ATHENS - The great worry for a reporter, when you have a mandated week off via work furlough, is that you will miss big news and be powerless to report on it. So as I sit back at my desk this Monday and take stock, here's where it stands:
- Major earth-shattering news (i.e. coaching change, player dismissed, athletic director arrested for DUI): Nope, dodged that.
- Other off-field news (player arrest, SEC schedule released, etc.): Nope, dodged that too.
- Recruiting news (top player in class de-commits, another de-commitment, and one new commitment): All happened. Didn't dodge that.
So yeah, good time for a recruiting update.
Derrick Henry, the five-star prospect from the Jacksonville, Fla., area, opened up his recruitment last week after being committed to Georgia for a year. This was not unexpected, as Henry had just visited Alabama, but it was major news nonetheless. Henry is a tailback prospect who can also play on defense.
Chad Simmons, the well-respect recruiting analyst for Scout.com, says he thinks Georgia is still very much in the running for Henry - but would give "the slightest edge" to Alabama. Tennessee and some other schools could also get involved.
"It's really going to be his choice of what kind of environment he wants to play in," Simmons said. "(Mark) Richt's known more as the compassionate coach, the player's coach who has a nice environment. And (Nick) Saban's known as that more professional coach with that style, who puts championship trophies on the shelf. ... I know for a fact he's weighing both of those options, the two types of personalities."
This wasn't the first de-commitment Georgia received for the 2013 class, and the Bulldogs can only hope it goes the same way as the first one: Receiver Tramel Terry from Goose Creek, S.C., ended up reaffirming his desire to come to Georgia.
Don't look for that to happen with the other de-commitment from last week, who was also a receiver.
Kyrin Priester, a four-star prospect from Snellville, opened up his recruiting again last week. Priester was reportedly unhappy that the Bulldogs were continuing to recruit a number of other receivers.
"I just think it came down to a numbers thing," Simmonos said. "Priester, it just seemed he had questions about why Georgia is bringing in so many receivers in this class. He wanted to be a featured kind of guy."
Georgia has commitments from four other receivers, including Terry. That's not surprising, since the Bulldogs only signed one receiver last year, Blake Tibbs, and have two seniors set to graduate after the 2012 season, Tavarres King and Marlon Brown.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs did get one new recruit on the ledger ... a receiver. (But he can also play defensive back.)
Rico Johnson is a bit of a mystery, as he didn't play last year because of transfer rules. (He will be a senior this year at Swainsboro High School.) So there's no film of Johnson, and Georgia coaches are going on what they saw of him in spring workouts.
"What you know about him right now is he's a 5-10, 5-11, 180-pound kid who can run," Simmons said. "He definitely has a good-looking body. Shaq Wiggins (a current Georgia commitment) is very thin and long, but he's got 20 pounds on Shaq. Now can he cover like Shaq Wiggins, we don't know."
The busy week leaves the Bulldogs at 19 commitments for the 2013 class. While the SEC signing limit is 25, the team is expected to sign upwards of 30 because the SEC roster management rules allow for that: Georgia only signed 19 last year, and a number of early enrollees for the 2013 class can count for the 2012 class. (Think of it this way: It's not who signs the first Wednesday in February, it's who signs in a given year, and enrolling early counts as signing.)
Georgia has a number of commitments who plan to enroll early: Terry, QB Brice Ramsey, ILB Ryne Rankin, OL Josh Cardiello, CB Reggie Wilkerson, DB Steven Nelson (a junior college transfer), and DL Chris Mayes (another JUCO transfer, who signed with Georgia in 2011).
Another player, CB J.J. Green, is going to try to enroll early. So would Henry if he ends up at Georgia.
So what's left for Georgia? The emphasis is on highly-rated players who can have immediate impacts.
Defensive tackle Montravius Adams, from Dooly County, is among those. So is OT Laremy Tunsil from Lake City, Fla., safety Vonn Bell from Ridgeland High - and Henry.
Georgia is also still pushing for Reuben Foster, the inside linebacker who has committed to Alabama. File that one under "never say never, but not likely." (My words.)
Henry's de-commitment also means tailback Alvin Kamara from Norcross will get more attention from the Bulldogs.
Depth-wise, the top needs were offensive and defensive line, defensive back and receivers. The latter two positions are on the way to being filled. But the big guys up front remain a need.
"Not only do they need more guys they need more top-end guys. Guys that can come in and compete and play right away," Simmons said. "They need more like John Theus, guys that can come in and compete, and understand that position, and are ready to compete in th SEC."
But they also need defensive linemen. They only have DeAndre Johnson on the current commit list. That's why Adams, Antonio Riles and Kelsey Griffin are top targets.
Here is the current list of commitments for the 2013 class:
CB Steven Nelson, College of the Sequoias (Calif.) ..... 4 stars (according to 247sports.com)
S Tray Matthews, Newnan ..... 4 stars
QB Brice Ramsey, Kingsland ..... 4 stars
WR-DB Tramel Terry, Goose Creek, S.C. ..... 4 stars
CB Shaq Wiggins, Tyrone ..... 4 stars
ILB Ryne Rankin, Orlando, Fla. .... 4 stars
OL Brandon Kublanow, Marietta .... 4 stars
CB Reggie Wilkerson, Cita, Fla. .... 4 stars
WR Reggie Davis, Tallahassee, Fl. .... 4 stars
WR Uriah LeMay, Matthews, N.C. .... 4 stars
LB Reggie Carter, Gwinnett .... 3 stars
CB J.J. Green, Kingsland ..... 3 stars
OL Aulden Bynum, Valdosta ..... 3 stars
OL Josh Cardiello, Buford ..... 3 stars
DT DeAndre Johnson, Newnan ..... 3 stars
DL Chris Mayes, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC ..... 3 stars
LB Johnny O'Neal, Dublin ..... 3 stars
WR-DB Rico Johnson, Swainsboro .... 2 stars