In case you missed it, Georgia signed the top high school quarterback for the 2006 recruiting class (or second best, depending on your feelings on Florida-lean Tim Tebow.) A whole bunch of thoughts on this signing:
1. After the Ryan Perriloux fiasco last year, don't assume that Stafford is 100% headed to Athens just yet. That said, there are factors that make a Stafford switch less likely, namely that Georgia wasn't competing against a homestate school whose fans are notorious for putting pressure on local players to stay at home.
2. And speaking of homestate pressure, where was Texas in the Stafford recruiting derby? They have a major need at quarterback and will be looking to fill the position in the 2007 season. Are they set on Mitch Mustain from Arkansas? If so, did they tab him because he's better than Stafford or out of necessity because Stafford liked Georgia better?
3. If Georgia inks Stafford, Florida inks Tebow, and Auburn inks Neil Caudle, then we should have a great time following their development over the next 4-5 years. Hopefully, the news will be good, although none of the three programs have produced a quality NFL starter in ages. And no, Quincy Carter doesn't count. I'm waiting to see if Rex Grossman can survive a whole season without killing himself or if Jason Campbell was a product of Al Borges' system.
4. Stafford had to be attracted to Georgia because of the potential for starting as a true freshman. After seeing Chad Henne and Eric Ainge do well for major programs, the best quarterbacks are going to be less and less likely to wait. The quarterback derby in Athens next year should be entertaining. Blake Barnes will be the favorite and if he wins the job in 2006 as a third-year sophomore, then Stafford could be waiting until 2009 to start as a fourth-year junior. If Barnes wins the job this year from D.J. Shockley and plays well, then will that cause Stafford to think about decommitting?
5. Stafford's verbal also highlights Mark Richt building upon his 2005 recruiting class, which was unique because its best parts came from outside of Georgia. He's locked up a number of good in-state offensive linemen early in this recruiting year, but Stafford marks another successful foray outside of the state. Is there a correlation between Georgia regularly being on CBS and ESPN's national broadcasts and their improved national recruiting efforts? Or how about the 2002 13-1 season putting them on the national radar for the first time in a while?