Georgia Football: Bright Future on the O-Line?
If you’ve followed us for any time at all, 1) I’m sorry, and 2) you know we RARELY talk #crootin’. Let’s buck the latter trend.
Georgia’s offensive line has been awful for two years now, making life hard on the team’s immensely talented backs and rookie QB. I like using FootballOutsiders for a quick rundown of different factors, and Georgia ranked 103rd in the country in Adjusted Line Yards this year, which give credit to the line for the first 5 yards of any carry, the back after that.
This manifested itself on the field in watching Nick Chubb get stuffed time and time again before breaking one, and given Jim Chaney’s conservative approach in year one (not a surprise) Georgia was off schedule more often than not in 2016.
Help, it seems, is on the way. Here’s a look at Georgia’s 2017 commits, with 247 composite rankings:
Four guys rank above .94 on their scale, where .90 is a low-ranking four-star, and .95 classifies as elite. In a quick search of the Alabamas, LSUs, and Ohio States of the world…this is the best class I could find.
Ready to be horrified? This group represents 5 of the 6 most talented guys in the program (with starters Isaiah Wynn and Dyshon Sims, both of whom struggled this year, as the only regulars over .9).
In the last three cycles, only 2016 early enrollee Ben Cleveland qualifies as a top-tier talent. The rest of the names on this list are a group you’d expect to see at Mississippi State, Maryland, or some other middle-tier P5. The horrors that were the previous regime’s offensive line recruiting reared their ugly heads as Wynn, Sims, and now-departed Brandon Kublanow were the only guys who graded out as SEC-caliber starters.
Oh, and none of the guys listed above show up on any two-deep I can find.
You’ll never catch me saying that recruiting rankings are the end-all/be-all, as coaching and development (Georgia has a GREAT developer of talent now in Sam Pittman) play a larger role in the projectability of linemen moreso than any other position. But one cannot help but be psyched for this group.
With the losses of tackles Tyler Catalina and Greg Pyke, in addition to Kublanow, PT up front should be wide open. Hayes, as a JuCo, will be looked to as a day-1 starter at one spot. Wilson and Thomas should challenge Cleveland for another tackle position, and Cleveland is likely a better fit on the interior. Holdovers such as Wynn, Sims, and Lamont Gaillard should be adequate in 2017, at worst.
What does it add up to? A young line that, while talented, will need to gel quickly.
There is talent in the pipeline, finally. Its now time to cross some fingers, pray to a favorite deity, and hope that it comes together in time to allow this offense to prosper.
(Now if only receiver recruiting could make the same progress.)