In probably one of the most uneventful signing days for UGA in recent memory, the boards are all running amuck thinking the wheels have fallen off. I guess it's days like these I have to realize that I'm a little too Disney for my own good. While it wasn't a great day of guys putting on UGA hats chosen from a table, the class really isn't that bad.
In the end, the hurt comes from two places.... One being that we had no big signees ink their names in an aura of pomp and circumstance on National Signing Day which creates some sting. The other one (which is a bigger factor) is that we're losing our grip on the top players in the state of Georgia.
The first one, I'm not really worried about. We have 32 guys committed, which in all honesty is a huge class. 31 of them were pretty much committed prior to today. People are always going to complain, and over the past two years the big problem that was even though we inked some huge names, we had a low count of players sign on. This year, we get a huge class to fill in some of the depth issues, and the complaint is that there's no big names. These 32 include 15 four star players, which is a pretty solid base. Even better they're stretched across all sorts of positions to fill in the depth chart.
Just because they didn't sign on signing day doesn't mean they're not good recruits. If Matthews, Kublanew, Wiggins, or many of the others had pulled a hat on this day people would be going crazy saying we still have some pull within the state. The reason it seems like a big disappointment is because the timing wasn't right.
The big worry is that we're losing our grasp on the top in-state talent. Sure we didn't land Robert, Foster (who I still consider a GA player), or Adams. However, if you look at the make-up of some of these guys it would have worried me had they come to Georgia. They didn't exactly exemplify the attitudes or character traits you'd necessarily want coming on board. They may have been more trouble than they were worth from a discipline standpoint.
Further to that point, how many of us have actually watched these guys play? How much trust do we put in Rivals star rankings? I watched all three of these guys play. Robert, who I saw in a few Grayson games didn't exactly seem like the dominating force that would make him the number one recruit in the country. Tack on a couple personal foul penalties and some attitude instances and it leads to the notion that it may have been troublesome over the next four years. Foster's recruitment should be a clear sign that this guy's head isn't on straight. Adams didn't even get the chance to make it through one of his final games. Adams was probably the one I wanted most, but I knew when that flat bill Auburn hat the only such flat bill on the table this guy was an Auburn man for sure.
Rodney Garner's departure surely hurt in landing some of these guys down the stretch, but some of the guys he pulls in aren't exactly our biggest character banner waivers. These three were his type of guy, and on occasion his type of guy tends to get in some trouble when they step inside the Athens city limits. It's a year of transition, and to land 32 pretty solid bodies isn't such a bad thing. It also probably didn't help that Grantham was flirting with the NFL. Hopefully the D-Line will actually have some more development "on the field", and not make us wonder why perennial NFL pro-bowlers weren't bigger performers while in Athens a la Geno Atkins. The new coaches will have time to lead us to this judgement.
I'll tell you what we didn't recruit today..... an experienced offensive line that returns all five starters, a Heisman potential candidate at QB, two sophomore running backs with all-SEC talent, a deep receiving corps (of which we did add one), two experienced tight ends, and so on and so forth. These guys are currently in Athens and running through matt drills working towards the ultimate goal. Could it lead to some holes in the future? Maybe, but you are going to have recruiting years where you pick up a couple five stars, and some where you build the depth chart. This was certainly the latter.
Of course we never know how these guys will pan out. All you have to do is look at the Rivals Top 100 from years past. Sure maybe 4 of the top 10 are in the NFL right now, but I guarantee a couple of the names at the top of that list you would never recognize. It's a crapshoot, and one we all pay too much attention to. Believe me I know recruiting is the lifeblood of a program. That's why we obsess over it. This is a year where we added to the depth chart with a lot of deep talent, rather than a few choice pre-madonnas.
There was certainly some disappointment today, as we whiffed on some big names. Trust me, I feel your pain, I'm just trying to say it's not as bad as you may think. In the end I think we filled some holes of need, and people need to calm down saying UGA has lost it's place in recruiting. We'll of course make our analysis a few years from now, but I'm not going to argue against the man or his system that has put us in the Dome for two straight years.
GATA new Dawgs.