ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia football coach Mark Richt never has been much for signing-day drama, but he didn't mind a dose Wednesday afternoon.
After signing 17 players who had been committed for months in most cases, the Bulldogs landed a late prize when Memphis receiver Marlon Brown signed. Brown, the No. 5 receiver nationally according to Rivals.com, made his announcement on ESPNU.
"It's fun to nail one the last day," Richt said. "I'm sure the Bulldog fans are enjoying that. We are, too, because Marlon is a fantastic kid and a great player."
Georgia had the nation's No. 9 recruiting class as of Wednesday night according to Rivals.com. Should the Bulldogs hold steady, they would continue a streak of top-10 classes every year since Rivals.com began ranking teams in 2002.
Southern Cal is the only other school with such a run.
"The reason why I chose the Bulldogs is because they have a good head coach and a good system for receivers to come in there and play early," Brown said. "They told me that if I come in there and work hard that I would have a chance to play early as a freshman, so I bought into it."
Brown is the second top-tier receiver Georgia has signed in as many years. A.J. Green was the No. 2 receiver nationally last year behind Alabama signee Julio Jones and led the Southeastern Conference in receiving this past season with 963 yards.
Green and Brown have similar height, with Brown slightly thicker at this stage.
"They're both going to be tough matchups for corners that don't have a lot of height," Richt said. "They were outstanding high-school basketball players, guys who had a legitimate shot to play basketball in college."
Georgia has 18 signees and is holding a scholarship for Orson Charles, a receiver/tight end out of Tampa. Charles did not sign Wednesday and would like to visit Southern Cal before making his choice.
Of the 17 players who signed Wednesday morning, three committed before last year's signing day. All but two had committed before Christmas, and those exceptions (cornerback Branden Smith and defensive end Montez Robinson) committed the first week of January.
The Bulldogs did not have a single player commit publicly throughout the recruiting process and sign elsewhere.
"It's just like if you play a game and pound somebody 49-3," Richt said. "At the end of the game it's kind of boring and nobody jumps up and down, but it's still a heck of a game. It's the same thing in recruiting. If you take care of things early and there is not much drama at the end, it doesn't mean that you didn't do a good job. It might mean you might have done a better job or a great job."
Said defensive coordinator Willie Martinez: "I think if these guys were saying yes for the first time today, this place would be going nuts - the whole state and the whole Bulldog Nation. We love the guys we signed, and don't kill us because they committed early. We're excited with who we've got."
Odds and ends
Kiante Tripp, who started Georgia's first three games at left tackle last season and later worked at tight end, requested a move to defensive end and will work there this spring. ... There has been some speculation that Georgia's opener at Oklahoma State would be moved to a Thursday night on ESPN, but Richt doubted that would happen. Richt did admit he would love having two extra days to prepare for South Carolina the following week.