The only real question: Does this class get UGA closer to a title?

Mark Richt and his new high-salaried assistants on Signing Day. (Sean Taylor/University of Georgia)

Mark Richt and his new high-salaried assistants on Signing Day. (Sean Taylor/University of Georgia)

Mark Richt and his high-salaried assistants on Signing Day. (Sean Taylor/University of Georgia)

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.

Reader Comments 0

271 comments
California Dawg
California Dawg

Will Jacob Eason redshirt in 2016 to put some distance between himself and the other qbs and to learn the playbook or will he compete right away to become the starter?

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

5 star recruit Keith Marshall gets buried in the depth chart by two true Freshman.  

Ha ha ha ha hah

FairValue
FairValue

The Dogs have the talent to win the weak SEC east, but they will get a beatdown by alabama in the SEC title game.

96JB
96JB

All we really have is hope. A bunch of new players coming in and some new coach's. Outside of 3 or 4 teams nationally, that's all any of us have

SeanLB
SeanLB

Same as it ever was.


Same as it ever was.  

TruTecher
TruTecher

The verdict?


UGA will:


Beat Louisiana-Monroe

Beat Vanderbilt

Beat South Carolina

Beat Southern University

Lose to Alabama

Lose to Tennessee (they are due)

Lose to Missouri

Beat Florida

Beat Kentucky

Lose to Auburn

Beat Georgia Southern

Beat Georgia Tech (realistically)


So they will go 8-4 and beat someone like Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. You read it here first.

PJ25
PJ25

@TruTecher I'm not sure I'd have them in the win column over UF just yet because like last year, I bet UF plays with a chip on their shoulder. 

HeyThere
HeyThere

@TruTecher Yea this is Georgia football in perpetuity. Also the fan base will turn on one of the coordinators. zzzzzzzzzz...

reckingball
reckingball

The UGA bulldogs should have been in the final four playoffs for the NCAA NC this past season. The reason that they were not, has nothing to do with money. They were not, because of bad/poor coaching. That's my opinion.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@reckingball  That's what you'll never make the Disneys understand.  2014 was set up perfectly for a championship run.  We had all the ingredients.  A strong running game, strong O-line, a QB who doesn't make a lot of mistakes, a solid defense and, last but not least, a VERY favorable schedule.  There were no truly dominant teams in the SEC this year.  They were all beatable.  Richt blew it.  He just flat out blew it.  We lost again on the road in Columbia.  God only  knows what the hell happened against Florida.  Both games were AFTER off weeks.  Unfreakingbelievable.  We choked against Tech. One week we look like world beaters and the next we look like we belong in the Belk Bowl.  That's what happens when your program has no purpose and direction.  That's Mark Richt Football summed up in one sentence.


Its not going to happen folks.  We will never win another championship again so long as Richt as our coach.  I've never been more sure of anything in my life. 

JCDCumming
JCDCumming

@dawg fan @reckingball  Disneys?  Who you calling Disney's, If anyone is the "Disneys" it's you two.  2014 set up for a strong Championship run?  You didn't pay much attention, but I'll jog your memory:

2013:  UGA's defense was horrendous.  Actually, UGA finished top 25 in sacks, but the secondary was horrendous.  In 2013, the Defense started 7 TRUE freshman at some point and the secondary, which was horrible, lost 3 of their 4 best players to thuggery (Auburn and Louisville) after the season. They may have been the best players we had on a HORRIBLE defense.  We also had Hutson Mason (who should be commended for sticking around and being loyal to UGA) who simply was average at best.  He looked horrible in the Tech game and was downright miserable vs. Nebraska in the Gator Bowl.

Going into 2014, outside of the schedule, I don't know where you thought that this was a championship caliber team with Mason at QB and a defense that had absolutely no talent and was the youngest we'd see in years.  We also had a banged up WR core and quite frankly, nobody knew the impact Chubb, Sony and the others would have at RB.  And a new DC that had nothing to work with. 

If you couldn't see that this was a rebuilding year then you are the Disney.  Oh but wait, you are the one that drank the Kool-Aid when we beat Clemson with our top notch DEF (that gave up 21 points in the first half) and the great offense (vs. a bad Clemson DEF).   From that point forward, you Disney's thought we were championship bound cause we beat Auburn with a Lake. 


And to go further, and "for the record", so you don't write how 2015 is a "championship caliber team", I'm telling you right now that 2015 will be much of the same, and it has nothing to do with the coaches.

