Again this being a bye week I am taking the time to look towards next year but in a different way, recruiting needs. This past recruiting season Richt had some immediate holes to fill and he was able to do so with the class that was signed. Crowell was expected to play a big role from the start and depth was needed at wide receiver, linebacker and in the secondary. For the future there were also a great number of linemen signed. A couple of those linemen have played this season but not in any major role, next year they will be counted on to not just play but to start. This coming signing day Georgia will not be looking at any position with a desperate need to have any of the class of 2012 come in and start as there will be only two open positions on defense and 4 on offense. All of the positions that need filling already have a backup that has played a significant role this season except for on the offensive line. However on the line aside from the three guys with starting experience, Gates, Burnette and Lee, there are 9 other scholarship players who will be returning to compete for the starting jobs. The kicking and punting jobs will be open to incoming freshman and Georgia already has commits from two of the country’s best. They will be expected to come in and win the starting job right away.
With these things in mind I looked at the roster and projected what positions needed help right away to provide the depth a coach would like at each position and then at what positions there are a high number of juniors and therefore will need help down the line but not as immediately. Here is where we stand for next year:
RB – returning - 4, needs - 1, 2 juniors, no commits
FB – returning - 1, needs - 1, no juniors, 1 commit
OL – returning - 12, needs - 3, no juniors, 3 commits
TE – returning 3, needs – 1, 1 junior, 1 commit (this does not taking into account if Sturdivant returns and switches to TE)
WR – returning – 8, needs - 2, 3 juniors, 2 commits
QB – returning – 3, no needs, no juniors, no commits.
DE – returning – 4, needs – 2, 1 junior, 3 commits (one of the commits is a hybrid and may move to OLB once on campus)
DT – returning – 3, needs 1, 1 junior, 2 commits
OLB – returning – 7, no needs, 1 junior, no commits
ILB – returning - 6, no needs, 2 juniors, no commits
CB – returning - 6, needs 2, 2 juniors, no commits
S – returning - 6, needs 0, 2 juniors, no commits
As you can see Georgia has filled all of its “needs” for next year in recruiting except at running back and corner. Both of those needs are much more an issue of depth than a need for someone to come in and play right away. With 14 commits already and only 3 positions of what I consider need that would leave the coaches with 7 extra scholarships to make the team deeper at other positions and to simply take the best available guys around no matter the position. I also firmly believe you can never have too many linemen on either side of the ball so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Georgia to use a few of those “extra” scholarships on the offensive line. The bottom line is that the class of 2012 is that outside of the specialist Georgia will be looking to fill in the depth chart for the future. Any player they pick up this year that can compete right away is a bonus, not the necessity that it was for the class of 2011.
*disclaimer – at this point it is too early to know if anyone will be going pro early but the two I would keep my eye on for that are Rambo and Charles. Charles would be one of the top tight ends in the draft and Rambo because he took a long look at going pro last year. There might be a surprise early entry to the draft but those are the two I consider the biggest possibilities.