That was a hell of a signing day. It's been a while since we've had that kind of anxious excitement the first Wednesday in February. Usually it's just flat out anxiety mixed with a little heartbreak. Decided to break this up into a couple posts. So today we'll look at the hits and the misses, saving the analysis and the what now part for tomorrow.
The Big Picture
The only position of need we didn't address was fullback. Chapas and Munzie are gone which leaves Zander Ogletree (Soph) and a soon to be converted tight end Bruce Figgins. Every other area was addressed, soundly.
You can't lose an AJ Green and not expect to readjust offensively. And Bobo will have the next best thing to a 4th year of #8...numerous athletes at his disposal the next few years. There will be no Knowshonshirting Crowell, and Mitchell, Conley and Rome will avoid a year on the bench as well. I can never get enough big guys up front, so I would've liked to see another tackle in the class. But this would've been a bigger issue had Glenn or Sturdivant left.
However, the true upgrade this class provides is on the defensive side of the ball. We got bigger, and we got faster. We have athletic defensive backs that can ride all of the rides at Six-Flags, the kind that Lakatos wants to develop. And we have guys ready to fit into Grantham's front seven. Drew may not pick up exactly where Justin Houston left off, but it shouldn't take him long.
Saturday, the final piece of that front seven puzzle falls into place.
I thought we'd steal Jeoffrey Pagan, but his announcement is both a firm reminder that you can't win every recruiting battle with Nick Saban and the mind of a teenage boy is often an overly impressionable thing. The Asheville defensive star never seemed settled into a decision very long (just ask Dabo). But I guess we can count our lucky stars Pagan switched from his initial commitment to Florida.
Antonio Richardson is a big fish that we just were never able to fall into sync with. He wasn't interested in us early and by the time he came around to visit Athens it was really too late to reel him out of state. But let me be clear that we missed on his signature but clearly staged quite a coup in getting him on campus and to throw our cap in the ring. Let's just hope our Pastor has a message for UTs Tiny in the coming years.
Dickson and Bray were the true misses; bonafide Dream Team targets that fell across state lines. It's hard to beat yourself up too much when the last two national champs were the recipients of the facsimiled transmissions, but when you're in it until the end with an in state recruit you have to expect to get the signature. They both would've made nice additions.
Before we get to the dramatic late comers, it's important to recognize that not one of the commits (some of which had been in our ledger for a year or more) ever wavered, at least not publicly. Richt joked about Jay Rome finalizing this class for him and immediately wanting to work on next year. It's that type of enthusiasm that had built itself into a fever-pitch by the time Malcolm Mitchell had adjusted his cap.
Kent Turene gets a bad rap I think, mostly from people preoccupied with star ratings. Along the lines of long time commits Wilson and Herrera, Turene is another linebacker with real good size and can cover the width of the field. Grantham wanted this guy badly to help fill the middle. Plus, how can you not love this quote from the one time USC commitment: USC is Hollywood, it's not home. Georgia is home.
Yesterday was a perfect Groundhog Day moment as we watched Crowell finally take his stage. It was a moment that seemed to be inevitable, picture perfect in every way. A blue-chip recruit destined for a program that was desperate for his talent. It was a moment Bama fans had hoped for, but Dawg fans had dreamed of, over and over. There's more to come Saturday but this was a chance for Georgia's top talent to be the icing on the cake, on air live across the nation for all of the sport to see.
As he held that puppy up I couldn't help but think: Isaiah Crowell...the cool other side of the pillow and the exclamation point at the end of DREAM TEAM!