Kirby Smart entered national signing day with an already pretty solid class in order, and finished the day with one that he and Georgia fans should be pretty happy with. There were some misses here and there, but that's to be expected for a first-year coach replacing one of the greats.
Position of strength: Clearly, Smart's most important job before he even thought about NSD was to secure the commitment of No. 1 pocket passer Jacob Eason. Quarterback was a very important position of need, and even after the stress of a coaching change, Eason stayed firm with his commitment to the Dawgs. So that left Smart with the job of making sure he replenished a gutted defensive line. He succeeded. With ESPN 300 defensive tackle Julian Rochester already on campus and commitments from two other prospects, including ESPN 300 DE Chauncey Manac, Smart added ESPN 300 defensive tackle Michail Carter, who picked the Bulldogs over Alabama, and former Auburn ESPN 300 defensive tackle David Marshall. Adding in-state stud Derrick Brown would have been nice, but with Georgia's defensive line in complete rebuilding mode, Smart brought in a solid haul with five talented linemen.
Biggest need heading into signing day: While Smart cleaned up along the defensive line, he needed to add some more girth to the offensive line. Heading into NSD, Georgia's staff had secured commitments from ESPN 300 OG Ben Cleveland, who enrolled early, four-star guard Chris Barnes, and three-star guard Solomon Kindley. Unfortunately, Smart and new offensive line coach Sam Pittman had no offensive tackles. Smart made it very clear when he was hired that he needed to add some big bodies to an offensive line that was losing three starters and needed depth on the outside.
How it was addressed: Well, Smart and his staff came away from NSD with just three offensive linemen. The goal was to get at least five, but the staff came up short here, and Smart was very outspoken about being disappointed with the numbers he ended with up along the offensive line. Cleveland could come in and help right away, but Barnes and Kindley could use some more time to develop. What really hurt was missing out on ESPN 300 tackle E.J. Price from right down the road in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Price, who even seemed somewhat conflicted on NSD, surprised many by picking USC over Georgia. Not having a contingency plan for Price also hurt this staff, which desperately needed at least one OT in this class.
Biggest remaining question mark: I'm sure Smart and his coaches are currently trying to figure out where to put top athlete prospect Mecole Hardman, but that's not exactly a question of real concern. The offensive line's thin numbers will likely leave Georgia's staff with some sleepless nights in the coming months, but Smart's decision not to offer a placekicker in this class could come back to haunt the Dawgs. Smart was, well, smart to not just throw his remaining scholarships out there for numbers sake, but with Marshall Morgan graduating, Georgia has a major hole at kicker. There had to be a decent placekicker out there to go after, right? Smart signed punter Marshall Long, but he's banking on a walk-on kicker to handle field goal duty. Kickers might not seem like much of a priority in recruiting, but just ask Florida how important it is to have a quality kicker.