Tuesday, February 3, 2009

National Signing Day Preview

Barring any surprises from the commitments Coach Richt's staff has procured, the '09 class has already addressed most of the needs heading into next season and beyond. But there are six big targets still in the balance that UGA figures to be in the mix for: Marlon Brown WR, Orson Charles TE, Jarvis Jones WDE, Greg Reid DB, Jawanza Starling S and Kwame Geathers OL/DT. 

One of the nation's hottest recruits from Georgia's own Lowndes County, Reid is set to announce this evening from a local steak house. Charles plans to visit USC later this month before he decides. Geathers also plans to delay his decision past signing day. 

So let's take a look at where the Dawgs stand and where we hope to be:

Areas of Need Want
  • WR depth is good, but could always use another signature. Which drives Marlon Brown's stock way up for Dawg fans. Wooten is the only committed receiver and he is more along the lines of a shifty, multi-purpose target. Brown could easily step in and provide immediate depth and competition. His decision is set for NSD at 2:45pm.
  • Safety may not be a glaring need with Reshad's decision to stay and Evans' move from WC. But adding another player to compete with the younger Dawgs (Knox, Banks) AND the current starters would be a real plus. Starling fits that bill, but can Lilly help CMR pull the talented safety from the grasps of Coach Bowden as well as other suitors? He is set to announce NSD at noon.
Areas of Strength
  • OLine was young before the class that will sign tomorrow. Young and talented. With the commitments in place Searels will have even more talent to work with. As nice as grabbing Massie back would have been, his annual defection can be viewed as inconsequential damage. In fact, UGAs depth and youth surely was used against them in his recruitment. If you're holding out for a Massie surprise, he unveils his decision at 10:30 on NSD.
  • QB is a position where there are no worries. Not only did CMRs staff get two of the best in the nation, but they are signed, sealed and delivered into Bobo's waiting hands early.
  • DLine - both end and interior positions have been addressed, but a player of Jones' caliber could provide some quality competition at a position that was easily the Dawgs' weakest in '08. Jones announces his decision at 1pm on NSD.

Bernie's Take

Marlon Brown is arguably the most important player still on the Dawgs' board given the impact he could make opposite AJ Green as soon as next season. KiffyBaby has made Brown a top priority and had the last crack at him this past weekend, but Brown surely noticed the teenage coach has no viable solution at QB. Tressel's Vest has pushed hard for the rangy receiver as well, but signs are that Brown isn't fancying the Big Ten or the cold weather. If he doesn't don the red and black hat, I'll say he goes with the dark horse, Ole Miss. He's made disparaging remarks about their program but they have a solid QB in Snead. That being said -  Bernie thinks Marlon comes to Athens. 

Jarvis Jones has to be the second target of note. Jones is obviously a kid you do not want to play poker with - it's anyone's guess where he may end up. The good news is that the Dawgs are in the running for the talented Carver High prospect, but the bad news is their running against the big horses. I think it would be a surprise if Georgia was on Jones' mind in the end. Let's just hope he ends up a Longhorn instead of a Gator.

Greg Reid has been rumored to be all but in the Dawgs' pocket since he earned mad props in Orlando. That always makes fans leery of surprises. If Reid chooses the Dawgs and qualifies (as he ensures that he will) he will add extra quality depth at a position that needs it after Asher left town. If he chooses FSU or the Sabanites, the Dawgs still have Jordan Love and 5 star prospect Branden Smith to add to the depth chart. Bernie thinks Reid is a Dawg. STRIKE ONE!

Jawanza Starling would have been closer to the bottom on my personal wishlist had I not caught some of his many highlights against high school talent. Martinez and other players have raved at how Evans has adjusted to safety. Jones has to be ready for the breakout year fans have been expecting. A kid like Starling would keep those Dawgs hungry. Unfortunately, I don't like our luck in this area of Florida. I hope I'm proved wrong.

Orson Charles has to be compelled to follow Aaron Murray to Georgia given their success at

Plant HS in Tampa. But like so many of these that hang in the balance, Charles is being courted by some very good looking competitors. He is set to visit USC last, although it is curious to me
that the date seems up in the air...?? At any rate his decision will not come until after NSD and Bernie thinks he catches more passes from Murray...in '10.

Kwame Geathers is a tremendous talent. He could play either line and has been told by Garner he can play defense if that is what he wishes. For some reason the Visor and the Resume are still in play. Kwame comes from a family known for it's surprises (see Geathers, Robert and cross section with NFL Draft). With all the drama, Bernie says he takes the lesser of two evils and goes with Central Florida.

It would be absolutely incredible if CMRs staff was able to land three of these players to round out a stellar class of early commits. Garner and associates haven't always closed strong. If they land Reid and Brown as expected it would be seen as a welcome contradiction to years past. Anything more than that would provide even greater momentum towards next year's NSD.

Lastly, Buck Belue has a great post to his blog with some firsthand insight into the recruiting process. If Belue could tell Papa Bowden "no thanks", perhaps there's another one who will do the same tonight from a Lowndes County steak house.


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