Summing Up the 2011 Class

Another year of recruiting has ended and most of the dust has settled from National Signing Day. For the Dawgs, though, things weren’t wrapped up until John Jenkins made his announcement Saturday. In all Coach Richt, Coach Garner and the rest of the bunch landed 26 new players for the program. In terms of ranking it actually isn’t Richt’s best class ever, but it certainly feels the best.

Battle Hymn Notes is not where you’ll find the most in depth recruiting coverage (I haven’t seen a second of film on at least half of these guys), but here are some thoughts on the class as a whole, the coaches’ efforts in landing these kids and some individual players:

Mike Bobo owned South Georgia this year. The Dawg’s inability to keep talent from south of Macon in the state has been well-chronicled in recent years. But Bobo was key in landing Crowell, Rome, Mitchell, Scott-Wesley and others. He went toe-to-toe with fellow native Georgians Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp and came away with a near sweep.

We obviously don’t know all the ins and outs of the coaches’ schedules on the road during these contact periods but it seems like Richt, Garner, Grantham, Bobo and Lily especially were just killing it. They were obviously all over the state here, but also in Florida, in Mississippi and even in Connecticut multiple times. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they simply out-worked some other staffs they competed against.

Outside of the coaching staff the one individual UGA fans owe a debt of gratitude  is Ray Drew. One signee after another has identified him as the ring-leader of the Dream Team and pointed to his persuasion as part of their decision. John Jenkins basically said the Drew took an official to Miami just to recruit him to Athens, which he successfully did.

Of all the players in this class Drew excites me the most by far. There are never guarantees when it comes to player production, but it seems he’ll really thrive in Grantham’s system. Just as encouraging though, he seems like a kid of incredible character. There is no worry he’ll end up in the custody of Athens-Clarke County’s finest. And he seems to be an outstanding leader of the rare David Pollack breed. His peers are already responding to his leadership and I suspect even his elders will sooner than later.

As wonderful as the in-state nature of this class is, it’s influence won’t fully be known for a few years. That’s obvious when it comes to on-field production, but I think we’ll also look back in 2-3 years and know for sure whether this class really turned the tide in leading the state’s best talent to stay at home. How great it would it be if Saban, Chizik and Dooley had to begin assuming all the best players in Georgia were inclined to play in Athens and would have to be convinced otherwise?

I’m ceratinly happy to have Crowell too. I saw him play once. He took his first touch 90 yards, busting through the line, cutting to the outside and leaving everyone in the dust. I’ve been sold ever since.

I know the coaches have said in previous years that we’ve had great classes go relatively unnoticed just because they’ve been wrapped up weeks previous to Signing Day. But this was a good year for the late drama. It not only helped morale in the fan base but also garnered attention from rival fanbases who saw Richt as a dead man walking just a few weeks ago.

I don’t know about long-term impact but I believe Jenkins was the most important piece of this class for the 2011 season. And after his commitment I head from him and Grantham he’ll be wearing #6 so that he can see the field on offense a bit too. I have loved Chapas and Sutherland, but I can’t tell you how excited I’d be to see 340 lbs. of man lined up at FB when the Dawgs are on the goal line.

Other players that excite me:

Justin Scott-Wesley- The Dawg’s haven’t had too many athletes like this. Bobo needs to find creative ways to get him the ball like Florida has done with their track guys in the past.

Amarlo Herrera- An early commit in this class that has the build to do really well in Grantham’s LB-friendly scheme.

Malcolm Mitchell- A filthy athlete who the coaches will probably fight over as long as he’s in the program.

Cornerbacks- There are four in this class as the shortest one is six foot even. The best of the bunch will be probably Nick Marshall, a great athlete who by most accounts could have been a perfect QB for Tech’s system, but moved to the defensive side of the ball just so he could be a Dawg.

Players and areas of concern:

Offensive line- look at this group and then take a peek at Texas’ o-line commits for this year and it’s not hard to see why Searels saw greener pastures in Austin. It’s not a terrible bunch, but none of them seem like guaranteed contributors. Most need to gain weight, lose some pudge, learn the position better, etc.

Defensive line- Other than Jenkins there was only one other defensive lineman in this class- Chris Mayes. There are currently a lot of defensive ends in the program, but this will need to be a top priority next year.

