The Georgia Bulldogs are getting ready to host their annual Dawg Night on Jul. 18, a recruiting extravaganza that normally results in several commitments. Players come out to show their skills, get coached up and get a lasting look at a potential home for the next few years.
Mid-July is a good time to host these events. Many SEC schools use this protocol in the summer to reel in the big names before the fall and Georgia is no exception. The red carpet is rolled out just before school starts again and players have to concentrate on their grades and final high school football seasons. Although official visits have yet to take place, many players are overcome by excitement and the penchant to “get it over with” at these events and commit.
Georgia could have a successful night with the big names that are slated to attend. One of which is Florida State offensive line commitment Cole Minshew of Coffee County, GA. Minshew (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) is an offensive guard with tremendous strength and the nasty attitude needed to bolster a Georgia line that has been criticized for being more finesse than “hit you in the mouth” as of late. Many have predicted that the admitted lifelong Dawg fan will switch allegiances eventually, but Minshew has rebuffed all overtures since he committed to the Seminoles in February. Needless to say, a Dawg Night visit has certainly rekindled the rumor mill.
Another big name that the Dawgs would love to see flip to the Red and Black would be Alabama commit Jonathan Ledbetter of Tucker, GA. Ledbetter is a defensive lineman who has wreaked havoc on the field and in camps this summer. He is very close friends with current Dawg commits Chauncey Rivers and Natrez Patrick, which will certainly play a role in his recruiting status until Signing Day. A flip to Georgia on Dawg Night would not be a shocker.
Although linebacker Roquan Smith has not indicated that he is likely to commit early, his attendance at Dawg Night is crucial. After visiting other campuses and attending camps all over the country, Smith has remained a Dawg lean. He seems interested in taking his official visits in the fall, but if Smith shuts his recruitment down early, look for a celebration from the Georgia coaching staff. Smith has prototypical size and speed (6-feet, 203 pounds) to be an instant starter and plays with a downhill aggressiveness that Jeremy Pruitt has to love. He has the ability to stop the run or defend the perimeter; versatility that is required against the talented backfields of the SEC.
Dawg Night may yield some surprises or confirm what was already known. In any event, it should be an exciting day in Athens and a good look at some future Dawgs.