1) We have no QB right now that is even remotely impressive.  I mean, none of the ones on the bench could take the reins from Mason . . . . . . I think Joe T could start again.

2) The defense is still very young and we are having to make up in it for LB and DL.  It's gonna take at least another year

3) RB's, we should be good here, just like last year, but Chubb and Sony gotta learn to hold onto the ball.

4) the schedule is much tougher than last year.


The "Disneys" are all you delusional fans who think there are 10-15 Nick Sabans and Urban Cryer's out there who want to come to UGA b/c we are UGA.  Richt ain't the best coach, but he sure as heck is a top 10 coach, and there have been plenty of coaches who took a decade to win a Nat title, bobby Bowden, guy at Nebraska, Dooley, Paterno, etc. 

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@JCDCumming So, I guess that list of shortcomings that you included above "has nothing to do with the coaches." Right. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@JCDCumming @dawg fan @reckingball  Oh okay Mr. Super Fan.  So we were NOT capable of beating the worst Spurrier team of all time?  We were not capable of beating 5-4 Florida with a true freshmen QB and a lame duck head coach?  Its too much to ask for us to beat Tech in our own freaking stadium?!?!?!?!  These are the teams we lost to.  We go even 2-1 in those games and we're playing Bama in the Dome for a spot in the playoffs.  You act like we lost to Oregon, Ohio State and Florida State Captain Clueless.


Rebuilding year my arse.  Grow a pair and stop making excuses.  Its nothing but excuses out of you clowns year after freaking year.  Its sickening. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@SkokieDog @JCDCumming  I can't believe they're still using the new QB excuse after Ohio State just won it all with a 3rd string quarterback. 


These Richt clowns really are unbelievable.  They live in a freaking dreamworld.

robodawg
robodawg

If you could rank the talent of teams that actually take the field over the course of each season, as opposed to who signs in February (taking account of nonqualifiers, injuries, transfers, dropouts, and dismissals), I'd bet Georgia would rank a level or two below the national title winners, especially after the 2008 season. (At least national title winners not named Auburn, who prove it's better to be lucky than good.) 

If you had a good enough formula to account for experience (John Theus as a junior vs John Theus as a freshman) and condition (5-stars like Keith Marshall or Malcolm Mitchell playing at much less than 100%), the differences would be even wider. And if you could break that down by position group, you'd see some glaring holes in our talent level. After 2008 I don't think we'd even be in the same class except perhaps 2012, and that team -- despite notable depth issues -- was a tipped pass away from playing a mediocre Notre Dame for the mythical title.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@robodawg  Well then it sounds to me like Mark Richt is doing a poor job in recruiting and needs to hit the road.


The Richt fans can get out of their own way with all their excuses.

JCDCumming
JCDCumming

@robodawg  I'm waiting on everyone to talk about how we have so much talent in the NFL and that there is no excuse for us not winning a National championship. As of right now, UGA has 48 players on NFL rosters, which is 7th.  Funny thing is, USCal, Miami, Fl and ND have just as many if not more and they've been mediocre at best the last 3-5 years. 

And if you want to go further, please name more than 5 players from UGA currently on NFL rosters who are actually contributing, or have their name in the paper on a weekly basis.  And AJ Green and Stafford don't really count cause they were destined for the NFL before they stepped foot on a college campus. 


DiehardDawg
DiehardDawg

I didn't think it was possible to put so many lame excuses into two paragraphs. Congratulations!

mike dinkins
mike dinkins

@dawg fan @robodawg  robodawg where are you from  why don t you kind of you know like for tech or Georgia state, the way you can shut the fu*( up

monty1
monty1

Defense wins championships. Bama didn't have their normal defensive juggernaut like they usually do, yet their offense under KIffen broke records, if I'm not mistaken. So,there you go. If Pruitt hangs around long enough he will build a great defense, no doubt. The problem next  season will be an inexperienced QB will be running the show. Good news is Chubb and company should make the QB only have to be a game manager.

