ATHENS - Plenty of Georgia fans have questioned why their football program doesn't sign more players - especially this year, in light of all the attrition that came after only signing 19 players.
Here's good news for those concerned: Georgia appears to be aiming at a high number this year. Potentially a very high number.
The commitment of three players on Friday brought Georgia's number to 12. And this is with about 10 months until National Signing Day.
I spoke to Rusty Mansell, the plugged-in recruiting analyst for Dawgs247.com, and he thinks the Bulldogs are targeting early enrollments in an effort to sign up to 30 players.
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"From talking to a lot of recruits it sounds like Georgia is putting a heavy emphasis on kids that can help them next year and early enrollees," Mansell said.
One of those could be a Friday commitment, inside linebacker Ryne Rankin. At least three other current commitments are trying to be able to enroll early: Quarterback Brice Ramsey, tailback Derrick Henry and receiver Tramel Terry.
Here's a key point: As I understand it, the SEC over-signing rules enacted last year still limit Georgia from signing more than 31 players:
- The rules state that a program can sign a maximum of 25 players between Dec. 1 and Aug. 1 in a given year.
- That said, if you don't sign the max 25, and you have a certain amount of early enrollees, you can play around with the number. Georgia signed 19 this year, and three of them enrolled early.
That's why the Bulldogs are trying to get early enrollments for the 2013 class. Because that's the way to get well beyond 25. From my understanding, it's not just a matter of carrying your under-signing (less than 25) number over to the next year. The basic goal of the legislation last year was to make it so you could only sign 100 over a four-year period.
In any case, Georgia is targeting a high number for its 2013 class. We'll see whether it ends up reaching 30, but as of now it wouldn't be for a lack of trying.
Here's what Mark Richt had to say on Saturday about all the early commitments:
“Sometimes it hits faster than others, you just don’t know,” Richt said. “We’ve done a good job of getting offers out there and pursuing these guys and let them know we want them, and getting them on the campus and all these things. So it’s been going good.”
And on how many he thinks they can sign:
“I know we can sign as much room as we can sign backwards and forwards, so it can be a pretty healthy class,” Richt said.