ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia entered national signing day with 23 commitments or signees and landed three others Wednesday, all three being cornerbacks with size.
Latavious Brini of Miami Gardens, Fla., Ameer Speed of Jacksonville and Eric Stokes of Covington, Ga., all are larger than most corners. All are at least 6-foot-1, with Speed listed at 207 pounds and Brini at 196.
"We had to get length, and bulk is a big part of being a good DB these days, because you're tackling a Nick Chubb or a Sony Michel every week in the SEC," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "When you've got nothing but 180-pound guys, it's tough. You need some to hit that 200-pound mark.
"We think we attacked that area and were successful getting some longer guys. Will they be ready to play next year? I sure hope so, and that's what they're hoping, too."facebook
Georgia has an abundance of returning talent at the first two levels defensively but lost Maurice Smith, who started at the nickel position as a graduate transfer from Alabama, and his backup, Quincy Mauger. The Bulldogs also had cornerbacks Rico McGraw and Juwuan Briscoe transfer in December, which is why Smart already is lamenting the fact he will have just four corners for spring practice.
Smart has help on the way, as Georgia signed seven defensive backs Wednesday, with most having bigger-than-norm bodies.
"Longer DBs are the trend now," Smart said. "Foot quickness becomes the problem with length, but so many of the receivers we face have length. When you play against length, you want a guy with length."
The Bulldogs landed just one running back in this year's class, D'Andre Swift of Philadelphia.
Smart described the 5-9, 220-pound Swift as a mixture of Chubb and Michel. He rushed 149 times for 1,564 yards and 25 touchdowns as a St. Joseph's Prep senior during the regular season and added 716 yards and nine scores in three playoff games.
"He's a great competitor and a great kid, and he loves the University of Georgia," Smart said. "To be on the other end of the phone when he found out that Nick and Sony were staying — he was unfazed. He said, 'That's awesome, Coach. I get to learn from two of the best.'
"How many kids in America would say that today? He really believes he is going to come in, contribute and help. There are a lot of return yards missing off this team, and we hope he's able to help with that."
Georgia's 2017 signing class was the first to see the long-awaited indoor practice facility completed.
"The indoor facility, getting finished when it did, timed it just right as far as getting some recruiting momentum," Smart said. "We had 10 or 12 guys in these last couple of weekends, and we were getting some 'oohs' and 'aahs' when they were in that space. It has been a big advantage for us that we've been able to sell.
"A lot of our kids in this class saw it from the ground up. They sat in my office and saw big cranes out there. They saw the bricks and mortar, and now we have a finished product."
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.