ATHENS – In a week-long series of articles, Dean Legge takes a look at Georgia's recruiting; Now, the linebackers.
Overview: Linebacking has changed, and continues to change in the SEC. Georgia
saw the future of college football at the Sugar Bowl in 2006 and did very little to slow down the spread offense. There must have been a point in that game (or maybe time has helped John Jancek
cycle out the bigger and therefore typically slower players recruited by Brain VanGorder) where the Georgia staff realized just how slow it's linebackers were. That's not the case any more. Jarvis Jackson
and Danny Verdun Wheeler are gone – replaced by players who can move side-to-side as is now dictated in the SEC. Dannell Ellerbe
is the leader of this newer linebacker at Georgia, but Rennie Curran
is the best example of it. Georgia's linebackers are not stiff – and Curran showed that from the Tennessee
game forward last season. Marcus Washington
, who is the most like the older linebackers at Georgia, came on in 2007, but suffered an injury this spring and will likely miss 2008. Maybe the .coms pumped Darius Dewberry
up too much – he's not been nearly what he was advertised to be – but he was a part-time starter last season. When Washington wasn't starting Akeem Dent
got a lot of time in the starting rotation. This group is deep, but there are some interesting questions to be answered about the backups. Who will be the third starter? What will Akeem Hebron
do now that he's in Athens? Is Charles White
ready to backup in the middle after redshirting last season if he wins that spot? With the spread offense is the SAM position dead in the SEC? What would that mean for Dent, Dewberry and the others there? Will Christian Robinson
play linebacker or something else?
Total linebackers: 11 in 2008; 13 in 2009 (at this moment)
Starters: Akeem Dent, Rennie Curran and Dannell Ellerbe
Backups: Darius Dewberry, Akeem Hebron, Darryl Gamble, Charles White, Marcus Dowtin, Christian Robinson and Nick Williams
Signed in 2008: Marcus Dowtin, Christian Robinson and Nick Williams
Won't be here in 2009: Dannell Ellerbe
Committed for 2009: Chase Vasser, Dexter Moody and Mike Gilliard
2009 Offers: Jarvis Jones (Carver, Columbus)
What it all means: It begins and ends with Jarvis Jones. That's it. The fact is that Georgia will take a commit from Jones – no one else. Vasser can run; I mean really run – he still learning middle linebacker for his high school team, but he's probably an outside guy in college. He's got an outstanding frame. Moody is an excellent playmaker who is overshadowed by his teammate and fellow Georgia commit Washaun Ealey. Gilliard is a straight-forward linebacker, who enjoys hitting folks. It seemed to me that he was still getting used to the middle for Valdosta this spring, but his body looks outstanding.