Wanted: Strong, fast, smart, healthy offensive linemen.
This Dawgs now have NINE non-senior wide receivers on the roster, and we have four non-senior tight ends on the roster. Next year, two more WRs and two more TEs on committed.
Unfortunately, the Dawgs have only 1 non-senior offensive tackle on the roster yesterday after true freshman John Miller walked away from football (Ugasports.com premium).
Miller's departure adds even greater frustration to the offensive line recruiting problems of Callaway's tenure. Ted Kian has a solid take on the situation. My thoughts below.
So where are the tackles? The answer...apparently we didn't recruit any.
-- Josh Davis, redshirting, is the kid whose high school coach commented after learning that he commited to UGA that he didn't see Davis contributing for 2-3 years.
-- Highly regarded offensive line prospect Kiante Tripp is redshirting this year as a defensive end.
-- Chris Davis, also redshirting, is practicing at Guard. Last I heard, he weighed about 270 lbs.
-- Alleged 5 Star OT prospect Clifton Geathers (Hargrave) looks to be more of a promising defensive end prospect for Georgia, and that's what he's playing in prep school.
-- Elite OL prospect Justin "Bean" Anderson (Hargrave) says Georgia wants him to play Guard.
-- That means we're banking on JUCOs (that haven't committed) or True Freshmen to play at least one offensive tackle spot next year. The other OT spot will likely be manned by Chester Adams (who can't possible be a downgrade from Inman).
Well surely we recruited OTs in the past few years right?
-- In 2005, we signed one offensive lineman. Center Ian Smith.
-- In 2004, we signed two offensive linemen. Chester Adams (OG/OT) and Seth Watts (OG)
-- In 2003, we signed several offensive linemen. But the only tackles we signed were Tommy Gainous, Ken Shackleford (who we promptly wasted his Redshirt year so he could protect on extra points), Trey Chandler and James Lee. Lee never visited Athens during the recruiting process. Is it any wonder that he got homesick or restless and left after 18 or so months? Gainous and Trey Chandler were ruled physically unable to perform within a year.
-- So...in the face of obvious and critical needs for offensive tackles that had existed for more than two years....we signed in 2006:
- 3 offensive linemen with grades that would get them no where near Athens for at least a year (Anderson, Geathers and Ben Harden). Currently, it looks like none of those kids will be playing tackle. Hopefully, that will change.
- A kid barely over 16 years old with a bad shoulder in John Miller.
- A potential "project" in Josh Davis
- 2 promising guard prospects that weighed around 260 lbs each.
- A promising OT that is playing defensive end. A position where we do have depth.
We're not in the position we're in with offensive linemen because we're unlucky.
We're in it because some combination of Neil Callaway, Rodney Garner and Mark Richt have been doing a lousy job of evaluating talent, transcripts and health of Offensive Tackle prospects while doing a questionable job of managing scholarships allotment.
The good news
Callaway does a good job of coaching up what he gets CONSIDERING the quality of the talent that he has brought on. And, Richt/Garner and the rest of the staff do a very good job of recruiting at all other positions.
That said, you can't look at the allocation of scholarships across the wide receivers, tight ends and even fullbacks and say that our recruitment of offensive linemen -- particularly offensive tackles -- makes any sense whatsoever.
Recruiting does look promising for 2007. Particularly at offensive tackle. But you can't fix the mistakes of the past 3-4 years in one year. Next year's team looks really interesting...except at OT where it'll take a White Knight Juco to save us. If you're a high school offensive lineman, Georgia has an opening for you.