Georgia's jump on the 2015 recruiting class has been disappointing thus far.
Although it's still extremely early, 247Sports currently ranks the Bulldogs' class as the 16th-best in the nation. If that number holds, next year's group of signees could be the lowest-regarded unit of Mark Richt's tenure in Athens, Georgia.
|Mark Richt Recruiting Class Rankings|
|2015 Current Ranking||16|
While Georgia has already collected seven commitments, including a pledge from the nation's top-rated athlete, Terry Godwin, the Dawgs' misses have been stealing headlines as of late. Ten of the Peach State's top 20 players (per 247Sports) have made their collegiate decisions already; only two selected Georgia.
Fortunately, all of Georgia's misfortune could turn with the successful wooing of one player—defensive tackle Trent Thompson.
Who is Trent Thompson?
Put simply, Trent Thompson is the best. At least that's what the experts say. Thompson isn't merely the best defensive tackle in the country or the state of Georgia's best prospect, he's the nation's best college prospect, according to 247Sports.
At 6'4" and 292 pounds, Thompson is known as much for his quickness and explosion as he is his large frame. For a prospect of that physical stature, such an arsenal of athletic skills is a true oddity. Accordingly, it's no wonder the best teams in the country desire his services.
In addition to heavy pursuits from Georgia, Thompson also favors the last three teams to win national championships—Florida State, Alabama and Auburn.
Where Does Georgia Stand?
Thompson has had a strong relationship with Georgia for quite some time. Prior to his junior season, he told Rusty Mansell of 247Sports (subscription required) he had a strong relationship with Mike Bobo, his lead recruiter at Georgia.
"I like Coach Bobo," he offered. "We talk on a regular basis. We have a good bond already."
And a few months ago, Thompson told 247Sports' Kipp Adams (subscription required) he likes the direction Georgia is heading:
Georgia is still number one, followed by Florida State. Georgia was the first school to offer me, the first school to get me on campus and they have made me a priority for the 2015 class. I could not believe Georgia got Jeremy Pruitt to leave FSU right after they won the National Championship. Pruitt has those rings. Coach Tracy Rocker is an NFL coach that played at a high level at Auburn, so I know he would make me into a great player.
How Does Georgia Close Thompson?
Georgia's recruitment of 5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter earlier this year yielded the blueprint for Thompson's recruitment. Despite the turmoil that accompanied a complete overhaul of the defensive coaching staff, Carter was confident in Pruitt's ability to design a defense and Rocker's ability to refine him as a player. Ultimately, that combination compelled Carter to sign with the Bulldogs.
As Thompson has already said, Pruitt and Rocker are noteworthy acquisitions in the coaching department. Pruitt coordinated Florida State's BCS national championship defense last season and was an assistant on back-to-back Alabama championship teams prior thereto. Rocker is a well-traveled football mind with a history of success (as both a player and as a coach) at the collegiate and professional level.
The idea of working under two such coaches was enough to lure Carter in. For Thompson, something more will be needed. Namely, the theoretical impact of Pruitt and Rocker must produce tangible on-field results this fall. Carter was attracted to the promise of coaching changes; Thompson will want to see production.
The Impact of Thompson
Roping Thompson into a commitment would negate much of the ill will established by fleeing in-state talent. Further, signing the nation's top overall prospect would be a feat envied by the entire nation. If Thompson were to sign with the Bulldogs, it would set another precedent for the Mark Richt era—this one a positive one—as he would be Richt's first-ever top-rated recruit (per 247Sports composites).
Less measurably, Thompson could team with Carter to help form one of the more formidable defensive lines in the country. And if his signing with Georgia is truly contingent on Pruitt and Rocker's ability to develop individuals and the defense as a whole, that's a terrifying prospect—at least for opposition.
And don't discount the impact Thompson could have on other recruits. When the best player in the nation speaks, peers tend to listen. If he chooses to don the red and black, he could bring a host of the nation's most talented prospects along with him.