Late recruiting surprise: Toby Johnson to Georgia

semerson@macon.comFebruary 19, 2013 

ATHENS - As it turns out, Georgia wasn't done recruiting for the 2013 class just yet.

Toby Johnson, a defensive lineman at Hutchinson County Community College, announced on Tuesday he was signing with Georgia. The news was a surprise, as recruiting analysts had expected for the past few weeks that Johnson was headed elsewhere, likely to either Auburn or Mississippi State.

But things took a late turn, and Johnson ends up being Georgia's 33rd - and probably final - signee for this year's class.

Georgia announced Johnson's signing a few hours later.

"We are thrilled that Toby has decided to become a Georgia Bulldog," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "We're looking forward to watching him compete for playing time this upcoming season."

Johnson has the ability to play right away for Georgia, but the question is his health: He tore his ACL in an early November game. He has two seasons of eligibility and the ability to take a redshirt year, so that will be an option.

Johnson, who played his high school ball at Bannker, in College Park, is rated a four-star prospect by 247sports.com, and some analysts considered him the top junior college prospect in the nation. So if he can play, Johnson (listed at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds) will be a factor on the line. Georgia lost its top two nose tackles, John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, and couldn't get its top recruiting target for the spot, Dooly County's Montravius Adams.

But the team has amply re-stocked at the position: Besides Johnson, the team also re-signed Chris Mayes, a junior college prospect who originally signed with Georgia two years ago, and DeAndre Johnson of Northgate High School. They join Mike Thornton, who will be a redshirt junior, and Johnathan Taylor, who will be a redshirt freshman.

Johnson and Mayes can also play end.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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