Kirby Smart’s first task after being hired as the Bulldogs 26th head football coach was to finish out the recruiting cycle for the Class of 2016. It was already a solid class, but still needed several key pieces for the Dawgs to be able to fill out their depth chart. Kirby Smart was able to add those pieces and now we will take a look at eight new Bulldogs who could have an instant impact on the field in 2016.
RILEY RIDLEY – WR
From the moment he stepped on campus, Ridley displayed a skill set of a player well beyond his years. He runs solid routes and if the ball hits his fingertips he is going to haul it in. With UGA’s question marks at receiver the opportunity for Ridley to contribute early and often is there.
ELIJAH HOLYFIELD – RB
The Bulldogs lack of depth at the running back position combined with Chubb coming off an injury puts Holyfield in prime position to make an instant impact. He is a physical specimen that is ready to contribute from Day 1. He won’t wow you with speed and quickness but will grind out the tough yards.
MICHAIL CARTER – DL
Carter is a raw defensive line prospect blessed with tremendous strength at the point of attack. Described as “country strong” Carter has the prototypical build of a Kirby Smart defensive lineman. This is another position with depth issues and Carter’s ability to contribute will have a large impact on the Dawgs defensive success.
ISAAC NAUTA – TE
Nauta is a grown man in an 18-yearold’s body. His game is built upon physicality and his physical style of play makes him potentially elite. I call him “Baby Gronk” because of his combination of size, strength and his tendency to run angry after the catch. If Eason earns the starting job, Nauta will undoubtedly be one of his favorite targets.
JAVON WIMS – WR
One of the top junior college WRs in the class of 2016, Wims arrives in Athens with high expectations. He is still raw in terms of route running but his natural feel for the position is outstanding. He is a matchup nightmare because of his size and when you combine that with his basketball background he is tremendous at boxing out, elevating and snatching the ball.
JULIAN ROCEHSTER – DL
An early enrollee who flashed superior strength at the point of attack and the type of heavy violent hands that will allow him to make an instant impact. Even at the collegiate level he is a man amongst boys and will require multiple blockers to keep him from driving offensive lineman into the backfield. If he dedicates himself in the summer conditioning program he will be a centerpiece of the Dawgs line.
MECOLE HARDMAN, JR. – ATH
Hardman, Jr. is an electric athlete and a special football player. His combination of pure speed and his ability to change direction without slowing down is something you cannot teach. From the moment he steps on campus he will be one of the Top 3 athletes on the Dawg’s roster. Whether it be on offense, defense or special teams, he will play a significant role from Day 1.
JACOB EASON – QB
There is no one else that you could put atop this list. Eason very well may be the most talented quarterback to ever enroll at the University of Georgia and could end up being the best to ever don the Red & Black by the time all is said and done. He has demonstrated poise, incredible arm strength and scary accuracy. Barring the unforeseen, I don’t see any way he is not under center Week 1 in the Georgia Dome.