Georgia doesn’t recruit many “linebackers” any more. The 3-4 sees DEs move back and DBs move up often to fill those voids. Alec Ogletree was recruited and signed in 2010 as the nation’s 3rd best safety. He played there briefly before earning an NFL-ready reputation as an inside backer. Jordan Jenkins committed to Georgia last year as the nation’s 6th best weakside DE. He flourished as a linebacker this year.
So, it shouldn’t be stunning that the “linebackers” list isn’t long for the Dawgs. Keep that in mind as we dig deeper.
Georgia has two linebackers (per definition) already enrolled. Reginald Carter is a 6’2, 224 lb. inside linebacker from South Gwinnett high school. He was considered the nation’s 14th best player at his position. Carter earned his stripes as a sophomore on a talented Stephenson squad back in 2010. You can see his motor in the video below.
Carter is joined by Ryne Rankin who is big, bad and likes to hit people (see the video below). He’s like Tim Riggins without the hair.
Four-star prospects Johnny O’Neal (the nation’s 16th best inside linebacker) and Tim Kimbrough (the nation’s 6th best ILB) as well as Shaun McGee (ranked 25th at the OLB position) are also expected to sign.
Who Georgia needs:
Reuben Studdard Foster Australian for Linebacker would be a big pick up. Any time you get the nation’s 13th best player late in the game, it’s a big deal. I don’t know what to expect from Foster though. He committed to Auburn early and even moved to Auburn, AL to play football with former Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor’s son. Many even think Taylor has not been hired by another program because there are concerns regarding the legality of his relationship with Foster. But, Auburn is still in the picture…which makes no sense (despite the fact that Foster got an Auburn tattoo) because your buddy’s dad recruited you there has been fired from the school. Alabama is a player and that makes sense. And, a number of Foster’s buddies are committed to (or already at) Georgia. To make matters even more odd, Foster took a visit this past week to San Diego State. That tells me one of three things:
- Foster is clinically insanse and thinks SDSU is the right move for him.
- Something shadier than shady is going on at San Diego State (I’ve talked about corruption there before)
- Reuben Studdard Foster Australian for Linebacker just wanted to take a free trip to California.
I really, really hope it’s option three. And I really, really, really hope Foster is Australian for “suck it Auburn.”
Georgia is also in the mix for Matthew Thomas (the nation’s second best outside linebacker) along with Alabama, FSU, Miami and Southern Cal. Frankly, Georgia seems like an odd fit for him, but if he wants to follow the Jarvis Jones model (and who wouldn’t?) then it might make sense.
Some strange, strange things are going on with linebackers in this class. Zach Cunningham is a four-star recruit and considered the nation’s 23rd best outside linebacker prospect. His top five right now looks like this: Ole Miss, Oregon, Miami, Auburn and Samford. Yes, Samford without a “T” and with an “M,” not Stanford. He’s also considering Chattanooga. For real.
The guy ranked just behind Cunningham in the national outside linebacker projections is Stacy Thomas. He has offers from Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Wisconsin and other powers. Wiscy and L’ville are in his top five. Those schools are joined by Marshall, Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic. Hmmmm…
That’s all I got/
So far we have reviewed the recruiting landscape, taken a look at Georgia’s needs and examined the offensive positions (offensive line, quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, tight ends). With the entire offense out of the way (at least in review and preview) how do you feel?
That’s all I got/
Talking about 18 year-old male tight ends can be especially Sandusky-ish if not handled with the utmost of class. Fortunately for you the reader, before jumpstarting DudeYouCrazy I ran an etiquette blog – DudeYouClassy. This will be done tastefully.
As it stands the Bulldogs have two talented tight ends back for 2013. Arthur Lynch will be back for his senior season after having a breakout year (relatively speaking) with 24 catches for 431 yards (both fourth on the team) and three TDs. Lynch did a nice job of getting open and when he brought the ball in and held it (he had some drops and a fumble or two) he could really rumble. Case in point: 11 Bulldogs caught 10 or more passes in 2012, Lynch’s 18.0 yards per catch ranked second behind only Tavarres King (for what it’s worth: 347 players in America had 30 or more catches in 2012, none had a higher YPC average than TK).
Redshirt Freshman Jay Rome also proved to be a weapon and developed into a nice mid-route, possession tight end hauling in 11 passes (several acrobatic hauls) for 152 yards and two TDs. Rome will again share time (and possibly be behind) with Lynch in 2013, which means he’ll almost certainly be back in 2014 (and maybe even 2015). So, I’d expect him to be the future of this position moving forward.
Also expected to contribute this season (but much more so in the future) is Ty Flournoy-Smith, the nation’s 12th best tight end of the 2012 recruiting class.
Thus far, nobody. And seeing as the yet undefined “athletes” already in the fold weigh 186 and 190 lbs., I wouldn’t expect to see any of these folks lining up at TE.
