Georgia Sports Blog FanShop

February 2, 2006

Recruiting Recap: Filling Needs on Defense

If you missed the earlier thoughts on the offense, you might read that first. The basic idea is that I compare the guys we landed vs. my perception of our needs in that area.

Overall a solid collection of talent on defense. It lacked the headliner defensive tackle that I would've thought we were a lock to land. When you combine glaringly available playing time, a spectacular NFL pedigree for draft day success at the position, with an established position coach who is a great recruiter, you have high expectations in that area. Otherwise a solid haul.

Position by Position...

Tradition never graduates.

Defensive Tackle
Next year we return Ray Gant (SR), Jeff Owens (So) and Kade Weston (RFr) as the frontline guys. They will be backed up by guys like Dale Dixson (SR) and Mudcat Elmore (SR). Two guys who have spent more time on the training table than butcher paper. We're thin there, and this class needed to build depth back.

Ricardo Crawford headlines the incoming group. He's smart enough to enroll early and according to Jeff Owens he's already strong enough to contribute. This kid is built like a brick shithouse. If he's as quick as he is strong, he'll give us the run stuffing, low leverage guy that we need immediately as a backup. Geno Atkins was a late surprise selecting the Dawgs over Auburn and others. Michael Lemon also had solid offers elsewhere and looks like a kid that can contribute after a redshirt year.
Grade vs. Needs: B
(We are really thin here, and needed more)

Charles Johnson and Brandon Wood both remind me of Charles Grant for some reason.

Defensive End:
The only place on the team where we are as thin as DE is OT. Thank heavens Moses returned for his senior year. Moses (SR) and Charles Johnson (JR) stack up well versus anyone. If Brandon Miller makes the logical move to Rush End, this group looks better for 2006. Their backups are Marcus Howard (JR) and Jeremey Lomax (RSo) who combine to weigh about 430 lbs. Just so we're all on the same page...210 lb defensive ends are the types of guys that end up holding the pocket liner from the other the team's offensive tackle and answering to names like Bridgett and Rebecca during games. (See AU vs. UGA 2005 as Marcus McNeil gives Howard "the treatment" on running plays).

Brandon Wood looks to be exactly what the doctor ordered. His High School videos look like Charles Johnson's did. Joining him is Demarcus Dobbs and possibly Kiante Tripp (who may start at OT. Who knows). These three guys will hopefully combine with some position changes (Howard to linebacker and one of our excess tight ends to DE) to give us some depth here. This is a PRIORITY area for 2007 recruiting. Especially if Tripp moves to offensive line. Note: Wood says he's within 1 point on his ACT. If he doesn't qualify, this group has serious 2006 depth problems.
Grade vs. Needs: B+ if Wood qualifies
Grade vs. Needs: C- if Wood doesn't qualify

Hebron is on the left. Click to enlarge.

Personally, I think this our best LB recruiting class since the '98 group that included Boss Bailey, Tony Gilbert, Charles Grant (non-qualifier), Kawika Mitchell and Will Witherspoon. I'm trilled. We return Brandon Miller (JR/possible DE), Ellerbe (they'll drop the ridiculous stolen car charge, but not the DUI so he'll stay. With a hefty suspension), Jarvis Jackson (SR), Tony Taylor (SR), Danny Verdun-Wheeler (SR), and Marcus Washington (So). Last year, this group suffered from injuries and an overall lack of speed.

The incoming group will help immediately in the speed and depth departments. Darius Dewberry headlines the group. Scott Kennedy at gushes about Dewberry's ability to cover WRs out of the backfield and to move in space. He'll play SLB for us. Akeem Hebron comes in at MLB. Both are 5 star guys with tons of potential; although, Hebron's weight would suggest a redshirt year. Darryl Gamble and Akeem Dent bring talent, speed and depth to this LB class. Now we have to coach them up better than we did last year to shed blockers and take better angles. Plus, we actually have to play some of these young guys instead of wearing our starters out.
Grade vs. Need: A+

No. The other Miller. At 5'8" maybe it's Miller Lite. I joke.

The Bulldogs lose two very solid and underrated performers in Tim Jennings and Demario Minter. Paul Oliver (JR) showed flashes of really stepping up his game last year. Thomas Flowers (JR) looked good on special teams, but I question his speed for full time duty. Mikey Henderson (JR) is the Shetland Pony of defensive backs. Bryan Evans (RFr) looks to make a competitive run at the starting job opposite Oliver. Remarcus Brown (So) is listed as a CB, but his game and weight room numbers scream MOVE ME TO WIDEOUT. Unfortunately, Richt hasn't asked me yet on this topic. Antonio Sims could also be moved back to CB in theory. He's bounced between safety and CB quite a bit.

Joining those returning guys is Prince Miller and Asher Allen. Allen enrolled early and returned a kickoff for a TD during Sugar Bowl practices. Miller is in the Tim Wansley / Tim Jennings mold size wise.
Grade vs. Need: B+ (I worry about Miller's size)

What we need is a Thomas Davis / Sean Jones combo. One big hitter and one ball hawk.

The Dawgs have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young safeties. Conversely, they have little in the way of proven safeties. Tra Battle (SR) returns to lead this group. Tra has made some big plays for us, but he is what he is. An undersized guy without great speed who doesn't play the run well. CJ Byrd (So) has all the talent in the world. Sims (So) is also blessed with ridiculous physical abilities. Kelin Johnson (JR) looks a bit slow to me, but he's been in the system long enough to step up and start if needed. Donavan Baldwin (RFr) and Coates (RFr) should get a look here too; although Coates might be destined for a move to LB in the future.

