The Georgia Bulldogs are trying to secure enough offensive linemen in the 2012 class to avoid the depth problems that have plagued the team in the last few years, but with only three committed so far and signing day less than two months away, more talent will need to be found. Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) remains the top target, but offensive line coach Will Friend found another prospect in the juco ranks who could make an instant impact for the Bulldogs next season.
Coming out of Minor High School in Adamsville, Ala., Mark Beard emerged as a BCS-caliber talent late in the 2010 cycle, impressing analysts in practices for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Beard was widely considered the most athletic offensive lineman for the Alabama squad, more than holding his own against ESPNU 150 DE LaDarius Owens and others. At 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, Beard (Coffeyville, Kan./ Coffeyville CC) got a call from a familiar name this week.
"Coach Will Friend called me Wednesday and said they want me to be a Bulldog," Beard said. "He recruited me really hard when he was at UAB and I know a lot about Georgia, being from right outside of Birmingham."
Beard, who graduates next week, will visit Arkansas on an official this weekend and Mississippi State next weekend. Beard said although he is close to making his decision, Georgia will get a shot to impress him.
"I have not set it up yet, but I am going to make time to give Georgia an official, too," Beard said. "Coach Friend says they need offensive linemen and I am looking for an opportunity to step in and earn playing time right away, so I am looking forward to checking out what they have to offer."