“It’s come a little faster this year than normal,” Richt acknowledged. “We just recruit real hard, and if they’re ready to commit, we’ll take their commitment. We’re real pleased to do that with the guys we’ve offered.”
Texas, with its 24 verbal commitments, is the only major school with more commitments than the Bulldogs. The highest total other than Georgia in the SEC is Ole Miss’ 17, according to Scout.com. The SEC average, not including Georgia, is 9.7.
“I think it’s a strategy,” said Scott Kennedy, a regional editor for Scout.com. “They’d rather be done early and be working on next year’s class now. I think it kind of builds on itself. The earlier you get done one year, the earlier you get to start on the next.”
The Bulldogs’ class has quality as well as quantity. Five players -- Fort Valley linebacker Darius Dewberry, Texas quarterback Matthew Stafford, Maryland linebacker Akeem Hebron, Ocilla offensive lineman Justin Anderson and Tallapoosa defensive end Brandon Wood -- all are rated five-star recruits by Scout.com.
College teams are allowed to bring in 25 new players each year, but Georgia could sign as many as 32 this year because some of their newcomers will enroll in January and count against last year’s limit.
The high number of early commitments doesn’t mean Georgia’s work is done, Richt stressed. All verbal commitments are non-binding. Players can’t sign a letter of intent until February. That means the Bulldogs’ coaches still have to make sure they hold on to what they have.
“We’ve had success with guys who have committed sticking with it lately,” Richt said. “I know the very first year a couple guys changed their mind on us and that happens. That goes in trends just like everything else. Some years it works out great and some years it doesn’t.”