Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Dogs like Signees; Incoming Players Could Make Impact

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Dogs like Signees; Incoming Players Could Make Impact

Article excerpt


ATHENS, Ga. -- Offensive linemen Trinton Sturdivant and Clint Boling and linebacker Rennie Curran went from 2007 Georgia signees to 2007 Georgia starters on a team that won its final seven games, including the Sugar Bowl.

Last week, the Bulldogs signed a 23-player recruiting class that also could have several impact players to bolster an experienced team eyeing a national-title run in 2008.

Will kicker Blair Walsh step in as a freshman for Georgia coach Mark Richt, just as Scott Bentley did for Florida State in 1993 during the Seminoles' national-championship season when Richt was an assistant? Can A.J. Green make a contribution at wide receiver as freshman Anquan Boldin did in 1999 for the national title-winning Seminoles when Richt was offensive coordinator?

"A.J. has a really, really big upside," Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. "We feel like hopefully he's going to come in with the mind-set that he's going to compete, and he's going to add some much needed depth and some much needed playmaking ability to our offense. You would like to be able to give [Matthew] Stafford as many weapons as he could get."

The last two national champions leaned on their most recent recruiting classes in different ways en route to titles.

LSU won the BCS title last month with eight players from its 2007 signing class seeing action, led by junior-college transfer wideout Demetrius Byrd (35 catches, 621 yards, seven touchdowns). Safety Chad Jones (34 tackles) and wide receiver Terrance Toliver (10 catches, 249 yards, three TDs) played reserve roles.

Florida played 14 first-year freshmen, including quarterback Tim Tebow and receiver Percy Harvin, during its run to the national title in 2006.

Walsh, a USA Today All-USA first-team pick from Boca Raton, appears to be the one player who could walk into a starting position for Georgia after Brandon Coutu and three other kickers from last year's roster departed. …

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