The 2014 Georgia Bulldogs signing class will not be judged on how they perform this upcoming season.
In fact, most of them will not see the field until 2015, and even then it will be too early to evaluate if this was a successful class.
But three years from now, we’ll have a better understanding of whether this class was a success or did not live up to expectations.
All these players are expected to be major contributors to the team by 2016 and head coach Mark Richt is hoping that they can lead this team to a conference title and shot at the national championship.
But is that realistic? Let’s imagine what the starting lineup will look like in three years and see if the Bulldogs will be good enough to be one of the best teams in the country.
If everything goes according to plan, Jacob Park will be the starting quarterback and Nick Chubb will be the starting running back. Both players were outstanding in high school and there is no reason they can’t duplicate the same success in Athens for the next three years.
As far as wide receiver goes, it’s a toss-up because the Bulldogs have signed a ton of young receivers that have the same skill set. But Rico Johnson and Blake Tibbs will be the two that stand out. Both are very explosive and can stretch, which plays to Park’s strengths because he can throw the deep ball.
It looks like Jeb Blazevich is the next impact tight end for the Bulldogs. He has the same strengths as Arthur Lynch and he fits right in when it comes to what Georgia wants to do with him, and that’s be effective in run blocking and be a security blanket for the quarterback.
The five that will protect the skill players will be Brandon Kublanow, Greg Pyke, Isaiah Wynn, Kendall Baker and Josh Cardiello.
Kublanow and Pyke will be the anchors of the group as they already have game experience, while Wynn and Baker were both 4-Star prospects (via 247 Sports) in this year’s signing class. Cardiello is another prospect from Buford, just like Dallas Lee and Kolton Houston. He has a chance to be a very productive center for the Bulldogs.
The defensive line will be a big group consisting of John Atkins, John Taylor and Lamont Gaillard. All three can play nose tackle, but Gaillard is the best fit based on what he can do with double teams. Taylor and Atkins have the size to play nose tackle, but they can also play defensive end in the 3-4 scheme.
The defensive line has always been a solid group under Todd Grantham. It should and will get better with three years under the guidance of Jeremy Pruitt.
Lorenzo Carter is going to be what Josh Harvey-Clemons is to the Bulldogs currently and that is a hybrid player.
He was a defensive end in a four-man front at Norcross High School at Norcross, Georgia. But if the Bulldogs decide to stay in the 3-4, Carter will likely play outside linebacker.
There is a chance that Pruitt could switch to a 4-3 according to his introductory press conference. If that happens then Carter will play defensive end.
So Carter will see a lot of time of the field. Bu he will play different positions because of his skill set.
This could be the strongest and deepest group by 2016, which makes it difficult to determine who will be the starters at that time.
But Ryne Rankin, Johnny O’Neal, Tim Kimbrough and Leonard Floyd will most likely be the starting four.
O’Neal and Kimbrough are from the same recruiting class (2013) and both were two of the top inside linebackers in the country in high school.
Rankin is also from the same signing class as O’Neal and Kimbrough, and he recorded 189 tackles his senior season in high school.
Floyd had a strong freshman season in 2013, when he had 55 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He will be the unanimous leader of the unit.
Tray Matthews, Shaq Wiggins, Dominick Sanders and Shattle Fenteng will be the starters in the secondary.
Matthews saw a lot of action in 2013 as a true freshman and did a solid job. He will be a very productive safety by his senior season.
Wiggins has shown flashes of what he can do, picking off two passes and defending four more last season.
Sanders and Fenteng are part of the 2014 signing class. Fenteng can play cornerback but his 6’2’’ frame screams safety. Sanders can play a number of different positions, but he will likely play cornerback because of his ball skills and playmaking ability (according to 247 Sports).