UGA's 'Ring Team' now a top-five class

When all was said and done last year, Georgia’s heralded “Dream Team” of 2011 recruits landed the Bulldogs at No. 6 in ESPN’s team recruiting rankings. With SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell and fellow five-star and defensive end Ray Drew, Georgia bounced back from a somewhat disappointing 12th-place ranking from the year before.

Few expected Georgia to be able to replicate 2011’s success so soon, what with all the early talk of Mark Richt being on the hot seat and an 0-2 start to the season.

Funny what an SEC East title, a top-rated defense and a 10-game win streak can do for a program.

Today, ESPN unveiled an update of the 2012 class rankings that includes the Bulldogs at No. 5. The Alabama Crimson Tide remains at No. 1.

Not only does Georgia have a top-five class at the moment, the Bulldogs have built up a head of steam going into the final weeks before signing day. Check out the RecruitingNation podcast about it here.

Monday night, the Bulldogs got a commitment from talented outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County), who had long listed Alabama and Florida as his top schools. The addition of the Under Armour All-America pass-rusher gives Georgia the No. 61 prospect in the country. In December, Georgia received its highest rated commitment in the No. 6 player in the country, five-star running back Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook). Marshall and Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College juco transfer Mark Beard, who also committed in December, are already enrolled at Georgia, thus assuring the Bulldogs of an immediate offensive impact.

The recent additions to the recruiting class go well with Georgia’s incoming twin towers at defensive tackle. Jonathan Taylor (Millen, Ga./Jenkins County) and John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) are both ESPNU 150 members, coming in at No. 51 and No. 122, respectively. Battling those two during every day of practice will be one of the top offensive tackles in the nation, John Theus (Jacksonville, Ga./Bolles). Theus is Georgia’s second-highest rated commit, the No. 28 overall player in the ESPNU 150.

The Bulldogs, whose 2012 class members have dubbed themselves the “Ring Team,” also have commitments from three other four-star players, defensive ends James Deloach (Millen, Ga./Jenkins County) and Leonard Floyd (Eastman, Ga./Dodge), and tight end Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt County).

The Georgia coaching staff should be proud of its efforts so far, as the coaches have achieved the No. 5 spot with just 16 recruits while most of the other top 10 schools in the rankings have more than 20 commitments.

The Bulldogs have yet more chances to improve their ranking. Still to come are decisions by running backs Todd Gurley (Tarboro N.C./Tarboro) and Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson), offensive tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens), wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (Rock Hill, S.C./Hutchinson CC) and the top-rated player in the state, Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes). All have Georgia as a finalist. With Young and Harvey-Clemons both in the ESPNU 150, the Bulldogs have a chance to sign a class that would outshine the Dream Team.