The Union Recorder

Local Sports

February 6, 2013

Georgia signing class more about depth than stars

ATHENS — The Georgia Bulldogs had a lot of prospects to show off Wednesday.

Just not some of the names the fans wanted to see.

Coming off a season in which it came up 5 yards short of playing for a national title, Georgia unveiled the largest signing class of the Mark Richt era, a staggering 32 prospects bolstered by 13 players who've already enrolled in Athens after graduating early from high school and junior college.

It figured to be one of the top-ranked groups in the country, but there was plenty of grumbling among the red and black faithful about the ones who got away, the so-called five-star recruits who get the fan base all pumped up.

The prospect generally considered the best in the nation, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson High School in suburban Atlanta, followed his older brother to Mississippi instead of signing with the school that is less than an hour's drive away. The Rebels, who are coming off a 7-6 season, also landed another player near the top of Georgia's wish list, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil from Lake City, Fla. Finally, there was top-rated linebacker Reuben Foster, who picked defending national champion Alabama over Auburn and the Bulldogs.

Richt, not surprisingly, said he was happy with the players he landed.

"I really don't have any disappointments right now," said the coach, who attended a news conference just four days after having hip-replacement surgery. "As far as I'm concerned, we got the number one class in America. We took care of business in the areas we needed. We got guys who are very, very talented and are excited to be here. Our job is to develop them into a great football team. That's what matters the most."

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