November 28, 2011

UGA's Rivals 100 targets

With the release of the new Rivals100 rankings, fan bases lament and analyze any and all movement of their favorite team's commits and targets. So how did Georgia make out in this second-to-last revamped rankings of the nations top high school prospects?

Georgia's highest-rated recruit in the Rivals100 is Bolles (Fla.) offensive tackle John Theus, who is No. 11 overall and kept his five-star status. The UGA commit has been touted as one of the gems of the recruiting class, with analysts projecting that he could easily end up as a left tackle in the NFL once his college days are over.

Known for his dominance on the field, Theus is also known for being a sideline staple at Sanford Stadium, trying his hand in some recruiting of his own.

One top prospect on Georgia's radar, who is the newest addition to the Rivals.com five-star family, is Lowndes athlete Josh Harvey-Clemons. Only seven new five-stars were given out in the rankings, and after being moved from linebacker to athlete, the Valdosta native made the biggest jump of them all, moving up 18 slots to No. 19 overall.

Harvey-Clemons is offered by UGA as an outside linebacker and still has plans to take his official visit on Dec. 9 for the team banquet known as the Gala. Florida is the main competition for Harvey-Clemons' signature come signing day, but rumblings suggest that the Dawgs could have a slight edge in his recruitment as of now.

Another hot topic recruit is Millbrook (N.C.) running back Keith Marshall, who landed at No. 31 in the rankings. Marshall, who rushed for 1.891 yards and 25 touchdowns this year, narrowly missed a coveted fifth star with the highest possible four-star rating, which is a 6.0.

Marshall's recruitment has created a lot of buzz as a result of his nationally recognized talent coupled with the needs of many teams in the backfield. Marshall's fondness of Georgia head coach Mark Richt was well known, and after an 0-2 start to the Dawgs season, the resulting question mark as to Richt's future with the program extended to Marshall's prospects of committing there. It might be of particular note that the Bulldogs loss to South Carolina, a major contender for Marshall's recruitment, occurred when Marshall was taking his official visit to Athens. Since then, the Dawgs went on to win 10 straight games, launching them into the SEC championship game.

The recruiting benefits of Georgia's ability to rebound to play on a national platform, which also has defused most - if not all - coaching questions about Richt for the time being, were leveraged further when Richt recently made comments to the media regarding a big opportunity for incoming recruits to contribute early in the Bulldog's backfield.

Marshall has set a press conference for his announcement for Dec. 6 and will enroll early to his program of choice.

Florida State commit out of Stone Mountain, Ukeme Eligwe, came in at No. 38, and is still a top target at linebacker for the Georgia coaching staff. He plans to take an official visit to Athens Dec. 9 for the Gala. Given the two teams seasons, the Dawgs might have an opportunity to make a big steal if they can make the right impression on an outwardly open-minded Eligwe.

Jenkins County defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor took a bit of a tumble to No. 55, but as the only UGA commit to slip, he still put up impressive numbers in his senior campaign with 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, three blocked field goals, and a pick-six that he brought back 80 yards.

Two huge UGA targets, who have tended to remain relatively tight-lipped through the recruiting process, are Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) defensive back Yuri Wright and Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) offensive lineman Avery Young, coming in at No. 57 and No. 60 respectively. The defensive back position is still a glaring hole in the Dawgs 2012 recruiting class, however it remains to be seen if Wright will be the player to take the spot. Still searching for instant impact players to fill in a thin offensive line, the UGA coaching staff should be recruiting Young hard to convince him join the Bulldog family. A possible positive sign for the Dawgs? He recently moved his official visit date to the Classic City from a game day weekend to the Gala, joining many of Georgia's other biggest name targets.

Harris County defensive end Jordan Jenkins is a four-star target that landed at No. 65 on the list. Florida and Alabama have a big lead for Peach State standout, but after taking his official visit for the Auburn blowout in Sanford, it appears that Georgia just might be back in the race, though they definitely still have a lot of ground to make up.

Filling in the No. 74 spot in the Rivals100 list, is Tampa's Tyriq McCord. Mccord, who finished his senior season with 59 tackles and 11.5 sacks, is a long shot for the Dawgs, but they have secured one of his five official visits that is set for Dec. 16.

Check out the full list of Rivals100 prospects here , and check back in Tuesday when the new Rivals250 comes out.





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