Overall it will be interesting to see how the two no-name players in this class turn out, receiver Sanford Seay and safety Cootie Harrow. Time with tell if Harrow was just offered to entice Crowell. He certainly produced in high school but he’ll either be a diamond in the rough or simply enjoy a free education.

You never know who will be the “bust” in any particular class, but if I had to put my money on one here it would be QB Christian Lemay. He’s got a great arm, but he’s still pretty small, will be stuck behind Murray for at least three years and you just never know how things like his suspended senior year in high school affect a kid. He could easily turn out to be a Blake Barnes type player who just gets caught in between better players and never sees the field.

What are your initial reactions to the class?

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7 responses to “Summing Up the 2011 Class

  1. i hear the state of ga. is deep in recruits on the d line next year,do you think the lack of dline this year is because they looked into the future

  2. John Jenkins will be ” THE BIG CORK” that will plug all those holes and leaks in the trenches.

  3. Maybe a small part, but I am excited about the way that Richt and Staff have recruited guys to play right away. Everyone points to Knowshon and his wasted year of eligibilty but there can be a mindset that helps the entire team when no one’s job is safe. I can promise you that Washaun and Caleb will be working their tails off this offseason. Competition brings success.

  4. Not sure why you even wrote this one…

    We got some really good OL guys. Big, strong and mean. We had to fight Alabama, Auburn and Clemson for all of these gus (and where did they end up in recruiting??) Theus is a good pick up for a LS but its his brother that will pay dividends (5 star OL 2012) , Dantzler is a legacy, Ward was the top OL in state, Andrews was a top 5 center etc…
    Gotta say that JSW might be the most intriguing. His body i hge but hes the fastest guy in the southeast. Nick Marshall is gonna be a real DGD. I hope to see Mitchell as a WR.

    Our strength this year was without at the LB position. Drew, Turene, Herrera and Wilson are all solid SEC guys. Add to this class Samuel and Jones. 3 new LB’s that are all upgrades… what if Houson had stayed….

    As for who will be a bust, well theres no need in grown adults pissing on some kids dreams before he even gets started. After an article like this, I would think that you should agree that everyone deserves at least a chance. LeMay was highly regared and there are lots of professional coaches who would disagree with you.

    This is a solid class from top to bottom. We definitely addressed the defense while polishing up a pretty good offense. Would have liked to have seen a higher rated WR to replace AJ but we got some real good ones. The OL got bigger and added depth. The DL was a priority and we added Bailey, Mayes and Jenkins. Our LB’s are now set for a year or two, our secondary was ranked in the top two nationally.

    Throw in our RB and wow, we look pretty good. I see one WR, one RB, one DL and two LB’s who will contribute to next years squad. All the rest get a year to grow, mature and develop.

    Just sayin…

  5. damn what a lot of typos… you site was lagging.

  6. I’ll take your money. LeMay was the first of the gottaget-gits. You seem ignorant of his background and glaringly so of spelling his name. Some pundits said that he would have certainly been 5-star if he had played his final year. He was practicing on a professional scale last year and has been in an outside training program for several years. He is speedy and accurate as the best pocket passer this recruiting year. He and his father are great Georgia fans. Not so for the administration head at his school who many thought meted out personal punishment for not picking another school.

    Further, I’ll bet you money that he will play this year, if not series of downs, most certainly in the “Wild Dog” formation with a few other new recruits. He can pass, hand off and run around end for that matter. This is LeMay’s class and he is glad for all the help. Calling him a “bust” is like calling you a player analyst. Anyone can see that those pronouncements are silly, especially when you don’t research the players. LeMay sits at the top of this recruiting class. Sorta reminds one of a QB who patiently played behind Greene (remember DJ?) and was responsible for an SEC championship.

    It would be great if you writers got away from picking a negative comment to place in your articles. Up to the “bust” point I thought you did ok. Try to be a good writer by researching LeMay and dedicating a column to him. Most of the fans would really appreciate that. In short, we are proud to have him and predicting negatively of his or any player’s future at UGA is folly. Who in the hell do you think you are?

  7. You are wrong on LeMay. Try researching him and placing a make-up article. Don’t be laying a “bust” label on any kid when he hasn’t even played here yet.
    What happened to my previous post?

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