The Georgia Bulldogs brought in a historically good 2018 recruiting class, landing the No. 1 group in the nation. Its cumulative point score of 323.31 was the third-highest since 247Sports.com began tracking in 2000. Only Florida’s 2010 class (324.62) and Alabama’s 2017 class (323.87) were better.
The Dawgs’ class includes a whopping seven 5-star athletes and 15 4-star players.
That’s the most 5-stars in any class in the 247Sports.com era, too.
After losing an incredibly talented senior class this year (as well as a couple of key juniors) there will be plenty of production for coach Kirby Smart and his staff to try to replace when the 2018 season kicks off.
Dual-threat QB Justin Fields, the No. 2 player in the 2018 class, will likely serve as Jake Fromm’s backup this fall, but other top players from Georgia’s impressive haul could see meaningful action even sooner.
Here are three of the elite 2018 players who could step into the starting lineup before the 2018 campaign gets underway in September:
Cade Mays, OT
The Bulldogs have to replace LT Isaiah Wynn next year, and that won’t be easy, as Wynn could be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Last year’s top offensive line recruit, Isaiah Wilson, will have a chance, as will Mays, so it’ll be interesting to see how that position battle plays out this spring and summer.
Andrew Thomas, who played right tackle last year as a true freshman, will likely shift over to the left side, but Mays could work his way into a starting role on the line, opening lanes for star RB D’Andre Swift and protecting Fromm.
Brenton Cox, DE
Cox is the No. 2 strong-side defensive end in the 2018 class, and since the Dawgs lost Lorenzo Carter, Trenton Thompson, John Atkins and others along the defensive line, he should find his way into the rotation right away.
Jonathan Ledbetter will likely start at the defensive end spot in Georgia’s 3-4 scheme, with Tyler Clark starting at the defensive tackle position.
However, pass rushing depth is essential, so if Cox has a strong spring and summer, he could see a fair share of playing time this fall. Cox could also see action at Carter’s SAM linebacker position, too, depending on how he performs in the buildup to the 2018 campaign.
Tyson Campbell, CB
The Bulldogs landed Campbell, a 5-star defensive back out of Florida, on Wednesday, bolstering their already stellar class. Campbell was also considering Alabama, Tennessee and Miami.
It was huge for Smart’s defense that Campbell chose to head to Athens, as the Bulldogs’ secondary lost three starters — Aaron Davis, Malkom Parrish and Dominick Sanders — to graduation. There are some key players returning, including Deandre Baker, J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte III, but there should be plenty of opportunities for younger players, too.
Campbell will be able to compete for a starting spot right away, and as the No. 2 cornerback in the 2018 class, he could impress coaches this summer and work his way onto the field this fall.