Georgia 2020 Recruiting Breakdown: Another Top Ranked Class for the Bulldogs
There is no doubt that expectations have been raised at the University of Georgia under Kirby Smart. Kirby Smart himself, the coaches, the players, the administration and faculty of the school and most assuredly the fan base have become accustomed to elite levels of performance. Everyone in the community that is the Georgia Bulldog faithful is now fully and realistically expecting a National Championship that is 40 years in the making. The reason for this confidence, the newfound swagger at Georgia, is due to the second-to-none recruiting job that the head man for the Dawgs and his assistant coaches now provide year in and year out.
The 2020 class certainly lived up to the hype of Smart's previous robust hauls of remarkable depth and ability. Georgia finished ranked #1 in the recruiting class ratings by both 247 Sports and Rivals and that doesn't even factor in a tremendously impressive group of Preferred Walk-Ons. Several of the preferred walk-ons turned down full rides at other FBS schools.
With this run of incredible recruiting prowess, Georgia has reached the precipice of greatness. A couple more plays made by the Dawgs in the past three years and the college football world would be talking about a true dynasty residing in the Classic City. However, those plays have not been made and the climb to the top continues. Kirby Smart and the entire program desire to be the absolute best.
In true Kirby Era fashion, specific needs were keenly identified and aggressively addressed in the 2020 class to help fill some of the voids left by now-former Bulldog greats that are moving on the next level and remedy some ills that rose to the surface during the 2019 campaign.
Today, after the culmination of the nation's top collection of talent on National signing day, we review exactly what Georgia accomplished by bringing on the newest additions to an already extremely talented roster and program in Athens.
Jake Fromm's Heir Apparent
Speculation built throughout the 2019 campaign about the future of Jake Fromm. A polarizing, successful, and often under-appreciated Bulldog, Jake Fromm was right in the center of what everyone can identify as a golden era of UGA football. With an unwavering and unashamed faith, a calming presence and control of the offense, and some big performances and execution in critical moments, Fromm was a large part of some of the biggest moments and triumphs in decades for the Dawgs.
Regardless of the opinions of Jake Fromm's performance toward the end of his tenure as a Bulldog, it was undeniable that a suitable replacement had to be found in a hurry once he decided to leave. The 2020 recruiting class provided a contender for Fromm's successor early on in one Carson Beck. The Jacksonville, Florida native and 4-Star prospect proved himself to be a winner and a catalyst for change at Mandarin High School and Beck has the talent and intangibles to find his way under center for the Dawgs during his time in Athens.
Georgia also went out and got a more proven commodity, in terms of college experience, in graduate transfer Jamie Newman. The Wake Forest transfer technically counts toward the 2021 scholarship number, but his addition in this offseason leading up to the 2020 campaign makes it definitely worth noting here. Many expect it to be Newman winning the starting role in new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's system. However, Carson Beck will show up every day and will compete and work his tail off in order to try to push and ultimately attempt to beat out Newman.
Weapons On the Perimeter
It became woefully clear that Georgia was lacking explosiveness and consistency at the wide receiver position in 2019. Freshman sensations George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock provided glimpses of greatness, but they alone were not enough to shoulder the burden of creating a down-the-field, attacking presence for Jake Fromm and the Bulldog offense.
All that seemed to come out of the mouths of analysts and commentators was that Georgia did not have the ability to separate on the outside and that unit lacked the playmaking ability that other perennial powers such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and the eventual National Champion LSU Tigers all possessed.
Kirby Smart, James Coley (who deserves a ton of credit for this class), and Cortez Hankton did not play around in making enhancements to the talent and depth of the wide receiver room in Athens. The Dawgs went out and promptly snagged 4 of the top 50 receivers in the entire country in this 2020 class! Marcus Rosemy, Justin Robinson, Jermaine Burton, and Arian Smith were all highly coveted prospects and have instantly provided a new level of excitement, competition, and athleticism out wide for the Bulldogs.
Rosemy and Robinson provide Georgia with big, physical body types that can very quickly provide depth at the X & Z, outside receiver positions and be a counterpart opposite phenom, George Pickens. Rosemy and Robinson are both tireless workers that will push Matt Landers and Demetris Robertson for starting positions early on in their time as Bulldogs. Not only are both physically imposing, but they run very well and have tremendous leaping ability, making 50-50 balls more of a receiver friendly ratio.
Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton will provide speed and quickness that Georgia desperately needed in the receiving core. Both are versatile and can be used creatively by Todd Monken in the slot or outside and in a variety of routes and concepts.
Arian Smith possesses world-class speed with official 100 meter and 40 yard dash times of 10.31 and 4.3 respectively. The Lakeland, Florida native is a skilled receiver as well and not just a track guy that will be asked to run go routes all the time. His future teammate Jermaine Burton is also quite fast but is as quick as they come and runs crisp routes. Burton also has an uncanny ability to control his body with the ball in the air and track down the deep ball.
