The 2014 signing class is complete for the Georgia Bulldogs, and they came away with what they wanted.
The Bulldogs laid the groundwork for them to get back into the SEC title mix as well as competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
From the top players in the state to players who were overlooked by other schools, the Bulldogs came away with a very good class, and Mark Richt told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s as excited as he’s ever been.
But as good as the class was, it could have been better if they would have hit on a few more targets. But those few players decided that UGA was not the right fit for them and signed somewhere else.
Here’s the best and worst of national signing day for the Bulldogs.
The top best thing to happen to the Bulldogs on national signing day is the addition of defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross, Ga.
Carter, who is a 5-star prospect according to 247Sports, chose Georgia over Alabama and is considered the best player in the state.
Carter had 132 tackles and 40 tackles for loss in a senior season where he led Norcross High School to a state title.
It would not surprise anyone if Carter is on the field right away, especially with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt taking over and putting in a new scheme.
The addition of Carter was a minor surprise by some. But the biggest surprise came at the start of national signing day when Isaiah McKenzie signed with the Bulldogs.
McKenzie, a 4-star wide receiver prospect, per 247Sports, chose Georgia over Ole Miss after getting a late offer on Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McKenzie is from American Heritage High School in Florida, which is the same place where UGA signee Sony Michel is from.
McKenzie picked Georgia because he wanted to be with Michel, who’s his best friend. Both players will have a chance to do some damage together by 2015.
The Bulldogs only signed 21 players, but the quality of players is what they were going for.
With three 5-star recruits, 10 4-star recruits and eight 3-star recruits, per 247Sports, the Bulldogs look like they have a chance to do some serious damage in the next few years.
Michel, Carter and Nick Chubb are the three 5-star recruits, and they have a chance to see some time on the field right away. Quarterback Jacob Park, who is already enrolled, leads the 4-star recruits and has a legitimate chance to be the starter by 2015.
Now it’s understood why Richt is so excited about this class. He knows how capable this group can be if they buy into the system and stay out of trouble.
But as good as the class is, it could have been better if the Bulldogs would have been able to steal a few recruits they were targeting.
Linebacker Bryson Allen Williams (South Carolina), defensive backs Tavon Ross (Missouri) and Wesley Green (South Carolina) and Kendall Gant (Marshall) were four of the key targets the Bulldogs were going after.
However, in Gant’s case, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Gant was afraid he would be not eligible to play for Georgia, so he decided to sign with Marshall instead of having to play at a prep school or junior college in the fall.
As for the other three, they were semi-long shots for the Bulldogs to sign because they were already committed. But it would have been nice if the Bulldogs could have signed two of them.
And if the Bulldogs were to sign a couple of players, they could have been a top-five signing class.
Make no mistake about it, finishing in the top 10 is nothing to sneeze at. But five SEC teams finished ahead of the Bulldogs, making them the sixth-best recruiting class in the conference.
What does this mean in the long run? Are the Bulldogs still behind the top teams in the SEC because they did not have the strongest recruiting class?
Only time will tell, but as much as the Bulldogs wanted to be the top signing class in the SEC, they still have a strong class that has a chance to win a lot of ballgames.