TouchdownGurley
TouchdownGurley

Here's my take on the situation. I think Georgia has certainly underachieved at times and as head coach, part of that is certainly on Mark Richt (let's hope he never makes a squib kick decision in that situation again!). However, I think we also need to realize two things here: 1. Almost all of the losses Georgia has had the past three seasons or so have been on the defense. Look at most of the games the dawgs have lost since the start of the 2012 season and you'll realize a common pattern- the defense let us down. The close loss in Atlanta in which our team gave up over 300 yards rushing to Bama, the pathetic defensive showings against Clemson, Missouri, Auburn and even Nebraska and Vanderbilt in 2013, the early-season defensive failure against the Gamecocks this year... Usually, it was at least mostly on the defense for us losing games (not the quarterback, not Mike Bobo, the defense). And if we look back all the way to the '08 season, in two of the three losses, our offense put up 30+ points, but the defenses were destroyed. Finally, in the second half of the 2014 season, we started to see the difference Pruitt is making with the defense. And he was doing with that a team made up almost entirely of Grantham's players. Look at what the man did against Malzahn and Petrino's offenses late the season. Now, he has brought in some studs on the defensive line and in the secondary to go along with our talented pass rushers and stud safety Dominick Sanders. Given that infusion of talent, particularly in two areas where we sorely needed it, logic would hold that the defense will be much-improved and therefore, the team will be much improved. If you improve the weakest area of the team, the team gets better! Now, that doesn't mean Richt is all of a sudden going to start out-coaching some of the better coaches in this league, but it does mean we should win a lot more of the close games when our weakness becomes a strength. I believe in Coach Jeremy Pruitt. He is a winner. Defense wins championships and while I'm not ready to say this class will win us the SEC in the next couple of years, I do think the team will be much better overall. Just imagine if Georgia had an over-average defense in 2012... With our offense that season, or even 2013, that would have made us a scary team.


2. I love Georgia football and would love to see us get to a point where we are challenging for the College Football Playoff almost every season. But the truth is, the history of Georgia football has less years like that than a lot of fans realize. Since Dooley left, Richt's run has been the best UGA has had. And for many years prior to Dooley, our program really didn't have a ton of elite teams. I'm not saying Georgia couldn't hire a head coach who could lead us to a national title, but a lot of coaches out there aren't any better than Richt is. Some are great assistants, but would do worse than Richt is currently doing.

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@TouchdownGurley The Georgia demographics have changed dramatically since Dooley retired and especially since Richt took over. Any comparison is apples and oranges. 

Many want to give Richt a pass because of the bad defenses as if he has no responsibility for that side of the ball. He is the program's head coach. Blaming the D for losses falls on Richt as much as anyone. Same with special teams. Don't blame a kicker for a bad squib kick when there is not a coach on the staff that knows anything about kicking. That's on Richt.


When 20 of the top 25 players in Georgia sign with out-of-state schools this year, there's a problem. When 10 of the top 25 signed with out-of-state schools we play on a yearly basis, there's a problem. When the Dawgs routinely go into the season with less than 85 scholarship players, there's a problem. Heck, the most feared punishment from the NCAA for most schools is the loss of scholarships. Not so for Richt. It's like we are on self-imposed probation.


We have to go no further than Coach Mark Richt to find where the problem lies.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

@Dr. P. @TouchdownGurley 

The answer isn't "L" or "X" on that question, but I have a pretty good hypothesis on Spurrier in that imaginary situation :)

Dr. P.
Dr. P.

@TouchdownGurley with all due respect, elite programs have elite Coaches....Richt is not/ will not ever be an elite Head Coach.
As much as I despise Spurrier, can you imagine what he could have done with the talent of UGa players ?? 

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

UGA gets an average class of 8 in the recruiting rankings. Nothing more than 9-10 win seasons come every year and then all of a sudden you have UGA players on NFL teams with 10 year careers. What gives? 10 wins a year is good. It's not great and it's a long way from contending/winning a NC.


But let's be honest here folks. This is the best run UGA football has had since Herschel. Why should I expect to contend every other year???? We never have before.



mike dinkins
mike dinkins

@dawgfacedboy if you would go look a vince dooleys record and the come back and complain I take marks record over him any day. please prove me wrong

PJ25
PJ25

You would think for $4 million per year Richt could get rid of the grandpa khakis and get some that are close to fitting. 

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@Andy123 Well, I thought of that as I looked at the photo. It really isn't a good look for a big university football coach. He looks like grandpa telling the crowd, "Shucks, let's just play some ball and have us a goodin' time, fellas. Win or lose, we're all winners, right? What do you say?"

RandyHall
RandyHall

dawgfaceboy.....is correct....UGA has had it's share of players (depth at positions has been a concern....that was from a past Garner recruiting factor (CMR should have alleviated that problem before it ever festered)...and expect your normal attrition of suspensions, arrests, dismissals, and transfers (hopefully the departure of Van Halenger will change some of that issue)...plus the addition of a Real S&C Coach (not the Video Coordinator) should improve their play...a lot of changes, but CMR will have to overcome himself and not lose games he shouldn't lose...I see a loss next year to AL, to TN, and possibly call another "SQUIB" and lose to GT...TIME FOR CMR TO WIN A NC...15 YEARS AND COUNTING!!

