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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the Recruiting Trail

I'll make this confession right now -- I'm far from an expert on recruiting. With all the daily grind of the football season, the last thing I have time to spend researching is recruiting. Still, I'm aware of the immense fan interest that recruiting generates, particularly at a place like Georgia. As we wind down with the season, I'll be working to have more and more info on the next crop of Bulldogs who are about to arrive in Athens, but in the meantime, I don't want to ignore the subject completely.

So, to try to catch us all up on the biggest issues transpiring on the recruiting trail, I sent off a few questions to Cory Ashby, the recruiting analyst for He was kind enough to get back to me with some ins and outs on the current status of Georgia's 2009 recruiting class.

David Hale: Of all the players Georgia already appears to have commitments from, who do you see as being most likely to have an immediate impact next season?

Cory Ashby:
Of the 16 that have committed already to the Bulldogs, look for tight end Arthur Lynch to have a chance for immediate playing time. Tight end was a problem all season for Georgia, which loses its only true blocking tight end in Tripp Chandler to graduation. Lynch is more of a blocking tight end, but he has very good hands and should be able to contribute when called upon.

Also, defensive ends Toby Jackson, who spent an extra year at prep school in Virginia, and Abry Jones could also see some playing time. Getting a pass rush was a major issue for the Bulldogs and rest assured both will be tested early and often to see if they can provide the needed help.

DH: Where are Georgia s biggest needs as signing day grows closer? Any players in particular they will be making a hard push for?

CA: Georgia really wants and needs at least one more receiver and the player that the Bulldogs have their eye on is Marlon Brown out of Memphis. He is rated by ESPNU as the second-best receiver in the nation, just as A.J. Green was last year. It looks as though the battle for him is going to come down between Georgia and Tennessee.

The Bulldogs are also making a very strong push for instate players Jarvis Jones, a star linebacker out of Columbus, and defensive back Branden Smith of Atlanta. Both are very highly regarded and prep All-Americans.

DH: Georgia has two pretty strong QB recruits coming in in Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. Is one likely to spend his career on the bench or might both find some playing time down the road?

CA: The two quarterbacks are completely different in styles. Murray can run and possesses one of the quickest releases there is. He also has a strong arm. However, it s not as strong as the one owned by Mettenberger, who is said to have the strongest arm in the nation. Mettenberger is more of the prototypical quarterback.

So with them being so vastly different, it is conceivable that they could split time, but that does seem unlikely given head coach Mark Richt s past. There are those that even believe one of the quarterbacks will ultimately transfer before his time is up at Georgia.

DH: Georgia has had its share of booms and busts among recent recruits. If you had to pick a guy who might be a bit more hype than talent, who might that be?

CA: That s a hard question to answer. There are some that believe Murray is overhyped. He s listed as only 6-foot-1, but he may be even a little shorter than that, which is very difficult for a quarterback at this level. Also, he s coming off a severely injured leg in which he broke his leg and did tendon damage to his ankle.

DH: Overall, how would you rate Georgia s recruiting class right now? How much better is it likely to get?

CA: Georgia currently has a top 10 class and probably a top five class. And should the Bulldogs get any combination of Smith, Jones or Brown, they could go even higher in the rankings. And by some chance they actually get all three, there s a chance Georgia could have the No. 1 class in the nation, though that is a long shot at best.

If you're looking for more from Cory, you can check out his work at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think Murray is over-rated at all. All he does is win...

Doubt we get close to the #1 class, it would take more than Jones, Smith, or Brown. We would need to add a couple more highly regarded guys. Great, very solid class right now. Thanks for the recruiting coverage.