Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 6/22/13
It was one of the most biting quotes ever. That's saying a lot given Steve Spurrier's history of hurling verbal zingers at his SEC nemesis, Georgia. But no take-down struck closer to the heart of the Bulldog Nation than when the Head Ball Coach said, "Why is it that during recruiting season (Georgia) signs all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don't understand that. What happens to them?" Comments like that are only witty if they contain a kernel of truth, which is why that one still digs into the Georgia psyche. Deep down, fans, coaches and even players know that Spurrier was right. Georgia has, indeed, signed one bumper crop of recruits after another, but those great athletes have only won one SEC championship for the Bulldogs in the last 10 years and one national championship in school history, 33 years ago. Meanwhile the list of high school superstars who never panned out at Georgia is long and distinguished. They all didn't end up being busts -- five-star recruits like Richard Samuel, Paul Oliver, and Brandon Smith contributed, and even Isaiah Crowell put up good numbers in his brief stint in Athens -- but after years of great expectations from one star-studded class after another, it is easy for fans to become jaded after hearing about yet another banner recruiting year. After standing one play away from upsetting Alabama and playing Notre Dame for the BCS title there are reasons to believe that this year could be much tougher for the Bulldogs. First there is the schedule. Not only does Georgia play Clemson, South Carolina and LSU in the first five weeks, the Dawgs travel to Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Auburn and to Jacksonville for the Florida game. All the stars aligned for Georgia a year ago, even after the trouncing the Dawgs took at the hands of the Gamecocks. This season, they will likely be underdogs in three games and toss-ups in another two. Then there is the fact that eight defensive starters from last year are no longer on the roster. Todd Grantham's defense, led by Jarvis Jones, kept Georgia in a lot of games last year, and won the SEC East title for the Dawgs by causing a late turnover against Florida. But Jones is now a Pittsburgh Steeler, and his former Georgia defensive teammates Alec Ogletree, Jon Jenkins, Shawn Williams, Sanders Commings, Cornelius Washington and Baccari Rambo are all on NFL rosters. With more holes than hopefuls, the Dawgs got more bad news recently when incoming freshman Reggie Wilkerson, who reported to campus in the spring and was expected to be a major factor at cornerback, tore a meniscus and ACL in his right knee and had to undergo surgery in mid-June. According to an update by Ron Courson, Georgia's senior associate athletic director for sports medicine, Wilkerson will be medically redshirted for the season. It could be a long, hard road for the Bulldogs despite all the firepower that they return on offense, but hope springs eternal. Georgia is working on another strong recruiting class, sitting 12th in Scout.com's rankings, behind five-star running back Sony Michel, RB Nick Chubb, quarterback Jacob Park, cornerback Malkom Parrish, tight end Jeb Blazevich and defensive end Dontavius Russell, all four-star pospects. Park could be a particularly good fit to replace Aaron Murray, who is in his last year of eligibility. At 6-foot-3 and 197 pounds, Park is considered one of the top-10 high school quarterbacks in the country with great arm strength and mobility. He also hails from Goose Creek, S.C., which makes his commitment to Georgia doubly sweet for Dawg fans. The next best thing to beating Spurrier is signing his state's best quarterback right out from under his nose.
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