So Georgia’s recruiting class, ranked No. 3 in December, took a ratings dip at the wire. In the grand scheme, that’s no big deal. In the grand scheme, here’s what matters:
Wednesday’s haul marked the Bulldogs’ third top 10 recruiting class, as adjudged by Rivals, in five years. The other two were ranked No. 12. If the question is, “Has Georgia assembled enough talent to play for a national championship?”, the answer is yes.
At this late date, that’s really the only question. Entering his 15th season as Georgia’s coach, Mark Richt has won two SEC titles (none since 2005), has played for the SEC championship five times and has won 10 or more games nine times. That’s not nearly nothing. Neither is it everything.
After a promising regular season came undone near its end, a bit of back-and-forth’ing bubbled up. Some longtime fans began to concede that the Bulldogs had indeed become a serial underachiever. Richt defenders countered by saying he wasn’t getting enough monetary support.
That latter claim has been rendered moot. Georgia bumped the salary of Jeremy Pruitt, whose defense yielded 418 rushing yards against Florida, to $1.3 million. The Bulldogs will pay $950,000 to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who replaces Mike Bobo. They’ll pay $400,000 to new line coach Rob Sale, hired from McNeese State. And surely Richt will get his indoor practice facility, the lack of which somehow became a flashpoint.
Which isn’t to say that tension, be it external or internal, has dissipated. Asked in December if he believed Richt is capble of delivering a championship, athletic director Greg McGarity said: “Until I’m convinced he is not, then I believe he can.” It was surely no accident that, at Schottenheimer’s introduction, Richt thanked president Jere Morehead but not McGarity. (After his own contract extension, Richt did thank the AD via printed statement.)
Everything that happens with Georgia — new hires, new facilities, new recruits — must be viewed with the long-sought championship in mind. Does this class get the Bulldogs any closer? Maybe. But personnel has rarely been the problem.