Ask the Expert: Georgia's Class of 2009

Dawg Post's Dean Legge asks Scout.com South Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons about Georiga's class.

Was "winning" Marlon Brown bigger than "losing" Greg Reid?

- I feel signing Brown was bigger for a couple of different reasons... One is, Georgia has recruited Brown hard for a long amount of time. They spent a lot of time in Memphis during the evaluation period, they saw him the first week they hit the road the first week in December, and then they gave it their all all the way up until the minute he signed his letter of intent. Georgia did not do that for Reid mainly because he committed to Florida early, so they did not invest as much time and energy into Reid's recruitment. Things did not really heat up until about four weeks ago. The other reason is Georgia was in bigger need for receivers on signing day than another corner. Reid is a special player and he will take a lot of excitement to FSU, but the Dawgs had Branden Smith in fold and they had a bigger need at receiver. I feel strongly that Georgia getting Brown outweighs them losing Reid to FSU.

Who is the sleeper in this class?

- I could name a few, but if I had to say one today, I would say Derrick Lott. His upside is as high as possibly anyones in this class. He is such a big athlete with so much ability. He ran the 40 yard dash last summer at a camp in the low 4.6s at 6-4/275, so it is a given that he is athletic. He has only been playing football for a few years, so not too many bad habits have developed yet. He is very explosive, he is going to play at a very solid 300 pounds, and there is no doubt his best football is ahead of him. I think we could look back in four years and talk about him being a steal for UGA.

What guys in this group will excel in special teams?

- I think a lot of these guys will excel on different or even multiple special teams units at Georgia. To name a few that I think could help early, Shawn Williams, Dexter Moody, Branden Smith, and Rantavious Wooten. Williams and Moody are two very athletic defensive minded guys that will blow up wedges and get down the field quickly to make tackles. Smith and Wooten are guys that can be very dangerous with the ball in their hands. Both could get looked at as return men on both kick-off and punt return teams.

Who is the best natural leader of this bunch?

- For me, this is one of the easiest questions, it is Aaron Murray. It is like he was born to be a quarterback because of his natural leadership. He knows how to lead by both example and voice. I like his charisma, his passion, his work ethic, and his intelligence. Murray has all the tools to be not only a great football player at Georgia, but a great leader on and off the field.

Of the games you saw live, which signee had the best performance in a high school game in one night?

- I saw some very good ones over the years, but the best may hav been when I watched Marlon Brown in the state championship game in December. He was a one man show for Harding Academy and he almost won the game for them. Brown touched the ball 12 times for right around 340 yards and he scored 4 touchdowns. He had 4 receptions for 199 yards and 8 rushes for 139 yards. While double and triple-teamed, he still put up these kind of numbers in a state title game. His team fell short in a 36-34 loss, but this effort and performance really stands out to me more than any other.

How does this class compare specifically to the rest of the SEC East?

- Georgia signed a typical Georgia like class in 2009. It is a strong class, but could be better as always. Alabama and LSU closed better and their classes are a little better, but UGA could get a big lift with the signing of Orson Charles. Overall, Georgia had another very good class with good balance on both sides of the ball. South Carolina and Ole Miss had strong classes and they are my two surprises in the SEC, but Georgia is third and could possibly finish in the top 5 if Charles signs with them.

Did Georgia "make up ground", "fall a little" or "stay even" with this class?

- I feel they made up a little ground and mainly because of three skilled guys. Rantavious Wooten, Marlon Brown, and Branden Smith helped UGA close the gap a little on Florida. Georgia doesn't have anyone on campus like Wooten and he will bring them a playmaker at that inside receiver position. He is one that can take that underneath pass and get up field. Wooten will be a guy that can do some things vertically, underneath, and possibly used on reverses as well. Brown is a big get because of him lining up on the other side of A.J. Green over the next few years. Brown is a very athletic receiver that Florida wanted too and stealing him out of Tennessee and keeping him away from Florida was big. Last, Branden Smith is one of the most electric, game changing athletes I have covered in over five years. He ranks up there with Eric Berry for me as far as making an early impact and guys that can change the game in a number of ways. Smith was a legit National recruit and the Dawgs kept him home.

Is Branden Smith the only player you think will have an impact fans will notice in 2009?

- No, I think fans will see another signee or two make some plays as freshmen and one guy I see that could contribute early is Abry Jones. Jones may end up at defensive tackle down the road, but it would surprise me to see him step in first at buck end and get some work there early. He is very good with his hands, he has great moves at end, and he is very comfortable there. I know he hasn't signed yet, but If Orson Charles does pick UGA, then he would go in this slot for me. He will play early no matter where he goes and he will make an early impact at Georgia especially if he signs with them.

What is the one thing you think of when you think of Georgia's class of 2009?

- First thing that comes to mind is probably stealing Aaron Murray from Florida some how. Not only Florida, but 53 other schools too, but mainly the Gators. Tampa is Gator country, Murray camped at UF for years, Tebow was someone he followed, and the Dawgs somehow got in there and got him to Athens. That is still what comes to mind when I think of the class of 2009.


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