GTBob
GTBob

I am thinking of this a different way today. UGA didn't win a national championship last year because they lost three games. How many of those games did UGA lose because they had less talent than their opponent? If the answer is zero then this class probably doesn't really improve the situation.

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@GTBob From a recruiting class ranking standpoint it depends... if these rankings are 100% accurate then we lost no games because we had less talent (maybe UF had a better class ranking over the last 4 years but I'm not sure).  If we think the rankings/stars are inflated, as many here suggest, then we just don't know who had better talent.  Also, if the rankings are inflated then maybe UGA's recruiting class should routinely be ranked around 15-20 instead of between 5-10... in which case the argument can be made that UGA is getting more out of the talent and not less.  Something has to give...  Either the rankings are very accurate and UGA under-peforms (I'm more on this side) or the rankings and stars are all a joke and UGA is really performing better with the talent they have.

chrisbeyer
chrisbeyer

@GTBob Yea, GT has had such a stellar track record over the last 10 years.  Keep it up Pal.  Last year was a blip on the screen.

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@chrisbeyer @GTBob Georgia Southern was 2 late-game fumbles away from taking down both GT and NC on their own fields.....2 clubs from the mighty ACC. I would think GTBob would just take his '14 aberration quietly and just be glad he was able to live to see it happen.

GTBob
GTBob

@Maggot_Man Yep. Georgia Southern came closer to beating Tech than UGA and Miss St did. Two top 15 powerhouses from the supposedly mighty SEC.

oledawg
oledawg

@DoubleDawg @GTBob  Since no 5 star player started for either team in the Super Bowl I would say the rankings are very inaccurate and mean very little.  They are simply a well oiled money making machine that feeds off people like us.  "Do they rank them for free or do they charge for you to look at their sites?)

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@FlatTire @DoubleDawg who said the rankings were bad?  I said I am more on the side of the argument that the rankings are pretty accurate.

In the last 10-15 years UGA has finished the year ranked better than their recruiting class ranking, about the same as their recruiting class ranking, and worse than their recruiting class ranking.  What does that really prove?

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@oledawg @DoubleDawg @GTBob Ohio St had the #1 Recruiting class per Scout in 2013 and just won the NC.  That is the correlation you are looking for.  How do the class rankings compare to actual results of college teams.  Check the last 10 NC winners and then look at their recruiting class ranking and you will see that there is a clear correlation/pattern.

You just have to look at it the right way.  Just because you get a good recruiting ranking it does not mean you will do well... but if you do well I can guarantee you had some success per these recruiting rankings.  Subtle difference but a difference nonetheless

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@FlatTire @DoubleDawg My opinion is that the recruiting has been good enough but we have under performed in some way each year.  Last year we lost to 3 teams who were not as good.  I have been a CMR supporter but that falls on him.  Coaching decisions that were poor.  I still have hope he can do it but that hope has faded substantially over the last few years. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@DoubleDawg   if the 2 or more loss trend continues with a new OC and DC the next few years then I dont think we will be winning anything substantial 

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Only 3 teams (all Alabama) in the last 10 years won the NT in the same season they had the #1 ranked recruiting class.

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@GeorgeJetsen really an insignificant statement.  Look at the last 10 NC's and then look at their most recent recruiting class ranking.  The points is EVERY winner has had success according to the recruiting rankings.  It isn't about the #1 recruiting class being the #1 team the exact same year....generally speaking if you win a NC you had a top 10 recruiting class the previous few years. It's that simple.

JCDCumming
JCDCumming

@DoubleDawg @oledawg @GTBob  Double, not a good analogy b/c having the #1 recruiting class in 2013 means that OSU started a ton of freshman to make their Nat Championship happen.  And they didn't.  They certainly had a freshman class that contributed b/c they had a young  team, but this ain't the reason.  However, I'd say that OSU might be here to stay coming off a NAT championship and still having a young team.


FlatTire
FlatTire

@DoubleDawg  if the rankings are bad why is Alabama still wining conference and national championships?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@DoubleDawg  so with that said since the state of Georgia ranks between top 2-5 every year; UGA recruiting has been subpar then


and until UGA ranks consistently where the state of Georgia ranks; we should expect more exciting department store bowls with meaningless 10 Win seasons