With plenty of needs to fill, especially on the defensive side, the Bulldogs focused heavily on building their numbers at a variety of positions. They signed eight defensive backs, six linebackers and a trio of defensive tackles who all clear the scales at more than 300 pounds. The newcomers will help fill the voids left by the departure of stars such as Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and John Jenkins.
"Different people have opinions on where people rank and that kind of thing," Richt said. "We know as coaches that we got a great class that we're proud of and very excited about. Somebody invented these rankings, decided to rank the players and make a big deal about it. The reality is what happens when we hook it up and play Clemson (in the season opener). That's what our fans care about the most."
The lead-up to signing day was marred by off-the-field issues.
Longtime recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner left to take a coaching job at Auburn, his alma mater. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will reportedly have an interview with the New Orleans Saints this week, the latest in a series of potential NFL jobs he's been linked to over the last two years. Finally, there was Richt's ailing hip, which required surgery last Saturday. He had intended to wait until after signing day, but bumped up the operation so he could attend a Southeastern Conference coaches meeting next week.
"I knew it was a dead period. I couldn't physically go anywhere anyway," Richt said. "We're allowed to make X-amount of calls. I really could do the same things from my home on the telephone that I could sitting in my office. I felt it was the best thing to do to go ahead and have the surgery."