The thing about the rich is that they usually get richer, especially in college football. Well, Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs, who have gone a mere 42-2 over the past three seasons, also added one of the better transfer portal classes in the country.
Kirby has added six players and despite losing 20 to the portal, Georgia has improved an already dominant roster. 247 Sports has rated Georgia’s class No. 31 in the nation, but paired with the No. 1 high school class in the country, the Dawgs are doing alright.
With Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey heading to the NFL, Georgia needed to surround Carsen Beck with some impact players on offense, and that’s just what he got, raiding two SEC competitors.
In all, Georgia added three wide receivers, one running back, a defensive lineman, and a safety. These three players will make the biggest impact in 2024. There could have been a fourth, but Alabama defensive back Caleb Downs spurned the Bulldogs for Ohio State.
For as good as Georgia’s offense was, ranking fourth in yards per play and fifth in total offense the unit lacked a dominant, NFL-caliber running back, which the Dawgs have always been known for. Daijun Edwards averaged 5.4 yards per carry and finished with 881 yards and 13 touchdowns, but wasn’t the type of player who could take over a game.
Kendall Milton may have had the talent to dominate, averaging 6.5 yards a pop with 14 touchdowns on the season, but he only carried it 121 times and has struggled to stay on the field because of injuries. Both Edwards and Milton are heading for the NFL, so Kirby had to give his offense a playmaker in the backfield.
Etienne averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a sophomore at Florida after he was at 6.1 his freshman year. In a split backfield, he finished last season with 753 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while catching 21 passes for 172 yards and another score.
He was playing behind a worse offensive line at Florida, so his production should increase for the Bulldogs, but he’s able to make plays even if the O-line breaks down. In 2023, he was 24th in the country in yards after contact per attempt at 4.01, two spots behind Milton who averaged 4.12. Edwards was 156th at 3.04.