2009 Class: Defensive Grades

There could still be a prospect out there that has yet to sign, but looking at who UGA signed on Wednesday, here are the grades of the defensive positions.

Defensive Tackle

Both recruits that were signed in this class to be defensive tackles in Athens played mostly defensive end in high school. Abry Jones and Derrick Lott were both offered as interior DLs and they could be very good ones.

It will take a little time for each to learn the position, but both are very athletic, both are explosive, and both have great motors. I feel Jones may actually come in as a freshman and offer a little help at end and tackle, but only time will tell.

Lott was the most athletic big man in Georgia in this class and he just has work on his technique. He plays high, he needs to really learn to utilize his hands better, and he is one I have high expectations for down the road. Jones is more ready to play today, but much more at end than tackle, so we will see what Georgia decides to do with him in 2009.

Georgia did a very good job here getting two athletic linemen that are versatile, still growing, and extremely talented. The only negative is both will be learning new positions.

Grade: B+

Defensive End

The Bulldogs took a hit at this position when they lost Toby Jackson. He left Hargrave for Navarro Community College and he will be an open recruit for the class of 2010.

The Dawgs also missed out on Pernell McPhee because they could not get him in academically out of Junior College. He could have been the missing piece on the defensive line in 2009. He was a physical end with good size and someone that is ready to make an immediate impact.

The lone end they signed is a good one and that is Montez Robinson. The Indiana native is very long and athletic on the edge. He gets off the ball well and he is a pass rush specialist at this time. Playing the run, getting down the line, and using his hands are three things he will really have to work on, but his potential is high.

Robinson is a good one, but losing Jackson, and missing on McPhee hurt the overall grade. They could have used another strongside end in this class.

Grade: C+

Linebacker

This is a deep position for Georgia in the 2009 class. They signed Chase Vasser, Mike Gilliard, and Dexter Moody, but they missed on the top linebacker in Georgia in Jarvis Jones.

The Dawgs gave it all they had for Jones, but he signed with USC. The guys they did receive letter of intents from are all athletic, all rangy, and all quick.

Vasser is the biggest at 6-foot-4, 219 pounds and he has a good nose for the football. Moody is one of the top overall athletes in this class and he could play any one of the three LB positions or even strong safety. Gilliard is a sideline to sideline player with great instincts.

This position would be stronger with Jones in it, but it is still a very sound group. UGA signed three very good athletes in 2009 as linebackers.

Grade: B

Cornerback

I like what UGA got in 2009 at corner in Jordan Love and Branden Smith. Both have great ball skills, both are very good athletes, and both are good tacklers on the edge.

Smith received more pub, but Love is a player too. He is 6-feet tall, he has long arms, he is very rangy, and he is going to be a very physical defensive back for Georgia. Love could be a good fit at tight corner or he would be perfect to play over the inside receiver because of his ability to play the run in space. Safety is a position he could help at also if needed.

The spotlight always shined on Smith for good reason. He is an electric player and one that I see getting on the field early. He needs to add weight to his 5-foot-11, 170 pound body and he needs to get stronger, but he has great cover skills, he is a lock down press coverage guy, he has great recovery speed, and he really breaks well on the ball. Other than weight and strength, he just needs reps. He was not tested a lot in high school.

UGA missed on Reid late and he definitely would have helped, but this duo is a good one.

Grade: A

Safety

Once Shawn Williams committed to Georgia last spring, they turned their attention to Jawanza Starling. Darren Myles was in the mix for a short period of time, but it was mainly all about Starling.

Starling chose USC on Wednesday, so the Dawgs only signed one safety. One was all they needed, but they went for the elite in Starling and missed. Not getting him as a player hurts UGA a bit, but it does not hurt the depth.

Williams did not get the hype of many other Bulldogs, but that is just how he likes it. He is a quiet young man that is very athletic. He stars in football, basketball, and baseball at Early County, and I expect him to make a name for himself at Georgia.

He is a big hitter, he is an attacking safety, he has great hands, and he has good speed. Coverage will be something he needs to work on and also adjusting to the speed on the college level. His athleticism is a big strength and he is just a tough football player.

Grade: B

Note: Kwame Geathers is still out there and he will likely sign with someone late next week. At this time Geathers does not have an offer from UGA, but his father said the Dawgs were still in the mix with UCF and Tennessee.


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