Georgia went all in on junior college transfers in its huge 2013 football signing class.
This time around, the Bulldogs are expected to sign just one player from the JUCO ranks ‚Äî cornerback commitment Shattle Fenteng of Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
Georgia coach Mark Richt and assistant coach Bryan McClendon flew to the Midwest to see Fenteng more than a week ago and graduate assistant Christian Robinson, who has taken to the road to recruit while the defensive coaching staff is assembled, made the trip on Friday.
‚ÄúI think I‚Äôm going to come in and do my thing and play like I did here,‚Äù said Fenteng, who had four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, in 2013.
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Fenteng, from Grayson High School in Loganville, said he hung out some with defensive end Toby Johnson during his visit to Georgia last month.
Johnson also played at Hutchinson and was one of five junior college transfers in the Bulldogs‚Äô 33-player signing class from last season.
They didn‚Äôt make a big impact.
Nose guard Chris Mayes started eight games and had 31 tackles. Johnson had seven tackles in 10 games. Wide receiver Jonathon Rumph played five games, making 7 catches for 121 yards. Cornerback Kennar Johnson redshirted and safety Shaquille Fluker never played and transferred to FCS Jacksonville State after health issues during the season.
Todd Grantham, the defensive coordinator who left Georgia for the same job at Louisville, addressed how junior college players on defense late in the season.
‚ÄúWe were so short at our numbers, particularly at corner and safety that we kind of had to take guys and kind of … it was almost like you‚Äôre going to take this group of guys and we‚Äôre going to work them and see who can come out of it,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúFrom a competition standpoint, it just so happened that the freshman class came out of it as the guys that could play and contribute.‚Äù
Recruiting analysts see Fenteng as a player who is ready to contribute next season.
He is rated as the No. 6 overall junior college prospect by Rivals.com.
‚ÄúWe really like him as a guy to make an immediate impact, but you know JUCOs are so hit or miss,‚Äù said Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst for Rivals. ‚ÄúThey play pretty good … they‚Äôre older, but there‚Äôs also a reason they‚Äôre at a JUCO. It‚Äôs not a choice so sometimes you run into some issues.‚Äù
Said Scout.com‚Äôs Chad Simmons: ‚ÄúOne thing you have to like is his size. You have Shaq Wiggins, who is one of the better corners at 5-9ish, at Georgia this past season. Fenteng is a legit 6-1 ¬Ω or 6-2. He has long arms. He‚Äôs more in the Damian Swann role, maybe a tad taller than Swann. I think they want those bigger bodies. He is still lean and kind of thin. He‚Äôs still learning. Even though he‚Äôs a junior college kid, he played receiver his whole entire high school career until he was a senior and moved to corner.‚Äù
Fenteng will have three years to play two seasons at Georgia.
He talked about his role with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on his Athens visit.
‚ÄúWe went over plays,‚Äù Fenteng said. ‚ÄúHe told me that I‚Äôm the kind of DB that he offered. He told me that he wanted me still and that he liked me. … He‚Äôs all about playing man. He knows that‚Äôs my specialty.‚Äù
Marc Weiszer: twitter.com/marcweiszer