While Carter's dramatic announcement may have stolen the show last week, this star-studded recruiting class was in the works for months thanks in no small part to a series of early commitments. In total, over half of the Bulldogs' 2014 signing class pledged to Georgia more than six months prior to national signing day, and that figure is hardly an outlier.
To the contrary, Georgia consistently garners early commitments from some of the best athletes in the country, and the Dawgs are already off to their signature fast start for the 2015 class.
|Notable Long-Term Commitments at Georgia|
|Player||Position||Rating||Signing Class||Commitment Date|
|Sony Michel||Running Back||5-Star||2014||April 26, 2013|
|Nick Chubb||Running Back||5-Star||2014||June 11, 2013|
|Jacob Park||Quarterback||4-Star||2014||June 14, 2013|
|Tray Matthews||Safety||4-Star||2013||August 13, 2011|
|Brice Ramsey||Quarterback||4-Star||2013||July 15, 2011|
|Tramel Terry||Athlete||4-Star||2013||March 6, 2012|
|John Theus||Offensive Tackle||5-Star||2012||July 15, 2011|
|Jonathan Taylor||Defensive Tackle||4-Star||2012||June 21, 2011|
Early Bird Gets the Worm
According to 247Sports, Georgia's list of 2015 commitments ranks 12th in the nation, but even that respectable figure sells the Bulldogs short. After all, these ratings take into account both the quality and the quantity of committed players.
Georgia has only four commitments at this juncture, but the potential of those athletes is truly elite. Based on the average rating of each committed prospect, Georgia's 2015 recruiting class actually ranks third in the country.
|Average 2015 Commitment Rating|
|Team||Number of Commitment||Average Commitment Ranking|
A closer examination of Georgia's already impressive class supports the value of early recruiting pushes.
Terry Godwin, a 5-star athlete per 247Sports, is regarded as the nation's 18th-best overall prospect. He could settle as a wide receiver or a defensive back at the next level, but his impact on the field is not be debated.
Two more of the 247Sports Composite's top 200 are also committed to become Bulldogs in 2015. Rico McGraw is considered a top-10 cornerback, and at 6'5", it's no surprise that Christian Owens is one of the nation's top wide receiver prospects.
Throw in 315-pound offensive tackle DeVondre Seymour, who committed to Georgia in 2013 before winding up at Hinds Community College in Mississippi, and Dawg fans already have reason to be excited about next year's class.
Early Work Far From Done
There is still much to be done for Georgia as the Bulldogs continue to lure prospects into early commitments. Most notably, Georgia will once again look to make an impact with its annual summer football camps, which, according to GeorgiaDogs.com, are slated to take place from June 3-14.
GeorgiaDogs.com reported that during his 2014 signing-day press conference Richt stressed the importance of those camps and the opportunity they provide the coaching staff at Georgia. "The guys who have come to our camp," Richt began, "and we have have evaluated and offered, I don't know if we've ever missed on a guy like that."
Expect a slew of commitments from highly regarded prospects following Georgia's camps this June as Richt and his staff further assemble a strong early core for the 2015 recruiting class.
Ultimately, however, some of Georgia's best early recruiting will be done by its committed players—not its coaches. In 2012, Keith Marshall recruited future teammates—even current backfield mate Todd Gurley—to Georgia after he pledged to the Dawgs. A year later, safety Tray Matthews was a vocal leader in the pursuit of other Georgia targets.
Rusty Mansell of 247Sports (subscription) says that Terry Godwin began recruiting prospects "immediately after he verbally committed last month," and has asserted himself as the Dawgs' resident recruiting recruit.
If Godwin's influence over his peers aligns with the powerful recruiting staff's broader efforts, the 2015 class will end up even stronger than the class of 2014. And that's high praise, especially this early.