Georgia Takes Home Class of 2020 Recruiting Championship
John Garcia, Jr.
At this point all that's left for Kirby Smart and Georgia football is to do it in the College Football Playoff national championship.
In all other areas on the field and again off—claiming the recruiting throne in the class of 2020 on National Signing Day—the Bulldogs have seen the top of the mountain.
Georgia is crowned the SI All-American class of 2020 champion after another strong close under Smart combined with the retention of longtime verbal commitments considering other programs down the stretch.
The day began with UGA adding to the trenches with the verbal commitment and signature of in-state defensive lineman Cameron Kinnie.
The next two major orders of business were to solidify the best position group on the prospect list—the offensive line—as longtime verbals and SI All-Americans Broderick Jones and Sedrick Van Pran stuck with the program despite considering others late in the game. Despite each taking multiple visits elsewhere, each stuck with the SEC East power and officially locked in their decisions with the red and black.
Then just before lunchtime, UGA put the final touch on a defensive class with another signing day flip. Among other notable changes of heart like Quay Walker from Alabama two years ago and George Pickens from Auburn last cycle, it was defensive back Daran Branch this time. The Louisiana native flipped from Ole Miss and put the final touches on the Wednesday gains for the champs.
Even before National Signing Day, Georgia was already rolling toward the big finish.
It added the top uncommitted in-state running back in Daijun Edwards on January 30 and locked him up Wednesday. Three days later it added sleeper in-state speedster Ladd McConkey at wide receiver to kick off the month of February.
When looking back at the bulk of the class, the first measure of the haul comes in star power at the top. It doesn't get much bigger than some of Georgia's previous gets relative to their position.
Kelee Ringo at cornerback, Jalen Carter at defensive tackle, Darnell Washington at tight end, Kendall Milton at running back, Mekhail Sherman at linebacker, Van Pran at center and the pair of bookend tackles in Jones and Tate Ratledge can stack up and over most any other program's best in 2020.
The wide receiver unit is sneaky elite as McConkey pairs well with Early Signing Period additions Marcus Rosemy, Jermaine Burton and Arian Smith—the fastest football prospect in the country. The prospect set up to eventually get them the ball, quarterback Carson Beck, is almost a forgotten gem picked up last offseason following a state championship and Mr. Football selection in Florida's highest prep classification.
The reason Beck isn't discussed as much these days is another major point in UGA's rise to No. 1—Jamie Newman.
Transfers factor into SIAA's team recruiting rankings, especially at the top, and there argument can be made that Newman picking Georgia is already the most important of the 2020 college football season. Fellow experienced additions include former Florida State tight end Tre' McKitty and another arm in Austin Kirksey. Throw in Jackson Muschamp as a preferred walk-on and all of a sudden Georgia's QB room is deep again.
SI All-American Top 10 Rankings
1. Georgia (25 commitments, 3 transfers)
2. Clemson (23, 0)
Still the best pound-for-pound class in the country and CU's best in the modern era.
3. Alabama (25, 1)
Despite a down signing day Alabama brings in the best backfield in the country and top linebacker corps assembled. Nick Saban reflected on the class here though you wouldn't find it through his personal social media.
4. Ohio State (25, 1)
Another great trench class at OSU is overshadowed by the best wide receiver haul since Alabama's famed 2017 group. Ryan Day talks recruiting here.
5. LSU (24, 0)
More elite defensive backs and the top tight end in quite some time (Arik Gilbert) solidify another top five haul. More on LSU's class here.
6. Texas A&M (26, 0)
The signing day splash of McKinnley Jackson nearly pushed the Aggies into the top five. Top secondary haul incoming here, too, among other needs addressed.
7. Florida (24, 6)
Big secondary group and two elites in the front-7 (Gervon Dexter, Derek Wingo) pair well with massive transfer group and a certain signing day addition.
8. Auburn (25, 0)
Strong junior college prospects rounded out an already-solid class. Running back and offensive line are a strength, too.
9. Oregon (22, 1)
Though smaller in number the Ducks have as much star power as any program west of the Mississippi. Adding Alabama pledge Jayson Jones Wednesday kept UO in the top 10.
10. Texas (19, 0)
Another strong pound-for-pound unit was capped with an instant-impact defender in Alfred Collins on signing day. Elite backfield and strong finished pushed UT by rival Oklahoma.