Yes, 2015 Class Could Be Special

ATHENS - The possibility of Georgia winding up with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country is still very much alive.

That might not be probable, but that possibility is still alive - and that’s significant.

One has to take a step back and take a look at how well this class is shaping up. Georgia will likely sign Trenton Thompson, who is arguably the top prospect in the country. The Bulldogs will almost certainly sign Terry Godwin, who is arguably the top athlete in the country.

That’s a good start to a signing class, but that’s not all Georgia’s got going for itself. Outside of a quarterback (the Bulldogs have a five-star quarterback on the way in 2016 prospect Jacob Eason) there’s not much missing from Georgia’s recruiting take.

An elite receiver is missing, but Godwin could be that when he gets to Athens, so to say that Georgia is missing a playmaker at receiver seems a little strong. Still, part of critiquing a recruiting class is noting what it doesn’t have.

What it doesn’t have is easy to see, however. What Georgia missed out on in the Peach State - highly-ranked offensive tackles Mitch Hyatt and Chuma Edoga, who both decided to not only leave the state, but also venture outside of the SEC to play in college - was addressed with out-of-state recruiting.

It is very possible that Pat Allen from Maryland could be as good a prospect as Edoga by the time all is said and done. Hyatt has elite skill right now, but struggled at the end of last season defending current Georgia freshman Lorenzo Carter in the state championship game. Without question the Bulldogs would both happily take Edoga and Hyatt, but that seems unlikely.

That’s why the commitment from Pat Allen might be the swing commitment of this class. Georgia had to get a legit offensive tackle in this class and did just that when Allen committed.

The other thing to keep in mind is that one recruiting class shouldn’t be judged on its own. That’s what we do, but that’s really a shallow way of looking at the acquisition of talent in college football. For instance, in my view, any class without a quarterback is a class that’s missing a significant piece. But with Brice Ramsey likely in place for the next few years in Athens and Jacob Park and Jacob Eason following him signing a quarterback in this class is unnecessary.

Signing a high school running back doesn’t make a ton of sense, either. And Georgia likely won’t do that. But the Dawgs have attacked positions of need like the offensive and defensive lines as well as the secondary.

In fact, Georgia will likely wind up with the best defensive line recruiting class in the country in 2015 - and that is the way you win a lot of ball games in the SEC. One can’t ignore that in a three-year span Georgia will have signed a slew of players on offense and defense that will likely ensure that the Chapel Bell is rung often Saturday nights.

Brice Ramsey will combine with Sony Michael and Nick Chubb over the next few years to form one of the most capable skill set of backs since Todd Gurley and Aaron Murray played together for two years in 2012 and 2013. When those two played together Georgia scored a lot of points and only lost four games in two years (South Carolina 2012, Alabama 2012, Clemson 2013 and Auburn 2013).

What will help Georgia, however, in the future not necessarily the skill in the backfield, but the offensive line in front of them. Youngsters Greg Pyke and Isaiah Wynn already appear poised to be multi-year starters as does Allen. The other two spots will be figured out, but there is a lot to choose from.

Georgia’s offensive line has gone from figuring out how to get five good players on the field to figuring out which five good players to get onto the field. The change has been impressive - I’ve you’ve watched the scoreboard over the last few years you’ve probably noticed that Georgia scores a lot (particularly when half the skill players are not on crutches). That’s a direct result of good offensive line play.

But the defensive line of the 2015 class is the thing to watch. Already in the boat are solid prospects Chauncey Rivers, Jonathan Ledbetter and Trenton Thompson. Thompson will pressure Roquan Smith to join him in Athens the way Rivers pressured Ledbetter. One can’t forget that those guys will be playing with the likes of Lorenzo Carter and Keyon Brown over the next few years. Carter could explode on the scene this fall… Brown will need a little more time.

Are there missing parts to the puzzle? Maybe a few. Who will emerge in a crowded secondary over the next few months and replace Damien Swann? Are Ramsey, Chubb and Michel as good as they look right now? How long will Mike Bobo and Jeremy Pruitt stay in Athens?

But those are questions that can be answered or dealt with over the next few years. Georgia isn’t the same desperate program it was when the critical Dream Team, now juniors and seniors, was recruited to Athens. Good or bad, other programs (South Carolina Tennessee and Florida) are not what they were, either. But the Gators won’t be down for long, and the Cocks aren’t going to continue to have the greatest season in their history forever.

What Georgia needs to do, however, is keep pushing hard on the recruiting pedal. Coaching and development matters, yes. But part of coaching in college is recruiting. And coaches can’t coach what they don’t sign.

Which is why this 2015 class appears to be so special. If the Dream Team’s momentum yanked Georgia out of a Ray Goff-like funk then what could this 2015 class (coupled with the 2013’s quarterback and 2014’s running backs) do? Could it send the Dawgs over the top?

Yes.

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