Good morning. Welcome to DawgNation.com. Get cozy. We’re going to be around all day. Every day.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution debuts its new UGA-branded site today. You’ll get everything scattered, covered, smothered, diced, capped, chunked and topped regarding the football team from DawgNation beat reporters Seth Emerson and Chip Towers.
You’ll also get as-it-happens recruiting info from the DawgNation.com recruiting team of Michael Carvell, Chris Kirschner, Charles Kingsbury and some other guy who just jumped off a moving truck from Alabama by way of Augusta.
That’s enough with the orientation. That stuff is always boring. What’s not boring? Commitments. They are about as boring as ninja battles on top of flaming motorcycles jumping across ravines.
UGA picked up commitment No. 15 yesterday. Wide receiver Davion Curtis now has a chance to become the first signee from Texas to play Between the Hedges since that fella named Matthew Stafford did so in 2006.
Here are the 10 need-to-know stories for today
1. What’s more important than a commit?
Yet when the mother of the nation’s No. 1 recruit speaks, everyone listens. Especially the gentleman in those nice Ford trucks parked around UGA’s Butts-Mehre building.
Jennifer Coney, the mother of 5-star Rashan Gary — told Kirschner a thing or two about UGA’s chances of signing up the 6-foot-4, 311-pound defensive tackle.
Those things are:
- She loved UGA. The Dawg Night visit hit the nail on the head with her son. They should be back for an official.
- She’s a tad concerned about UGA’s 3-4 defense. Her vision of his role on Saturdays is not soaking up blocks for linebackers to come downhill into the “A” and “B” gap.
UGA’s responses to that should be about as fast as Mecole Hardman, Jr. on a vertical route.
- Base defenses are just that. UGA lines up in a nickel or dime package at least half the game.
- UGA signed the nation’s top D-tackle last year in Trent Thompson. Let’s see how he’s working out this fall.
UGA picked up commitment No. 15 in Texas speedster Davion Curtis yesterday. He chose the Bulldogs from a finalist pool that also included Kansas State and Oregon State. He becomes the ninth 3-star commitment for the Class of 2016. He’s also the lowest-rated pledge on the board based off the 247sports composite.
Texas was also interested, but did not offer. That’s worth nothing, but evaluations differ. One coach’s Cutlass Supreme is another’s Cadillac. UGA assistant Bryan McClendon has placed an emphasis on speed in his receiver room going forward. That’s definitely what Curtis brings to the line.
We discussed the impact of UGA adding its fourth receiver (Give or take Charlie Woerner at tight end) for this class in Monday’s Recruiting Rewind.
Speed to burn is great. The Curtis commitment could be a sign of no confidence in reeling in Savannah’s Demetris Roberston. Curtis will be called on to stretch the field on “9” routes for the home run balls. That’s one of the key roles that Robertson would excel in at UGA.
UGA has trailed Stanford and Alabama for Robertson’s commitment for awhile now, although it did pull neck-and-neck with Alabama after Dawg Night.
3) Alabama 5-star says UGA will get an official
Alabama DE Marlon Davidson told the AJC that UGA is right with Auburn and Alabama when breaking down his decision. The Greenville, Ala., native said he’d choose Auburn if he had to sign today, but that there was scant separation between those three schools. He also told the AJC that UGA would get an official visit this fall.
His recruiting could get interesting because his older brother Kenneth Carter played at Auburn and is now a staff analyst on the football team. Carter has already taken his brother to Tuscaloosa once (awkward, right?) for an unofficial visit. UGA’s hopes are augmented by the relationship established between Carter and UGA defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. Rocker held the same position during Carter’s time at Auburn.
4. UGA will have a great 7-on-7 team
Florida 4-star receiver Tre Nixon also chatted with the AJC yesterday about his recent unofficial visit to UGA last Saturday. That’s the visit where UGA closed ground on perceived leader Penn State. The vibe he gathered from meeting with McClendon, Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is that he’s a wanted man in Athens, too.
Nixon told the AJC’s Chuck Kingsbury that McClendon has been up front with him the whole time about UGA’s receivers need for this class. They are going after a lot of receivers. (Maybe they have a strong-armed quarterback in this class, too?) Curtis echoed the same things when that question came up.
5. Numbers game
This looks like a good stopping point to discuss the numbers game at UGA. Can the Bulldogs really take five or six receivers this year if a Kyle Davis or Robertson or maybe Nixon also says yes?
That question leads to a better question: How many players can UGA sign this year? The 2015 signing class totaled 30 scholarships after all.
DawgNation UGA beat reporter Seth Emerson helped piece together the puzzle on that topic. We know that UGA had eight early enrollees last year. The thinking there is five of those could be back-counted to the Class of 2014. That’s the year UGA only signed 21 players with just one early enrollee who could also count toward the previous year’s class.
That leads us to believe that UGA could conceivably sign 30 players as long as they had five early enrollees this fall who could count toward the 2015 class. The names that immediately come to mind who can do that would be: Ben Cleveland, Jacob Eason and Garrett Walston.
There are also plenty of other UGA targets who could also do that. The thinking here is always a fluid number. Graduated players who aren’t contributors could move on. Early NFL entries can be hit or miss and an preseason injury could lead to a redshirt year.
If UGA does sign up 30 new players this yea, then it would be locked into 25 max scholarships for the 2017 class.
6. Hardman gets another fifth star
Elberton’s Mecole Hardman received his fifth star from 247sports yesterday. It was about time. Hardman has been nothing less than a showstopper at every turn on the summer camp circuit from Athens to Knoxville to even at The Opening.
The 5-foot-10., 175-pounder also vaulted Robertson into the slot as the new No. 1 athlete in the country. Hardman is now rated as the No. 27 player in the nation for the Class of 2016.
He plans to make his silent commitment sometime between now and October. Dawgnation has a great story about what his mother thinks about UGA.
7. Analyzing the class so far
Let’s make this a simple read based on the 247sports composite.
- 5-stars: 2
- 4-stars: 4
- 3-stars: 9
8. Big-timer for 2017 de-commits from LSU
One of the biggest recruiting stories across the SEC yesterday was the de-committed of 2017 5-star Dylan Moses from LSU. Moses is the top-rated player in the nation for the Class of 2017 per the 247sports composite scale. He’s 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and basically looked that way in the eighth grade when he was offered back then by both Alabama and LSU, among others.
9. What does an official offer look like?
August 1 was the first day that an official offer letter could go out for the Class of 2016. Some schools have fun with the graphic design elements of the offer letter. UGA has a quality offering. Take a look below.
Leave it to Oregon to really bring it, right?
10. Another big-time de-commit
Pay close attention to where 6-foot-5, 250-pounder Terell Hall winds up. The Washington, D.C. area defensive end is a huge Alabama target and he decided to open up his recruitment yesterday by de-committing from Ohio State.
Hall is a four-star recruit who rates among the nation’s top 150 players by anyone’s measure. He recently visited Tuscaloosa last month and also reportedly holds a UGA offer. Needless to say, his chances at taking another look toward Athens increased yesterday.
He’s seen as one of the nation’s top 10 weak-side defensive ends.
ONE MORE: J-Cole will play at Bobby Dodd Stadium
No, not that J-Cole. I’m talking about Norcross 3-star safety Jarrett Cole. He recently committed to Georgia Tech and the AJC’s College Recruiting Blog profiled him yesterday. He likes to tell a joke around the locker room and academics were a big factor in his decision.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.