For the University of Georgia, National Signing Day is really only about one player.
With 18 highly-touted high school prospects already committed to the university, most of which absolute locks to sign their letters of intent to come to Georgia, most of the year’s recruiting is already done. That being said, five-star defensive end and outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter from Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga is poised to make his decision Wednesday.
The Bulldogs want Carter.
Big and quick, the 6-foot-5 pass rusher is tenacious, capable of trailing ball carriers, attacking passers and batting the ball out of the air. Though he is unmistakably raw and needs to become more polished and aware as a defender, Carter’s unique skill set makes him one of the five most coveted undeclared prospects in the nation.
If there ever were bad news about Carter for the Bulldogs, it would be how coveted he is. Carter has made official visits to the University of Florida, LSU and Florida State, in addition to receiving scholarship offers from 30 other schools, not including Georgia. However, Carter did decide to make his final official campus visit a visit to Athens on Friday, Jan. 31.
As a result, many forecast Carter to be wearing a hat emblazoned with a Georgia “G” at 3:30 when he is scheduled to make his announcement. If that is in fact Carter’s decision, the Bulldogs’ class ranking will likely skyrocket from its position at 10th into the top-five.
But Carter isn’t the only blue-chip prospect the Bulldogs will be chasing Wednesday. UGA surprised pundits and fans alike Monday when it offered a scholarship to four-star wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla. A teammate of UGA-bound running back Sony Michel, the Bulldogs have appeared as the front runners late in the game for McKenzie.
Additionally, Georgia remains in the mix for multiple high-level, in-state prospects. Four-star defensive back Wesley Green from Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia, Ga. and four-star defensive end Andrew Williams from Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga. both count UGA on their short list of schools, though many predict neither will choose Athens as their final destination.
Furthermore, four-star defensive tackle Elisha Shaw from Tucker High School in Tucker, Ga. has narrowed down his list of possible schools to just UGA and Alabama. While nowhere near as alluring of a prospect as Carter because of his injury concerns – Shaw didn’t play a single down in 2013 because of a neck injury – Shaw is the highest ranked defensive tackle in the state of Georgia and will be a significant signing if he chooses Georgia.
Regardless of who signs and who doesn’t sign among the pool of uncommitted prospects, the true triumph on National Signing Day for the Bulldogs will be not the commitments gained, but the commitments earned, sustained over time and culminating in a climax of achievement on paper on Wednesday. For those players, signing day isn’t hype, it’s a well-earned success.
So for the Bulldogs, National Signing Day may just come down to one player. But for the recruits themselves, National Signing Day is much more. It’s the first day of the rest of their lives.