Grading Georgia's Class of 2011
Mark Richt
Publisher
Posted Feb 9, 2011


ATHENS – Dean Legge, Fletcher Page and Scout.com’s Chad Simmons grade Georgia’s class of 2011.

Quarterback Simmons – A+ Page – B+ Legge – A–
Christian LeMay is one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Aaron Murray is only a freshman, and he has three more years in Athens, so to pull a highly-rated signal caller that was a national prospect was not easy. Georgia did it, and LeMay is a very good signee. Georgia picked up a top quarterback in Christian LeMay out of Charlotte. The Bulldogs also buffer the quarterback position in this class with the addition of Nick Marshall, who can play multiple positions at the next level. Still, Georgia has had better classes at this position in the past (2009, 2006). I’d love to give Georgia a slightly higher grade here, but LeMay’s off-the-field distraction, which lead to him not playing this past fall, makes me hesitate. Perhaps LeMay made a once-in-a-lifetime mistake, which seems likely, but it was one that cost him an entire season of development.
Running Back Simmons – A+ Page – A Legge – A+
Look at Isaiah Crowell’s film for yourself. He is the number-one rated running back in the country for a reason. Georgia made it clear early on it wanted only one tailback in this class… Isaiah Crowell. Georgia got its man on National Signing Day, and it appears he could be the starter in the 2011 season-opener Crowell is the most-ready running back to hit campus in Athens since Garrison Hearst. He will remind Bulldog fans of Robert Edwards circa 1997 by the time he leaves.
Receiver Simmons – B+ Page – A– Legge – B+




Chris Conley, Sanford Seay, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley – a very good group. But is there a true number-one guy here? Can Mitchell be that guy? He has a lot of speed, big-play ability and explosiveness, so we will see. I really like Scott-Wesley’s straight-line speed, Conley’s route-running skills and Seay could be the sleeper of the entire class. He is a physical receiver with upside. A very good group here. Georgia brought in four receivers – all with a different set of skills. Headliner Malcolm Mitchell can stretch the field and may see time early. Watch out for lesser-known Sanford Seay, my sleeper pick of the 2011 class. Seay has the look of player who could thrive from the slot. Justin Scott-Wesley is the fastest high school athlete in the state of Georgia, but he is raw at receiver. Chris Conley is the most polished of the group and already enrolled at Georgia. I was underwhelmed with this group at first – someone has to replace A.J. Green at some point. But Green is a once-in-a-decade guy. You don’t have to have him to get what you need at receiver. Mitchell could be very, very good. Conley will be steady. Scott-Wesley will have to develop. Seay, like the other two said, is my sleeper and is perfect for the slot. The sum of the parts in this group is better than any of them individually. Also, the explosive speed was a good thing to add to the team.
Tight End Simmons – A Page – A Legge – A

Jay Rome is a prototypical tight end who can block, catch big balls on third down and create mismatches. He was one of the most sought after tight ends in America, and he may have the chance to redshirt in 2011 just to develop more physically because of the tight ends Georgia already has on campus. Like running back, Georgia set its sights on only one elite player… Jay Rome. With an already crowded tight end position on the roster, the Bulldogs only needed one addition at the spot, and Rome was the top target all along. I think what needs to be underscored here is not so much that Georgia signed arguably the top tight end in the country; we know they did that. But they fought hard to make sure Jay knew Georgia, not Clemson, was where he needed to be. Georgia did a great job recruiting in Valdosta this year.
Offensive Line Simmons – B Page – B+ Legge – B






There is no real headliner here, but this is a group that has a lot of potential. Not many have improved more than Watts Dantzler over the last 18 months; Zach DeBell has the size and nasty streak coaches covet; Ward has length, feet and athleticism; Long is a true football player; And Andrews is one of the top centers in America. You cannot forget about Nathan Theus, either. He is being brought in as a long snapper, and he is one of the best period at what he does. David Andrews is the most ready of the offensive linemen in this class. The others – Zach DeBell, Watts Dantzler, Hunter Long and Xzavier Ward will need time to fill out and get better before they are ready to compete in the SEC. Luckily, Georgia has enough depth for the newcomers to come along at the right pace. David Andrews needs to be ready to play. It is possible that some of the other players Georgia signed might be asked to line it up as well, but that seems unlikely. Datzler could be a beast, but he’s going to have to focus. DeBell’s frame is perfect for development. This is a solid, but not great group.
Defensive Line Simmons – A Page – B+ Legge – A


