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Post A pivotal recruiting weekend in Athens

Friday July 13, 2012

Is is dramatic to suggest that this is Georgia’s most important recruiting weekend prior to Signing Day 2013?

Dawg Night is a one-night elite camp at Georgia for top prospects that often produces a lot of recruiting news. Prospects are evaluated, offered, and – if you’re lucky – commit at the program’s showcase event. The 2011 Dawg Night landed Georgia key commitments for not only the 2012 class but also the upcoming 2013 class. Theus, Ramsey, Terry, and Henry all committed last summer at this event.

Though there will be plenty of 2014 prospects in attendance, the focus on Friday’s 2012 Dawg Night is still on the 2013 class. Georgia’s impressive early push was enough to build a very solid foundation for 2013. This has to be a large class, and there are already 19 commitments – well over halfway home on a class that might even number in the 30s. Georgia’s in a position where they can begin to focus on their remaining top targets, and that’s what this Dawg Night is all about. There hasn’t been a commitment in nearly a month, but fans are hoping that Dawg Night can revive Georgia’s recruiting momentum.

We don’t know if this Dawg Night will produce commitments on the scale that it did in 2011. It certainly could. Job #1 at Dawg Night is keeping the current group of commitments on board. Nearly all of them will be in Athens. Some will be among Georgia’s best recruiting assets. Others will need a reminder why they committed to Georgia. Beyond securing the current commitments, there will be dozens of uncommitted 2013 prospects including several top targets. Georgia will be looking to add to its class with commitments from a couple of these targets. The class won’t be wrapped up this weekend by any means, but this is one of the few remaining opportunities for a big summer splash before teams get heavy into 2012 preparation in just a couple of weeks.

On a related front, there’s the fallout from the Reuben Foster decision. Georgia had been a major player for Foster even while Foster was committed to Alabama. No one would have been surprised had Foster announced for the Dawgs yesterday. Now that Foster is committed to Auburn, fans are nervously watching to see if other prospects will follow. The cryptic quotes from the prospects about pacts and assurances that a select group of top prospects would all attend the same school have Georgia fans in particular paying close attention to some of their top commitments. It would be one thing for Foster to flip between Alabama schools; he was never committed to Georgia in the first place. It’s another thing if Foster’s flip affects those already on Georgia’s board.

It doesn’t calm nerves to hear one of Georgia’s top defensive commitments, safety Tray Matthews, tell UGASports.com that “I think the plan is to go to Auburn this weekend.” Matthews will still attend Dawg Night, and he’ll be certain to receive a lot of attention from Georgia coaches hoping to shore up his commitment. Convincing all current commitments to remain on board would be as big of a story as any new commitments that might come out of this weekend.

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