6’4”, 225 pound Jordan Davis from Thomason, GA is committed to Georgia as the nation’s 19th best tight end prospect. He committed this summer but is getting the full court press from Florida, Louisville and South Carolina still. And, Alabama has apparently taken an “interest” recently but no offer has been made. Davis is a big body with good hands and surprisingly polished blocking skills as the video below shows.
Who does Georgia need?
Initially “need” seems like a strong word. But, Lynch will be gone in 2014 leaving just Rome and Flournoy-Smith. And if Rome leaves after his redshirt junior year, just TF-S remains. Thus a whole lot of pressure is being place on Georgia’s evaluation of TF-S and Jordan Davis. In other words, if the coaching staff was wrong about either one of them, there will be zero tight end depth and if the staff was wrong on both the team will be in trouble.
Now, that is a lot of if’s, but the consequences could be severe. Very few true freshmen have come in and contributed at tight end for Mark Richt’s staff. It takes at least a year for most of them to bulk up and learn to block. Combine that with the trajectory of QBs that you (readers) expect and you have this scenario:
- 2013: Fourth Year Starter Aaron Murray tosses the ball to either of two season tight ends (Lynch, Rome) and one developing TE (Flournoy-Smith).
- 2014: Fifth year QB, first year starter Hutson Mason (or Christian LeMay) tosses the ball to one seasoned tight end (Rome) and one who is just seriously breaking into the rotation (Flournoy-Smith).
- 2015: Redshirt Sophomore Brice Ramsey starts for the first time and throws the ball to TE Flournoy-Smith (who as of right now we know little about) and Jordan Davis (who as of now is not officially “in” and who we know nothing about).
That sequence is not out of the ordinary, but I’d like to have Ramsey (or any first-year starter) playing with a seasoned/elite safety valve (or two) in the form of a tight end. Georgia typically plays two guys in the TE rotation and right now Georgia only has 1.5 (again, Davis isn’t officially in) viable future options at the position. If they both pan out and stay healthy all is well, but that too is a lot of if’s and the case could certainly be made for needing another TE in this year’s class.
The problem: I don’t know that there is a tight end available. The top uncommitted TE is Josh McNeil from New York. He holds offers from everybody in the club but is down to Bama and LSU. The next best available prospect is Travis Johnson from Tampa, FL; Georgia hasn’t offered him. After that you start getting into “would that guy ever see the field at Georgia” territory.
Want a Hail Mary solution to a third-and-10 situation? Hunter Henry. Henry is a 6’6”, 235 lb. tight end out of Little Rock who apparently runs a 4.7 (and he looks more like the captain of the Robotics Team than the Football Team).
Hunter committed to Arkansas back in July of 2012. A lot has happened since July of 2012: Namely, John L. Smith ruined the Razorback program and Bret Bielema was brought in to resurrect it and in the meantime Arkansas won only two SEC games. Henry is from Arkansas, but you have to think there is a possibility that some other team could snatch him out of this turmoil. Why not Georgia?
Any other TE options you can think of?
That’s all I got/
Aaron Murray threw for 3,893 yards (a Georgia record) in 2012 and added 36 passing TDs (another Georgia record). Naturally his return was greeted favorably…to say the least. The return of some elite pass catchers is equally promising. Murray will have 63.14% of his yardage returning and 64.86% of his TD production back in 2013. Add to that mix Michael Bennett who should be back from a knee injury and suddenly the loss of Tavarres King (Georgia’s all-time leader in games played) and Marlon Brown seems pretty daggum manageable.
Georgia returns big tight ends (Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch), fast wideouts (Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Conley), sure-handed veterans (Bennett and Rantavious Wooten) and developing talents (Justin Scott-Wesley and redshirt frosh Blake Tibbs). Toss in (pun intended) Mike Bobo’s new found affinity for throwing the ball to Keith Marshall out of the backfield, and you have to think Georgia’s passing game will be as good – if not better – in 2013.
But if there’s one thing we know about Murray, it’s that he can always use a few extra weapons. He used 12 players to complete passes of 20 yards or longer in 2012. Eleven players caught TDs last season eight of those caught two or more. Here’s how the receiver slots look for the 2013 recruiting class.
Jonathan Rump (a junior college transfer) is already in Athens and has brought an NFL body with him at 6’5”, 215 lbs. There’s not a lot of tape on this guy, but he seems to have solid straight-line speed. He seems to lack the elusiveness (but again, this is based on a limited amount of film) of a Cordarrelle Patterson, but at his size that may be expected. At the very least I think he will be comparable to Marlon Brown once he adjusts to the speed of the game. But, his ceiling is much higher than Marlon’s – especially if he is productive this season and sticks around for the 2014 season.
Additionally, Tramel Terry (an athlete from South Carolina) is already in the fold and many expect him to play receiver. Terry is, in my opinion, a very similar athlete to Malcolm Mitchell, but he seems smoother. Not necessarily better, but smoother. Mitchell has tremendous speed but almost seems frantic as he accelerates, Terry is silky smooth. He may settle at DB depending on the depth (or lack thereof) at that position, but I’d expect him on offense.
