ATHENS -- Last summer, Georgia helped lead the charge to stem the supposed scourge of over-signing in the SEC. In the first year of those new rules, the Bulldogs lived up to it by under-signing.
Georgia signed only 18 players and was still waiting for a national letter-of-intent from Josh Harvey-Clemons. Either way, it was far short of the 27 spots the Bulldogs had available, but they also had to consider the overall roster limit of 85 scholarship players.
“You can’t sign any more than you don’t have room for as well,” Richt said. “So you don’t know what’s going to happen with that number.”
It’s not unprecedented for Georgia. Two years ago, it only signed 19, and it was a 17-member class in 2005.
The reviews on the overall ranking of Georgia’s class was mixed. It was as high as fifth (ESPN) and as low as 19th (Rivals). The status of Harvey-Clemmons could impact that, since the ESPN and 247sports each still counted him in Georgia’s list and had the Bulldogs ranked higher than Rivals and Scout.com, which did not include Harvey-Clemmons in their calculations.
Naturally, Richt thought fans should focus on the sites that he said reflected the quality of the signees, not the amount.
“There’s other people that look at it more per player. Did you take care of your needs? The players that you brought in, how quality are they? The services that have that type of philosophy I know our ranking was very high with those kinds of people,” Richt said.
“But we don’t get too crazy about those types of things. I’m saying that to educate those fans who might be concerned about something. We just know we’re very excited about the young men we did sign, and we got some very good ones.”
Light on receivers
Georgia only signed one receiver, Blake Tibbs, while missing out Wednesday on two major targets: Cordarelle Patterson signed with Tennessee, and Jaquay Williams with Auburn.
But Richt pointed to all of Georgia’s returning receivers.
“So we know we’ve got some outstanding playmakers. And I think a lot of the recruits probably knew we had some outstanding playmakers,” he said. “My guess is next season’s recruiting class will be one that a bunch of receivers will see a bunch of opportunity (because) we only signed one in this class. Sometimes when you nail it the year before it’s a little bit tougher the next year at that position.”
Play them anywhere
Georgia loaded up on defensive players who can play outside, whether it is at outside linebacker or end. Four players, aside from Harvey-Clemmons, fit that role, and the team wasn’t hurting at that spot with current players.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said he expects to move players around from game to game, based on matchups and could see playing three outside linebackers at the same time.
“I think your defense has to be structured in that you don’t pigeonhole yourself into you have to play a certain guy at a certain position,” Grantham said. “The best example of that (is) you’re gonna watch the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and they’re probably as versatile as anybody, whether they’re playing 4-3 or 3-4. I think that’s the way you have to play defense: You recruit good players, you develop them, you get them to play hard, and then you mix and match where you play them based on who you’re playing.”
More from Grantham
Grantham, entering the final year of his contract, is set to receive a extension. But he said he and his bosses, including Richt, haven’t discussed it since the recruiting period ended.
“Mark and I talked right after the season. I’ve been so focused on recruiting, because recruiting is the lifeblood of the success of your program. So truthfully I’ve been dealing with try to recruit and that’s all I’ve been dealing with,” Grantham said. “I’m comfortable, and as we move forward in the spring we’ll address that issue and I’m happy to be here.”
Meanwhile, Grantham said he didn’t have any word on the status of cornerback Sanders Commings, who was arrested two weeks ago on a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence.
“Obviously we’ll address it as we move forward and now that we’re back we can get into those types of things,” Grantham said. “But I don’t know any more than you know.”