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National Signing Day 2012: Ranking Georgia's Hits and Misses

JK LockhartContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2012

National Signing Day 2012: Ranking Georgia's Hits and Misses

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    The University of Georgia had a solid national signing day, getting a few late commitments while losing a few to other schools.

    As the program continues to push toward regaining national prominence, it is crucial for the Bulldogs to sign blue-chip prospects to replace losses to the NFL and graduation.

    National Signing Day 2012 was not as dramatic or prosperous as 2011, but still a solid day for the Georgia coaches.

    Here's a look at the hits and misses, and what impact these players might have in the SEC.

Josh Harvey-Clemons Commits to the Dawgs

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    The first and biggest announcement of the day came from Valdosta, Ga., and ESPNU 150 prospect and Under Armour All-American Josh Harvey-Clemons.  Dawg fans rejoiced when JHC donned a red Georgia hat and publicly committed to the Dawgs.

    However, six hours later, the Georgia coaches still were  waiting on his signed letter of intent.

    Coach Mark Richt publicly stated that he is not nervous and expects the letter soon.

    Assuming that this commitment holds, it is a huge get.

    Harvey-Clemons, listed as an athlete by the recruiting services, is getting flack from family members, who felt more comfortable with the Florida staff.  He, in turn, felt solid in his relationship with UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.  Grantham out-recruited the Florida staff by focusing on football and helping JHC, a football player, make a football decision.

    Any time the Dawgs can keep their best players in state, it bodes well for the job the Georgia recruiters are doing.  Also, any time Georgia can hold off bitter rival Florida, consider it a big win.

    *As this article goes to press, Georgia still has not received a letter of intent from Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Cordarelle Patterson Commits to Tennessee

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    Around the same time that the Georgia faithful were celebrating the addition of Josh Harvey-Clemons, word came in that No. 1 junior college prospect Cordarrelle Patterson was heading to Knoxville to join the Tennessee Volunteers.

    At 6'3'', 200 pounds, Patterson was the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year , catching 60-plus  passes for 900-plus yards and 15 touchdowns.  He also rushed for six touchdowns and returned three kicks for scores.

    Aside from replacing Branden Boykin in the UGA kick return game, Patterson also figured to line up with true sophomore Malcolm Mitchell as a receiving target for Aaron Murray next season.

    Instead, Patterson will join stud receiver and former UGA commit Da'Rick Rogers in Knoxville.

    Both Patterson and Rogers create matchup problems for opposing defenses, coupling size and speed to force adjustments. 

    This coup should add to the already-heated rivalry between the Bulldogs and Vols.

    The one plus for Dawg fans is that most media outlets rate Patterson as a "one-and-done", meaning he will likely declare for the NFL draft in 2013.

Josh Dawson Flips from Vanderbilt to Georgia

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    Many fans remember the heated exchange that took place after the 2010 contest between Georgia and Vanderbilt.  Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin had to be separated following the game.  The video can be seen here.

    The recruitment of defensive end Josh Dawson was just as bitter.

    Dawson, a long-time Vandy commit and prize of the 2012 Commodores class, flipped to Georgia on national signing day. He adds to an already stout Georgia defense and solidifies Grantham's status as a top-notch recruiter.

    Dawson may have to redshirt with 11 key  players returning on defense, as well as a huge recruiting haul in 2011 that is itching to get onto the field.

    Most importantly, Georgia keeps an SEC East foe from invading the state and stealing a blue-chip prospect.

Avery Young Commits to the Hated Auburn Tigers

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    Georgia was hoping that offensive lineman Avery Young could fill a huge need, but the Florida prospect chose the Auburn Tigers on national signing day.

    Young was highly touted and sought after, but in the end, it was not the Dawgs' Day for this Under Armour All-American.

    Georgia coaches were almost desperate for additions to the offensive line after long-time commit Chester Brown was forced to decommit due to immigration policy issues several days ago.  They dialed up the volume on Young and made a late push to land the touted star. But in the end, it was not to be.

    Georgia not only lost Brown to a late commitment to Central Florida, but lost Young to Auburn late in the day.

    Georgia will now push to sign lesser-ranked Sam Jowers from the Westminster School in Atlanta, and will have to rely on redshirts such as Xavier Ward to fill the holes in 2012.

    Ultimately, Georgia hoped to sign up to five offensive linemen and managed to sign three.  This makes offensive linemen a top priority in 2013.

Final Thoughts on Signing Day

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    Ultimately, Georgia's 2012 recruiting class gets a solid A. 

    All major scouting services had Georgia ranked in the top 10 by the end of national signing day.   ESPNU closed with Georgia at No. 5 in the country and No. 3 in the SEC behind reigning BCS champion Alabama and perennial power Florida. 

    Georgia also closed by landing the No. 1-ranked player in four states, with Josh Harvey-Clemons (Georgia), Keith Marshall (North Carolina), John Theus (Florida), and Sheldon Dawson (Tennessee).

    The coaches kept a lot of top talent in state, with more than half of the signees coming from the Peach State.

    One issue of concern is the number of scholarships still open as spring practice approaches.

    However, on the basis of quality, not quantity, the UGA coaches scored a victory on national signing day.

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