Alabama is also in the hunt for Gibbs.