UGA fills 2014 ESPN Watch List

Mark Richt is in the midst of his 12th season at the University of Georgia, and the SEC’s longest-tenured head coach has consistently brought in top-ten recruiting classes every year. It helps to be in the backyard of one of the deepest talent pools of any state in the country.

While it might be hard to match this year’s depth of top-tier prospects -– Georgia has 31 prospects in the ESPN 300 for the 2013 class –- there is no shortage of talented in-state juniors either. Twenty-five recruits from Georgia are in the initial ESPN Watch List, including three already committed to the Bulldogs in running back Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy), wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) and defensive back Nick Glass (Atlanta/St. Pius X).

Looking at the other 22 prospects from the Peach State on the list, the Bulldogs have already extended offers to eight of them. On offense are targets with prominent NFL bloodlines. Mammoth offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./ Peachtree Ridge), son of the late Orlando Brown, stands at 6-foot-8, 360-pounds and adds new offers seemingly every day. Running back Adam Choice (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central) the cousin of former Buffalo Bills running back Joe Burns and Bills’ starting running back Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), received his first official offer from the Bulldogs back in June. Milan Richard (Savannah, Ga./Calvary Baptist Day) has emerged out of the shadows of his uncle, legendary running back and Heisman Trophy award winner Herschel Walker, to become an outstanding talent on his own merit, and in the process became an early top target for Georgia at tight end.

On defense, cornerback Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) was one of the first juniors to receive an offer from Georgia. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) might be the top prospect in Georgia for next year, and the hard-hitting prospect has Georgia and Ohio State at the top of his list. Another linebacker target, Korie Rogers (Buford, Ga./Buford), comes from a program that has been very good to the Bulldogs in recent years, with two offensive linemen playing in Athens now and one committed in the 2013 class. Georgia missed out on linebacker Dillon Lee in the 2012 class, so they will try to make up for it with Rogers.

Defensive lineman Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) also plays for a program that has sent several prospects to Georgia, and the 6-foot-5, 290-pound junior is emerging as a dominating presence this fall after not playing as a sophomore. Cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./ Walton High School) has the height, long arms, and willingness to tackle that Bulldogs’ secondary coach Scott Lakatos covets out of his defensive backs, and he is expected to be a key target for Georgia in the 2014 class.

As much talent as Georgia is able to work with in-state, they have thrived on the ability to go into other states like Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, beating out local programs for elite prospects.

Running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who already holds over 30 offers, mentioned in August that his trip to Georgia stood out. He will return to Athens this weekend to watch the Bulldogs take on Tennessee.

Another prospect with no shortage of early options is Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) and the tight end was in Athens last weekend to see Georgia defeat Vanderbilt 48-3. He hopes to make a decision before his senior year, and the Bulldogs will likely be on the shortlist of suitors.

With 98 prospects in the ESPN Watch List from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, Georgia has a great chance at yet another outstanding recruiting class.