As you might have expected, Georgia was the king of spring when it came to early enrollees.
The Bulldogs led the nation this year with 10 football players who left high school during their senior year to enroll in time for the spring semester.
The next closest to Georgia’s number were Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and Southern California with six each, according to USA Today, which annually tracks early enrollees from “conferences that receive automatic bids to Bowl Championship Series games (along with independent Notre Dame).”
Georgia had a program-record 13 early enrollees in all if you include players who came from junior college and prep school.
“I don’t know what kind of spring we would have had without all 12 of them and there are of course 13 here and Tramel (Terry) not participating,” coach Mark Richt said last month when spring practice wrapped up. “It would have been tough. I don’t know if we would have got to the point where we cancelled the spring game, but we just needed them in there.”
Georgia had 10 of the 43 players in the SEC who enrolled early from high school. After Florida’s six, LSU and Alabama had five and Tennessee and Texas A&M had four each.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones was coach at Cincinnati when the Bearcats led the nation in early enrollees in 2012 with nine. Florida had 11 in 2010.
At Georgia, Tray Matthews is expected to start at free safety after enrolling early.
Georgia’s second-team linebackers this spring were early enrollees Reggie Carter and Ryne Rankin. Another, J.J. Green, provides depth at tailback behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Terry, a receiver/running back, could still play this season after missing the spring following ACL surgery.
The early enrollees can get up to 24 credit hours before their true freshman season, Richt has said.
“He’s almost a sophomore,” Richt said. “Those guys tend to graduate.”
Having the large group of early enrollees made managing a supersized 33-player class easier, Richt said.
“We’re glad the class was broken up,” Richt said. “We knew it was a very big class. Just by numbers. It’s more guys to monitor, it’s more guys to manage, more guys to educate. It’s more guys that you want to indoctrinate to the culture of your team and your program. By having 13 of them here and having them go through it, now they don’t have to go through that again. They don’t have to go through the orientation of it again. Now there’s only around 20 guys that have to go through it instead of 33.”
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