The Georgia Dream Team of recruits helped propel Coach Mark Richt and the football team at the nation’s oldest public university to a ten-win regular season for the first time since Moreno’s initial breakthrough. Ten wins is a substantial achievement by any college team any year. This year’s stellar class of true freshmen exceeded expectations overall and won the SEC East. Let’s look ahead to some members of the class expected to show out in 2012.
1. RB – Isaiah Crowell: Immature SEC Freshman of the Year will share the load with the top high school football running back in the nation (Keith Marshall of Raleigh) and another solid freshman runner (Todd Gurley, also from North Carolina). -KICKED OFF TEAM
2. WR – Malcolm Mitchell: Top receiver in the whole program would have been number one on this list and may have won the SEC award if he was not injured in midseason.
3. LB – Amarlo Herrera: Physical ball hawk was a huge difference maker when called on to play early.
4. DB – Damian Swann: Occasional starter in 2011 may start every game at cornerback next year and will certainly contribute more with Brandon Boykin off to NFL.
5. OL – Watts Dantzler: May be called on to start on young offensive line in 2012.
6. WR – Chris Conley: Saw action late and is a young playmaker with a bright future.
7. OL – David Andrews: Probable starter at center in 2012 as overachieving team captain Ben Jones has finally departed.
8. LB – Ray Drew: Highest-ranked member of Dream Team did not contribute as much as projected due to the pass rush dominance of All-American Jarvis Jones and to a lesser extent Cornelius Washington. All three are back to provide heat in 2012.
9. LB/DE – Sterling Bailey: Richt said Bailey became nearly dominant in practice, but he was redshirted after a preseason injury hurt his chances of playing early.
10. TE – Jay Rome: Top tight end recruit in the country in 2011 was redshirted but should start in 2012, as All-American Orson Charles is NFL-bound.
11. DB – Corey Moore: Backup safety and solid special teamer will play more in 2012.
12. NG – Jonathon Jenkins: Though he is not from the state of Georgia and was a JUCO transfer rather than an enrolling freshman, perhaps no player had a bigger impact on D than this mountain of a man. He pushed Kwame Geathers to improve, and their huge play in rotation and occasionally together on the field allowed the 3-4 to fully function properly. Both are back for Grantham’s defense in 2012, which returns 9 total starters.