Georgia Football: How the 2017 Class Fits into the Depth Chart
(Minor programming note: Andrew and I intended to gush about this class this morning on the podcast, and we will…tomorrow).
Georgia signed a hell of a recruiting class. I started to write a snarky article on how we STILL couldn’t beat Alabama, or how Kirby can’t close (similar to the Tennessee and Vanderbilt games) but I’ll save that for another day.
The Dawgs filled a TON of positions of need, and in so doing solidified their chances of improving on 2016’s 8-5 record.
Who is going to crack the two-deep right off the bus?
Jake Fromm: The nation’s #3 pro-style signal caller would be getting Jacob Eason hype…were Jacob Eason not on campus. The hope would be for Brice Ramsey to maintain the QB2 role, and allow Fromm to redshirt. I’m willing to bet he plays if Eason succumbs to any kind of extended injury, and he may use spring ball to win the #2 job outright.
Georgia fans should hope for a redshirt.
D’Andre Swift: Swift is a 5’8, 220 lb. wrecking ball, and as such seems a perfect fit for Jim Chaney’s pro-style O. The problem(s)? Chubb. Michel. Herrien. Holyfield. Its a good problem to redshirt such talent.
Jeremiah Holloman, Mark Webb, Trey Blount, Matt Landers: Javon Wims and Riley Ridley gave Georgia some much-needed length (as well as the potential to make explosive plays on the outside) in 2016. Terry Godwin should assume Isaiah McKenzie’s slot role, and Michael Chigbu may develop hands. All this is to say, these four shouldn’t HAVE to make an immediate impact, but all have the talent to crack the two-deep.
I’d keep a particularly close eye on Holloman, as the nation’s #18 receiver is in for spring. He and one of the other three, at least, will see action, as Mark Richt’s bad (BAD!) receiver recruits get phased out. I look for Wims/Ridley/Godwin to be the primary set, with Chigbu and perhaps redshirt freshman Charlie Woerner (looks more like a TE to me) manning the second team on the outside. The backup slot is wide open.
None signed, none needed. This position is loaded for 2017.
Hey! The whole reason we’re here (mostly).
D’Marcus Hayes, the nation’s #2 JuCo OT, is already on campus and needs to assume a starting role. Isaiah Wilson, Andrew Thomas, and Netori Johnson are all national top-100 recruits, and should play to start the backbone of a dominant line with holdovers such as Ben Cleveland for 2018 and beyond.
I already wrote about this in greater detail.
Another spot where Georgia recruited well, but doesn’t necessarily need immediate impact. Julian Rochester, Trent Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter, Da’Quan Hawkins-Muckle, John Atkins, and Tyler Clark all return. Chauncey Manac and Mikhail Carter were two of the standouts from the 2016 class.
Having said all that…talent will prevail. Rochester, Thompson, and Ledbetter seem like locks to run with the ones, but this is Georgia and suspensions will happen. Malik Herring could be a factor at end, and Devonte Wyatt has the size to be a factor on the interior.
I’d expect someone to crack the rotation, but not make an immediate impact this year.
Robert Beal, Jaden Hunter, and Walter Grant all register as guys to be excited about watching. Lorenzo Carter, Roquan Smith, and D’Andre Walker already fit the bill.
I fully expect Beal and one more to crack the rotation here, if for no other reason than to see who’s going to take Carter’s spot on the strong side in 2018. Also, Georgia seems more (insert Rodrigo Blankenship joke here) invested in special teams under the new regime, and 4-star linebackers are ideal in kick coverage.
Again, more about who returns. Natrez Patrick and Davin Bellamy should be entrenched as starters. Reggie Carter and David Marshall should be entrenched as reserves (though Marshall has the versatility to end up at DE or OLB).
Monty Rice is in for spring ball, so again could get a leg up as a depth piece. Nate McBride just seems like one of those dudes who will redshirt and become a beast as an upperclassman.
A more interesting watch will be Jaleel Laguins, a 4-star who redshirted last year.
Malkolm Parrish, Juwuan Briscoe, and Deandre Baker all return, but none is without flaws. I expect Mecole Hardman to step up and take somebody’s spot as well, so corner isn’t what I’d characterize as a weakness, per se.
Tray Bishop, William Poole III, and Ameer Speed all provide length that the previous three don’t provide. Think Dre Kirkpatrick and others at Alabama. These guys will play.
Richard Lecounte and Deangelo Gibbs (a possible WR) are already on campus, and thus will provide depth in the backfield and on special teams, with an eye on taking over for Dominick Sanders and Aaron Davis in 2018. The size of the corner recruits adds more possibilities for safety depth this year.
Our favorite! Who knows what to expect with Blankenship now, as Georgia gave a scholarship to Wofford grad transfer David Marvin. Marvin is a boomer, and by reading the tea leaves will be the favorite to win the placekicker job.
Georgia not only plugged holes in its 2017 roster yesterday, but it built what could be a NASTY trenches-and-secondary team for the future. They handpicked some skill position talent on offense, and the class represents an immediate talent upgrade across the board.
If guys like Lorenzo Carter, Dominick Sanders, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Davin Bellamy (holy hell how did we manage to keep ALL of them?) had gone pro, some of these signees would be thrust into more important roles. For the time being, though, anticipate a veteran bunch taking the lead in 2017 with the fruits of Kirby Smart’s first class at Georgia to be borne down the road.