Georgia Football Recruiting: 2014 Class Is Most Well-Rounded of Mark Richt Era

Andrew HallCorrespondent IIIFebruary 5, 2014

Richt was all smiles on national signing day.
Richt was all smiles on national signing day.Jason Getz/Associated Press

University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt has assembled some highly impressive recruiting classes during his 14-year tenure, but the Bulldogs’ 2014 signing class is his most well-rounded.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mark Richt told a crowd gathered at Georgia’s Butts-Mehre building, “Overall and the class is not finished, we’re very, very pleased.  We feel like we do a good job evaluating, we feel like we do a good job of getting the ones we want,” according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.

If Richt and his newly revised coaching staff were targeting a balanced recruiting class defined by top-end talent, depth at every position and a host of stellar recruits from around the southeast, then he should be very pleased indeed.

Lorenzo Carter is the jewel of this recruiting class.
Lorenzo Carter is the jewel of this recruiting class.John Bazemore/Associated Press

 

The Best of the Best

When the smoke cleared on Wednesday afternoon, the Georgia Bulldogs had received three signed letters of intent from 5-star athletes (per 247Sports).

The longstanding commitments of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, two of the nation's best running backs, were officially inked early in the day.  Later on, the most highly regarded recruit from the state of Georgia, Lorenzo Carter, announced that he too would be playing his college ball in Athens.

While the 5-star signees stole headlines, Georgia also garnered letters of intent from a host of other players who rank among the top 10 nationally at their respective positions.

2014 Recruits Ranked in National Top 10 at Position
PlayerPositionNational Position Rank
Lorenzo CarterWeakside Defensive End2
Sony MichelRunning Back3
Jeb BlazevichTight End3
Nick ChubbRunning Back5
Jacob ParkPro-Style Quarterback5
Isaiah WynnOffensive Guard7
Keyon BrownWeakside Defensive End7
Malkom ParrishCornerback8
Lamont GaillardDefensive Tackle10
247Sports Composite

These nine athletes will be counted upon to contribute immediately (even if only as reserves) and will serve as the core of Georgia football moving forward. 

 

Every Position Well Covered

Perhaps the most impressive facet of this signing class, however, is its positional balance.  With the exception of the kicking game, every personnel group was represented both in strength and in numbers.

Georgia Recruits and Ratings by Position Groups
Position Group5-Star Recruits4-Star Recruits3-Star Recruits
Quarterbacks010
Running Backs200
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends033
Offensive Line031
Defensive Line120
Linebackers001
Defensive Backs013
Total3108
247Sports Composite

An already-crowded backfield added two running backs and a pro-style passer.  The offensive line added a number of capable blockers.

Even a talent-rich returning receiving unit found new weapons in 4-star players Shakenneth Williams and Isaiah McKenzie, who will be capable pass-catchers. 

A lackluster 2013 defensive backfield was bolstered by the likes of Malkom Parrish (4-star), Shattle Fengteng (3-star), Dominick Sanders (3-star) and Shaquille Jones (3-star).

The linebacking unit may seem light, but this was the deepest position group of the 2013 recruiting class.  Furthermore, either one of the two defensive ends of this class (Carter and Keyon Brown) occasionally comes onto the field as a linebacker.

Four-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard will join a talented group of pass-rushers on the defensive line.

No position was ignored and needs were filled.

 

Protecting the State, Stealing from Others

Georgia recruited well both in and out of state in 2014.  Eleven of Georgia's 21 signees hail from the Bulldogs' home state and Mark Richt signed three of the Peach State's five best players according to 247Sports.

While these numbers are impressive, they aren't exactly unprecedented.  Much less common is the success Georgia found in out-of-state recruiting.  

In total, the Dawgs signed 10 out-of-state prospects, with the overwhelming majority coming from Florida.

2014 Georgia Signees from Other States
StateNumber of Signees
Florida6
North Carolina2
South Carolina1
Kansas1
Total10
247Sports.com

 

Implications of this Signing Class

The Georgia Bulldogs now move into 2014 (and beyond) with a wealth of opportunity thanks to a well-rounded signing class.

Mark Richt found a number of college-ready playmakers who could fill voids—particularly on the defensive side of the ball—as soon as next year.  In that regard, the impact of this recruiting class will be felt sooner rather than later.

Yet, Georgia also accumulated enough depth to bolster several position groups well into the future.  The defensive backfield, offensive line and wide receiving corps all appear poised to succeed for several years to come. 

The future is bright for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs thanks to this stellar recruiting class.

 

Note: All stats, ratings and rankings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.