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What is Wrong With Georgia Bulldog Wide Receiver Recruiting?

August 27, 2022

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ATHENS - When Kirby Smart hired Bryan McClendon as the new wide receivers coach back in January, everyone knew the reason why.

Because the man can recruit. That, and he’s also a former Bulldogs himself who loves the program and has ties to the state.

However, it hasn’t been the easiest job for McClendon on the recruiting trail. The Bulldogs have struggled adding commitments from some of their top receiving targets over the last several months, and they missed out on target Anthony Evans last week.

5-star Brandon Inniss‍ was an early target, but he was never coming to Georgia. He’s currently committed to Ohio State.

4-star Jalen Brown‍ out of Miami was interested in Georgia early in the process, but he’s now firmly committed to LSU.

4-star Jalen Hale‍ was a Georgia target and took an official visit to Athens the weekend of June 3rd. Sources say he’s now down to Texas and Alabama.

4-star Malik Benson‍ chose Alabama over Georgia.

4-star Hykeem Williams‍ has always had Georgia towards the top of his list, but he appears to be trending elsewhere more and more by the day.

And of course, track star Anthony Evans‍ chose Oklahoma over Georgia.

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In a loaded wide receiver class in 2023, it’s clear the Bulldogs have missed on a few targets. They still have two commitments on board in 4-star Raymond Cottrell‍ and 3-star Yazeed Haynes‍, but it’s hard to say either one is 100% committed. Cottrell may have plans to take some visits this fall, and Haynes has already de-committed once during his recruitment. 

So why are the Bulldogs struggling?

Well, it could be a lot of reasons.

The Bulldogs are far from “Wide Receiver University”.

Linebacker University? Absolutely.

Tight End University? Right now? Sure

Running Back University? Of course.

The Georgia Bulldogs run the football. That’s what they do. They do it well. Of course, they still need receivers to step up, and they’ve had some extremely talented receivers come through Athens in recent years.

The Bulldogs have had six wide receivers drafted since the 2017 NFL Draft took place. That’s not a bad number. Two of them, Mecole Hardman and George Pickens, both former 5-star prospects, were taken in the 2nd round. 

So 5-star prospects CAN go to Georgia, be successful, and hear their named called early in the draft. They may not light up the stat sheet at Georgia, and that’s very important to guys like Jermaine Burton, but Athens is certainly not a place where “receivers go to die”.

Yes, Georgia’s tight end room is LOADED. One of the most talented the game has ever seen. And yes, the Georgia Bulldogs are going to run the football. Even with a pass-happy play-caller like Todd Monken in the booth, the Georgia Bulldogs are going to run the football. 

The ill-informed fans will blame Steston Bennett. A lot of our YouTube audience, a group we love, have already made that claim. “They keep playing that damn Stetson Bennett!! That’s why we ain’t signing all them receivers”.

You can’t blame NIL, either. Sure, some teams are playing that game a little different, and as we all know, receivers can have that “diva” personality. They want to catch the ball and they want to be a big deal. And like every other college athlete, they want to get paid.

The Bulldogs have used NIL pretty well. They’ve had backups, Amarius Mims, Smael Mondon, and others, sign some impressive NIL deals in the past year. 

Unfortunately, some prospects are going to the highest bidder. That’s just reality. But that’s not why the Bulldogs appear to be struggling right now on the trail with receivers.

At the end of the day, Georgia still needs to do better there. In the end, missing on an elite quarterback is a bigger deal than missing on an elite receiver or two. 

Now, there are still options out there for McClendon. We’ve reported for months now that the Georgia Bulldogs have been in an excellent position to land four-star Tyler Williams. He is a BIG DEAL and a BIG target for McClendon and the staff. They’ve done a great job recruiting him, so losing him to Texas A&M, Clemson, South Carolina, or whoever, would be a big loss.

McClendon isn’t the problem. He’s in Athens to fix the problem, which is the stigma that receivers can’t make it at Georgia. It may take a little time, but eventually, don’t be surprised to see some 5-stars flocking to Athens over the next several years.

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