This is the second part of a two-week series on Recruiting entitled “Let’s Get Creepy.”
Now that we’ve looked at where Georgia is located on the recreating map so to speak, let’s look at how Richt and company got there. More importantly, let’s take a look back at the past few years.
If we examine recruiting classes dating back to 2008 then we can get a picture at the last five years (which practically speaking coincides well with any talk of recruiting “classes” as a redshirt senior will stick around for five year) and analyze the team’s success.
4 and 5-stars
|A.J. Green, Richard Samuel|
|Branden Smith, Aaron Murray|
|Isaiah Crowell, Ray Drew|
|Josh Harvey-Clemonds, John Theus|
For those out there who think Georgia has “ under-performed” relative to their recruiting classes, consider this: Georgia’s average recruiting class ranking over this time frame is ninth. Georgia ranks 21st in the country in winning percentage over that time frame. Four of the teams above Georgia in winning percentage (Cincinnati, Utah, Brigham Young and Northern Illinois) play in terrible conferences. Georgia ranks 17th in the country among teams from the SEC, Pac-12, Big XII, Big Ten and Boise State.
Now consider that Alabama (average ranking of 1.8), Florida (average ranking of 6.2) and LSU (average ranking of 8.6) have put together better recruiting class rankings than Georgia over the past five years. Those are the only three schools in the SEC with higher overall winning percentages than Georgia from 2008-2012. Now consider that Georgia has gone 3-7 against those three teams over the past five seasons. If you remove those games (losses and wins against conference teams with better talent per recruiting rankings) Georgia’s winning percentage moves to .754. That means nothing in and of itself, but if you know that a winning percentage of .754 ranks 8th in the nation you get the picture that Georgia’s “under-performance” while frustrating has not been disastrous and that it may not even be a real trend relative to talent.
Has every Georgia team played every game at the utmost level of effort and proficiency? Certainly not. But, as a whole, the Dawgs are keeping pace with their talent.
Help is on the way…?
If we continue to use four and five-star players as the standard for elite talent, Georgia has pulled the following totals since 2008:
- Quarterbacks: 3
- Running Backs: 6
- Wide Receivers: 6
- Tight Ends: 3
- Offensive Linemen: 7
- Defensive Ends: 11
- Defensive Tackles:8
- Linebackers: 7
- Athletes: 4
Keep in mind that this just involves (for the most part) players’ recruited positions. Especially on the defensive side of the ball (where DEs and DBs often become LBs and DTs move to DE), there are some inaccuracies. Also be mindful that “athletes” are players recruited with versatile skill sets. Lastly, keep in mind that this list reflects signed Letters of Intent, not necessarily enrollments.
The most obvious way to look at “needs” as far as depth is concerned is to look at the number of players recruited over a time frame relative to the number of players who can realistically see the field at that particular position on a given play. If we do this and remove the class of 2008 (those fifth year seniors will be on the way out), we can see how much depth is left. And, since we’re using just four and five-star ratings, we’re talking about “good” depth, not simply bodies. Again, keep in mind that this is based on players who were recruited. Zach Mettenberger, for instance, is represented with the quarterbacks even though he is gone. But again, we’re looking at recruiting depth here, not roster depth. You have to fill recruiting boards before you can fill rosters.
- QBs: Georgia has (in theory) three available QBs for one position, thus has a recruiting depth ratio of 3.0 at the QB position.
- RBs: Georgia has four recruited RBs for a position that will never house more than two players on the field at once. That yields a 2.0 rating.
- WRs: Georgia has four WRs for as many as three spots (typically the fourth if there is one goes to TE) and a rating of 1.33.
- TEs: Georgia has recruited three TEs for no more than two spots. 1.5 rating
- OL: Georgia has five OL recruits for five spots. This yields a 1.0 rating.
So if you wonder where a crowded backfield came from, it came from the large number or elite RBs that have been recruited to UGA. If you’re wondering why the offensive line lacks depth, it comes from the limited number of great lineman that Georgia has recruited.
The lone exception here is the wide receiver position where a number of three-star pass catchers have made huge impacts (think Michael Bennett and Chris Conley).
Obviously, help is needed on the line and an elite tight end would be nice.
