UGA head coach Kirby Smart praises player performance in G-Day scrimmage
Kirby Smart must have some sort of system when developing his recruiting classes. They’ll start off slow, and concerns will rumble about the group of incoming talent entering Georgia’s program.
Once everyone becomes frantic, the Bulldogs make a statement with a big-time commitment and the machine revs its engine.
The 2018 class served as a prime example. Once at a crawling pace with former pledge Rachad Wildgoose and now-sophomore Warren Ericson as one of a few commitments, recruiting exploded for the Bulldogs. By the end of the period (capped by a dynamite signing day), the likes of Zamir White, Jamaree Salyer and Tyson Campbell led a top-ranked class.
Georgia is using the strategy again. It’s on its way to working into one of the nation’s most-formidable recruiting classes, too.
Smart’s “BANG” (or the infamous Sam Pittman-inspired “YESSIRRR,” whichever you prefer) moment came Thursday night. Mekhail Sherman, a five-star linebacker out of Washington, D.C., gave his pledge to the Bulldogs.
Tate Ratledge, a four-star offensive tackle out of the Darlington School in Rome, followed Sherman Monday with his plans to play at Georgia. Ratledge was a highly-touted name around recruiting circles, and the Northwest Georgia product chose the Bulldogs over Tennessee. Back to Pittman, it warranted a Purple Rain-inspired twitter announcement.
Sherman is the biggest name in the recruiting class so far as he ranks 11th nationally, according to 247Sports.com, and gives Georgia another highly-touted linebacker to add to its rotation. Seems like there might be a bit of a linebacker problem in Athens, but maybe it’s a good one to have.
“I think this team can win national championships,” Sherman said as he announced his decision through Rusty Mansell of 247Sports.com. “I think this team can mold me into the player I am today and the player I can be in the future.”
As a reminder, here’s who is already committed to Georgia for the upcoming season:
▪ Sherman, St. John’s College High School, Washington, D.C.
▪ Broderick Jones, five-star offensive tackle, Lithonia
▪ Beck, Mandarin High School, Jacksonville, Fla.
▪ Kimber, Mansfield Timberview High School, Arlington, Tex.
▪ Stackhouse, Columbia (Decatur)
▪ Jamil Burroughs, four-star defensive tackle, McEachern
▪ Akinola Ogunbiyi, four-star offensive guard, Kempner High School, Sugar Land, Tex.
▪ Justin Robinson, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, McDonough
Everything started out slowly in the 2020 class. Keep in mind, this was a class that started to form with the commitment of four-star defensive tackle Nazir Stackhouse in December 2017 (almost 18 months ago). Then, it all became quiet on the front for a little bit. A few commitments came here-and-there, including pro-style quarterback Carson Beck out of Florida to replenish the position room before Jake Fromm’s inevitable departure and four-star cornerback Jalen Kimber.
Each of those pledges were out-of-state (Florida and Texas), a testament to the Bulldogs’ pulling power outside of Georgia. But the commitments weren’t flooding into the program as they have in the latter stages of previous recruiting cycles. Georgia had an approach to quality over quantity as its eight commits have the highest-overall rating.
Now, a mix of both may start to trickle Georgia’s way. Some potential big-time additions include five-stars Arik Gilbert, Kellee Ringo and Marshawn Lloyd.