National Signing Day: Georgia Bulldogs
With 2009's National Signing Day behind us, it is time to look at the Georgia Bulldogs' incoming freshman and see how they measure up.
There were several spots that the Bulldogs obviously needed to fill. Most notably was the quarterback spot after Matthew Stafford announced his debut into the NFL next year.
Other losses to the NFL included many skill position players such running back Knowshon Moreno, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, and cornerback Asher Allen.
Looking at the 2008 season, there were also several holes that needed to be filled in order to improve in the future. One major concern was the need to build depth behind the highly talented, but young offensive line.
Another big key for the future Bulldogs team will be the talent of the defensive line positions. In 2008, much of the defensive struggles can be attributed to a lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Lets take a look at how well head coach Mark Richt and his staff filled the needs of the Bulldogs for 2009.
Georgia had a big day Wednesday by landing two of the nations top-10 high school quarterbacks.
Aaron Murray, who was the No. 3 quarterback coming out, is a highly talented athlete. He seems to have all the intangibles that apply to becoming a big name quarterback at Georgia.
The only downside to him is that he sustained a severe ankle injury in October 2008. Before this, he was rated No. 1 in the nation. So he is highly-qualified, but there are some uncertainties around his recovery.
The other quarterback that the Bulldogs stole this year was No. 9 ranked Zach Mettenberger, who is a straight-up, accurate passer. Early comparisons have been made to NFL quarterbacks Eli Manning or former Bulldog David Green, but with a stronger arm.
Mettenberger does not have the athletic ability of Murray. However, he does have potential to be a very good traditional quarterback, which would fit well with Georgia's pro-style offense.
The Bulldogs managed to land Washaun Ealey out of Twin City, Georgia, who is a very exciting addition to the team. He was the No. 8 rated running back in the nation, and recognized as one of the greats to come through Georgia high schools.
He is known for playing above his weight as a surprisingly strong runner with deceptive quickness. Ealey is explosive in the open field and but also is durable between the tackles. Any of this sounding familiar to Bulldogs fans?
Wide Reciever: A+
The addition of No. 3 rated wide receiver Marlon Brown was one of the biggest signings for Georgia. He is a 6'5" athlete that can do just about anything on the field. Brown played several positions in high school and has potential to help the Bulldogs on special teams.
He may not be as developed as someone like A.J. Green was when he first came in and dominated as a true freshman, but Brown has the physical ability to play in his first year. A lot will depend on how quickly he can learn the system and adapt to the next level of play.
Offensive Line: A
Three players were added to the Bulldogs offensive line. Austin Long was a big signing as the No. 5 offensive line. Georgia also signed two guards, No. 2 Chris Burnette and No. 15 Dallas Lee.
All three players seem to have the size and athletic ability to be big contributors down the road.
As we all know, the Bulldogs had no consistency through 2008 on the offensive line. Some of this problem was a lack of recruiting linemen in years before, but also injuries caused mayhem. The line was constantly changing and many of the linemen were thrown in to play before they were ready.
This gave them good experience for 2009, so look to see improvement.
Branden Smith was one of the biggest names for Georgia to land this year. He is the No. 4 cornerback in the nation, and physically matches up well for his position.
Smith will need polishing on technique and positioning, but he should fit nicely into the Bulldogs scheme and possibly see playing time as a freshman with the absence of Asher Allen.
At the safety position, Shawn Williams is a big player who has potential. He is only rated at No. 29 for his position, but he is a big hitter and could grow into a good safety.
Jordan Love signed as an athlete, but will most likely play safety or corner back. He should develop nicely as he seems to have good technique and a nice feel for the game.
On National Signing Day, Georgia landed the No. 10, 17, and 30 rated outside linebackers in the country: Dexter Moody, Michael Gillard, and Chase Vasser.
Moody should be a big impact immediately. He possesses all the athletic and technical skills needed at his position.
Gilliard will probably become a strong player, but needs a lot of help on technique and getting his feel for the college game.
Vasser is still a question mark because, although he is physically talented, he definitely needs a few years to develop.
Defensive Line: C
Abry Jones was the biggest name for Georgia on the defensive line as the No. 22 rated defensive end. He could develop into a tackle, but signed as an end. Physically, he is a decent player, but he needs coaching on technique and positioning.
Georgia also signed No. 32 ranked defensive end Montez Robinson and No. 42 ranked defensive end Derrick Lott. Neither player is a huge standout, but both are talented enough to be impact players in a couple years with the right coaching.
Overall Grade: A-
Georgia definitely succeeded on signing day ranking No. 6 according to ESPN. The biggest problem is SEC rivals LSU (1), Alabama (2), and Florida (5) are all ahead of the Bulldogs.
Many of the needs that the Bulldogs have offensively were met on Signing Day. Look for a few of the offensive recruits to step up and play as freshmen in 2009.
Defensively, the secondary improved, although it may not be evident immediately.
The biggest question for Georgia in 2009 will be on how to improve the defensive line. They struggled last year and had no big name additions this year.
Overall, Georgia Bulldog fans should be happy with the new recruits coming to Athens. Georgia is know for having a great coaching staff who will develop these players as they step up to the college level.
National Signing Day 2009 was a good step forward for the future of the Bulldogs.
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