With Byrd and Sims as young exciting players, the Dawgs add Reshad Jones who Scott Kennedy called "arguably the best pure Safety in the South" and Quentin Banks another 4 star blue chip safety.
Grade vs. Need: A

It comes down to who qualifies and who doesn't. We need all the defensive linemen to make it. We're paper thin there.



Anonymous said...

Agreed on the Jones/Davis safety combo of '03, it was the best. I do vote against you on Kelin Johnson. His headhunting on special teams has impressed me. I really hope RaMarcus Brown gets the corner spot opposite of Oliver, dude has sick speed. He kinda reminds me of a less shifty, slightly faster Tyson Browning. Linebacker: Please, for the love of God, move B. Miller to defensive end. His talent and future is wasted at linebacker. I also pray that K. Weston lives up to last years hype. We need him big time. Can't wait for spring ball to see what happens. Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree on Kelin, Ramarcus, M Howard, B Miller. Kelin Johnson hits like a train, but his 40 yd time last spring was significantly slower than all the rest of the secondary players. Ramarcus certainly has the shiftiness and speed of a WR, the only question is his catching ability, which seems to be a liability as it is with most of the WR corp. M Howard has sick speed and the body type (actually closer to 225) to be a 'Ernie Sims-type' LB. B. Miller will likely be 250-255lbs by the start of spring practice, which combined with his height, long arms and inability to get leverage would seem to make him better suited to play DE. I would love to see more playing time out of D Baldwin, who had the fastest 40 time @ the UGA camp prior to his senior year in HS. Also A. Coates, who runs like a deer @ 6'4+ would seem to be a guy that would be a great deep threat as a WR (again if he can catch well). Just alot of random thoughts

C. Paul said...

On the subject of Ramarcus Brown - I believe that I saw that he won the Scout Team Offense award this past year - so that means he spent some time on O.

Great look overall-

Anonymous said...

this has nothing to do with anything you just wrote....

Can't spell Sugar without UGA

Ever since my first birthday, when I was given a UGA stuffed animal, I've been a huge Georgia Bulldog fan. After that day every game day has been spent waking up early to travel to Athens to tailgate for the game. Being around all the pageantry and tradition all my life has shaped me into a huge Georgia fan. Until January the 2nd my emotions for the week would vary from good to bad, depending on if the dawgs won their last game or not.
January 2nd was a day I had been anticipating for a month; it was the Nokia Sugar Bowl, Georgia vs. West Virginia in one of the biggest games of the year. The last time the dawgs had played it was weeks before, in the SEC Championship game vs. LSU, the dawgs won the game, and earned the right to play in the Sugar Bowl. Ever since the LSU game I had been riding high, I had so much emotion; nothing was bothering me at all. I just couldn't wait to see them again. My alarm clock went off, it was 8 a.m., January 2nd was finally here, I jumped out of the bed, had a shower and was dressed in no time at all. Sadly no one else got ready as quick as I did, so I had a little bit of down time before we finally left, it seemed like an eternity before we were finally leaving for the Georgia Dome.
We picked up one of my good friends, Savanna, who happens to be just as big of a Georgia fan as I am. After about an hour and a half we were finally in Atlanta, Savanna and I went to tailgate with a big group of fellow dawg fans. It was a very festive atmosphere, Glory to ole Georgia was cried out loud all day long, sounds of barking dawgs, footballs were thrown, food was eaten, beer was drank, there was a good time to be had by all. There were stories of great bulldogs of the past, of what is now Alltel stadium in Jacksonville shaking like there was an earthquake after LINDSEY RAN, of stealing Herschel Walkers first love letter to what would be his future wife, right off of her car. He never found out that it happened like that, for all he knew she got the letter. With all the fun, there was still only one thing on my mind.
After a long day of sitting, and waiting, it was finally time, we said our goodbyes and wished good luck, we wouldn't see most of these people again for a year, and still the last thing we said to each other was Go Dawgs sic em. It was time to head into the game, we went to our gate, found our seats, introduced ourselves to the people around us as seniors at UGA majoring in business management. The players were on the field were warming up; the coaches were whispering words of encouragement to each player. I realized that I was in my habitat, I was as happy and as comfortable as I have ever been before in my life, I got the feeling in my stomach that only a Georgia game has ever given me.
At kickoff everyone was on their feet, the dome was filled, no empty seats, the place was rocking. The game had finally started, for a whole quarter Georgia fans were suffering, after the first quarter the score was West Virginia 28-0. If it wasn't for me getting my lucky shaker back from Savanna, and all the good karma our section was creating by staying positive the dawgs probably would've lost 100-0. Our glasses were half full, I think everyone in the stadium expected it to still be a game, the dawgs came storming back and made it into one. In the 4th quarter the dawgs got within five, after another touchdown pass by the beloved D.J. Shockley. That's as close as UGA would get, a fake punt with less than 2 minutes to go sealed the deal. West Virginia came out of the gates swinging and had just enough to hold of the dawgs from one of the biggest comebacks in history.
On the way out of the dome, it was eerily quiet in one aspect, but rocking in another, I was so zoned out I couldn't even hear the West Virginia fans making all their noise. Walking back to the car, I made the statement "if a mountain-queer says anything to me, it's a butt whooping." Luckily I was with a level headed person, Savanna told me that I was a baby, and that I shouldn't act the way I was, she said "Joe don't be like that, look at the year we had, look at the SEC Championship, don't focus on this one game, think about the great year we had." I didn't know it, but that one statement would affect me more than I ever thought it would. Now instead of letting one bad day get to me, I always seem to have a half full glass. Now even after a loss I can still be proud and say "Georgia Hail to Thee." It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Copyright 2009 Georgia Sports Blog. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan