I'm not one that believes that you shouldn't question coaches, even if they make millions a year. I am one that believes you damn well better know what you're talking about if you're going to question Kirby Smart's defensive recruiting. Let's be honest, it just won us a National Championship. That's why I like to sit back and watch and laugh early on in the recruiting process when guys are in a panic over who we have or don't have. I always say, "just relax, Kirby will get his."
2023 is no different, as we are in on some of the best in the nation once again. We have two very stong commitments in Edge Gabriel Harris and corner Justyn Rhett. Of course there was a third until top corner Marcus Washington reclassified to the 2022 class. There are plenty that the Dawgs lead for and maybe even a couple of silents.
I could see UGA adding two more Edge players to the mix, according to who wants to come. Five star Jayden Wayne just had a big OV and while UGA is squarely in the mix here, I've never thought we were in the lead. Another 5* to keep and eye on is Notre Dame commit, Keon Keeley. I do believe he will give UGA and official visit and that is all you can ask for. Continuing with the 5*'s, the Dawgs seem to have grabbed some momentum with Samuel M'Pemba, who will be back in town soon. We also just made 5* Nyckoles Harbor's top 7, but I've always had the same thoughts on him as I do Wayne above. If it were me, I'd be going all out for Bai Jobe. The guy is athletic as hell and long. The one to really keep and eye on and my favorite is Jaquavious "Qua" Russaw. This dude is a freak. I have seen him play live and he takes over a game. His trainers (Madhouse Training) love the UGA staff and are very tight with Kirby, Schumann, and Cochran (the ones that came from Alabama). It's always a hard task to take a 5* that Alabama realy wants from the state, but we have Russaw predicted to UGA.
On the defensive line, you could basically take the description of Russaw and copy and paste it for James Smith. I'm not quite as confident on him coming to UGA as I am Russaw, but i do really believe they want to play together. We have Sydir Mitchell and Jamaal Jarrett predicted to UGA. Maybe we can get one of our film guys to break their games down, but I don't think we're recruiting them for the same position. They do know that we are trying to bring in both guys and would be straight nasty together. Vic Burley is high on Clemson, but UGA continues to make him a priority. Kelby Collins, Jordan Hall, and Xzavier McLeod are all guys UGA is involved with. Kayden McDonald is the big question mark here. He has put up ridiculous numbers in 7A football in Georgia, but it seems like we just haven't heavily recruited him.
Linebacker is easy and probably the most clear cut from a UGA standpoint. Take Troy Bowles, CJ Allen, and Raylen Wilson and call it a day! I do think we lead for Bowles and I have us predicted to flip Wilson. I also have us predicted to get Allen and think he is one of the most underrated prospects in the nation. I truly believe he is the next bigtime ILB at UGA. I'm thinking not as hig as Roquan, as good as Nakobe, and better than Monty Rice.
The cornerback position is where all of the fun is right now. UGA will continue to pursue 5* Cormani McClain until he commits somewhere else. Tony Mitchell has been all over the place, so I don't trust anything here. AJ Harris has also been all over the place, and right now trending back towards the Dawgs. I ave Chris Peal predicted to UGA and have heard he is VERY HIGH on our board. Same as Daniel Harris and I think we will get him if we push hard. Javien Toviano is another to keep an eye on, as well as Ja'Keem Jackson.
At safety, I do have UGA still leading for Joenel Aguero with LSU pushing hard. We are in a huge fight with Ohio State for Caleb Downs and this one will come down to official visits. The optimism in my has UGA getting Downs also, but I'm not super confident.
We'll go more in-depth on these guys in other articles and on the forum!