ATHENS - What is expected to be a very large signing class for the Georgia football team has begun to make it official.
Junior college prospects Chris Mayes and Jonathan Rumph have signed with Georgia, as the signing period for junior college players began on Wednesday. They join Ryne Rankin, who graduated early from high school and has already begun practicing with the Bulldogs.
Mayes is a nose tackle from Griffin who originally signed with Georgia in 2011. He didn't qualify academically so he spent the past two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he redshirted one season.
Mayes will have three years to play three seasosn - in other words, he has three years of playing eligibility and cannot take a redshirt season, having already used it. Mayes is listed at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, and will be a candidate for playing time, especially if Georgia junior Kwame Geathers turns pro.
"He's a big nose guard, well D-linemen, I don't know if he'll end up being the nose or not," head coach Mark Richt said. "But he can play inside, he's a 330-pounder. Very athletic kid. A kid that we really liked out of high school, and just really glad he's with us now."
Rumph, who played high school ball in Cayce, S.C., spent the past two years at Holmes Community College in Mississippi. He will be a candidate to help at receiver next year, especially after the injury to key receiver recruit Tramel Terry. Rumph, unlike Mayes, can take a redshirt season, and has two years of eligibility.
"He's 6-4, maybe 6-5. He's probably in the 220-pound range," Richt said. "He's very fast, a very explosive athlete. He is gonna come in and compete for playing time immediately, like we expect Rumph to."
Another junior college player, Kennar Johnson, was expected to sign, but UGA hasn't announced it yet.
Georgia is expecting at least 10 players to enroll early, and is hoping to sign well more than 30 players this February.