Good 2011 Start What Georgia Needed

ATHENS – At a minimum things are going better in the recruiting world for Georgia.

The Bulldogs, and their fans, are still aching from the trauma that was 2010 Signing Day, but already there is reason for optimism with the 2011 class. Already Georgia has lined up three top-level, in-state players to play for them – one of whom is very vocal about getting the best players in the state to come play for the home school.

A real-deal outside linebacker type, Amarlo Herrera told's Chad Simmons that he wants the best players in Georgia to stay home and play for the Dawgs (for the record so does everyone who bleeds red and black).

"I am from Georgia, and there is not school in Georgia better than Georgia, so my choice was obvious," he said. "Everyone needs to go to Georgia… Georgia is the school for us. We are about to bring the national championship back to Georgia."

Strong words.

It remains to be seen if top recruits like Jay Rome, James Vaughters, Ray Drew, Gabe Wright and the all-important Isaiah Crowell are listening to Herrera, but they probably are aware that Georgia has gotten off to a good start for 2011… and that helps.

If the pace of recruiting is any indication, Georgia has gotten the message this year – 2010's class was not where it needed to be at the end of the day. Did that have something to do with its start? Good question, and it's hard to know the answer to that. Last season's group didn't have a commitment until late March. By contrast, the 2009 class, which was a much better class on several levels, had four before February 2nd. The 2008 class, another class better than the 2010 class, already had for players committed by this time in February, too. The 2007 class, which failed to get most of the top in-state players to stay at home, struggled to get early commitments.

It remains to be seen if momentum will start to roll Georgia's way in a heavy way, but it feels like it has started. What would really get the ball rolling is if Ray Drew, Xzavier Dickson, Stephon Tuitt or quarterback sensation Nick Marshall were to commit sometime in the near future. None of that group has indicated that we should hold our breaths, but they all have something that makes you think it could happen (Drew is the quintessential "Georgia" guy; Dickson's long-time friend and teammate Corey Moore is committed to the Dawgs; Tuitt is awfully close to Athens; and Marshall's family member just signed with Georgia).

The start has been a good one – make no mistake about it. But it was the minimum necessary for the 2011 class. Georgia needs to make recruiting splash this year, and they are getting there, but they have only started the journey as the biggest in-state fish are still in the ocean.

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