Reggie Davis (6’0”, 159 lbs.) is the crown of Georgia’s committed but not yet signed receivers. He’s a smaller player (but seems to have the frame to carry more weight) who has demonstrated good (but not explosive) speed and tremendous hands. He’s hailing from Tallahassee, Florida and was stolen from Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Oregon. His offer sheet is about as impressive as any in the nation.
Rico Johnson is heading up from Swainsboro, GA and bringing elite top-end speed. The three-star recruit measures 5’11”, 170 lbs. and has said that he’s “humbled” to have the opportunity to play for Georgia. Christian Conley said very similar things. If Rico can be the film room and weight room junkie that Conley is then I have no doubt he’ll find the field sooner rather than later.
Uriah Lemay, Christian’s brother, is also committed to Georgia but many think that could flip. He measures 6’1”, 181 lbs. and also claims offers form Auburn, Clemson, Flroida, FSU, Louisville (an exciting program right now), Notre Dame, Ohio State and South Carolina. The speculation for him is directly tied to his brother, who some feel may transfer in an effort to garner more playing time. Again, this is all strictly speculation.
Who Georgia needs?
You never turn down elite talent, but with Tramel Terry and Jonathan Rumph already in town, if Davis, Johnson and LeMay commit I’d be hard pressed to say that Georgia needs anybody else at WR.
That’s all I got/
Nobody is talking about Georgia’s running back needs and Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are probably to blame for that. I suppose when two true freshmen walk in and account for 2352 yards of offense and 27 total touchdowns, the need for a “running back of the future” is diminished ever so slightly.
That concerns me. I love Gurshall as much as the next guy, but fans need to be aware that boasting a two-man backfield as potent as what Georgia demonstrated in 2012 has its downsides – particularly in recruiting. And, to be short: Georgia needs a running back or two. Aside from the obvious “one injury away” need for depth, consider the pattern of the past few seasons regarding Georgia’s need for running backs.
The chart below portrays Georgia’s “in-house” running back needs (it does not take into account committed recruits) since 2011. As you can see, surprises have consistently racked the Dawgs in the backfield, and even this month Boo Malcome’s departure as created a dire need for the Bulldogs.
How much did Boo’s departure hurt? If Georgia were to need a third back, either strategically or because of injury, the most experienced returning back would be Brandon Harton who accounted for 20 yards rushing (only -2 yards in SEC play) in 2012. Consider that Richard Samuel and Harton combined to get 26 carries in 2012 (about two per game) and all of a sudden the Bulldogs are in desperate need of someone who can give two effort-filled runs per game. And, for once Georgia can’t necessarily sell the immediate spotlight to recruits (as that’s going to be on Marshall and Gurley).
Who is coming?
A.J. Turman, a four-star recruit from Orlando committed to the Bulldogs back in November. He measures 6’0” and 205 pounds and is considered the nation’s 19th best RB prospect and the nation’s 235th best overall player.
The lone knock I can find on the guy is that a few elite recruiting factories (Florida, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Clemson, South Carolina) did not offer him a scholarship – or at least they have not as of yet. Now, recruiting is a funny game. So he may have spurned interest from those schools or those institutions may be playing for a late/surprise offer to force an emotional decision. Or, those schools may have non-binding agreement with other RB recruits who want to be “the man.”
But in general, seeing a player’s offer sheet is a selling point for me. If Alabama, Florida and LSU want a guy then I want Georgia to get him.
Who Georgia Needs?
Even with Turman in the fold (which he isn’t officially yet), Georgia needs another running back. History has shown that Georgia puts out some amazing running backs (Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin, Knowshon Moreno, Caleb King, Thomas Brown have all gotten NFL shots over the last few years). But, Georgia also misses on some talents (Crowell, Ealy, Samuel, Malcome). If Georgia’s backfield is going to continue to be a numbers game, the Dawgs need bigger numbers. I think we know what we’re getting from Gurley and Marshall: high production on the field and good character off of it. But, recent history implies that for every success story we see there is at least one story of struggle and/or failure.
So where does Georgia turn? The most obvious choice is Alvin Kamara, a four-star all-purpose back who is considered the nation’s 45th best player. Kamara spent the past weekend in Athens and it was his last official visit. By all accounts, Georgia pulled out all of the stops for Alvin, but his time with Gurshall (they seemed to take him under their collectively dominant wings this weekend) may prove the most valuable recruiting tool as they undoubtedly told the true story of instant impact in Athens.
Kamara is believed to be down to Georgia and Alabama.
If Kamara doesn’t work out (or frankly, even if he does) Georgia seems to be exploring Jonathan Ford out of New Hope, AL as an alternative.addition. Ford is a four-star recruit who committed to Vanderbilt on January 18th, but I’m sure the Georgia coaching staff has no problem reminding him of the outcome of last year’s Georgia/Vandy game.
That’s all I got/