This is, again, more difficult to dissect as players are constantly swapping positions. But, I think the most glaring need is the need for elite defensive backs. Damian “Black” Swann has come on quite nicely, but he’s going to need some running-mates for the next few years.
Defensive ends and linebackers flock to Todd Grantham’s system for video-game type numbers. Georgia needs playmakers further from the ball to replace the likes of Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams.
That’s all I got/
Here are some thoughts from DadYouCrazy regarding Georgia’s offseason:
In each category below, we’ll see if Georgia over performs or under performs expectations. Holding its own will probably yield another top ten finish, which would be impressive in itself. To continue an upward trajectory, however, will require some over performing in the next 90 days. Off seasons are vital.
6 is number for Feb. 6th, National Signing Day. The dawgs are assured of a top 10 recruiting class already. They finished ranking #7 (in most polls). Will they have a recruiting class rank better than seventh? At present, they are expected to finish #6-#8. A finish better than that will move them up in pre-season rankings and could help fill holes created by graduations.
5 is the number of Dawgs potentiall drafted in the first two rounds. For sure, UGA loses probable first rounders Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones, and John Jenkins (according to some mocks). In addition, they’ll lose Bacari Rambo and Shawn Williams (some say in the 2nd round). Few defenses can continue at this level with the loss of more than half of their starters; and all those five above are from Georgia’s defensive unit. Lose more, mainly Kwame Geathers, and it’ll become a ‘rebuilding’ year, which can be nails in the SEC.
4 is both the number of returning linebackers and receivers needed to hold its own in the SEC. Even with the loss of talented linebackers and receivers, next year the Georgia linebacker corps begins with Jordan Jenkins, Amarlo Herrera, and Chase Vasser—all who’ve played well. Ramik Wilson is the logical #4 for the quick success needed (see next paragraph). If that works well and there are no major injuries the anchor on defense will be OK—although devoid of this year’s depth. On offense, the WR position will be surprisingly strong with Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, and Rantavius Wooten back (regardless of qb). Add to this strength at Tight End and Justin Scott-Wesley, Rhett McGowan (who is stepping up) and some top recruits, and UGA may be OK on both sides of the line. These cohorts of four set the break-even standard. Outperform? Or meet expectations?
3 is the number for the toughest CFB schedule in the first 30 days of 2013. Beginning with Clemson at Death Valley, followed by an Athens visit from the Always-Evil Deceiver and his Gamecocks on Sept. 7, after an off week and cupcake game against North Texas (9/21), the bulldogs entertain LSU at home on Sept. 28. To be honest a 2-2 record against three Top Ten teams would be par for that course. Better than that is an over perform; worse is an under perform. To position for an SEC playoff or BCS bowl, UGA needs to be no worse than 3-1 by Oct. 1. Two losses by that date might be the break-even point but will not increase the program’s standings.
2 is the number for key losses and replacements. I count three huge replacement positions: (1) quarterback, (2) nose tackle, and (3) defensive safeties. In view of the above, All-star linebackers may be replaced (albeit not matched), the offense will be greatly improved, the running and passing game enhanced (even while the schedule difficulty grows), and the defensive backfield becomes a challenge. This leaves the QB and NT positions as keys that will be settled by Jan. 15. If Aaron Murray goes pro (70% likelihood), as much as I appreciate him, with the receivers, O-line, and backs who return, the Georgia offense will be ready, probably with Hutson Mason and Brice Ramsey on deck. If Kwame Geathers goes pro (75% probability), that may be the largest hole to plug. If Georgia can grow up two safeties quickly, that would be great but unlikely in view of the front-loaded schedule. Thus, if the team tanks on all three counts, that is an underperform; if they only lose ground at one of those positions, that is an over perform. They hold their own at 2 downgrades in these crucial sectors.
1 is the number for key injuries and an appearance in the BCS championship. Georgia’s season was barely affected by injuries—although Bennett and Brown were heartbreakers. Major setbacks didn’t occur because of depth in those positions. Injuries in the OL would have killed Georgia; same at quarterback. If Georgia can avoid crippling injuries to Gurley, Theus, Jenkins, Swann, AND if they can outperform on all 5 of these items above, they really could play for the title next year. Lose more than 1 key position (always have some injuries), and that could prevent progress in the rankings.
Good stuff, DadYouCrazy. We’ll monitor this as the boring part of the year progress. I miss football already.
That’s all I got/