Bama (Natl Champ)
Alabama Crimson Tide (National Championship)
L, 23-26

The Georgia Bulldogs got off to another hot start in the recruiting process by wrapping up the majority of their class before August. Experts are calling this the worst Bulldog class in over a decade. And while most of that is because of how we got "Da'Rick'd" on Signing Day, I think another point has to go to our loss of three defensive coaches during the heart of the recruiting period. Now that the Signing Day dust has cleared, UGA fans can do two things from here: we can sulk about our so-called expert rankings from recruiting gurus or we can look at the talent that did stick with Georgia and analyze their potential as they begin to arrive on campus. Upon further research, I'm seeing this class as another strong one with many three-stars that could become four-stars in college. It's heavy on size and potential so let's breakdown each recruit and predict the potential and use over the next 3-5 years in Athens. I've ranked them starting from the most important - with the biggest upside, need, and overall value in terms of talent.

Alec Ogletree - A big safety out of Newnan, it will be interesting to see if he develops into a strong safety or outside linebacker. Either way, his talent level and potential is through the roof. He could see a little playing time this year but expect big things out of him wherever he ends up playing in the next two years. A potential NFL first rounder.

T.J. Stripling - Mark Richt has certainly learned the value of stockpiling DE's after the last two years subpar ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Stripling bring the total package to Athens and his physical development could land him a Jevon Kearse-type college and NFL star. He could be used as a defensive end but I'm predicting he'll be a constantly blitzing outside linebacker for Grantham. Sky's the limit for TJ.

Mike Thornton - A huge defensive tackle at 6'2", 280lbs right now. His size and relative speed seem perfect for Grantham's 3-4 offense where you need enough size to fight off multiple blocks and a good first-step to plug either running gap. You can never put a value on defensive tackles simply because size and speed are very rare. With Owens, Atkins, and Weston gone, one of UGA's biggest focuses was restocking the defensive trenches.

Brent Benedict - I can't help but look at this guy and think he's the next Clint Boling, only with more upside. He should be a regular at either tackle position very soon. His size and flexibility will make him a great outside blocker with defensive ends who are trying to use space to get around him. Expect him to see the field very early.

Jakar Hamilton - Nicknamed the "Hit Man" he's a huge recruit because he can play now. He'll take over Reshad Jones' position and hopefully continue the long line of big hitters at the safety position. He should provide a great one-two punch with Bacarri Rambo.

Garrison Smith - Another big defensive tackle signing, at 250lbs, he could move to DE with Grantham's 3-4 package, or he could put on size and stay at DT. I like him because of his versatility and he's been a strong commit since the day he told everyone he was going to play college football at UGA.

Jalen Fields - 6'5" 250lbs is rare enough but when you add that to his 4.6 speed, he becomes a great signing for Georgia. His frame is perfect for the 3-4 at defensive tackle, defensive end, or outside linebacker. He's a true utility athlete for Grantham and he should be able to plug Fields in at any position he chooses.

Dexter Morant - A huge defensive end out of the state of South Carolina. I'm not sure where he will end up but I think he will be a force wherever that may be. At 6'7", he's got the frame to develop into a strong 3-4 DE or possibly a left tackle for Stacy Searels. I think he'll stay on defense and provide the size and strength to become a tough block on the inside lanes.

Demetre Baker - With his size and speed, he should be a two-year starter at one of the two inside linebacker positions. In a class that missed a few chances to get much needed linebackers, Baker could have the inside edge to contribute early and supplant a starting position by the time he's an upperclassman.

Kolton Houston - Some times I look at this class and think Mark Fox is doing a great job rebuilding the basketball program. This class has definitely been about size and Kolton Houston is no different. Buford has become a hotbed of big-framed football players and many of them have been successful at the college level. He'll fight for playing time with Searel's young and talented roster of offensive linemen but his size and strength could push him into the all-important left tackle position. Imagine a future line with Kolton Houston, Austin Long, AJ Harmon, Chris Burnette and Brent Benedict. Solid!

Derek Owens - At 5'11", 180lbs and a 4.4 forty, I like his ability to be a strong corner with enough speed to keep up with receivers. I'm even more excited about our commitment to recruiting bigger corners, too. Sure, he's not huge, but with most of our recent corners standing at 5'8", this kid is the Leonard Pope of UGA corners right now.

Ken Malcome - A four-star running back with a big frame, Malcome is a nice pick-up for the Bulldogs, however, UGA is stacked at running back at this moment and always have a knack for grabbing a high-profile ballcarrier seemingly whenever they want. It makes sense that King and Ealey are the future now and another top running back will come in next year or the year after. Therefore, his power and size could transcend into the next Brannen Southerland at fullback.

Mark Deas - Another big defensive back for Georgia, depending on his speed, he could end up being a safety or an inside linebacker. It's hard to tell what he could become at the next level but he's an important signing because he could play up to three or four positions for Grantham.

Michael Bennett - I don't know much about this kid but I've heard he's tough, makes every catch, and has surprising speed for his size. He could become a great third option on the lines of Kris Durham, Damien Gary, and Bryan McClendon. With the loss of Da'Rick Rogers to Tennessee on Signing Day, Bennett now becomes the sole wide receiver in this class who will be on campus this year, so his importance to the team becomes immense.

Kenarious Gates - Any time you see a 6'5", 300lb player you immediately think "potential." Gates will be a project in college and has the tools to become a starter. I don't think he'll see the field the first few years of college but he could become a one or two-year starter with the right development and focus.

Brandon Burrows - Burrows may be a guy who gets lost in the shuffle. I never want to predict that with any player who hasn't at least gone through one year of college football but I think the defensive end position is becoming deep with this class and the linebacker position is now all about speed. Burrows could be a Demarcus Dobbs-type player who plays a little beyond his abilities and does the little things to make up for the fact that he may not be fast enough to get to the quarterback.

Huston Mason - Mason put up huge numbers in high school and went from virtual unknown to regional star. He's earned every bit of his success as he's often played above his abilities. At some point, your talent has to catch up and I think Mason's best days may have been in high school. He isn't necessarily a true pocketpasser nor is he a high mobile runner, either. Mason's arm is average but his desire his strong. He could become a solid backup in Athens and push other quarterbacks to work harder. He'll be a positive influence on the team but I'm not predicting he'll ever be a full-time starter as a Bulldog.

Lonnie Outlaw - He sounds like another Walter Hill project. A guy you hand a scholarship based on potential alone rather than actual substance. The ball is in his court, and it's hard to say what could become of Lonnie Outlaw. At 6'7", I don't predict him becoming a wide receiver and his wiry frame may not help him become a tight end, either. With two years of Military School, he may not even be a Bulldog come 2012. It will be interesting to see what happens with Outlaw as his Signing Day offer was a bit vexing.

Alexander Ogletree - Everything I've read is Zander has the heart of Rennie Curran. He's undersized but plays much bigger than he really is. He's a great influence to have around the locker room but don't plug him as a Rudy-type feelgood player. He may never start at UGA but I think he will contribute in nickel packages and be a strong special teams player.