If the Dawgs get that scholarship back, which seems likely, just what will they do with the "extra" scholarship?
It's best to know just where you are at in terms of numbers, but once you start crunching the numbers you have to take into account players leaving or getting hurt. I am not going to go down that path here. I won't speculate who will be here next year, and who won't, because the coaches always get the number right – I will leave all of that to them.
So if you have an additional scholarship available what should be done with it?
Looking at 2010:
The Dawgs already have 18 players committed to them, and they would love to sign a top-level linebacker in this class. But I get the feeling Georgia is super comfortable with the situation they are in with this year's class. There are no glaring problems with Georgia's 2010 class, so I don't think Georgia is desperate to sign anyone.
With that said – options are still out there if Mark Richt chooses to use the scholarship on the Class of 2010…
Should the Dawgs roll the dice on a raw offensive tackle no one else is willing to sign? Will Zander Ogletree play well enough this fall to earn a scholarship with his brother Alec? Do the Dawgs decide to go hard after another running back – or are they happy with Ken Malcome and the seemingly difficult task of turning Mack Brown? Is a wide receiver lurking?
Looking at 2011:
Right now the Dawgs have 18 players set to graduate after the 2010 season, which means the class of 2011 will be a big one. A.J. Green will almost certainly leave after his junior season, which means Georgia will be at 19 – players like Trinton Sturdivant could leave early, too. The point is that I expect Georgia to sign nearly a full class in 2011. They may need the extra scholarship that just opened up to make the number a full 25.
Also, all three of Georgia's special teams scholarship players graduate after the class of 2011, so expect Georgia to sign or find a kicker and punter in the 2011 class so that they are not breaking in a true freshman kicker the following season.
In the End:
Do you use the scholarship now, or hold it for 2011? That always seems to be a question asked when a scholarship becomes available – "Do we use it now or later?"
The answer is that you use it on the best possible player you can. If that means you don't reach for a sub-par player in 2010 so that you can sign a player the next year you think is better – you do that. If that means you find a special teams player to sign now, who is better than anyone in the 2011 class – you do that. Do you find another wide receiver for the 2010 class? Antonio Goodwin surprised everyone and picked Auburn – should Georgia look at signing an Ace Sanders-type player – just to roll the dice?
We will know more in the future, but my guess is that the Dawgs will hold off any new offers for the 2010 class for the time being. I think the best bet is that Georgia will use the likely newly-opened scholarship for the 2011 class.