With the President-Elect taking office in about a week, we decided take a look at the Georgia football state of the union.
January 12th marks exactly one year into the tenure of Kirby Smart as the full-time head coach at the University of Georgia. Smart was hired on Dec. 7, 2015, but after last year’s national championship game is when he officially took over.
So let’s take a look at the first year of the Kirby Smart era.
Dec. 13, 2015 – The first commit
The first commit of the Kirby Smart era was Richard LeCounte III. LeCounte set the tone for the class of 2017, instantly becoming a recruiter/ambassador/highest-ranked-recruit for the #SicEm17 recruiting class.
Dec. 15, 2015 – Kirby’s gets his QB
After wavering on his decision after UGA fired Mark Richt, five-star quarterback Jacob Eason reaffirms his commitment to the University of Georgia, giving Kirby his quarterback for the future.
Feb. 3, 2016 – National Signing Day
Kirby finished strong on national signing day in 2016, securing commitments from five-star Mecole Hardman Jr. and four-star Michail Carter. Georgia was also able to flip David Marshall from Auburn and Tyler Simmons from Alabama.
Kirby finished with the no. 8 recruiting class in the country (no. 4 in SEC) last year, despite being on the job for just under two months.
April 16, 2016 – G-Day
One of the first things Kirby stated when he was hired at UGA was that he wanted 93,000 fans at Georgia’s spring game. It was dubbed “93K Day” and it was a roaring success. The college football world took notice and so did recruits. 2017 RB commit, D’Andre Swift from Pennsylvania, explicitly stated that seeing the fans at the spring game is what made him commit to the G.
Sept. 3, 2016 – First Win
In what was big-time atmosphere in the Georgia Dome against a ranked North Carolina team, Georgia was able to overcome a second half deficit and get a win in the first game of the Kirby Smart era.
Oct. 29, 2016 – Bad Stretch
After a 24-10 loss to Florida where the team didn’t put up much of a fight, Georgia dropped to 4-4, including four losses in a five-game stretch. The end of September and the month of October was not good to the Bulldogs. The Dawgs were run off the field at Ole Miss, heartbroken by Tennessee, and had an inexcusable loss to Vanderbilt.
Nov. 12, 2016 – First Signature Win
Georgia put together an epic defensive performance in an upset win over no. 9 Auburn. They held the SEC’s top offense to 7 points in what was Georgia’s best win of the season.
Dec. 2016 – Jan. 2017 – “Dead Period”
More from Dawn of the Dawg
- Georgia Football: Top 5 Nick Chubb Moments at Georgia
- Georgia Football: Know the enemy UAB Blazers
- Nick Chubb is America’s running back, and he will return
- Georgia Football: Should laundry list of injuries be a cause to panic?
- Georgia Football: Report cards for Week 3 game against South Carolina
The Dawgs started off the month of December by adding two 4-star commits in the first week of the month. Then in what was supposed to be the “dead-period” for recruiting, Georgia’s recruiting was very much alive. From Dec. 12 to Jan. 11, college coaches were not allowed to contact recruits. All Georgia did over that 30-day period was secure five commits, including two 5-stars and two 4-stars.
While the first season in Athens was disappointing. The 8-5 season could’ve easily been 10-3 or 11-2. It was also Kirby’s first season as a head coach at any level.
Recruiting is the first step in building a successful college football program. With National Signing Day only a few weeks away, Smart is putting together an elite class that could get even better.
Only time will tell if this will translate into wins on the field.