Defensive line coach Rodney Garner proved Monday night at the Independence Bowl that he can hold Georgia's entire defense together with the help of graduate assistants.
Now he has to hold Georgia's 2010 recruiting class together while boss Mark Richt seeks three new defensive coaches.
"The next month is going to be a critical month for us in the recruiting process," Garner said. "We've got to beat the bushes and hold on to the guys we've got committed, and there are a couple of other guys out there we are still targeting."
Georgia's collection of 20 commitments is ranked No. 8 nationally by Rivals.com and fifth in the SEC behind Alabama (No. 2), Florida (No. 3), Tennessee (No. 6) and Auburn (No. 7). Texas currently has the nation's top class.
The Bulldogs have five commitments among Rivals.com's top 100 prospects: receiver Da'Rick Rogers (No. 13), defensive end T.J. Stripling (No. 33), defensive back Alec Ogletree (No. 35), defensive tackle Garrison Smith (No. 47) and offensive lineman Brent Benedict (No. 74).
Garner believes this class will top out with 25 or 26 signees, with that number depending on whether junior linebacker Rennie Curran and junior safety Reshad Jones elect to return or enter the NFL draft. Neither player was offering much about his decision, which is due by Jan. 15, after the win over Texas A&M.
"I'm really trying to take it slow," said Curran, who likely will finish as the SEC's leading tackler with 130. "It's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, and I wish I had a straight answer, but I'm just trying to make the best decision possible."
Jones debated leaving after last season before deciding to return. He had an interception against Texas A&M as well as in the regular-season finale at Georgia Tech.
"Leaving on a good note would be good," Jones said. "I'm going to go home and talk to my coaches and my family and make the best decision for me and my family."
Chavis asked about UGA
Former Tennessee and current LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis was asked at a Capital One Bowl news conference Wednesday about whether Georgia has shown an interest in him for the same job.
"I'll talk as long as you want to about LSU and about our players," Chavis said. "I'll be happy to do that."
When asked if he expected to be at LSU next season, Chavis repeated his first response.
LB Demetre Baker 6-0, 200 Orange Park, Fla.
OL Brent Benedict 6-4, 278 Jacksonville
WR Michael Bennett 6-3, 186 Alpharetta, Ga.
DE Brandon Burrows 6-3, 240 Marietta, Ga.
DE B.J. Butler 6-3, 240 Kissimmee, Fla.
DB Marc Deas 6-0, 185 Kissimmee, Fla.
DE Jalen Fields 6-5, 250 Dalton, Ga.
DB Jakar Hamilton 6-2, 196 Georgia Military
OL Kolton Houston 6-5, 270 Buford, Ga.
RB Ken Malcome 6-0, 213 Decatur, Ga.
QB Hutson Mason 6-2, 190 Marietta, Ga.
DE Dexter Morant 6-7, 240 Manning, S.C.
DB Alec Ogletree 6-3, 210 Newnan, Ga.
RB Alexander Ogletree 5-9, 205 Newnan, Ga.
DB Derek Owens 5-11, 180 Jacksonville
DB Nickell Robey 5-8, 165 Frostproof, Fla.
WR Da'Rick Rogers 6-3, 206 Calhoun, Ga.
LB Deon Rogers 6-3, 197 Port St. Lucie, Fla.
DT Garrison Smith 6-4, 250 Atlanta
DE T.J. Stripling 6-6, 215 Decatur, Ga.
Player information courtesy of Rivals.com
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...