John Jenkins signed with Georgia on Saturday – making this is a great group. Will Ray Drew play here or at outside linebacker? I see him putting his hand down more than he stands up, so I am still classifying him as an end. He is a rangy end, and he really pursues the ball well. A sleeper in this class could be Chris Mayes. He is a very athletic inside guy with a high ceiling. Mayes is raw and maybe a couple of years away from making a big contribution. The Dawgs missed on guys like Gabe Wright, Jeoffrey Pagan and Stephon Tuitt here. John Jenkins may turn out to be the most important get in the 2011 class. Other than Jenkins, Georgia didn’t do much along the defensive line, grabbing Chris Mayes-who will need time before he's SEC ready. What a difference one 353-pound addition can make. This grade is all about Jenkins. Like Fletcher, I can’t ignore what Jenkins has the ability to bring to the program. He allows DeAngelo Tyson to slide to his natural position. I also think Ray Drew will play outside linebacker. It would have been nice to have been in the game more for Pagan and Tuitt – not signing one of those two is the reason this is not an A+ for me.
Linebackers Simmons – B Page – A– Legge – A–





The size and toughness is what stands out about the trio I call linebackers. I know Ray Drew could play here, but I am focusing on Kent Turene, Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson. All three guys are at least 6-feet 2-inches tall, all three are over 220 pounds and all three like to hit. Wilson is one that could play inside or outside at Georgia, but I see Turene and Herrera blowing up plays in the middle and playing downhill at inside linebacker. Adding Xzavier Dickson would have pushed this grade up, but it is still a good haul. I see Amarlo Herrera and Ray Drew becoming big time playmakers over the next few seasons at Georgia. Late additions from Kent Turene and Ramik Wilson will help bring some South Florida swagger, too. Missing on Xzavier Dickson hurt here, but Georgia did a fine job in accumulating real deal players here. With the exception of Xzavier Dickson, Georgia signed exactly what they needed in the class of linebackers. Ray Drew, who I project to play outside linebacker, will be an All-SEC performer. Amarlo Herrera is perfect for the middle in the 3-4. Kent Turene will probably join Herrera in the middle. Wilson could play either. Sterling Bailey will have to develop – he’s got the body, but wasn’t challenged at his high school. After the 2011 season middle linebacker gets thin at Georgia – it’s thin now. These linebackers – all five of them – need to be ready to play in 2011 because that’s probably going to happen to at least three if not four of them.
Secondary Simmons – B+ Page – A- Legge – A–






I really like the athletes and football players in this group. Damian Swann is the highest-rated prospect here, but Corey Moore may be the most game ready. Moore can cover better than most safeties, and he is a very physical player. Chris Sanders is a smooth free safety with very god range. Swann and Bowman have the length and athleticism you look for in a corner, but Swann has to add strength/weight. Harrow will be a special teams warrior, and he could get a look at corner or safety. Nick Marshall is the wildcard. He is arguably the top athlete in this class. Where he will end up playing is still up in the air. He could do a lot to help Georgia on offense and/or defense. Georgia is getting two players with great ball skills and coverage ability in cornerback Damian Swann and safety Corey Moore. I think Swann will need time to add weight and strength, while Moore will probably get on the field in some capacity in 2011. Marshall, Chris Sanders and Devin Bowman help make the defensive secondary a deep haul in the 2011 class. I love Marshall's ability as an athlete, and Sanders has flown under the radar for some time. Guys who play in the secondary are typically athletic, but Georgia is getting a special athlete in Nick Marshall. Look for him to develop into a heck of a corner in the future. Swann is the highest-rated coming out of high school, but it is time for him to add mass to his frame; Marshall doesn’t have that problem. Neither does safety Corey Moore, who is long and is growing. He holds his own in coverage – even close to the line. Moore will confront you physically. Most players from Tucker have good careers at Georgia and there is no reason to think it will be any different for safety Chris Sanders.


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