Recruiting never stops. Period. As the Dawgs were putting the finishing touches on the 2021 class in January, the collective eyes of the coaching staff were already on making up for lost time with the class of 2022. The class of 2022 was impacted by COVID-19 and the NCAA restrictions that put a stop to on-campus recruiting and in-home visits. Most of the 2021 class had visited Athens before the pandemic hit. Many of the prime targets in the class of 2022 missed out on taking any trips to schools for the latter part of their sophomore year and now the entirety of their junior year as well.
Georgia currently has 12 commitments in the class of 2022. Of the dozen that have pledged to be part of the class, eight are from the state of Georgia. The Dawgs have dominated their home turf so far in this class and have gotten some ‘must have’ prospects to commit to the ‘G.’ Also, when the Dawgs have gone out of state to bring in the remainder of their 12 commitments, it has been to address big needs. Defensive tackle, outside linebacker, running back, and punter are positions that will be looking to and needing to reload after this season and Georgia has a good head start there already.
Kirby Smart is very creative in how he manages rosters. I can see a blue-shirt scenario and some other recruiting wizardry being used to get the 2022 to the full complement of 25 signees. The 12 student athletes that are already committed to Georgia have them currently ranked 2nd overall in the consensus of rankings in the recruiting industry. With several major targets set to come to finally come to Athens in the month of June, the Dawgs have a real shot at pushing for the fourth top-ranked recruiting class in the Kirby Smart era.
Top 3 Commitments To Date
• Malaki Starks is the most coveted and most needed player in the class of 2022 in my opinion, bar none. His commitment to Georgia over Alabama and Clemson was a massive win for UGA. The Dawgs are in need of finding the next stalwart safety/STAR in the secondary. Lewis Cine could be pro bound after the 2021 season and Christopher Smith, Latavious Brini, and William Poole are all seniors. Starks is going to have a chance to make an immediate impact. No question, the top get of the class is the 6-2, 205-pound elite athlete form Jefferson, Georgia.
• Jordan James is the latest major running back prospect to align himself with the lineage of tradition and excellence that is RBU. A multi-faceted back out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, James is a great fit to help ease the loss of James Cook after the 2021 for the Dawgs. Like Cook, James can really run and is dangerous on the perimeter as a runner and a pass catcher. The 5-10, 205-pound tailback is more than capable of running between the tackles as well, but given that Georgia will be looking to bring in its patented Thunder and Lightning combo in the 2022 class, look for James to provide the lightning.
• Bear Alexander has a fitting name. Alexander, a defensive tackle from Denton, Texas, is monstrous and mauls opponents in the same fashion as a grizzly for sure. Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, and Julian Rochester are all on their last go around for the Dawgs in 2021 and a big man to eat up double teams and continue to help Georgia be one of the nation’s best defenses at stopping the run is much needed. At 6-3, 325 pound, with lots of strength and athleticism, Alexander is more than capable of helping to fill that need.
Top 3 Wants
• Kamari Wilson is a 5-Star safety out of IMG Academy. Georgia has been very successful recruiting at the premier high school program in the country and, as I mentioned with the importance of getting the commitment from Malaki Starks, safety is a position of need in 2022 and Wilson paired with Starks would be an unbelievable tandem. Georgia is in the thick of things.
• Oscar Delp is the next big fish that Todd Hartley is attempting to reel in at the tight end position. Delp is a lethal route runner and creator with the ball in his hands. Also, often being paired with 2021 Georgia OL signee Dylan Fairchild at West Forsyth High School this past season. Delp is a more than adequate blocker. Delp is underrated in my opinion, even as a 4-Star, and if Georgia can sign him, the tight end room of Darnell Washington, Brock Bowers, and Oscar Delp would hands down be the best in the nation.
• Branson Robinson is the running back that the Dawgs are targeting to be the Thunder to the Lightning of Jordan James. A 5-10, 225-pound powerhouse from Germantown High School in Madison, Mississippi, runs like and lifts in the weight room like former Georgia legend Nick Chubb. Robinson runs angry, plain and simple. As of now, I’d consider the Dawgs the top school for Robinson, but Alabama and Clemson are in play as well.
Top 3 Misses
• Travis Hunter. Hunter is as gifted of a cornerback as I have seen during my time covering recruiting. The fact that he is from Suwanee, Georgia and is FSU bound has to sting for the Dawgs. A 5-Star in every sense of the ranking is headed to Tallahassee.
• Ty Simpson. Yes, I know the Dawgs have their QB in the class of 2022 in Gunner Stockton of Tiger, Georgia. Stockton is a great player and I’m sure will do excellent things during his time in Athens. In my opinion, Ty Simpson is better and has a higher ceiling. The Crimson Tide of Alabama may have secured their next Heisman winner in Simpson.
• Jaydon Blue. Blue is a tremendous all-around running back out of Houston, Texas. Georgia was in the mix early on, but ultimately the Longhorns kept Blue in state. Blue looks like an NFL running back now, and I’m sure under Steve Sarkisian he’ll get a chance to create quite the stock for himself.
CURRENT UGA COMMITS CLASS OF 2022
Deyon Bouie (5-11, 185)
Bainbridge High School
Athlete – Projects as Cornerback
Malaki Starks (6-2, 205)
Jefferson High School
Athlete – Projects as STAR/Safety
Bear Alexander (6-3, 325)
Ryan High School
Jalon Walker (6-2, 220)
Salisbury High School
Tyre West (6-3, 280)
Tift Country High School
Marquis Grove-Killebrew (6-0, 180)
Brookwood High School
CJ Washington (6-1, 215)
Cedartown High School
Darris Smith (6-6, 225)
Appling County High School
Donovan Westmoreland (6-1, 210)
Griffin High School
Gunner Stockton (6-1, 220)
Rabun County High School
Jordan James (5-10, 205)
Oakland High School
Brett Thorson (6-2, 205)
Pro Kick Academy