2006 Signing Day wrap up

ATHENS – Georgia covered every offensive and defensive position on the football field, not to mention much of the country, Wednesday in bringing together the highest-ranked recruiting class of the Mark Richt era.

The Bulldogs signed 27 of the nation's top high school players on National Signing Day to make Richt's sixth class at Georgia a national top five pick by many analysts.

"It's the best Georgia class I've seen in an awfully long time," said Allen Wallace, national editor for Scout.com and the publisher of SuperPrep magazine. "It just looks like a typical hugely ranked class looks. You see a lot of people who are ranked in the elite ranks of their position groups."

New Jersey running back Knowshon Moreno and Atlanta safety Reshad Jones put the finishing touches on the group in the morning by announcing they will play for the Bulldogs. Richt got a raucous cheer out the more than 100 fans who he addressed at the Butts-Mehre athletic building when he held up the signed letter-of-intent from each player.

Scout.com ranked Georgia's class the nation's fourth-best.

The group includes four players who are Parade or All-USA prep All-Americans (offensive lineman Justin Anderson, linebacker Akeem Hebron, quarterback Matthew Stafford and Moreno) and five others who are considered among the top 10 in the country at their position (cornerback Asher Allen, linebacker Darius Dewberry, tight end Na Derris Ward, defensive end Brandon Wood and Jones).

In addition to getting the best player out of New Jersey in Moreno, the Bulldogs signed the best player in Texas (Stafford), the best player in Maryland (Hebron) and the best tight end in California (Ward). Georgia also got four players out of highly competitive Florida, a native of each of the Carolinas and an offensive lineman from Mississippi.

"That's exciting to us to know that there are some national blue chips players who are interested in Georgia and feel like they can make great things happen here," Richt said. "I think there are certain guys that we signed, certain guys that we got visits form, that we probably never could have gotten five years ago."

Georgia signed seven of Scout.com's top 100 players in the nation, more than any school other than Southern California (12), Florida (seven) and Ohio State (seven).

Georgia has room to bring in 28 new players in August, meaning it could sign one more before practice begins for the 2006 season.

"This is going to be fun," said defensive end Brandon Wood, a blue chip defensive lineman who made his verbal commitment last February and had to wait almost a full year to make it official. "There are a lot of great players in this class coming in. Before long, you never know, we may have a national championship team."

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