Georgia finished the first ever Early Signing Day with the number one ranked recruiting class in America, inking a complete, dominant offensive line and the top overall player, quarterback Justin Fields (from Cobb County) and 1st- and 3rd-rated running backs, both out of staters. This is Kirby’s grit and magic on full display.
“ZEU$” aka Zamir White joins the storied stable from pole position, though he suffered a recent injury and will almost certainly redshirt in 2018. White is a North Carolinian, as were both players fuse-branded for a season or so as “GURSHALL.” Running Back U, Georgia continues to benefit significantly from its northwestern border state being too hoops focused. For a top runner, Tobacco Road essentially extends all the way to Athens. While speedster James Cook, younger brother of recent FSU all-star Dalvin Cook, was nearly as highly-regarded, out of Miami. What worked way way down South under Richt – offering urban south Floridians a lifestyle worlds away, yet just a state away and a couple of hours by plane from MIA to ATL, with Athens near enough to the Atlanta Airport by rental car (or MegaBus) – netted UGA the inimitable Sony Michel and continues under Coach Smart. We took in total three of the top players in the Miami area and look to add a fourth in Rachad Wildgoose Jr., who is up there for best name ever and looks to sign first Wednesday in February, the traditional National Signing Day.
Justin Fields is not only the top dog in the USA, he is the highest-graded out quarterback ever. A dual-threat weapon out of Harrison High, Fields won’t shy away from competition and will compete right away for at least some playing time with SEC Freshman of the Year Jake Fromm, a true sophomore next season. This is notably similar to the D.J. Shockley and David Greene situation at the start of the Richt era, which saw Greeney leave Georgia as the winningest quarterback in college football history, after sharing time with Shock, who then won the SEC his only year as a starter. Georgia has now actually grabbed the top quarterback in the country an unprecedented three straight seasons, although Jacob Eason may be transferring out (possibly joining Richt in Miami). As stands, Jacob Eason is the most talented backup in the country and could be called on to win the national championship if tough guy Jake Fromm were to get injured. Summational, we are in the best shape of any school at the top position.
In his first quick cycle, Smart had recruits to keep. He did so while coaching Alabama to its final of sixteen national championships. Bama not only finished the season as the number one team, they also finished number one in recruiting – which was Kirby’s ultimate responsibility. Richt had been removed from his position and moved on to his alma mater, and an interim coach guided UGA to the bowl win over Penn State, that year. Kirby kept Eason (#1 QB) and Nauta (#1 tight end) and did as well overall as could have been possible, considering he was doing both jobs full-time and did so well at Alabama at the time (he did actually yield 40 to Clemson).
In his first full cycle, Kirby got Jake Fromm to compete with Eason and took in the number three class overall. He signed Swift out of Philly, even after seniors Chubb and Sony decided to return. He beefed up the O-line and inked the secondary of the near future. Alabama slipped from the Natty, yielding to an actually more talented Clemson. The Tide held onto the number one ranking in recruiting again. But Smart was showing only 8-5, a bad record for a Georgia team.
Here in the calendar year in which we lost only one game and kept the SEC crown home in the largest state east of the Mississippi River, the great empire is being built. Georgia is the only school to avenge (28-7) its one loss, while only UCF went undefeated this year – and they lost their coach. Nearly half the SEC has new coaches. Georgia is the Vegas favorite for the national championship in 2019, and we are playing for it all in 2017 in the CFP. We are going to the Rose Bowl, and I’m sitting on the 5th row! The cupboard won’t be bare in 2018, either, when you can plan to at least be in my ATL again as champions of the SEC East. O-line guru Sam Pittman is building the Great Wall of Georgia. We will actually have a more experienced offense next year, coming of 12-1 plus…
And, I have written this whole article intentionally without mentioning defense even once, folks. Kirby is a defensive coach! We are winning with defense (and running and recruiting). Is this the fabled Alabama “Process” or is this simply the KIRBY PROCESS that is playing out before our eyes? Georgia has always had the more singular, explosive athletes at the key skill positions. He coached those defenses; he was in charge of recruiting while a state west. He’s home. He’s home.
Look at some class rankings of note (source ESPN):
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Clemson – CFP
- Alabama – CFP/SEC
- Miami – Richt is really rolling, too
- Oklahoma – CFP
- Auburn – SEC, every year
- Notre Dame – 2019, 20-19 in 2017
- outside of the Top Ten is a line of demarkation*
- LSU – SEC, 2018, 18. S Carolina – SEC East, 20. Miss St – SEC, 2017, 25. Florida – SEC East, 26. Texas A&M – 2019, 32. Kentucky – SEC East, 34. Vandy – SEC East, 38. Mizzou – SEC East, 39. Ole Miss – 2016, 44. Tennessee – SEC East __DAWGS ON TOP!
*Georgia has had Top 10 classes for 8 straight years
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