The Georgia Bulldogs are back on the practice field as they get ready for their bowl matchup with Nebraska on New Year’s Day, and there are some things the team needs to address in their final game of the year.
But the coaches are also focused on recruiting, because National Signing Day is only two months away. The one good thing the Bulldogs have going for them this recruiting season is that they will not have to go out and try to find players that can play right away. They will have nearly everyone on defense returning next season, as well as everyone on offense, except for three offensive lineman.
That doesn’t mean that next year's incoming class will not be important, though. If the Bulldogs want to get back on top of the SEC East, they need to have a good recruiting season.
Here are five questions the Bulldogs need to answer before National Signing Day.
With Aaron Murray gone and Hutson Mason having no starting experience, the Bulldogs have to be sure they have a quarterback that can lead them for 2015 and beyond.
Normally, the Bulldogs will sign one quarterback per season, and Jacob Park of Goose Creek, S.C., has verbally committed to the 2014 class. Rated as the fourth-best pro-style quarterback in the country, according to Rivals, Park seems to be the right fit for Georgia. He has great arm strength with a very good release, and he’s a vocal leader.
He will have some competition once he gets on campus with the likes of Brice Ramsey, Christian LeMay and Faton Bauta. But if Park can learn the system quickly and polish up on his mechanics, he could see some action next year and be the starter in 2015.
Another question on offense regards who will replace the duo of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Both players will be back next season, but if they both excel and do big things next season, odds are one of them, if not both, will leave for the NFL.
Running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb have committed to the 2014 class, both according to ESPN, and it would be huge for the Bulldogs if they were able to sign both of them officially. Both Michel and Chubb have speed, power and great field vision.
J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas did a good job this season filling for Gurley and Marshall, and A.J. Turman could have a breakout 2014 season. So it the team could have a real interesting and crowded backfield in the next two years.
So far, the Bulldogs have a strong 2014 recruiting class, but the one thing that is missing is a defensive star that could take them to the next level.
Linebacker Rakewon McMillian could be that guy.
Hailing from Hinesville, Ga., McMillan is listed as the No. 1 player in the state and the top linebacker in the country, according to Rivals.
Due to McMillan's immense talent, every school in the country has been after him. But Georgia is on his short list, and he has been in constant contact with the Bulldogs over the year.
It’s not a must to get McMillan, but he would help the Bulldogs in a big way on defense, because he can rush off the edge and get after opposing running backs.
Lorenzo Carter, a defensive end from Norcross, Ga., was a big reason why Norcross High School won back-to-back state titles.
Like McMillan, Carter is considered as one of the best players in the country.
It was reported that the Bulldogs have an inside track to sign Carter in February, per Dean Legge of The Athens Banner-Herald. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but Carter has the size, speed, quickness and athleticism to make an impact for the Bulldogs defense as soon as he steps on campus.
Last season, Georgia was able to sign 33 players, which is a program record. As of right now, they have 16 players verbally committed to the 2014 class.
Odds are they won’t sign 30 players, or 25 for that matter. But the question is: how many recruits will join the Bulldogs bring for the 2014 season?
It was reported that Mark Richt and his coaching staff will add three or four more players to the class by February. But they have to watch out for players who have already committed instead decide to stray away and go somewhere else.
But for Georgia, it has always been about quality, and they still have one of the best classes in the country. So as long as the right players come into the fold, quantity does not matter.