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Year of the Dawgs

UGA's Richt putting together fabulous recruiting class

Posted: Friday November 2, 2007 1:55PM; Updated: Friday November 2, 2007 1:55PM
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Mark Richt
Mark Richt has become one of college football's most prolific recruiters.
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By Mike Farrell, Special to SI.com, Rivals.com

Since Mark Richt took over as Georgia's coach, the Bulldogs have cleaned up on the recruiting trail.

Georgia has pulled in top-10 classes every year since 2002, but this is shaping up to be the Bulldogs' best haul in recent memory.

With three months to go until National Signing Day, Georgia currently has the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation as ranked by Rivals.com -- trailing only Notre Dame.

The Bulldogs are getting it done in part by keeping much of the Peach State's top talent at home, a staple of their success over the years. Three of the state's top five prospects have already committed to Georgia -- defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson, athlete Richard Samuel and defensive end Cornelius Washington.

In 2007, Georgia lost out on the state's top two prospects. Defensive back Eric Berry chose Tennessee and quarterback Cameron Newton elected to sign with Florida, but there were extenuating circumstances with each. Berry followed his father's legacy to Knoxville, while Newton elected to learn under Tim Tebow rather than Matt Stafford in Athens.

This year has been a return to the norm, with several of the state's top prospects deciding in favor of their home-state school.

This Georgia class will be heavy on skill-position players and should provide a tremendous boost to the athleticism of the Bulldogs' roster.

Wide receiver A.J. Green of Summerville, S.C., could instantly become a favorite target of Stafford, while Tavarres King provides plenty of speed. Many consider Green one of the top prospects in the country because of his playmaking ability and slick moves in the open field. Few receiver prospects run better, tighter routes than King.

The secondary will be set for the foreseeable future with the additions of Mariki Pugh, Nick Williams and Brandon Boykin. Pugh hails from Charlotte (N.C.) Independence, the school that produced Georgia backup quarterback Joe Cox and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

Part of Georgia's recent recruiting success has involved tapping into North Carolina talent. With North Carolina and North Carolina State taking dips in recent seasons, plenty of talent from the state has been ripe for the picking. There are plenty of North Carolina natives currently making a big impact for Georgia, including linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and freshman offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant.

Continuing that trend is tight end Dwayne Allen of Fayetteville (N.C.) Terry Sanford. Allen is a big threat to pick up yards after the catch and will be a matchup problem for many linebackers in the SEC. However, the Bulldogs still have to fend off Butch Davis and North Carolina for his services. Allen and Pugh are the Nos. 5 and 6 players in the state, respectively.

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