Georgia Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top 2015 Target at Each Position
With spring practice now complete and the regular season still several months away, the Georgia Bulldogs coaching staff is spending time narrowing in on targets for the 2015 signing class. Already, head coach Mark Richt has made headlines with a rather unique recruiting tactic—hand-drawn portraits of potential signees.
Georgia fans can use this preview to get a clearer picture of who the Dawgs are targeting for next year's signing class.
Here are Georgia's top targets at each position as defined by each prospect's position ranking within the 247Sports Composite.
Unless otherwise, all stats, ratings and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
Georgia won't have a ton of interest in a quarterback for the 2015 class. With redshirt senior Hutson Mason under center this year, the following three candidates seem likely to duke it out for several years to come:
- Faton Bauta: A redshirt sophomore, Bauta was the most impressive backup this spring.
- Brice Ramsey: Ramsey, who redshirted last season as a freshman, has been the conventional pick for "quarterback of the future" since he committed to Georgia following his sophomore season in high school (way back in 2011).
- Jacob Park: Park was the lone early enrollee in the 2014 signing class and already has one spring—as tumultuous as it may have been—under his belt.
Running Back: Taj Griffin
Taj Griffin, a 5'10", 175-pound all-purpose back from McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., appears to be Georgia's favorite running back in the 2015 class.
While the Dawgs will still be well-stocked in the backfield, Griffin offers a truly unique skill set, thanks in no small part to his 4.35-second 40-yard dash.
Griffin has been named a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection as well as an Under Armour All-America choice, and he possesses tremendous agility to go along with his truly elite top-end speed. He would be an ideal change-of-pace back in Mike Bobo's pro-style offense and could flash out into the flats as a receiver from time to time.
Currently, Griffin is considering a host of big-name schools, including Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, USC, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.
Wide Receiver: Terry Godwin
Listed as the nation's top-rated athlete by 247Sports, Terry Godwin could settle as a wide receiver for Georgia as the Dawgs look to replace departing veterans Chris Conley and Michael Bennett (both are seniors in 2014).
Godwin stands only 6'0" but boasts tremendous ball skills and overall athleticism. Already a firm commitment to Georgia, he could settle on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. That being said, he seems like the type of player who performs best with the ball in his hands. He'll get the most shots at that as a receiver.
He's currently regarded as the state of Georgia's third-best overall prospect. The Dawgs would love to keep him close to home.
Tight End: Hale Hentges
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo likes his tight ends, and he likes them big. Hale Hentges, a Missouri product, certainly fits that bill. The 4-star Hentges stands 6'6" and is considered the nation's second-best tight end, according 247Sports.
To lure Hentges to Athens, Georgia will have to out-recruit a host of national powers (Ohio State is the current leader with Alabama, Auburn and FSU also making pushes). Furthermore, Missouri may be able to use recent SEC success and proximity to home to make him a Tiger.
Last year, Hentges registered 61 receptions for 940 yards and 15 touchdowns. Another year like that will make him one of the nation's most sought-after prospects.
Offensive Line: Chuma Edoga
Chuma Edoga, another McEachern High School product, has skyrocketed up the 247Sports Composite rankings. Such a rise (he's currently considered the nation's 27th overall prospect) is not surprising given his unique combination of size (6'4", 276 lbs) and athleticism.
Georgia is among Edoga's top three (along with Tennessee and Southern Cal), but Dawg fans won't have to wait long to hear about his intentions. Edoga is slated to announce his decision on Monday, April 21, via his Twitter account.
If he picks the Bulldogs, Richt and company will have signed one of the nation's best offensive tackles.
Update: Edoga chose Southern Cal on Monday night. His high school head coach, Kyle Hockman, told Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
I know he does have some connections to family in LA. His father passed away last January, and his father’s sister lives out in the area. So I think that has something to do with it, at least with the original connection. I don’t know the particulars. He felt good about several different places, and his mom has been involved. She has given her blessing to USC.
Defensive Line: Trent Thompson
The 6'4", 292-pound defensive lineman appears to favor Florida State and Georgia, but as one might expect, he's receiving offers from just about everyone. That being said, he has visited Georgia twice (unofficially) this month.
Georgia's key to landing Thompson is similar to what brought defensive end Lorenzo Carter into the fold in the 2014 class. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker must sell their ability to mold Thompson into an NFL-ready force. That strategy certainly worked in February.
Linebacker: Roquan Smith
Yet another talented Peach State product, Roquan Smith is considered the nation's sixth-best outside linebacker.
At 6'2" and 205 pounds, Smith may lack the elite range of Bulldogs like Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, but his ability to wrap up ball-carriers may render him slightly more versatile over the long term. And like many other players on Georgia's radar, Smith is on the rise as far as recruiting experts are concerned.
Smith is being courted heavily by a number of SEC powers, but currently, Auburn, Florida and Georgia are his leaders. He visited Georgia earlier this month and received one of Richt's famed portraits recently.
Defensive Back: Rashad Roundtree
At 6'1" and 195 pounds, Rashad Roundtree could play anywhere in Georgia's secondary. He's got the athleticism to play corner, the size to roam as a safety and the ball skills to play the unique "Star" position within Pruitt's defense.
That versatility, combined with a secondary that may still be unproven in 2015 (or at the very least may be lacking in depth), could place Roundtree on the field early and often as a Bulldog—if he becomes one.
Roundtree is considered the nation's fifth-best safety and has a number of interesting offers. Georgia, along with usual suspects like Auburn and Alabama, have caught his eye. But so has, quite surprisingly, Duke.