It's that time. Georgia's 2023 recruiting class is 99% done and the Dawgs once again finished with one of the best classes in the nation. If you like seeing the stars beside the prospects' names, UGA has a lot of those. Kirby Smart and company also filled many needs with this class. Looking at the classes overall, there are only one or two fan bases that could honestly say that they wouldn't trade classes with the Back2Back national champions.
MOST LIKELY TO BECOME A FIRST ROUND PICK
It would be easy to go with Jordan Hall, AJ Harris, or Raylen Wilson here, but we have to go with the highest ranked player in the class here in Damon Wilson. He is obviously highly rated for a reason, but I believe his skillset matches that rating. He plays a premier position and plays it well. WIlson is explosive off the edge, with great length and good size. He can bend and still stay explosive. With the opportunity for early playing time at a position of need in Athens, he has all the making of a first round pick.
AND I WANT DAVID GD PUTNEY JUST BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT
For this of you who have watched the move Draft Day...............I know, I know, it's not realistic. I still really like the movie for some reason, especially the scene where he was getting his picks back:
There is one target left on the board for the Dawgs, and he's a big one. Five star tight end Duce Robinson is waiting to see where he stands with the MLB draft before he makes a college football commitment. Does Georgia really NEED him? No, we're not in dire need with Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie coming in after Oscar Delp last year. Although the room could be pretty thin with Darnell Washington headed to the NFL, along with Arik Gilbert, Ryland Goede and Brett Seither transferring. This coming up season is almost certain to be the last season we see Brock Bowers in the red and black.
So while there is somewhat of a need, this feels more like ace recruiter Todd Hartley going and getting Duce Robinson from the west coast just because he feels like it.
BEST POSITION GROUP
Although the secondary group could hold its own against any other team's secondary class in the country, this has to go to Georgia's inside linebacker class. My goodness, what a HAUL! Nobody will be able to convince me that Raylen Wilson isn't the best linebacker in the nation. His size, speed, and explosiveness is second to none. CJ Allen would easily be the cream of the crop any other year and is already turning heads in Athens. Add Troy Bowles to the two and it's just not fair to everyone else. This class easily rivals and has the chance to be even better than last year's NFL draft class of Quay Walker, Nakobe Dean, and Channing Tindall.
KIRBY SMART OWNS ME IN RECRUITING
This is another that could go a couple of different ways, but James Franklin of Penn State gets it this year. Georgia signed two former Penn State commits in Yazeed Haynes and Joshua Miller, while also beating out the Nittany Lions for Anthony Evans. Just for good measure, Fran Brown made sure to keep Daniel Harris away from them. Kirby Smart and company just took whoever they wanted from Penn State this year and there's nothing they could do about it. It's like another movie that we all know and love, with Kirby Smart as Deebo and James Franklin as Red. Kirby taking recruits like Deebo was taking chains:
WE GOT THE BEST OF GEORGIA THIS YEAR
It's safe to say that Georgia has one of the best, if not the best recruiting staff in the nation. Prospects are flocking to Athens for an offer from the Back2Back national champions. Saying that, Steve Sarkisian and his staff did a great job against the Dawgs in recruiting this year. The top get is obviously the #1 player in the country, Arch Manning. They also grabbed Sydir Mitchell at the last second when he was all but committed to UGA. Georgia also went after receiver DeAndre Moore for a little while before he flipped from Louisville to Texas. Add the big AD Mitchell transfer and the Longhorns definitely got us better than anyone else in this year's class.
AJ Harris would be a good pick, as he became a very important part of this class after he committed. There was barely a weekend where he wasn't here to help recruit other players. But I have to go with Pearce Spurlin and longevity here. He was the longest committed prospect in this class and was instrumental in getting the commitments from multiple prospects, including Harris.
I'm not sure I can pick between Daniel Harris and Damon Wilson. Of course the 5* is going to be the highest profile battle, but Harris was a fight. The 4* DB committed to UGA over Penn State on July 1st and stayed that way until about a month before the early signing period. For that month, and especially the last week and a half before signing day, it was a back and forth battle that sometimes changed daily. In the end, Kirby Smart and Fran Brown got their man. Wilson's recruitment was a highly anticipated nationally watched battle between UGA and Ohio State. Just like the Peach Bowl, the Buckeyes came up just short at the 12th hour!
I worded this as biggest steal, because AJ Harris was never publicly committed anywhere. Make no mistake about it, he was definitely a steal. During the spring, he was all but committed to the Florida Gators. Some think he was a silent commit there. Georgia DB coach Fran Brown never gave up and eventually pulled in Harris to the good guys in June. He was hell on wheels recruiting for the Dawgs since then.
This is another that could go a couple of ways. It's hard to not put Derrick Hall here, as he has shown he has some Jalen Carter type moves. I'm choosing Joenel Aguero over Hall here, mainly because he is joining a much less crowded room. I'm not sure if Aguero can come in and start day 12 like Malaki Starks did, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
BOSS HOG AWARD
I do believe that UGA has a couple of very underrated offensive linemen in this class, but Monroe Freeling is right where he needs to be as a five star recruit. He has all of the traits of a starting offensive lineman in the SEC and has already put on weight. Of course he'll have to come in like pretty much every other high school recruit and reshape his body, but don't be surprised if Freeling gets on the field as a freshman. I'm not saying I think he's going to take a starting position from someone, but I believe he'll get in the rotation in year one.
This could easily go to Kyron Jones, as he's mainly played running back and is coming in to UGA as a corner. We'll talk about him later. Tyler Williams is the choice here, since he's just recently started playing the receiver position. He has the size, speed, athleticism, explosion and catch radius to become one of the top receivers in the nation. He's also not a bad route runner at all in his limited time playing the position.
There are six prospects who ended up signing elsewhere, but were once committed to UGA. The seventh, Daniel Harris, obviously ended up back with UGA. Kayin Lee, Antione Jackson (2024 reclassified to 2023), Treyaun Webb, RyQueze McElderry, Daquayvious Sorey and Raymond Cottrell were all once Committed to the G at one time or another. Cottrell was committed up until the early signing period, but ended up signing with Texas A&M after UGA didn't have room for him to be an early enrollee. No offense to any of the prospects mentioned here and I hope they have long and successful careers, but Georgia did a great job here replacing them with prospects as good as them or even better.
COME ON IN, THE WATER IS FINE
The transfer portal has changed college football in a huge way. Thousands of players across the nation decided that where they were currently playing was no longer the right place for them. Three of those players decided that Athens, GA is now the right place for them.
Just like one of my favorite movies of all time, Kirby Smart and company have welcomed Dominic Lovett, Rara Thomas, and Smoke Bouie with open arms. All three fill a position of need for the Dawgs. Lovett and Thomas join Bowers, McConkey and the others to form what has the potential to be one of the most prolific offenses in Georgia history. Bouie finally figured out that Athens has always been home this entire time.
Kirby Smart and company are showing these three SEC transfers that the water is more than fine in Athens. Their sins of playing against Georgia have been washed away.
It's easy to put the lowest ranked player in the class here, but I truly believe thes recruiting sites and even Georgia fans are sleeping on Kyron Jones. He could challenge Anthony Evans as the fastest player in this class. You can easily see him being used on special teams while learning the cornerback position from the best of the best in Fran Brown, Will Muschamp, and Kirby Smart. I'm sure these three mentioned Eric Stokes to the speedster more than once while talking him into coming to Athens and changing positions. Don't be surprised if he works his way into the lineup in a couple of years.