Georgia vs. Tennessee: Whose 2014 Recruiting Class Is Better Right Now?
Georgia will travel to Tennessee this weekend to take on the Vols in Knoxville. The Bulldogs are coming off a thrilling victory of LSU, and have a 3-1 record.
Tennessee is 3-2, and it has shown great improvement under new head coach Butch Jones. The Vols are on their way back among the top SEC programs, and this game figures to be a great test for both teams.
The recruiting trail has also been kind to the pair of schools, as each team has assembled an impressive list of commitments. However, with so much talent among both groups, it is time to examine which program has the superior class.
Georgia's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
Georgia has 17 commitments, and this could be one of the best recruiting classes head coach Mark Richt has brought to Athens. The group has fantastic talent, and more great prospects could be added before February.
Richt has gone to five different states for prospects, as Florida, Kansas, South Carolina and North Carolina are represented. However, with eight commitments from Georgia, it is safe to say home is where Richt's heart is.
UGA has excellent balance in this class, as the commitments are nearly equal on both sides of the ball (nine on offense, eight on defense). With four commitments, defensive line is the leading unit of the group, but the offensive line and secondary are not far behind with three pledges, respectively.
Tennessee's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
Tennessee has a large 25-man class, and it's one of the best hauls in recent history for the Volunteers. Head coach Butch Jones and his staff have done an excellent job of providing a jolt to Tennessee's recruiting efforts.
Jones has looked far and wide to bring the best possible players to Knoxville. Tennessee has commitments from players in 12 different states, along with a D.C. commitment. The Vols have five in-state pledges, plus the state of Georgia has matched that total.
Florida, Maryland, Ohio and Texas are the other states who have multiple players headed for Knoxville. The group is broken down into 12 defensive recruits, another 11 on offense, one athlete and a kicker.
Tennessee has six commitments from players who will be catching passes. Plus, with five commitments each, the secondary and linebacker units have also been among Jones' top recruiting priorities.
Georgia's Top 2014 Commitments
A key commitment for Georgia is 4-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard. The North Carolina native is 6'3", 310 pounds and has explosive ability.
Gaillard, who could play end or nose in the Bulldogs' 3-4 scheme, has great strength and quickness at the snap. Quarterback Jacob Park, a 4-star prospect, is 6'3" and 202 pounds. He has good arm strength, delivers the football quickly and flashes solid mobility.
Nick Chubb is a 4-star runner who has good quickness for a big back. Defensive end Keyon Brown likely will move to outside linebacker in Athens, but the 4-star defender's job of getting to the quarterback will not change.
Jeb Blazevich is a 4-star tight end who has good hands, and the potential to be a complete in-line player.
Tennessee's Top 2014 Commitments
Todd Kelly, a 4-star safety, is a future defensive captain for the Vols. The Tennessee native has great character, passion and pride.
At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Kelly has good speed in the secondary. He's a solid athlete who plays with good vision, and can hit like a linebacker. He should make an impact early in his career.
The linebacker class is led by 4-star Dillon Bates, who is as tough and stout a defensive player as there is in the nation. Chris Weatherd, Kevin Mouhon and Gavin Bryant will help Bates on the second level of the Vols' defense.
Georgia's 2014 Recruiting Class Headliner
The Bulldogs have a commitment from 5-star running back Sony Michel, who has a chance to be special.
The Florida native resembles more of Keith Marshall than Todd Gurley as a player, if UGA fans are searching for which of the incumbent running backs Michel is more alike. However, Michel is stronger than Marshall was at this stage.
Michel, who is 5'11" and 205 pounds, shows great instincts and vision to see back-side holes. He has a good feel for the pursuit of linebackers, can explode upfield through creases and runs big. Michel possesses outstanding agility, as he can sharply and quickly cut to skate to various areas of the field and to elude defenders.
He flashes good strength, and can break a tackle on the second and third levels of the field. Michel can also serve as a weapon in the passing game thanks to his athleticism, hands and natural receiving skills.
Tennessee's 2014 Recruiting Class Headliner
Jalen Hurd is the top player in Tennessee's recruiting class. He's a 5-star prospect whose main position is running back, yet he could develop into a tight end, receiver, H-back, fullback, safety or linebacker.
At 6'3" and 220 pounds, the Tennessee native looks amazing on the hoof. Yet, his skill set is of a running back with smaller size, as Hurd is not a downhill, power-runner. Rather, he is a back who loves to use his speed, quickness and elusiveness to make plays.
Hurd has solid vision, knows how to let his blocks develop and does a great job of taking what the defense gives him. Yet, he is capable of shooting through alleys, jumping on top of linebackers on the second level and exploding by defenders for big gains.
He is a naturally upright-runner due to his height, but Hurd will learn how to lower his pads in alleys. He also displays impressive hands, ball skills and route-running potential in the passing game.
Although he's currently nursing a shoulder injury (per Tennessean.com), Hurd has the talent to play as a true freshman at Tennessee.
This matchup actually turned out to be a tie.
Both teams have wonderful quality throughout their class, good quantity and both have 5-star headliners.
However, since a winner must be determined, hairs were split and Georgia edged out a victory. The Bulldogs have gotten as much quality as Tennessee has, but have done it with less numbers, so their class is slightly stronger than the Volunteers' group.