ATHENS - On the heels of perhaps Georgia's top recruiting commitment of this class, it's as good a time as any to check in on how the program is doing in advance of February's National Signing Day.
Here's a list of Georgia's current commitments, with star ratings from 247sports.com, and my own comment and projection of chance to play right away.
Before anyone goes too crazy with the projections, I should offer the caveat that these are very early predictions, and that before this season many thought Ray Drew would be a defensive star, Jay Rome would be too good to be kept off the field, Quintavious Harrow would never see the field and Malcolm Mitchell would make a good backup for Marlon Brown.
But it's useful, as we begin to look towards next year, to look at what Georgia has coming. Here you go:
TB Keith Marshall (5-11, 195), Raleigh, N.C. ..... 5 stars
Comment: You've probably already read a lot about this guy the last couple days. He'll enroll early and compete in spring practice.
Projection: Marshall will contend to start, and at minimum will share carries with Isaiah Crowell and Richard Samuel.
OT John Theus (6-5, 305), Jacksonville, Fla. ..... 5 stars
Comment: The brother of Georgia freshman long snapper Nate Theus committed over the summer, and is one of the nation's top-ranked offensive linemen.
Projection: A serious candidate to start at left tackle. With Georgia losing both of its tackle starters, Theus has a great chance to start somewhere, with Kenarious Gates shifting from guard to one of the tackle spots.
DT Jonathan Taylor (6-4, 317), Millen, Ga. ..... 4 stars
Comment: Also the nation's 55th-ranked overall player by Rivals.com. Jenkins County High School product committed in June. Gives the team another big, physical nose guard.
Projection: Despite presence of John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, might be too good not to play some snaps as a reserve.
DL John Atkins (6-3, 305), Thomson, Ga. ..... 4 stars
Comment: Georgia has decided it can never have enough big linemen. Rivals has Atkins rated as a three-star prospect.
Projection: Atkins is listed as a defensive tackle, but that would be for a 4-3 team. At Georgia he figures to play more on the outside, so he would have an oustide chance to play next year.
OLB Leonard Floyd (6-5, 211), Eastman, Ga. ..... 4 stars
Comment: Dodge County standout could also play defensive end, but would need to add weight.
Projection: Georgia's not hurting for outside linebackers, as evidenced by Drew struggling to see the field. But Floyd might be another player who's too good not to play.
OT Greg Pyke (6-5, 290), Baltimore, Md. ..... 4 stars
Comment: Projects as a tackle, though Will Friend wouldn't have any problem plugging him in at guard for depth reasons.
Projection: Given all the depth issues on the line, if Georgia doesn't get a bunch of JUCO recruits at that spot, Pyke has a good chance of seeing the field next year.
WR Blake Tibbs (6-1, 170), Lithonia, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: A speedy prospect whom Rivals ranks as a four-star prospect.
Projection: Georgia should be loaded at receiver next year, but it likes to have about six-to-eight guys ready to play at the beginning of the year. Tibbs could squeeze his way in.
LB Kent Turene (6-3, 230), Dawsonville, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: A signee this year who never made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse. He has maintained that he's still committed to Georgia, although he's free to sign with anyone else.
Projection: He'll be a candidate to play at inside linebacker, although as we saw this year Georgia is loaded at that spot.
FB Quayvon Hicks (6-2, 249), Blackshear, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: Pierce County High School star committed in June, and has ideal size for a fullback.
Projection: Zander Ogletree returns, but Bruce Figgins is gone, so Hicks could play.
ATH Faron Bauta (6-2, 222), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. ... 3 stars
Comment: A quarterback in high school who can also play tight end and fullback.
Projection: Bauta's ability to play a lot of positions - and the fact he plans to enroll early - makes him an intriguing candidate for immediate playing time.
TE Ty Smith (6-3, 230), Moultrie, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: The Colquitt County High School star committed back in March, and has put on some weight since then. He's an athletic tight end.
Projection: If Orson Charles leaves, Smith has a chance to play right away.
DE James Deloach (6-2, 249), Millen, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: Teammate of Jonathan Taylor, hoping to put on some weight and could also play OLB.
Projection: A redshirt candidate because of the depth at the position.
OT Chester Brown (6-5, 355), Hinesville, Ga. ..... 3 stars
Comment: A potential sleeper because of his size, and coaches really like him.
Projection: Don't rule out Brown getting some very early playing time, if he can pick up the blocking schemes.
K Marshall Morgan (6-3, 195), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ..... 3 stars
Comment: Blair Walsh figures to be replaced by a fellow South Floridan.
Projection: It's not a certainty that Morgan will be the guy, but he'll get every chance.
P Collin Barber (6-1, 190), Cartersville, Ga. ..... 2 stars
Comment: Punters are never highly-ranked, but George felt enough about Barber to offer him a scholarship.
Projection: The punting job could be wide open. Some current walk-ons could get a shot as well.