Closing the Deal

ATHENS - Now we will see if this group can close the deal.

Signing classes are years in the making. This class formed before Brian Schottenheimer came aboard last month. It started forming before Jeremy Pruitt stepped on campus.

Georgia’s recruiting class, which has an outside shot of finishing ranked No. 1 in the entire country, will come to a climactic end this week as prospects make their decision between the Bulldogs and a slew of other schools.

Rico McGraw, Pat Allen, Darius Slayton, Roquan Smith and Terry Godwin will get the bulk of the attention, as they should due to their talent. Georgia winding up with none of those players seems very, very unlikely. The Bulldogs sweeping all three would be celebrated and possibly push Georgia past the Tide to the No. 1 spot for the first time ever in recruiting rankings.

Some people, including me, will say that you can’t judge a class by what happens the week of Signing Day. Can we honestly say it is the case this year? Georgia needs all those players. They are all four-star players or above in a position of need.

No, the class won’t come down to what one or two of those players decides to do, but the decision of the collection of that group will most certainly matter to the long-term health of the program. Anyone that thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

Now, some perspective.

This isn’t 2010 when wide receivers were picking Central Florida over Georgia. This isn’t that at all. But this is a critically important week for this new coaching staff.

Slayton was totally in the fold before Mike Bobo left town. Allen was 100% committed before Bobo and Will Friend left for Colorado State. Godwin was on board before the New Year, and it’s most likely that he will stick with the Bulldogs.

Jeremy Pruitt seems on the path to moving McGraw back to Georgia over Alabama, but that’s not a done deal (yet). And, of course, there’s Roquan Smith.

Those players are the difference between a class that can win it all, and one with major holes. This week is the reason Mark Richt and Pruitt were given such large raises and extensions; it wasn’t to celebrate the failures against Georgia Tech and Florida, or not winning the winnable East.

It was about what is coming down the line and what the future will be - and those things are recruiting.

I don’t know what will happen this week. It’s reasonable to think that Georgia will sign all of those players and perhaps a few more. The Dawgs could get everyone they covet. Or they could miss somewhere along the way.

We are about to see what the future of Georgia looks like, and what that future will look like is up to this coaching staff to execute. For the most part the hay is in the barn. But there are a few more bales out on the farm these coaches need to lock up by Signing Day.


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