ATHENS, Ga. — It’s still early in the recruiting season for 2010, but Georgia’s coaching staff is already looking into what needs will have to be addressed.
Among the biggest concerns for many Georgia fans has been at defensive end, where Georgia landed just one pass rusher in its 2009 recruiting class — Montez Robinson out of Indiana. The Bulldogs have already landed defensive end Jalen Fields as their first commitment of the 2010 class, however, and Rod Battle figures to be the only loss at year’s end, so recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner isn’t overly concerned.
“We have numbers at defensive end, they’re just all hurt,” Garner said.
The interior part of the line is a much bigger concern, Garner said. With three seniors — Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Geno Atkins — all leaving at year’s end, the depth at the position could get shallow awfully quickly. Prior to the 2009 class, the Bulldogs had signed just two tackles — Richardo Crawford and DeAngelo Tyson — in the past three years, putting plenty of pressure on Garner to land a big group of impact interior linemen in 2010.
“We’ve got to sign at least two to three (at defensive tackle),” Garner said.
After landing two of the top quarterback recruits in the nation in 2009 in Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray to go along with rising sophomore Logan Gray, Georgia figures to be solid at the position for the foreseeable future, but with the departure of fifth-year senior Joe Cox, head coach Mark Richt said he’d still like to nab at least one more quarterback in 2010.
“We need to sign one because Joe’s going to leave and four is really the minimum you should have in one season,” Richt said.
The additions of tight ends Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch in 2009 have reduced one other need, but beyond that, Garner said he expects Georgia to go hard after every other position in 2010.
“I think it will be a pretty balanced class,” Garner said. “We may not sign a tight end in this class, but I think at every other position, there will be numbers.”
For all the hard work the players have put in on the field this spring, Richt said there have not been many changes on the team’s depth chart at this point.
While Saturday’s spring game could certainly shake things up, and a bevy of players returning from injuries will be added to the mix, the most notable change to Georgia’s rotation has been the promotion of Marcus Washington to the No. 2 unit at middle linebacker ahead of Marcus Dowtin.
“I basically had to sit out a whole year, and I had to get myself into football shape,” Washington said. “You can get into shape, but it’s a lot different than being in football shape, and I think I’m at that point right now.”
As much as Washington has spent the spring getting into shape physically, he said the chance to finally get out on the field and start laying out a few hits again has done a lot for him mentally.
A year away from the game he loves was difficult, and now that he’s back at work, he couldn’t be happier.
“Sitting out the whole year, you’re watching your guys out there every day practicing or in the games and you can’t play, it hurts, and it sits with you in your heart,” Washington said. “When you get back out there, you’re like, ‘OK, this is what I’ve been missing.’ ”
Wide receiver Kris Durham will miss the remainder of the spring with a shoulder injury. Durham said he hasn’t decided yet whether to undergo surgery or simply rehab the injury. … After Richt hinted linebacker Akeem Hebron might be ready in time for the G-Day game, the coach announced this week that Hebron would instead wait for the summer to get back to full-contact practice. … Baccari Rambo missed much of the past week with a shoulder injury, but should play in the G-Day game, Richt said. … Safety Bryan Evans suffered a concussion in last Saturday’s scrimmage, but Richt said the senior was recovering well and should be fine by the end of this week.