Georgia currently is considered the fourth-ranked recruiting class for 2022. Only a few weeks ago, the Bulldogs were sitting at No. 1. However, over the last month, the class slipped three spots thanks to the high-level decommitments by defensive tackle Bear Alexander and defensive back Deyon Bouie.
Both decommitments came following a visit to Texas A&M, the new home to former UGA graduate assistant Nick Williams. It has been said that Williams was instrumental in the recruitments of multiple players in his time in Athens, including those of Alexander and Bouie.
Losing Williams initially didn't bother many in the Georgia fan base until it appeared that Williams was making UGA pay on the recruiting trail. Williams left Athens for a defensive analyst role at A&M, which is considered to be an upgrade for the young coach.
So should fans be worried that head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia will not be able to pull in a talented class as they have in each of the five seasons Smart has been at the helm? In fact, Smart's first recruiting class in 2016, the year he was hired, ranked sixth in the nation. That would be the lowest recruiting class ranking Smart has had in his five years as a head coach.
Many do not like counting a head coach's very first class after being hired because of the minimal time they have to recruit some of their top prospects due to the proximity to signing day. So while many programs would gladly take the sixth-ranked class, Smart upgraded that to the third-ranked class in 2017, his first full cycle as a head coach.
Kirby Smart's Recruiting Classes at Georgia
- 2016: Sixth
- 2017: Third
- 2018: First
- 2019: Second
- 2020: First
- 2021: Fourth
Georgia's average class ranking under Smart sits at approximately 2.8, meaning that with Smart, Georgia is consistently adding top talent year in and year out. We are in the middle of June, six months from early national signing day, which is when upwards of 90% of the nation's most elite prospects will sign letters of intent.
Considering both Alexander and Bouie are prospects that Georgia would undoubtedly want in their 2022 class, there is no reason to panic. Georgia still is in good position to land both players.
However, if the Dawgs are unable to sign them, they still have a plethora of options. Among the top defensive tackle targets, Travis Shaw, Walter Nolen and Christian Miller remain. At defensive back, Daylen Everette, Kamari Wilson, Jake Pope, Keon Sabb and Tre'quon Fegans are still on the board for the Dawgs.
Most notably, Georgia is thought to be in a good position with many of the above prospects. Including Shaw, Wilson and Pope, to name a few of the top names left on Georgia's board.
With the 15 month-long dead period imposed upon recruiting by the NCAA, it meant that the eventual lifting of the dead period would be a significant event that could change the course of a lot of prospects' recruitments. The ability to once again take visits on college campuses can make or break a school's recruitment of a top prospect.
Georgia is not alone in seeing some of their top prospects deciding to back off their commitments from their current universities, as this was largely expected around the country when the NCAA announced that they would allow campus visits once again.
The recent "slip in momentum" is not something that needs to be on the top of Georgia fans' minds as the 2021 roster currently constructed looks to be a contender to make it back into the College Football Playoffs. The only thing that could significantly derail that chance is injuries to key players. However, it is not signing day, and it is most certainly not time to panic.
Smart has been known for his closing ability on the recruiting trail, with the overwhelming majority of his major swings coming closer to national signing day. Players like wide receivers George Pickens and Jermaine Burton were last-minute additions to Georgia's signing classes in 2019 and 2020.
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