For the first time in 15 months, recruits could finally make official visits to college campuses. Georgia kicked that off by hosting many of the top players in the country from the 2022 class in Athens on June 1.
Kirby Smart has done a tremendous job of turning Georgia into a national powerhouse, recruiting from all areas of the country. Before getting to the prospective 2022 class, let’s look at some of the players the Bulldogs have added post-spring. The Bulldogs started early by getting two important players from the transfer portal.
First, Georgia looked to improve its inexperienced defensive backs room by adding Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick. Kendrick is a former five-star recruit from Rock Hill, South Carolina and will undoubtedly be vying for one of the two starting cornerback positions.
Kendrick had three interceptions in the last two seasons for the Tigers, but left the program in February after an arrest. Perhaps, this will also give Georgia an advantage to have a guy that has probably practiced plenty of times against Justyn Ross and other talented Clemson receivers.
Georgia then added Marietta, Georgia product Arik Gilbert. Gilbert was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2020. He played his first season at LSU before hitting the transfer portal and then committed to Florida. His commitment to the Gators did not last long as he is now listed on the Bulldogs’ roster heading into the fall.
Gilbert was originally recruited as a tight end, but is now listed on Georgia’s roster as a receiver. Regardless, he and Darnell Washington should give defenses nightmares with the size, speed and physicality that those two will bring every Saturday.
The Bulldogs currently have the fourth-best recruiting class for the 2022 cycle according to 247sports. Georgia has one committed five-star recruit in Malaki Starks. Starks is considered an ATH but will most likely project as a skill position player. Seven of Georgia’s 10 commits so far are from the state of Georgia. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning also sits at No. 3 in the 247 recruiter rankings.
The quarterback room will continue to get even better when Gunnar Stockton from Rabun County High School comes on to campus. Assuming JT Daniels leaves after this season, Stockton and current freshman Brock Vandagriff should have a heck of a battle to see who will be the next signal caller for the ‘Dawgs.
Georgia did receive two major de-commitments that dropped them in the recruiting rankings, although that is to be expected this early in the cycle. Bear Alexander is known as one of the best defensive line prospects in the country and is still considering the Bulldogs despite de-committing. Five-star athlete Deyon Bouie also decided to re-open his recruitment.
With the new multi-million dollar expansion to the Butts-Mehre practice facility, don’t expect this to be a down year or down cycle when it comes to recruiting for Georgia. Kirby Smart has never had a recruiting class that ranked worse than sixth-best in the 247 rankings, that trend should continue especially if the team on the field this year is a national title contender.
June, week one highlights … Week one was packed with a number of recruits visiting Athens for the first time after the dead period. Many recruits took to social media to show off their pictures in Georgia jerseys and shared photos and videos of Georgia’s new practice facility and locker room. It appears Georgia has even added a room with red laser lights for recruits to take pictures in – a nice touch in today’s day and age.
June, week two highlights … Walter Nolen, the nation’s top uncommitted recruit, posted a photo on Twitter in the Georgia locker room with the caption “#godawgs great unofficial today.” He is a defensive tackle that could significantly help the ‘Dawgs 2022 class especially after Bear Alexander’s decommitment. Nolen was sporting the #99 jersey in black and could fill that void once Jordan Davis leaves for the NFL.
June, week three highlights … The Bulldogs hosted one of the top recruits in the 2023 class on campus in Athens. Treyaun Webb is a five-star athlete from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. Webb had previously committed to Georgia during the 2019 season, but decommitted from Georgia in January of this year.
June, week four highlights … In a now viral video, Kirby Smart was seen pumping some iron in the weight room in a video recorded by four-star offensive tackle Tyler Booker. Booker is from IMG Academy, one of the best prep schools in the country. It is always interesting to see the fun side of coaches, especially Kirby Smart who can often be stern and serious in demeanor. The Bulldogs also received a commitment from four-star athlete JaCorey Thomas. Thomas is from Orlando, Florida and chose Georgia over Florida, Florida State and Miami.