Monday, January 31, 2011

Recruiting in the Richt Era – Top 5’s

Mark Richt took over as Georgia’s head coach following the 2000 season and has enjoyed a lot of success on the recruiting trail. While Richt was able to secure stars like DJ Shockley as part of the 2001 recruiting class, the class of 2002 was his first full class in Athens. Here’s my opinion of some of the best and worst of recruiting in the Richt era:

Top 5 Players who “Lived Up to the Hype”
1. AJ Green – Any questions?
2. Matthew Stafford – The kid from Texas was expected to lead Georgia to a National Championship. We got pretty close during his sophomore season.
3. Max Jean-Gilles – I remember all the hype about how big this kid was and how we stole him away from Miami. He definitely fit the bill, becoming a multi-year starter and an All-American.
4. Kade Weston – The five star recruit from New Jersey, turned in a great Georgia career.
5. Paul Oliver – Another top 5 player at his position, Oliver really developed during his career. Too bad academics got in the way.

Top 5 “Busts”
1. Akeem Hebron – Originally part of the 2006 class, Hebron went to Hargrave and then came back to Georgia. But the 5 star recruit never materialized into much on the playing field and he finished his time at Georgia this fall having never really made an impact.
2. Brandon Miller – The number on DE in the country in 2004, Miller eventually found a home at linebacker. And while he became a starter and was good on special teams, his career never met the expectations that most fans had.
3. Darius Dewberry – Like Hebron, he also failed to qualify initially but still found his way back to Athens. His impact was minimal at best, but much better than Hebron’s.
4. Kregg Lumpkin – You could probably put the careers of Lumpkin and Caleb King in the same boat. Both were 5 star recruits considered as one of the top 5 running backs in the country. But injuries and a crowded depth chart hampered their development.
5. Marquis “Mud Cat” Elmore – While other players on this list were 5 star recruits, Elmore was not. But his name was so distinctive that he developed almost a cult status before he ever saw the field. He made little to no impact in four years, and failed to have a good career to match his nickname.

Top 5 “Overachievers”
1. Fernando Velasco – “Bubba” was a two star O-lineman but turned into one of the key players on the Dawgs offensive line in 2007.
2. Knowshon Moreno – Yes, he was highly recruited and was considered one of the best running backs in the country out of high school. But the fact that he was redshirted in 2006 means the coaching staff was not really sure what they had. Clearly, if you rated him again he would have been a 5 star recruit.
3. Danny Ware – Ware was originally recruited as a two star linebacker. The fact that he ended up as a successful running back is pretty impressive.
4. Christian Robinson – Robinson will only be a junior this fall, but his development has been fun to watch. I only expect him to get better over the next two years.
5. Brannan Southerland - Fullbacks are rarely rated above 3 stars, but maybe they should be. Southerland was a vital part of the Georgia offense during his four years.

Top 3 "What were the Experts Thinking"
1. Israel Troupe - He was Georgia's highest rated player according to ESPN in 2007. Really???
2. Joe Tereshinski/Logan Gray - Both were rated 4 star quarterbacks, but they are no where near the level of Aaron Murray.
3. Bryan Evans - Don't get me started.

So what are your top 5’s of the Richt era?


E Thomas said...

Top 5 Players who “Lived Up to the Hype”
1. AJ Green – Completely agree. He was as good on day 1 as advertised and a good kid, too.
2. DJ Shockley - While he did sit behind Greene for 3 years, his 1 year was worth it and DGD while he was at it.
3. Matthew Stafford – I have to agree but DJ is above Matthew because DJ won a ring.
4. Jeff Owens – Owens was a difference maker as a freshman. Remember he put Jamarcus Russell out of that SEC Championship Game
5. Paul Oliver – I'll always remember the way Oliver shut Calvin Johnson down in 2007. The play he made on the goal line may have been the defensive play of the year in '06.

Top 5 “Busts”
1. Akeem Hebron – Hard to argue with this. He never became the player everyone thought he would
2. Brandon Miller – Everyone thought he was going to be better than Charles Grant but it never happened. He's probably the legacy of Jancek.
3. Darius Dewberry – Hard to argue about this.
4. CJ Byrd - He never became the dominant safety I think everyone expected. Maybe it was the shadow of Sean Jones, Greg Blue, and Thomas Davis.
5. Marquis “Mud Cat” Elmore – Agree

Top 5 “Overachievers”
1. David Pollack - Everyone forgets in 2002 that people were worried he was a fish out of water at DE after being named Freshman AA at DT. BVG was a good defensive coach, but #47 made his job easier.
2. Thomas Davis - BVG made him an offer after watching him at a basketball practice. Everyone was like, "Who is this guy? Why is CMR wasting a scholarship on him?" I think we found out why.
3. Fernando Velasco – Completely agree and he's making good money on Sunday now
4. Clint Boling – I don't think anyone thought when he showed up on campus that he would be a 4-year starter and become a day 1 selection in the draft.
5. Brannan Southerland - He was a devastating lead blocker especially on the sweep.

Top 3 "What were the Experts Thinking"
1. JT3 - It's hard to believe he was a top 10 QB recruit. It shows how hard it is to evaluate QB talent. He was a good punt protector.
2. Kregg Lumpkin - He was a solid back but never was the difference maker we thought he would be.
3. Israel Troupe - It's been hard to believe he hasn't been able to live up to his rating.

BCSAV said...

Kade Weston turned in a great career?? He was a contributor but was no where near great at any point.

Good call on Velasco! He was the unquestionable leader on the 2007 team, according to a number of players on that squad. Behind 2002, this was the most fun season in the Richt era.

Biggest bust has to be Brandon Miller. I heard he was a good kid and the coaches didn't use him right but he never did anything.

On Bryan Evans: Amen.

Anonymous said...

Why is Kelin Johnson not on this list? I believe he was 2 star prospect and was one of the leaders of the 2007 Sugar Bowl team. He was one of my favorites that year.

- Drew