Georgia’s 2018 recruiting roll continues as it locks down No. 1 ranked class

For some major programs like Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart, getting so many players on board during the early signing period in December allows for more time now to focus on recruiting beyond the class of 2018. (John Bazemore/AP File Photo)

Georgia’s football recruiting haul for 2018 already was considered quite the impressive bunch before the traditional signing day arrived Wednesday.


Then came the cherries on top of the sundae.

Coach Kirby Smart, fresh off a trip to the national championship game, wrapped up Georgia’s first ever No. 1 ranked signing class by adding four uncommitted prospects to bring its total class to 26.

He and his staff landed five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell from Plantation, Fla., flipped four-star linebacker Quay Walker from Alabama and four-star safety Otis Reese from Michigan and went to Texas to get four-star wide receiver Tommy Bush.

“One of the things that helped us today was the fact that we knocked a lot of the work out in December,” Smart said. “We were able to focus a lot of our contact attention on the four or five guys we needed to target for the remainder of our class.”

Behind Georgia in the top five of the 247Sports Composite rankings: Ohio State, Texas, Penn State and Clemson. Alabama, which was No. 1 the past seven recruiting cycles, was No. 6.

Georgia’s best finish before this year in’s rankings was No. 3 in 2017 and 2002 and the Bulldogs were also No. 5 in 2011.

Smart brushed off the No. 1 ranking.

“That really does not float my boat or this staff’s boat,” Smart said. “I don’t think that’s what’s important. What’s more important is the quality of kids we were able to get, both academically and athletically.”

The spectacle of high school recruits putting on hats in televised announcements continues to turn up as satisfying viewing for Bulldog fans but securing the four new additions made for some restless nights for Smart.

“Have you looked at my face?” he said. “I have not slept much lately, so I mean, it was a sleep deprivation. It was a lot of work. … There was some time yesterday that we might have only signed one guy today, and it all changed throughout the last really 48 hours.”

Reese, from Lee County, was the Wolverines’ top-rated commitment but in Georgia’s loaded class he is the 12th-highest rated player.

“It’s a very powerful message to recruits when you’re in the playoff,” former Texas coach Mack Brown said after Bush’s ESPN2 announcement.

Campbell, the No. 2 rated defensive back nationally, picked Georgia over Alabama and Miami.

He’s the seventh five-star signee in Georgia’s class as rated by the 247Sports Composite.

The others signed in the new early signing period in December: Harrison quarterback Justin Fields, North Carolina running back Zamir White, Pace Academy offensive guard Jamaree Salyer, Tennessee offensive guard Cade Mays, Rome outside linebacker Adam Anderson and Stockbridge defensive end Brenton Cox.

This Georgia class is the first one with seven five-star signees ever in 247Sports Composite rankings that go back to 2000. Georgia’s previous most five-stars were four in the 2012 class with Jordan Jenkins, John Theus, Keith Marshall and Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Georgia landed five of the top six players in the state and Smart said during a TV interview that he believes the school signed the best players in North Carolina (White), Illinois (tight end Luke Ford), South Carolina (inside linebacker Channing Tindall) and probably Tennessee (Mays).

There already is momentum for 2019.

Georgia stands at No. 1 right now for next year’s class.

The Bulldogs picked up a commitment Wednesday from four-star junior tight end Ryland Goede from Kennesaw Mountain.

Walker, from Crisp County, backed off his commitment to the Crimson Tide and put on and then tossed aside a Tennessee cap. The Volunteers were one of his finalists.

“I did get a text from my wife that she was scared to death when he did that,” Smart said.

“It’s hard to recruit against guys that work the way they work,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said before the national title game when he was finishing out as Alabama defensive coordinator. “It starts with Kirby. He’s always been that way. He’s relentless. Everything he does he’s competitive about it.”

Georgia defensive line commitments Jordan Davis from Charlotte and Travel Walthour from Liberty County officially joined the four new additions to the class on Wednesday.

Georgia signed 13 of ESPN’s top 100 prospects in a top-ranked class that had fans cheering as they followed throughout the day.

“I think it’s great for the fan base, but I’d trade that No. 1 ranking for the last No. 1 ranking in the college football poll,” said Smart, who wore a red Georgia SEC champion pullover. “That’s what’s important is what you do on the field, and that’s what we’ll be measured by as coaches, what we’re able to do with this class, what they’re able to do in development.”