Georgia is going from thin to extremely deep at the wide receiver position. The influx of talent became even more ridiculous yesterday with the official signing of North Murray Mountaineer and 3-Star slot receiver Ladd McConkey. McConkey was the GHSA AAA State Offensive Player of the Year.
More Offensive Firepower
On top of the bolstered receiving core, the Tight End group may now be as dangerous as any in the country with the signing of 6'7.5" 261-pound, 5-Star, freak athlete Darnell Washington and Florida State graduate transfer Tre McKitty! It's truly an embarrassment of riches for Kirby Smart in terms of passing targets in 2020.
Don't forget about the running backs. Obviously the passing game was the priority in this offseason, but nevertheless, Georgia is RBU. A 4-Star stud from Clovis, California, Kendall Milton has been a tried and true Dawg for a long time. Milton is going to be in the mix for carries from day one and possess a unique ability to break tackles and create big plays with patience and explosiveness in the hole.
Georgia also added 4-Star Daijun Edwards out of Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia today. Edwards has been a target of Dell McGee and the Dawgs since his freshman season. The South Georgia back is one that is dangerous out of the backfield in the passing game and is plenty capable of running between the tackles as well. Edwards and Milton will provide an excellent combination during their time as Dawgs.
Replacing Bricks in the Wall
It's a scary proposition anytime you lose three of your best offensive lineman. With the departures of Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson to the NFL and Cade Mays to Rocky Top, it was clear that the tackle position needed to be addressed. Boy was it ever!
Georgia inked two blue-chip, mammoth tackle prospects early with in-state 5-Star Tate Ratledge and 4-Star Texan Charles Lindberg. The Bulldogs also claimed solid pieces in Austin Blaske and Devin Willock during the early signing period. Blaske and Willock were headed to NC State and Penn State respectively before newly hired Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke stepped in and helped to flip them to the Dawgs.
The pièce de résistance, the cherry on top was added yesterday with the signings of Broderick Jones and Sedrick Van Pran. Jones is another in-state product and is the 2nd ranked tackle in the country that will provide excellent depth at tackle and will push the players already there such as Xavier Truss and Warren McClendon.
Van Pran is an interior lineman that plays with a tenacity and determination that is rarely matched by prospects today. The 4-Star out of Louisiana will be a leader for Georgia for years to come. SVP is the consummate competitor and helping Georgia win a National Championship will be his highest priority after falling just short of a state championship in Lousiana his Senior year in gutwrenching fashion.
Georgia also added 3-Star interior lineman Cameron Kinnie to the 2020 class. Kinnie, much like Van Pran is a young man that can play guard and center and will contribute to Matt Luke's mission of creating a more athletic front line for the Dawgs. Kinnie was a two-way guy that put out fantastic Senior film while playing at Collins Hill High School in one of the tougher regions and classifications in the state and even the country.
The Rich Get Richer
Last but not least, a historically great 2019 Georgia defense is set to make a run at being even greater with a bevy of talented 2020 additions. 4-Stars Jalen Kimber and Major Burns are going to help fortify an already stout secondary, but 5-Star Kelee Ringo is a program changer! Ringo is a Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis type of cornerback. He has the coverage skills to be able to shut down opposing number one receivers and completely alter offensive gameplans. The secondary also got a late surprise in the flip of former Ole Miss commit Daran Branch. The 3-Star out of Louisiana will provide versatility and toughness.
Warren Brinson, Nazir Stackhouse, and Mekhail Sherman are all going to be outstanding additions to the defensive trenches and edge for the Dawgs. Brinson and Stackhouse are very active on the interior and should contribute to the nation's best rush defense by various metrics. Sherman is possibly the most loyal Bulldog of them all. His family has been hyping up Dawg Nation for a while now and the closing speed that the Washington, DC product brings is going to give him a chance to compete for playing time early.
Finally, that brings us to Jalen Carter. Plain and simple, Carter is going to be a problem for opposing defenses. The Apopka, Florida native has versatility along the front. A former tight end, Carter is very athletic and can penetrate an offensive line with both quickness and strength. Jalen is right up there with Kelee Ringo in terms of his tremendously high ceiling and I could see him becoming a fan favorite very soon.
Georgia's coaching staff works their tails off. Kirby Smart provides excellent leadership to the organization that is Georgia Football and he has a phenomenal support system and structure in place. The Dawgs reloaded and have everything needed to win it all in 2020. However, now it's about being able to take these talented pieces and assimilate them into a culture and a team that can complement each unit's strengths and weaknesses in order to end the 40-year longing of the Dawg faithful for a National Championship.
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