Furthermore, the fans who I think have credibility in saying "team recruiting rankings don't matter" are folks with highly rated classes. Everyone with a low ranked class thinks rankings don't matter. Having said all of that here are my thoughts on Georgia's signing class:
Stafford in action
The Bulldogs return Joe Tereshinski, Blake Barnes and Joe Cox at quarterback. All of them arrived at Georgia with varying degrees of acclaim, but there's no question the Dawgs had to sign an elite QB in this recruiting class. With Matt Stafford, they landed their prize. Beating out the defending national champion, home state Longhorns when they have big time needs at QB is no small accomplishment. The only shocker is that Matt didn't pull more big time WRs with him.
Grade against needs: A+
Moreno in action.
With Kregg Lumpkin, Danny Ware and Thomas Brown all entering their junior season, it was critical that the Bulldogs sign at least one elite running back. Knowshon Moreno is the #1 running back in New Jersey, and provides the Dawgs with a very solid option for the future at this critical position. Hopefully, we manage this scholarship in a smart way and redshirt this kid. My only worry is that from reading his scouting reports, it's not clear that Moreno
Grade vs. Needs B+
We had good luck with walkons in the past.
Georgia has fullbacks stacked up like cordwood for no explicable reason. The offense doesn't feature fullbacks yet we have Des Williams (JR) and Brannon Southerland (So) now we're adding Fred Munzenmaier and Shaun Chapas. I don't get it. Our best fullbacks prior to Southerland were all walkons until you get all the way back to Mack Strong. I know that we need big strong guys that can run for special teams, but this seems like we're loading up on something we don't really use much. I'm glad to have these kids. However, when I look at our needs, I must admit being puzzled.
Grade vs. Needs C+
Say what you want about Wiggins and his NFL intros on MNF. He can play.
If you disregard the jokes about Richt making Georgia into Field Goal U, you have to admit that our track record of producing elite college Tight Ends is pretty impressive. Watson, McMichael and Wiggins look great in the NFL, and Pope looks to join them. Milner returns along with role players like Coleman Watson, Tripp Chandler, and Trahern Holden. With so many TEs on scholarship, I would've frowned on adding yet another one. However, Na Derris Ward is by most accounts a playmaker. Some of the rumored praise from the coaching staff on this kid is too gushing to post. It wouldn't be fair to him. My hope therefore, is that some of the other TEs like Coleman, Trahern or Tripp can be moved to DE or bulked up to OT or Center. We are razor thin at those positions. For all the jokes about Urban Meyer recruiting 700 WRs this season, Georgia sure does have a ton of fullbacks and TEs laying around.
Grade vs. Need (of a Gamebreaker): A
Georgia returns Bailey (injured), Mohamed Massaquoi (So), Mike Moore (RFr), TJ Gartrell (RJr), Demiko Goodman (RSo), AJ Bryant (JR), Kenneth Harris (RSo) and Mario Raley (RSr). I swear to you that Raley played for Dooley. He's been at UGA forever. Other than Massaquoi, there's not a proven, healthy playmaker in that bunch. Lots of potential but little else. This class needed some gamebreakers, and we had mixed results. Tony Wilson looks fits the mold of big time player on paper. Kris Durham looks like he could become an Ed McCaffrey type of player, which is a good thing. Based on the sheer number of kids currently on scholarship, I didn't expect many recruits. We'll have 9 WRs on scholarship next year. If we don't start getting better production from this area, we're going to need to seriously re-evaluate our coaching.
Grade vs. Need B+
(The real need is to coach up what we have)
This guy would love our scholarship numbers at OT (sarcasm)
The only offensive tackles currently on scholarship for 2006 are Ken Shackleford (SR), Dan Inman (SR) and Michael Turner (SR). That's it. Chester Adams (JR) could play OT, and he's listed as such on the roster. Even though he's an OG on the depth chart, and he's a strong candidate to play OG the next two years. Take a look at the class separation on those guys. What Callaway, Richt and Garner have done (or haven't done as it were) in recruiting OTs the past two years is ridiculous. This year isn't much better. Justin "Bean" Anderson is a big time OL who is being recruited to play OT. Kiante Tripp is being told that he's coming in as a DE (not an OL) and at 255 lbs, he's not an OT anytime soon anyway. Josh Davis is an OT, but his HS coach thinks he's 3 years from contributing at Georgia. Miller is barely 17 years old, and in time he might grow into a big time OL (enrolling early was huge for him). The other guys look like interior OL. So....who the hell is going to play OT for us in 2007? Kathryn Richt is one helluva a woman, but she can't play OT. Scout.com is reporting rumors of Geathers going to prep school and signing with UGA next year. That's a great start for 2007, and we already have an OT committed for that class. That's good news b/c the 2006 crop of OL versus our very, very near term needs is really weak.
Grade vs. 2006 and 2007 Needs: D-
(Grade vs. 2008 and beyond needs: B-)
We're gonna miss this dude.
Returning guys like Chester Adams (JR), Zeb McKinsey (JR), Seth Watts (So), and Fernando Velasco (JR) must step up for Georgia. Their careers have been way too quiet vs. their high school pedigrees. Combine them with Ian Smith (RFr) and Nick Jones (SR) and we're in solid shape in 2006 and 2007 IF we coach up what we have. When you combine that group with Kevin Perez, Chris Davis, and Ben Harden, you have a nice class in terms of balance. It would've been nice to see some more blue chip headliners in this group, but this group has the "paper talent" to be productive. We just have to make something out of them, and hope to keep the shoulder surgeon away from them.
Grade vs. Needs: B+
If we can figure out the OT problem for 2007, I'd give this group and "A". If we can't figure out that issue, the other players will struggle to reach their full potential.
Thoughts on the defense coming soon.
[Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be a guru. I know that championships aren't won on paper or the internet. They are won when hard working kids are coached up and put in a position to be successful by hard working coaches. I'm basing the following on the feedback from recruiting services. Feel free to disagree, but don't assume that I'm doing anything more than giving my opinion.]