Georgia Recruiting Overview: Defensive Line

ATHENS – In a week-long series of articles, Dean Legge takes a look at Georgia's recruiting; today, the defensive line.

Overview: Georgia lost its top two pass rushers to the third round of the NFL Draft last weekend. Replacing Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses will be a difficult task. Roderick Battle and Marcus Howard will get the first shot at the starting spots. Both are much smaller than the pair leaving, so stopping the run could be an issue. Damarcus Dobbs, surprising Kiante Tripp, Jeremy Lomax, Michael Lemon and junior college transfer Jarius Wynn are the backups. Wynn could fight his way to a starting spot – he's got ideal size, as does Tripp, for fighting in the SEC.

In the interior, Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens are the starting pair. Owens has been the most consistent defensive tackle of the group on campus. Many are suggesting that if he has a good year, Owens could forgo his senior season in favor of the NFL. Maybe that's one reason redshirt freshman Brandon Wood, who was hurt last fall, was moved inside to tackle. Wood, Geno Atkins, Ricardo Crawford, junior college transfer Corvey Irvin and walk-on Tripp Taylor are the backups. Watch for Wood's development this fall – if he can stay out of a green practice jersey.

Total defensive linemen (on scholarship): 15 in 2007; 18 in 2008

Starters: Roderick Battle, Marcus Howard, Gino Atkins and Jeff Owens

Backups: Kade Weston, Damarcus Dobbs, Kiante Tripp, Jeremy Lomax, Michael Lemon, Jarius Wynn, Brandon Wood, Geno Atkins, Ricardo Crawford, Corvey Irvin and walk-on Tripp Taylor

Signed in 2007: Neland Ball, Justin Houston, Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn

Won't be here in 2008: Marcus Howard

Committed for 2008: Toby Jackson, DeAngelo Tyson, Jeremy Longo and Cornelius Washington

2008 Offers: Nathan Williams (OH), Lucas Nix (PA), Brandon Thompson (Thomasville), Javontae Boyd (FL), Marcus Forston (FL), Micanor Regis (FL), Ramon Booi (FL), Corey Liuget (FL)

What it all means: Is the A.J. Harmon saga over? Georgia would play him at offensive guard anyway. In terms of numbers, finally, Georgia has some of them. After a few concerning seasons of not having enough bodies in the middle the Dawgs have mass where they need it. Picking up Toby Jackson in the late spring was a huge get for the Dawgs. He looked ok at best during the Atlanta Elite Camp, but he's got the body of a college football player. Also, he may just have had a bad day.

Georgia can be more selective in picking up defensive tackles as a result of their signing the numbers they signed the last couple of years. They got what many consider the best defensive tackle in the state in Tyson, and it doesn't seem like there are a ton of other 2008 DTs out there in the state (2009 is another story all together).

Thompson, the only other in-state defensive tackle offered at this time, may be the only other offer to go out in-state for a while. But Thompson is on the way to Clemson – it seems. Longo, Jackson, Thompson and Washington is still one heck of a defensive line for the future in Athens.

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