High School Sports

Mark Richt excited about Georgia's 2013 recruiting class

ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt limped into his signing day press conference on Wednesday, four days after having hip surgery.

"My wife will be mad to know that I walked in without crutches," Richt said. "She said don't do it. Then when I was walking in (here) I had a bunch of cameras on me with crutches, so I threw them off to the side."

The consensus among recruiting analysts and Georgia fans was that Richt's team had also limped to the finish on signing day as well, missing out on a number of top targets. But not Richt.

"As far as I'm concerned, we got the No. 1 class in America," Richt said.

Perhaps history will see it that way. But as of Wednesday evening it only ranked 12th nationally according to both Rivals.com and 247sports.com, and seventh among SEC teams.

The Bulldogs ranked higher before this week, when five-star recruits like Montravius Adams, Reuben Foster, Alvin Kamara and Laremy Tunsil opted for SEC rivals.

Still, Richt is resting his confidence on both the depth of the class -- 32, the most ever in his 12 years at Georgia -- and the potential of the signees.

"We took care of business in the areas that we needed," Richt said. "We got the guys that are very, very talented and are excited about being here. And we're gonna develop these guys into a great football team. That's what really matters the most."

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham also did his part to try to calm the masses. Speaking before fans earlier in the day, Grantham argued that having a player on campus already -- 13 of them enrolled early -- is just as important as signing a big name.

"Rather than have the splash of a signing day today and those guys committing to us, those guys, they're actually working with us this afternoon, for us to work together to get back to Atlanta and the SEC championship," Grantham said. "So those guys are here right now working, and what we get out of them in spring practice is more important than the initial shock of getting a guy on signing day."

The only two new commitments Georgia got on Wednesday were Davin Bellamy (a four-star defensive end/linebacker from Chamblee) and DeVondre Seymour (a three-star offensive lineman from Suwanee.) Seymour's father is former Georgia all-American and NFL all-pro Richard Seymour.

While Georgia didn't close fast, it felt the finish was overlooked. Perhaps to that end, Richt brought each of the early enrollees to the front of the room on Wednesday, asking each to introduce themselves to the room.

There is plenty of potential in the group, and the class as a whole. Seven different players are ranked among the nation's top 247 overall players, according to 247sports.com: Quarterback Brice Ramsey (No. 37), safety Tray Matthews (No. 99), receiver-running back Tramel Terry (No. 101), cornerback Brendan Langley (No. 181), tailback A.J. Turman (No. 185), cornerback Shaq Wiggins (No. 186), inside linebacker Tim Kimbrough (217).

Still, it was the first time since the 2010 class that Georgia failed to sign a five-star player.

"All those are different people's opinions on where those guys rank, and all those kinds of thing. But I think that we know as coaches that we got a great class," Richt said. "Guys that we're very proud of, very excited about. Somebody invented these rankings, somebody decided to rank these players and make a big deal out of it. But the reality is what's gonna happen when you hook it up and make a big play vs. Clemson. That's going to be the most important thing that people care about the most."

Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend, who worked for two years on Tunsil, avoided talking about it.

"These guys that we got, I'm excited about them," Friend said. "They're Georgia guys, and they wanted to be at Georgia, and they said they wanted to come to Georgia, they never wavered, so we're excited about those guys."