Georgia looking at big numbers

As Georgia approaches signing day Wednesday, it carried 24 known public commitments into the weekend but still had much work to do.

ATHENS, Ga. — As Georgia approaches signing day Wednesday, it carried 24 known public commitments into the weekend but still had much work to do.

Its final list of signees should include far more than the normal limit of 25.

Four names on Georgia's list of commitments already are in school as early enrollees. That means quarterback Joe Tereshinski III, defensive tackle Darrius Swain, defensive end Preston Pannell and offensive lineman Josh Brock will count toward Georgia's 2001 limit of scholarships.

In terms of scholarships open for 2002, that brings Georgia active total back down to 20, leaving room for five more names.

Coach Mark Richt has not said how many players he expects to sign Wednesday, but it was confirmed this week that Georgia will have room under its overall cap of 85 scholarships to bring a full class of 25 signees — plus the four early enrollees — into school.

That doesn't mean Georgia necessarily will be limited to 25 signees Wednesday, however. It is not unusual for teams to go over its limit on signees in anticipation of some recruits eventually landing in a junior college or prep school. If Richt and his staff have the expectation that any commitments will not qualify academically, then the list of signees Wednesday may be longer than expected.

The bottom line for NCAA rules is how many freshmen Georgia enrolls for this academic year, not how many sign on Wednesday.

Richt's class will be based on more than the fact that it looks to be big in numbers. The class, already impressive in defensive linemen and defensive backs, will be judged a true success only if he adds some offensive tackles by Wednesday.

Among the highly rated offensive linemen who have Georgia on their lists of finalists are Derek Morris, Jr., of North Mecklenburg High in Huntersville, N.C. Max Jean-Giles of Miami (Fla.) Beach, Brandon Jeffries of Shelby, N.C., and Marcus McNeil of Cedar Grove.

McNeil is visiting this weekend.

Safety Pat Watkins of Tallahassee, Fla., cancelled his scheduled visit this weekend. Watkins is rated as one of the top safeties in the nation. Georgia still hopes to gain a commitment from safety Brian Crum of Camden County High School.

Crum's high school teammate, cornerback B.J. Fields, already has committed to Georgia. Crum said this week he is deciding between Georgia and Florida.

Another visitor this weekend is tight end John Doucette of New Orleans. Doucette has withdrawn his commitment to Georgia Tech and also is considering Tulane and Memphis.

Georgia's big commitment this week came from receiver Mario Raley of Charlotte, N.C. Raley is rated as the nation's No. 17 receiver by

View Georgia's list of verbal commitments.

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