The late addition of defensive lineman Toby Johnson to Georgia’s signing class on Tuesday gave the Bulldogs four players ranked among Rivals.com’s top 25 junior college prospects, more than any other team in the nation.
Auburn has three and Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Kansas two each.
Johnson from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College is ranked No. 8. Receiver Jonathon Rumph from Holmes (Miss.) Community College is No. 9, safety Shaquille Fluker from East Mississippi Community College is No. 22 and nose guard Chris Mayes from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is No. 25. Georgia also signed safety Kennar Johnson from Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Georgia had only two junior college players on its roster last year—nose guard John Jenkins and offensive lineman Mark Beard.
The Bulldogs added just one junior college player in each of its four previous signing classes: Beard in 2012, Jenkins in 2011, safety Jakar Hamilton in 2010 and kicker Brandon Bogotay in 2009.
Georgia had room in this year’s 33-player class to load up on junior college players and also had a need to get players in at the midyear (Rumph and Mayes are already enrolled) that could count backwards towards last year’s class. And with a defense losing the bulk of its starters, junior college players can plug holes and get playing time immediately.
The junior college players will keep the new additions to the roster from being entirely weighted with freshmen.
“It breaks it up a little bit,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It’s not all freshmen. There are some guys that are at least two years into their journey through college ball.”
This wave of junior college players came after a clause was put in Richt’s contract last year saying that “the recruitment of junior college student-athletes will be kept to a minimum, as determined by Richt and the Athletic Director.”
Clearly, Richt and Greg McGarity determined that the Bulldogs needed to tap into help this time around from the junior college ranks.
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