Could Georgia Bulldogs lose top spot in recruiting on signing day?

A Georgia Bulldogs cheerleader runs with a Georgia flag after a Georgia touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a NCAA football game at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, November 26, 2022, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 37-14. Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

A Georgia Bulldogs cheerleader runs with a Georgia flag after a Georgia touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a NCAA football game at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, November 26, 2022, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 37-14. Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

ATHENS — There was a time when the first Wednesday in February was like Mardi Gras for college football fans. For decades, it was the primary signing day, and for powerhouse programs such as Georgia, it was like a second Christmas around 40 days later.

Not anymore. For the elite of the elites, which the Bulldogs under Kirby Smart certainly are, the first day of signing period that begins in early February tends to come and go without a peep. That’s expected to be the case this year.

There is a very remote – miniscule really – chance that Georgia could sign one player Wednesday. Should the Bulldogs do that, it would be a big deal as Terry Bussey of Timpson, Texas, who is listed in the “athlete” category, carries a 5-star recruiting ranking and would add to an already illustrious class of 2024. As it stands, Georgia’s 2024 recruiting class stands No. 1 in the nation in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

That could change, depending on Wednesday’s developments.

First, on the eve of signing day, it appeared increasingly unlikely that Bussey was coming Georgia’s way. Though he was a recent official visitor to UGA, he has remained a Texas A&M pledge and is expected to make that official at a signing ceremony Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there is at least a mathematical chance that Wednesday’s events could result in Alabama supplanting Georgia for the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class. It depends on whether the Crimson Tide, under new coach, Kalen DeBoer, signs 5-star wide receiver Ryan Williams, as is expected. Williams’ addition would give Bama, with 29 signees to Georgia’s 28, a higher points total in the 247Sports Composite.

While that certainly would be notable and celebrated in Tuscaloosa, it also would be controversial and debatable. As it stands, Alabama’s current No. 2 national recruiting ranking includes quarterback Julian Sayin of Carlsbad, California. While Sayin did, in fact, sign with the Crimson Tide in December and enrolled at Alabama, he withdrew and transferred to Ohio State after Nick Saban announced his retirement. Nevertheless, Sayin’s numerical value as a 5-star prospect and the nation’s No. 3 quarterback is computed still in Alabama’s total.

While that might rob Georgia fans of yet another bragging right over the Tide, internally the Bulldogs certainly were not sweating. A glut of talent already crowds Georgia’s 2024 roster to the point that it has a numbers problem. From this point forward, any additions certainly would have to be accompanied by subtractions, some of which may already be forthcoming.

The Bulldogs’ No. 1-ranked class included 28 prospects who signed in December, which now is the primary signing period. Since then, Georgia has added six new players via the transfer portal. Including returning players, that puts the Bulldogs at 90 players on scholarship overall. By NCAA rule, they’ll have to be down to 85 by the time preseason practices begin in August.

As for Georgia’s transfers, all six are expected to contend for starting jobs and, at the least, should play right away. Such a haul would seem exceptional by any measure.

However, On3.com, which attempts to quantify portal activity, ranks Georgia’s transfer class at No. 67 in the nation. It is heavily weighted by numbers of individuals passing through, both outgoing and incoming. Georgia’s total of six in and 21 out was judged slightly better than No. 70 Alabama’s six in and 28 out.

Some other programs were expected to have more eventful days Wednesday. In addition to Williams to Alabama and Bussey to Texas A&M, No. 4-ranked defensive lineman Dominick McKinley of Lafayette, Louisiana, is expected to sign with LSU, and No. 10-ranked receiver Gatlin Blair of Burley, Idaho, with Oregon.

This year, at least, the Bulldogs will have to be content with standing on the sideline on the February signing day.

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